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involuntary park (2021)


Front Gallery in New Orleans Jan 9 - Feb 7, 2021

Rooms 3 & 4

Involuntary Park was an installation and performance on view at the Front Gallery in New Orleans Jan 9 - Feb 7, 2021.  This exhibition included one-on-one performances* during open gallery hours and virtual performances after hours by reservation only.  In-person performances followed strict guidelines for COVID 19. The installation was available for walk through during regular hours. 



Shannon Stewart (Concept/performance), Jeff Becker (Visual Design Collaborator) and lighting collaborators Jen Davis, Jebney Lewis, and Lydia Kolda. Video and sound editing assistance from Adam Sekuler. Dramaturgical guidance from Iris McCloughan. 


Aaron Richmond Havel, Jen Davis, Lydia Kolda, and Augustus Hoffman put in many long days. More essential help and input came from Josh Courtney, Rebecca Allen, Ariya Martin, Laura Stein, Olivia Klein, Kat Sotelo, Leona Strassberg Steiner, and Chris Kamenstein. 


Video footage of the landscape known as the Hanford Reach on Yakama Nations Land (Wanapum), land that isn’t mine to call home but has intrinsically shaped me. 

Installation photos by Lily Brooks. 


Warmest thank yous to the Meryl Murman, Contemporary Arts Center, Goat in the Road, Catapult, Dancing Grounds, my family, and Adam. There are not enough thank yous for Jeff Becker but here is another one. Thank you Jeff! 



Involuntary Park is part of a larger body of work commissioned by re:FRAME Platform For Choreographic Initiative. re:Frame is supported by the CAC’s 2020-21 Commissioning Initiative with a grant from South Arts In partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Division of the Arts. 


This branch of the work, however, was made entirely by volunteer labor, in-kind donations, donations from ticket holders, and a well leveraged stimulus check.


In loving memory of Kathleen Hermesdorf (1967 - 2020). 



A note about places acknowledged - While people with European settler heritage need to acknowledge ancestral lands there is also growing sentiment that the way it is being done sometimes is a virtuous signal rather than a action towards reparations. In the development of this work, I try to acknowledge where I am at in this process with some honesty recognizing that is not far enough along. 

Information about the ancestral lands of New Orleans Here:

Information about Yakama Nations Tribes along the Columbia River:

Information about Columbia River Keeper work with tribal coalitions to clean up Hanford:

The Front is open 12 - 5pm Saturday & Sunday. 

* COVID 19 PRECAUTIONS - These visits are performances in that there is a "live" aspect. They only happen with another person present but they follow all COVID 19 protocols for modified phase 1. I'm getting tested weekly for COVID 19 in advance of the weekend's performances. I will never be in the same room as you and will always wear a mask indoors. For safety and artistic reasons, the performance is only open to one audience member at a time. There is time between and during each visit to let fresh air circulate through the space. This experience should feel even safer than being in a grocery store or even walking through a gallery with a couple other people in the building. If you have any concerns, please contact me. 

This work is part of a larger body of work commissioned by the re:Frame Festival in partnership with the Contemporary Arts Center.

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