May 2 -3, 2014
John H. Wallace American Legion Post in Long Island City, Queens
The members of Wildcat! Jeremy
Toussaint-Baptiste, Eleni Zaharopoulos, and André M. Zachery will premiere their evening-length work, I DO MIND DYING - Danse Précarité for two nights only.
According to the release, this work "...is an experimental labor ballet [and] Wildcat!’s response to precarity as a constant condition for the majority of people in society. The collective's motto, Solidarity in Precarity, is the basis of examining the creative and unique ways people are collectively working to survive and operate in their financial uncertainty while being conscious of how race, gender, class, economic conditions, and geographic location factor into this dynamic."
This is first major project constructed by Wildcat! The name of the performance - I Do Mind Dying, is the title of a blues ballad by Detroit musician, Joe L. Carter. It is a working class anthem about the toils of trying to “make it”. The collective’s name is taken from the wildcat strikes that occurred in the auto plants of Detroit throughout the 1960's and 70's. A deliberate decision was made to place the work outside of a traditional “art/performance” venue, and engage the public within the confines of communal space with certain societal bonds. Being within a veteran’s post has allowed the collective to examine their individual relationships between themselves and their respective communities. From these sources of inspiration, a performative score has been developed reflecting the exhaustive, repetitive, and at times harsh circumstances endured mentally and physically through a life of economic precarity.
Wildcat! was formed in September 2013 by three interdisciplinary artists: Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Eleni Zaharopoulos, and André M. Zachery. The collective formed out of a mutual interest in exploring how people organize and support each other in an unstable and imbalanced world. Thus far, the scope of their collaboration has included performances, community gatherings, youth workshops, silent boycotts, and one manual on tactical self-enfranchisement.
Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/92590198
Please click to the following links to get a greater reference for the content of the performance.
Book - Detroit: I Do Mind Dying
Film - Finally Got the News
Organization - League of Revolutionary Black Workers
Organization - The Invisible Committee
Text - Precarity as Capture
Text - The Four C Model of Creativity
André M. Zachery is a Chicago born, Brooklyn-based artist. He received his BFA from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in 2005 and has performed with Elisa Monte Dance Company, MIRO (Philadelphia), CeDeCe (Portugal), Nathan Trice/RITUALS, Compagnie THOR (Belgium). He is the co-founder/Artistic Director of Renegade Performance Group and has presented works throughout New York City, nationally in Chicago, and internationally in Mexico and Portugal. He is a 2014 MFA candidate in the Performance & Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) program at Brooklyn College.
Eleni Zaharopoulos is originally from Queens, NY. She holds a BA in creative writing and film from Sarah Lawrence College and trained in physical theatre at the Dell'Arte International School. Her work has been experienced at citydrift/Detroit, the Shanghai Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Brooklyn Museum, the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, the Detroit Public Library, the Riverside Public Library, and within the depths of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. She currently spends her time between New York City and Detroit, working on collaborative and solo projects that range in shape and size. She will receive her MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Art from Brooklyn College in 2014.
Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste is a multidisciplinary performer, conceptualizer, and laborer, working in Brooklyn, New York and Toronto, Ontario. His work is a constant re-evaluation and complication of the Black body’s relationship to environments and the various agencies which inhabit them. He frequently collaborates with musicians, designers, videographer, and choreographer, under the name CROWNS. His works have been featured by Arts East New York (with choreographer André M. Zachary), Assembly New York (with videographer Nicole Van Straatum), at Toronto’s HarbourFront Festival (with musician Brendan Philip), and on Dazed Digital. Most recently, he has focused on investigating precarity in labor and its social implications, as an independent corporate art department laborer. He is currently a 2014 M.F.A. candidate in Brooklyn College’s Performance and Interactive Media Arts program.