2018 Alembic Artists

All of us at PWNW are extremely happy to welcome the 2018 Alembic Artist Residents: Olivia Camfield,  Sophia Emigh & Fernanda D’Agostino & Jaleesa Johnston, and KT Kusmaul/Body Home Fat Dance.

Thank you to panelists Mike Barber, Meshi Chavez, Tere Mathern, Noelle Stiles, and Lu Yim for your thoroughness and thoughtfulness in making the difficult and delicate decision to select only three out of so many deserving applicants!

The following artists will be sharing the results of their residency in February 2019.

IMG_7154Olivia Camfield is an Enrolled Muscogee Creek Tribal member from The Texas Hill Country where she started her training at the age of two at a small local studio. She was trained directly by Limon teacher Joe Alegado, completed the MODAS Dance Year Long Training Program, was a company member with PDX Contemporary Ballet, and is currently dancing with the Contemporary Indigenous dance company Dancing Earth under the artistic direction of Rulan Tangen. In 2017 Olivia performed on tour with Dancing Earth in the show “Seeds Rejuvenation” at the Mesa Performing Arts Center in Mesa, AZ, in the show “500 Years of Resistance” at the Brava! Theater in San Francisco, and participated in many community outreach days where she would teach dance to Native youth and healing movement at rehabilitation centers. In Olivia’s personal work she focuses on the intricacies between indigenous identity and the missing and murdered Native American women. Olivia created and performed “Which Way Is Up I’ve Never Been Here Before” in Portland, OR, a solo exploring the notion of letting pure emotion and energy from current and intergenerational trauma take form all at once on stage. Olivia currently lives in Portland, OR where she is a freelancer and continues to work with Dancing Earth. Photo credit: Woodrow Hunt.

Hesci (Hello), Olivia Camfield Cvhocefkv Tos (My name is Olivia Camfield). I am a company member with the Contemporary Indigenous dance company Dancing Earth. My movement style is rooted in the continuous and relentless athleticism of constant full movement and how this relates back to my ancestors who would dance in prayer for days on end without stopping. The combining of ritual movement from pre-colonial days with complex contemporary movement theory, while a challenge, is an experiment I will be continuously researching and exploring while in residency. We, as indigenous people, hold honor and pride in who and where we come from as well as holding the burden of taking care of our Mother and more specifically Turtle Island (North America). I strongly believe that art spaces and most other spaces can be more intersectional and receptive to indigenous perspectives. When the Portland-Metro Area Native youth see a space representing indigenous perspectives through contemporary dance this can encourage continued healing and protecting of the Native way of life for generations.


IN/BODY’s collaboration (Jaleesa Johnston, Sophia Wright Emigh, Nanda D’Agostino) began in Open Signal PDX’s Future Forum program. We share an interest in the body as a site of memory and how generational trauma manifests in hidden ways within our flesh. Our work draws upon dance, performance art, interactive video programming, and participatory installation, to create a charged landscape choreographed for exploration. Our personal histories of generational trauma based in historic events, and group’s heterogeneity (in age, race, sexual orientation/identity, and career stage) has made our collaborative relationship particularly rich and productive.

Jaleesa_Portrait_jpgJaleesa Johnston is a mixed media artist working in Portland, OR. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work explores the ruptured and queer existence of the black female body as both subject and object through performance, video, photography, sculpture and collage. Working with her body as material, Jaleesa uses its malleability and symbolism to conjure new narratives that suggest blackness as a liminal site for personal and communal transformation. She is particularly concerned with articulating gestures of the body as a fragmented language that can be used to voice narratives of fugitivity, resistance and freedom.

Sophia Wright Emigh - dance photoSophia Wright Emigh is an interdisciplinary artist working in film, photography, performance, embodied practice, and participatory work that frames individual and collective agency. Sophia plays with the themes of home, the void, stillness in motion, queerness, felt ancestry, transmutation of lineage, quantum observation, the rhizome, wilderness, the inner territory, and the common space inside whirling dervishes, hurricanes, and black holes. She holds a BA in Theater Studies from Yale University, works in Portland, OR, and feels her roots in the mountains, the moss, and the water.

D'Agostino installing Research in the studio2Fernanda D’Agostino has completed over forty commissions and installations, many incorporating moving images in novel ways. She has received Open Signal’s New Media Fellowship, The Bronson; Oregon Arts Commission and Flintridge Foundation Fellowships and funding from the NEA, Warhol Foundation and Ford Family Foundation. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. A central concern of her work is the notion of the viewer as active participant in a prepared environment. Fernanda’s recent installation “Generativity” investigated our bodies’ intersections with nature in crisis and combined new media, sound and live performance to immerse viewers in an ever-shifting dreamscape.

In/Body marries technology and live movement to explore the cyclical nature of simultaneously invoking and healing ancestral trauma through the body. We began developing this piece during our participation in a media education program called Future Forum at Open Signal PDX. Our shared interests in body memory and video’s potential to both collapse and expand time and space locate In/Body within an interdisciplinary and experimental line of inquiry within the field of performance and movement. In/Body’s exploration of trauma, ancestry and cycles occurs through a process that reflects and embraces the unknown. Creating movement that responds to the unpredictable mixing of images through Isadora software, the limitless shift within the performance mirrors the ways in which we process traumatic events within daily life. In/Body changes constantly, and this fluidity reflects the complexities of memory and various ways of accessing collective and personal trauma through time and in the immediate experience of the body.

Photo Dec 08, 2 09 17 PMKT Kusmaul is the founder of Body Home Fat Dance. Initially created as a weekly dance class, it has been growing in scope and depth to develop and support a community of fat dancers. They are creating a nuanced dialogue about body-positivity, exploring their own relationships to bodies and experimenting with healing through embodiment. KT has been working to expand this phenomenon through mentoring of new movement teachers and to bring this otherwise personal experience to an audience.

Prior to founding Body Home, KT has been a life-long mover, dancer, and choreographer, but almost never in a traditional form. After training in ballet and modern dance she transitioned into drag, gender performance, physical and character comedy, and queer dance projects. Performance and choreography credits include DKPDX, Homomentum, Untrained I, Cattitude, and music videos for Athens Boys Choir and Scream Club. In her professional, creative, and personal life, she has found connection to body and community as a source of healing and activism—culminating in her current class and performance projects.

I am curious about movement and dance in fat bodies. I want to subvert the narrative of “I can do this even though I’m fat” and actually explore movement that is best performed precisely because the dancer is in a fat body. Through movement exploration with a diverse group of non-traditional movers, I am attempting to create a new vocabulary of movement—one that feels accessible, interesting, expressive, and unique to fat bodies. So far I have been intrigued by movement qualities like the momentum of mass, weight and gravity, and the rhythm created by our jiggling bodies. I’m curious about how we occupy and move through space, intersecting both movement and self-perception. This residency gives me the opportunity to deeply explore movement qualities and narratives which have potential to inspire creative expression, embodiment and empowerment for fat dancers, the fat community, and the audience.

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