Visiting Artist | April 2 - 11, 2019
Lucifer Landing II
During their time at MANCC, Jonathan González was in residence with their collaborative team of Lucifer Landing II to focus on the project’s theatrical concerns of lighting, projection, and choreography and to finalize the original libretto.
Lucifer Landing is a two-part series of works conceptualizing Blackness and the geopolitical, specifically post-anthropocentrism. In Lucifer Landing I, González used the ideas of poet June Jordan and CHARAS as starting points to create an immersive environment in PS1’s VW Dome, which is intended to function as an interactive model for sustainable living. Active in the Lower East Side during the 1970s, CHARAS was a collective founded on the ideas of Buckminster Fuller, proposing geodesic domes as an alternative model for social housing. Over the course of two days, González invited visitors to enter this environment one at a time. Surrounded by a geo-responsive lighting design and a sonic score referencing celestial cosmologies, each visitor had the opportunity to reflect on alternative hierarchies of biodiversity. In this work, González proposes that solitary dwelling within this space can be considered a choreographic action unto itself. Lucifer Landing I offered visitors a contemplative space to consider this phrase “the entanglements between the state of dispossessed non-being that is Black life with the non-human and the architectural.” This extended exploration concluded as González presented a solo choreography that signaled the close of the work through the representation of self-immolation.
Lucifer Landing II, presented in Abrons Arts Center’s Playhouse Theater, attempts to exhaust mechanisms of the ‘epic’ in human innovation and theatrical invention through the form of classical opera to fathom an end to idealizations of the ‘human’, and the possibility of living and dying well in this contemporary time. Using Ableton software to convert MIDI notes into DMX standard lighting, the lights and sound synced; González’s voice ran through the microphone to the computer, was processed through the Ableton software, and after conversion was sent to the light board. As a result, the design team was able to bring lights up and down manually and also tell the light board to follow González’s volume. These tactics functioned in relation to the idea of obscuring certain elements, ultimately prioritizing what the audience sees or does not see, in relation to the sound in the space.
While at MANCC, González had the opportunity to meet with community leader, M. Miaisha Mitchell, who co-founded the Tallahassee Food Network and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Greater Frenchtown Revitalization Council. Mitchell has been an important part of numerous policy decisions surrounding food and sustainability in Tallahassee. They discussed sustainability issues and initiatives in the South and pinpointed how Mitchell’s work relates to González’s commitment to sustainable farming in New York City. They also noted the ways that these ideas come to light within González’s performance work.
González also shared the work in progress through an open showing in the School of Dance attended by students, faculty and community members, which was followed by discussion. After the showing, González met with Assistant Professor of Geography, Dr. Willie Wright, whose research focuses on black geographies of the southern United States. Dr. Wright discussed the work with González, posing questions about various choices throughout the piece, such as the use of specific textual references, technical elements of light and sound, and physical level changes.
The work premiered at MoMA PS1’s Sunday Sessions on April 19-21 (Lucifer Landing I) and Abrons Arts Center on May 2-4 (Lucifer Landing II).