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EMPAC Video Archive

A Black Technologic: Considering Liberatory Imaginaries in Emerging Technologies

In this talk, artist Ni’Ja Whitson presents their work with Virtual Reality (VR) as it relates to the creation to their upcoming EMPAC production and performance of The Unarrival Experiments — Unconcealment Ceremonies. The project uses VR to center the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy through a Black, Queer, and Transembodied lens. To do so, Whitson is designing a performance space of “both/and”: both movement and stillness, both darkness and image, both engulfment and distancing, both listening and feeling. As an extension of Whitson’s design process, they will use this talk to propose new futures for VR with questions that beg to remain unanswered.

Ni’Ja Whitson is a Queer Nonbinary Trans/mogrifier multidisciplinary artist and futurist who ignores disciplinarity through a critical intersection of the sacred and conceptual in Black, Queer, and Transembodiedness. Their practice extends to conventional and experimental theatre, opera, and performance with collaborators that include Charlotte Braithwaite, Regina Taylor, Dianne McIntyre, Douglas R. Ewart, and Sharon Bridgforth. Whitson is United States Artist Fellow, Hermitage Fellow, Creative Capital and two-time "Bessie" Awardee. Residencies and commissions include Yale Dance Lab, Danspace Project at St. Marks, Abrons Arts Center, American Realness and Vision festivals, and ICA Philadelphia. Writing credits include Critical Black Futures: Speculative Theories and Explorations, Dance Research Journal, and an upcoming anthology on Lovecraft Country.