about the project
Artist collaborators Zavé Martohardjono, Ube Halaya, and Raha Behnam are making an evening-length ritual-based performance-installation and short film, TERRITORY, to premiere in NYC in early April 2022.
TERRITORY is multi-disciplinary project that is organized around a parable: An island is split by a colonial border. One side is home to an indigenous community who’ve resisted invasion and capitalism. Autonomous from Western empire, they thrive culturally and environmentally, living in harmony with the island’s three deity-guardians (Collectivity, Ultimate Disaster, and Remembrance), and the natural elements, flora, and fauna of the island. The other island side is rampant with inequity from endless dynamics of European colonization. When Ultimate Disaster strikes the island to wake people to the mounting harms of racial capitalism, climate change, and colonial oppression, the autonomous people, deities, and wildlife lead a mutual aid revolution to steward the island to its freedom and health. Who among the colonized will break rank and join this interdependent fight? Everybody’s future requires a reunion of divided sides.
We’re looking for two performing artists to join us in concepting, creating, and performing TERRITORY. Given the core themes and political intentions of the work, we’re looking to work with indigenous, native, Afro-indigenous, Black, Asian, Latinx, and mixed-race artists of color who are living/staying in Lenapehoking/NYC and therefore would be able to collaborate with us in dance residencies in Manhattan in July 2021, Fall 2021, and March-April 2022. As the current creative team is majority queer/non-binary/trans, we welcome trans, non-binary, and queer artists of color. We welcome dance artists, performance artists, drag artists, and actors with multi-disciplinary and experimental backgrounds. We are excited to invite two performing artists into the process by July 2021.
This is a paid artist opportunity and the production has a small/medium sized budget. Covid safety practices will be honored during project development and residencies. Read on for more about process, ethics, and how we’ve been creating a collaborative process.
If this call out is speaking to you and sparks interest, curiosity, joy, please email zavé at email@example.com preferably before June 16, 2021 to set up a time to talk.
TERRITORY has had many forms. zavé began in 2017/18 doing solo ritual performances and creating a fictional museum exhibit installation displaying artifacts of the parable island. Raha joined in 2019 to make a duet. Ube joined in early 2020 as TERRITORY shifted to a group work. See documentation of iterations thus far of the work here.
Over 2020, all three artists worked together developing the parable and production concepts for a multimedia installation, ritual and choreographic actions for live performance, and writing screenplay material for a film.
A core part of the process is to co-create TERRITORY by bringing our ideas, desires, cultures, and ancestries into the work with care and support. Indonesian, Iranian, Filipinx/Tagalog mythologies shape the characters that zavé, Raha, and Ube are developing and reflect their cultural histories. Writing, story-telling, divination, movement improvisations, and other forms of research are used to develop characters, parable, installation, and ritual actions.
Knowing co-creative processes cannot be perfect, zavé as a lead artist is shaping one that is intentionally imbued with agreements, communication, and other tools and supports to assess artists’ need along the way. So far the creative process invites complex, difficult, and care-full conversations about current collaborators’ identities, ancestors, and specific positions as settlers of color. As artists of color separated from our ancestral homelands, cultures, and languages, and searching for ancestral stories/mythologies to bring into the work, we’ve discussed how it brings up the pain of assimilation. Yet, this work is about liberation, cultural preservation, and self-empowerment.
More recently, the late-stage capitalist story we are living is shaping TERRITORY. In global economic crisis, pandemic, we deal with failing governments, healthcare, and broken social systems. At the same time, anti-police uprisings spread from Minneapolis to Hong Kong to Myanmar to Colombia. The pandemic has created possibility for the air, wildlife, and land to regain health. And for mutual aid networks, rent strikes, and street-based revolutions to bloom. Theses living histories of crisis and community-building and collective survival shape the parable.
To respond to the time we are in, TERRITORY asks complex questions: How do we grapple with the divisions we are implicated in? What ancestral technologies can we resurface to build interdependent futures?