SERAFINE1369, Last Yearz Interesting Negro_Heavy handed, we crush the moment © Jamila Johnson-Small, photo: Katarzyna Perlak
Following in the footsteps of Wu Tsang, Otobong Nkanga and Zheng Bo, SERAFINE1369 will take up a studio in the Gropius Bau in 2021 as part of the programme In House: Artist in Residence. As an artist and dancer, SERAFINE1369 engages deeply with questions of intimacy, technology, alienation and boundaries. Their practice unfolds at the interstices of dance, philosophy and divination.
Understanding dance as a radical, transformative practice, they work to give space for others, creating awareness of the spaces shared by performers and audiences. At the Gropius Bau, SERAFINE1369 will investigate what they term “Oracular Practice”, the idea that movement and dance can act as a tool for divination, and that such messages can find form through choreography.
Collaborating with other artists plays a vital role in the genesis of SERAFINE1369’s atmospheric landscapes, which are composed of video, sound, sculpture and movement. This collaborative approach will be reflected in the programme visions, created by SERAFINE1369 together with other artists for the Gropius Bau. In November 2021 their new video installation, A Continual Cry will be on view as part of Ámà: 4 Days on Caring, Repairing and Healing. The work has been created in close collaboration with SERAFINE1369's design team, AGF HYDRA, Josh Anio Grigg and Jackie Shemesh.
According to Director Stephanie Rosenthal, “SERAFINE1369’s work begins from an awareness that space is embodied, from the way we breathe in different atmospheres to the way we move across borders. As our latest In House: Artist in Residence they will teach us to become more sensorily aware, to help us understand how bodies and spaces produce knowledge, and how we can work to make space for others.”
SERAFINE1369, previously known as Last Yearz Interesting Negro (2016–2020), is the artist and dancer Jamila Johnson-Small. They work with dancing as a “philosophical undertaking”, as “a political project with ethical psycho-spiritual ramifications for being-in-the-world”, as they term it. Their work is informed by research into movement and dance as a tool for divination to be processed through the medium of choreography. Recent projects have taken place at Liverpool Biennale (2021), im Tai Kwun, Hong Kong (2021), CA2M, Madrid (2020), MDT, Stockholm (2020), Silencio, Paris (2019), Transmediale, Berlin (2019), Barbican, London (2019), Café Oto, London (2019), ICA, London (2018), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018), amongst others.