NPN Announces Fall 2020 Documentation & Storytelling Fund Recipients


January 27, 2021  •  7 minute read

ANIKAYA. Photo: Gary Alpert.

The Fall 2020 Documentation & Storytelling Fund, one of NPN’s special initiatives for 2020, aims to create pathways for artists’ career advancement and to support their ability to document, promote, and share their work, ideas, and selves. To that end, NPN is awarding $72,000 and leveraging an additional $182,000 to 24 Documentation & Storytelling Projects.

These 24 recipients will reflect on motherhood and loss, Black masculinity, the role of seafaring in Micronesia, the power of architecture and space in the experiences of the African diaspora, and the link between extractive industries, generational trauma, and climate change, among other topics. Through books, websites, study guides, films, photographs, and videos, artists will highlight community engagement efforts, share unique development processes, and celebrate decades of creative work.

NPN’s Documentation & Storytelling Fund provides up to $3,000 of support for artists who received an NPN Artist Engagement Fund or Creation & Development Fund between 2018 and 2020.

The NPN Documentation & Storytelling Fund is made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation


Dasan Ahanu (Durham, NC)

Documenting Life Spoken Performance

Dasan Ahanu will perform four poetic site-specific works in the Life Spoken project, which will be captured by a photographer and a videographer. This documentation will be used to connect audiences and potential partners with this work and will also record Ahanu’s creative process.

ANIKAYA (Somerville, MA)

Virtual Experience of Conference of the Birds

Conference of the Birds, a multimedia movement theater work inspired by the poetry of Farid Uddin Attar, embodies stories gathered from modern-day refugees and other migrants. NPN funds will help create a virtual experience of the performance through short videos that can be shared through social media and will also become a virtual guide to the project, the ANIKAYA ensemble, and its process.

a todo dar productions (Austin, TX)

Documenting Page-to-Stage Adaptation of Their Dogs Came with Them

In collaboration with Adela Licona from the Art of Change Agency, a todo dar will publish a book documenting the page-to-stage process of adapting Helena Maria Viramontes’s novel Their Dogs Came with Them. The book will include production photos, interviews, and essays on the major tenets of the work, including displacement, state violence, freedom, and abolition, as well as conversations about the subsequent album Riding the Currents of the Wilding Wind by musical director Martha Gonzalez and concert version of the show directed by Kendra Ware.

Dakota Camacho (dxʷdəwʔabš Territory/Seattle, WA)

Capturing a Matao Ritual Performance Work

MALI’E’ | ETAK is an [un]traditional Micronesian navigation chant that reveals how Indigeneity grounded in oceanic seafaring traditions can generate Ináfa’maolek—harmony with all creation. The artist will create three pieces of documentation intended to be in dialogue: a short-film adaptation of the multidisciplinary ritual performance work MALI’E’ | Tåno’ Uchan, a multimedia archive of the project, and a Matao cultural resurgence resource manual to be created with fino’ håya language specialist Jeremy Cepeda for conducting inter-Indigenous ritual, including prayer texts, lyrics for chants, instructions for spiritual practices, diagrams, drawings, and photos.

Clear Creek Creative (Disputanta, KY)

Telling Stories of Domination and Climate Change

In 2021 and 2022, Clear Creek Creative plans to tour Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man to six communities impacted by the fossil fuel industry. Ezell is an examination of domination that looks at the ways climate change, the extractive resource industry, and intergenerational trauma impact the choices and decisions of an Appalachian man and the land he would like to call home. NPN funds will help document key aspects of the project’s community engagement, including capturing stories from audience members and partners.

Katrina Coombs (Kingston, Jamaica)

Documenting an Examination of Motherhood and Loss

Katrina Coombs will create Apocalypse—Lifting of the Veil, a sculptural performance for the Inaugural Kingston Biennial to be held in December 2021 at the National Gallery of Jamaica. The project seeks to use art and performance as vehicles to collect and document stories, providing a voice for women who have experienced the loss of a child. In addition to collecting women’s stories, the artist will create sculptural forms, costumes, and an onsite installation. The performance will be documented through photography and videography.

DíaPaSón (Oakland, CA)

reSONancia: Telling Our Stories through Son

Led by artistic director María de la Rosa, DíaPaSón will create three storytelling music videos and a short trailer to document music compositions from the company’s repertoire and establish its online presence with an official website. The compositions are in the son jarocho style of musical storytelling through poetic verse, telling stories of sociopolitical interest that have shaped the artists’ voices and lives.

Sean Dorsey Dance (San Francisco, CA)

Sharing The Lost Art of Dreaming Online

Sean Dorsey’s multi-year project The Lost Art of Dreaming creates expansive Futures as an act of love for trans, gender nonconforming, and queer communities. Due to COVID-19, the project’s first year will be presented online in a series of eight “video postcards,” short dance films that document sections-in-progress of this new work. All videos will be closed-captioned and free to access.

Liony Garcia (Miami, FL)

Video Experience of Corporeal Decorum

Corporeal Decorum is a multidisciplinary performance piece that investigates methods of mitigating the ill effects of cultural erasure via the destruction of Miami’s Art Deco architecture. Once the project is staged, film director Adam Reign will create a multi-camera video of the work that will give a sense of the stage’s spatial geometries and the dancers’ interplay within them.

Boy mother / faceless bloom

Capturing a Performance Collaboration

Boy mother / faceless bloom is a new work that utilizes movement, live music, and large-scale interactive sculpture to tell the story of a young boy who learns he will be a mother. The project’s four artists, Joshua Kohl, Eddy Kwon, Senga Nengudi, Haruko Crow Nishimura will create a “making of” documentary, a video of the final performance, and a reinterpretation of the project for a museum installation at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center in 2023.

Kosoko Performance and Studio (Brooklyn, NY)

Making a Hybrid of Film and Live Digital Performance

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko will create Syllabus for Black Love, an experimental filmic project that expands on his previous research using the lenses of Black critical studies, queer theory, and wellness. A response to the current moment, the work will toggle between film and digital live performance: Syllabus will consist of five short films and culminate in a live broadcast performance, filmed from the artist’s home, that will digitally hijack the feed of the film cycle as it is being broadcast in the gallery, museum, or online gallery space.

Mondo Bizarro (Bulbancha/New Orleans, LA)

Deepening the Digital Storytelling in Invisible Rivers

Invisible Rivers is a collaboration between Mondo Bizarro and the Land Memory Bank that employs music, theater, digital storytelling, and boat-building to respond to their region’s interconnected struggles against coastal land loss, environmental racism, and displacement. Through NPN funds, co-directors Monique Verdin and Nick Slie will enhance Invisible Rivers’s digital storytelling by creating three short films featuring three Indigenous culture bearers from coastal Louisiana.

Open Dance Project (Houston, TX)

Translating Immersive Performance to Screen

All the Devils Are Here: A Tempest in the Galapagos is an immersive dance theater performance that collides Shakespeare’s The Tempest and a 1929 unsolved murder in the Galapagos to explore issues of power, gender, health, and climate change. Collaborating with videographer Ben Doyle using a gimbal camera, Open Dance Project will work to sustain its signature immersive impact approach through a multi-camera live and recorded experience in May 2021.

Outspoken Bean (Houston, TX)

Storytelling through Immersive VR

Coloring Outside the Lines by performance poet Outspoken Bean is a reflective and vulnerable open letter to himself, focusing on his latest poetry pieces, reflections on family, and explorations of the world. The work will be streamed online and filmed with a 360° virtual reality camera at the center of the set to create the most intimate experience that audiences can have outside of an in-person performance.

Adil Mansoor (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bringing Untitled (Félix and Us) to Life

Adil Mansoor will hire consultants and pay himself to write application materials for grants and residencies, create work samples, and complete a professional-quality dossier to develop Untitled (Félix and Us), a new performance-lecture learning from the transformative power of artist Félix González-Torres.

OzuzuDances (Gainesville, FL)

Building an Online Archive on African Diasporic Migration

OzuzuDances will contract with videographer and designer Jovan Landry to create a website around its interdisciplinary performance Space Carcasses. The site will share videos and narratives and serve as an interactive hub for participants to engage with the project’s questions. Space Carcasses uses 3D audio and visual technologies to record, recontextualize, and remember spaces—including the vaults on Factors Row in Savannah, Georgia; the architecture of La Rochelle, France; and the history of similarly complex sites in northern Nigeria—that echo with the impact of the events and experiences of African diasporic migrations.

Renegade Performance Group (Brooklyn, NY)

Researching Black Masculinity

André M. Zachery’s new interdisciplinary solo work, Against Gravity: Flying Afrikans and Other Urban Legends, will examine Black masculinity by unpacking the lives, tragic deaths, and mythologies of Fred Hampton, Harold Washington, and Ben Wilson. Funds will support both the research, writing, and documentation process and professional documentation of the work, for use online and in conversations with potential partners.

Murielle Borst Tarrant (New York, NY)

Making a Digital Pivot for Tipi Tales

In Tipi Tales, Murielle Borst Tarrant will tell just one story of Indigenous people in New York City: that of her own family. Using storytelling and documentation, the work will look to her family’s arrival in Brooklyn in the early 1800s, where they were the only Native family on a Mafia-run block. The tale—which touches on themes of survival of genocide, relocation, the boarding school system, and the government outlaw of Native cultural traditions—was originally intended as a live, one-woman show; through NPN funds, the work will be reinvented as a filmed version for online viewing as part of Safe Harbors’ Reflection of Native Voices Festival.

Rosy Simas (Minneapolis, MN)

Documenting Yödoishëndahgwa, a Place for Rest

Native transdisciplinary artist Rosy Simas will work with emerging Native filmmaker Sequoia Hauck to document the installation performance work Yödoishëndahgwa, which means “a place for rest” in Seneca. This work is being made for Native and BIPOC audiences, to be created during a monthlong installation residency at Hair + Nails contemporary art gallery in Minneapolis in July 2021.

Marike Splint (Los Angeles, CA)

Creating New Documentation of AMONG US

With video editor Sjoerd Oostrik and sound editor Jonathan Snipes, Marike Splint will create video documentation of her 90-minute performance AMONG US, an audio-theater experience that navigates participants through the streets of a city while inviting active observation, quiet contemplation, and self-revelation to explore the tension between our desire to belong and our desire to be free.

Su Teatro (Denver, CO)

Discussing Post-Pandemic Production Possibilities

Through a series of live webcasts, a team of collaborators led by playwright/director Tony Garcia will explore the creative process behind Interview with a Mexican, a work-in-progress performance based on Gustavo Arellano’s syndicated “Ask a Mexican” column. The six webcasts, beginning in April 2021, will offer a chance to document and reflect on obstacles related to a possible national tour for the work following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morgan Thorson (Minneapolis, MN)

Documenting Icelandic Darkness

To create Three Darknesses, Thorson begins 2021 spending time in true darkness alone in Iceland at a monthlong residency at SIM Korpulfsstadir. There she plans to create visual and physical materials that will be presented in an outdoor winter live-art installation presented by the Great Northern Festival in Minneapolis in February 2023. NPN funds will support the documentation of this initial phase of research.

Unit Souzou (Portland, OR)

Reimagining Taiko Theater for Online Audiences

Unit Souzou is reimagining its Constant State of Otherness taiko theatrical performance project into a dynamic video presentation. It will include recorded vignettes that can be standalone pieces or combined with live improvised taiko performance. The ever-relevant themes of the project have evolved to include the current experiences of otherness that have come from sheltering-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing divisive political and social tensions.

Netta Yerushalmy (New York, NY)

Developing Paramodernities Study Guides

A series of lecture-performances, Netta Yerushalmy’s Paramodernities deconstructs landmark choreographic works, contextualizing them through contributions from scholars and writers who situate these iconic works within the larger project of Modernism. Yerushalmy will develop six study guides for the project’s six installments, engaging with guest scholars, project dancers, a curriculum developer, and a designer. Intended for use by higher education faculty, these guides will be incorporated into a new online classroom portal.