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The Shed Presents CALL Featuring Justin Allen, Yulan Grant, and S*an D. Henry-Smith

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The Shed Presents CALL Featuring Justin Allen, Yulan Grant, and S*an D. Henry-Smith

In Call, artists Justin Allen, Yulan Grant, and S*an D. Henry-Smith create an improvised collaborative soundscape via the video conferencing platform Zoom. The artists manipulate the constraints of the technology to create a shared sonic, musical, and visual experience. As each artist joins the call from a different location, the trio layers sound with rhythms using instruments, electronic production technology, nearby household items, and their own voices.

Call will premiere on Sunday, June 28 at 6 pm EST on Zoom. Tickets are free and can be reserved at Zoom meeting information will be provided in a follow-up email on the day of the event.

The lo-fi production of the performance, with materials assembled from what the artists had on hand while working at home, turns the challenges of digital communication into an opportunity for collaboration and sonic experimentation. While at this moment the whims of our Wi-Fi connections determine whether or not we can share time without technical interruptions, Call pushes the boundaries of real-time performance, video lag time, and digital connection.


Before the spread of COVID-19 necessitated social distancing, the three artists and friends had collaborated on previous projects, including Allen and Grant's work on the zine BDGRMMR with Brandon Owens and Grant's work with Henry-Smith on a sound performance. In 2019, Allen, Grant, and Henry-Smith all performed at The Shed as part of Open Call. In July, Grant presented Buss Demon Choat, a site-specific performance about non-linear time in the diaspora. In August, on The Shed's Plaza, Allen performed Explain Totality (version 4), a set of cover songs with altered lyrics about his teenage years, with Henry-Smith on guitar.

Justin Allen experiments with performance, writing, linguistics, and the still and moving image to understand our relationships to time, social context, and place. He has performed at Movement Research at the Judson Church, JACK, ISSUE Project Room and The Shed among other venues. He has read his poetry, fiction, and nonfiction at venues such as the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, Kampnagel (Hamburg, Germany), and Artists Space. His work has received support from Franklin Furnace and Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Yulan Grant is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist from Kingston, Jamaica. As a creative positioned between Caribbean and American culture, her work interrogates ideas of identity, notions of power, perceived histories, and the entanglements that happen within these topics.

S*an D. Henry-Smith is an artist and writer working primarily in poetry, photography, and performance, engaging Black experimentalisms and collaborative practices. The author of two chapbooks, Body Text and Flotsam Suite: A Strange & Precarious Life, or How We Chronicled the Little Disasters & I Won't Leave the Dance Floor Til It's Out of My System, and co-author alongside Imani Elizabeth Jackson of the poetry cookbook Consider the Tongue, S*an's first full-length collection of poems and photographs, Wild Peach, is forthcoming from Futurepoem.

The Shed is committed to expanding the scope of how a cultural institution can serve its communities, a mission that is even more critical while distanced from one another. To creatively engage artists and audiences in this moment of great uncertainty and upheaval, Up Close launched in April 2020 and continues every other Sunday with intimate performances, conversations, curated playlists, and other forms of original content that explore what it means to make art right now.

Up Close has premiered commissioned works by The HawtPlates on April 19, Reggie 'Regg Roc' Gray and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring on May 3, and a collaborative music-ritual created by Troy Anthony and Jerome Ellis on May 17. What Connects?, a collection of poems and artwork by Nova Cypress Black, Tasha Dougé, and Gabriel Ramirez, teaching artists from The Shed's DIS OBEY program for young writers and activists, premiered on June 7. The latest commission, Go Off! Joy in Defiance, by DJ April Hunt and Rashaad Newsome with Legendary Monster Mon_Teese and Precious premiered on June 14.

Artists in future installments include; Kiyan Williams on July 12; Tomás Saraceno on July 26, and Tony Cokes on August 9.

Up Close is organized by Solana Chehtman, Director of Civic Programs, with Adeze Wilford and Alessandra Gómez, Curatorial Assistants; Justin Wong, Civic Programs Coordinator; and Lily Wan, Digital Content Producer. The Shed's multidisciplinary commissioning program is developed by Artistic Director and CEO Alex Poots with the senior program team, including Emma Enderby, Chief Curator; Tamara McCaw, Chief Civic Program Officer; Madani Younis, Chief Executive Producer; and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Senior Program Advisor.

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