• Vault
    Arien Wilkerson, Marisa Williamson, Chloe Newton, Kwame Winfield, Kevin Hernandez-Rosa, Nicholas Serrambana, and Adrian Martinez Chavez
    Arien Wilkerson and Marisa Williamson
    John C. Clark Elementary School, Hartford
    May 06, 2023
    Kevin Hernandez-Rosa, Nicholas Serrambana, Arien Wilkerson & Marisa Williamson

“Vault 1,” 2020. Digital Image, size variable. Photo: David Norori

Vault erects a new performance space out of the ruins of another. The performance space is a hybrid space that is neither a place of transit, nor one of gatherings. It takes audiences through the literal landscape of abandoned and poisonous elementary schools in New England cities and across the US that will feel familiar to some, and foreign to others. Vault is interpellation through dance. In Vault, performance is metaphorically an alchemical tool for the transmutation of a space from one of loss into one of recreation and re-creative. Vault convenes voices and stories from parents, community members, and students affected by the contaminated school, creating a soundtrack to move by. Vault is a generative and an open structure that valorizes a collective incompleteness. Vault proposes a space for dance as a reparative act.

Kevin Hernández-Rosa is an installation artist, writer and videographer from Hartford, Connecticut. He received a bachelor’s in fine arts from The Hartford Art School in 2016 studying under Sam Ekwurtzel, Ryan Wolfe, Micheal E. Smith and Hirokazu Fukawa. His studio practice consists of composited spatial, material and linguistic research that is tightly tethered to the proactive generation and critical articulation of the “hoodness” present in the world. Through exhibitions, publications, and performances his practice culminates into artworks that intersects vernaculars and avoids singularity. Hernández-Rosa’s work has been the subject of national and international exhibitions including CAN U/ CANOE, The Dial, Hartford; Yukon Gold at 891 N Main, Providence; Touch & GO, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York; and BG01, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. He received the Fain Family Full Tuition Scholarship in 2012 and honored as a fellow in 2014 at The Mildred Complex(ity) founded by Mark Dion and J. Morgan Puett. His first book titled brandishing, EX-WRITER, etc. was published by bench press in 2018 and his latest project, a full-length rap album titled Gorila was self-published in August 2019. Hernández-Rosa has taught cinema and video production at Real Art Ways located in Hartford and will graduate from the Yale School of Art graduate program in sculpture in 2021.

Nicholas Serrambana is a contrabassist and a rising senior in African American studies at Yale University specializing in media theory and the commodified legacies of representation in the jazz archive. In their compositional practice, Serrambana is also concerned with questions of queerness and kaleidoscopic identity in response to their ongoing battle with schizophrenia. In the past, Serrambana has turned to music as well as experimental film as alternatives to writing in order to liberate academic canons from linguistic vestiges of race/gender binaries. Upon recently updating their phone, Serrambana offloaded over five hundred personal field recordings of a spatial, incidental, or psychoanalytic nature, which are edited to provide scores for performance art pieces inspired not only by the schizoanalysis of polymaths like Juliana Huxtable, but by unassuming outsider artists that complicate the tendency of academia to turn purportedly "chance"-based or improvisational art into a limp rehearsal.

Marisa Williamson is a project-based artist who works in video, image-making, installation and performance around themes of history, race, feminism, and technology. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at SOHO20, and BRIC in Brooklyn, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (NYC), Vox Populi and the Print Center in Philadelphia, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Human Resources (LA), Stefania Miscetti gallery in Rome, and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), in Berlin. She was a participant in the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2012 and the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in 2014-2015. Williamson holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from CalArts. She is an assistant professor of visual art at the University of Virginia with a research focus on Blackness.

Arien Wilkerson is a queer, Black, choreographer, dancer, film maker, director, producer, installation born and raised in Hartford. Arien Wilkerson | Tnmot Aztro based in Philadelphia is a collaborative multidisciplinary company featuring six to ten artists at any given time. Sculpture, spatial design, lighting design, installation, photography, sound design, and at times seven or more movement artists, including Wilkerson. Tnmot Aztro considers that the complexities within art derive from the alienation of objects, identities, the body, sounds and humans, among many things. As an entity, the artistic practice makes performance, sculpture, experimental film, photography and dance, and is rooted in repurposing or redefining meanings of “fine art” and its attachments to colonialism, white supremacy, and institutionalized racism. Tnmot Aztro conspires against “fine art” asking what it is? Who has access to it? How does art become “fine?” Where is the “margin” marginalized, displaced, and disproportioned? And what systems are put in place to keep Black and Brown, specifically Black and Brown queer folk, out. Their work's thematic concepts include gender, labor race, cultural competency, possession, viewer responsibility, sensory overload, critical thought, the body, Black abstraction, identity, media-created leadership, rhetoric, technology, control, sex, dogma, climate change, territory, zoning, and queerness. Wilkerson was nominated for a Pew Fellow in 2020; awarded a 2020 Black Artist Support from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania; 2019 Connecticut Dance Alliance Jump Start Award; the Greater New Haven Arts Council and Connecticut office of the arts—Artist Workforce Initiative Sponsorship (2019); the Connecticut office of the arts Artist Fellow (2019); the Connecticut office of the arts project grant (2018); two New England Dance Fund Grants (2017, 2018); the Spirit of Juneteenth award from the Amistad Center for Art and Culture (2017); the National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” Grant (2018); the Director’s Discretionary Fund Award from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund (2018); and was selected as New England Foundation for the Art’s 2018 Rebecca Blunk Fund Awardee.