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Streaming Extended For Somi's IN THE ABSENCE OF THINGS

Available to watch on-demand until December 15, 2020 at 5pm ET.

Streaming Extended For Somi's IN THE ABSENCE OF THINGS

Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), together with co-commissioners Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana, IL) and ArtsEmerson (Boston, MA), co-present an exclusive first look of vocalist-composer and writer Somi Kakoma's new work-in-progress short film, in the absence of things, in partnership with National Black Theatre and Salon Africana. Access to view the short film has now been extended through Tuesday, December 15 at 5pm ET; it can be streamed for free at

A discussion with Somi and the director of the film, Mariona Lloreta, joined by Obie Award-winning Artistic Director of New York City's National Black Theatre (NBT), Jonathan McCrory, about the meaning of the film, the collaborators' creative process, and the role of Black artists during and beyond COVID-19 is also available to view at

The work-in-progress features deconstructed concert recordings from Somi's new live Grammy nominated album, Holy Room-Live at Alte Oper with Frankfurt Radio Big Band, and blends spoken word, art song, and movement. It was filmed over the course of an intensive three-day workshop in fall 2020. Somi and her collaborators carefully adhered to all established Covid health and safety protocols during the filming.

in the absence of things chronicles the spiritual consequence of the global pandemic on creative practice. COVID-19 hit while Somi was on the road, so instead of returning to her residence in New York City, she decided to head to Illinois to shelter in place with her mother in the Midwestern town where she grew up. Like most people, Somi's professional life and plans were dramatically interrupted by the pandemic and she found herself reflecting on the deep sense of personal vacancy she was feeling in the absence of live performance.

Partially narrated by Somi's mother, the meditative film registers what Somi calls "the emotional vibration and undemocratic fragility of cultural space and the living stage." The piece also aims to frame the disruption of otherwise quieted cultural spaces as a larger metaphor for the work most American arts institutions still need to do in service of Black storytelling.

Somi was a 2015 Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) Resident Artist. She performed at BAC in 2016 and was the featured artist of the Fall Fête that year.

Event Information

Somi: in the absence of things
Co-presented and co-commissioned by the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and ArtsEmerson, in partnership with National Black Theatre and Salon Africana

The running time of the film is 10 minutes.
The running time of the post-screening discussion is 45 minutes.
Both are available for viewing at through December 15 at 5pm ET.
Closed captioning will be available for this performance.

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