Creating Place: Nikiko Masumoto & Kimi Maeda

February 28, 2018
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“I feel like it's wise for us to think not only about what our stories mean to ourselves, but also what our stories mean to other people. And, unfortunately, some of the same – for lack of a better word – technologies of racism are being recycled...and re-used to marginalize and hurt other communities.”

– Nikiko Masumoto

“In my mind it’s [the performance piece Bend] about places that are lost – which in some ways seems like the opposite of creative placemaking, but maybe not. … It’s about questioning what is home … understanding how complicated that is especially when the place you called home doesn’t want you any more or doesn’t exist anymore…”

– Kimi Maeda

Kimi Maeda and Nikiko Masumoto, two multidisciplinary Japanese-American artists, discuss home, memory, and creating place in the context of erasure. Their work commemorates the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans by the US government during World War II, and intervenes – in intimate, personal, and collective ways – in the forgetting of this chapter of US history.

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Born in the Central Valley of California, Nikiko Masumoto spent her childhood slurping over-ripe peaches on the Masumoto Family Farm (an 80-acre organic farm in Del Rey, CA). In 2007 she graduated UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies. She completed a Master of Arts in Performance as Public Practice from UT Austin. Her area of research focused on the performance of memory and Japanese American history (specifically the movement for Redress). In June of 2011, she moved back to Del Rey into the house her grandparents built where she now lives with her partner, Nichola. While spending daylight hours in the fields and working the land, she also continues to develop arts and community work, serving on several arts organizations' board of directors. Most recently, she co-founded the Yonsei Memory Project which uses arts-based inquiry to facilitate inter-generational memory building and healing.

Kimi Maeda is a theatre artist based in South Carolina. Her ephemera trilogy, a collection of sand drawing and shadow performances that deal with memory, home, and trans-cultural identity, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in 2017. Maeda received a Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship from the Japan-US Friendship Commission in 2017. She was selected by Ford Foundation Just Films to participate in Open Immersion Lab in Toronto in 2017. She was the recipient of the 2015 Jasper Magazine Visual Artist of the Year Award, the 2005 Rose Brand Award in Scenic Design from USITT.

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This episode of Creating place features interviews with Nikiko Masumoto and Kimi Maeda, conducted, recorded, and edited by Bonnie Gabel with additional support from Hannah Pepper-Cunningham. Music and Soundscaping by free feral. The project is supervised by Nicole Gurgel-Seefeldt. Funding for Creating Place: The Art of Equitable Community Building comes from the National Endowment for the Arts' Our Town program.

Sound Credits:

Creating Place: Hollerin Space

March 1, 2018
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“It [the Hollerin Space] feels like placemaking to me, it feels like placemaking in the body – it feels like that: like the body is a place and that’s what we’re working with…”

– muthi reed

“Because it’s not one thing, you know? It’s not all pain, it’s not all joy – it’s, it’s all of it, it’s all of the human experience being honored and signified in a moment, in a portal. And you’re being seen. The Hollerin Space – you are seen and you are valuable.”

– Angela Davis Johnson

Hollerin Space is a spatial arrangement initiated by artists muthi reed and Angela Davis-Johnson. We hold the space for dreaming and being. We formed from a need to share creative processes and make work that supported us in unpacking our preoccupations with data/objects/materials and physical space/embodiment. Black life is a particular lens through which we center our work and we collectively cull cultural ways and artifacts to generate a Hollerin Space "happening." Themes we explore include: migration, world building, ancestor devotion, blood memory, Black love, family, Black women visibility and queer embodiment, sensory programming and coding, public life, solidarity economy, social gathering, and interplanetary connectedness.

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This episode of Creating Place includes interviews with Angela Davis Johnson, muthi reed, Ron Ragin, Lauren Hind, daniel johnson, and Iya’Falola H. Omobola. Interviews and recording by Bonnie Gabel. Edited by Bonnie Gabel and free feral, with additional support from Hannah Pepper-Cunningham. Music and Soundscaping by muthi reed. The project is supervised by Nicole Gurgel-Seefeldt. Funding for Creating Place: The Art of Equitable Community Building comes from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program.

Creating Place: Art2Action

March 5, 2018
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If I don’t believe in the possibility of healing, I can’t believe in the possibility of change. And If I don’t believe that their stories are important for the rest of the world to hear, then how will we ever get the truth about what we have done in the Middle East and in the world?”

– Andrea Assaf

Art2Action is based in Tampa, FL and creates, develops, produces, and presents original theatre, interdisciplinary performances, performative acts, and progressive cultural organizing. Art2Action supports women artists, artists of color, queer or trans* artists, and creative allies. In this podcast, Art2Action’s founding Artistic Director Andrea Assaf reflects on the company’s work centering Muslim and veteran artists and stories, and the ways Art2Action builds intersectional bridges among many different communities. For more information, visit Art2Action.org.

Andrea Assaf is a writer, performer, director, and cultural organizer. She’s the founding Artistic Director of Art2Action Inc., and the National Coordinator of the Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation. She is currently Artist-in-Residence and guest faculty at the School of Theatre & Dance, University of South Florida (Tampa). Andrea has a Masters degree in Performance Studies and a BFA in acting, both from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She currently serves on the Board of CAATA (Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists), Alternate ROOTS, and the International Management Committee of WPI (Women Playwrights International, 2012-15), and is a member of RAWI (Radius of Arab American Writers).

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This episode features interviews with Andrea Assaf, Andresia Mosely, and Dora Arreola, interviews and recording by Bonnie Gabel. It was edited by Bonnie Gabel and free feral, with additional support from Hannah Pepper-Cunningham. Music and sound design by free feral. The project is supervised by Nicole Gurgel-Seefeldt. Funding for Creating Place: The Art of Equitable Community Building comes from the National Endowment for the Arts' Our Town program.

Sound Credits

Creating Place: Last Call

March 5, 2018
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“We've lost space to gather. We've lost physical space that it feels like our community can like center around. ...we've lost like another place to like organize...we've lost a sense of belonging.”

– indee mitchell

Members of queer performance collective Last Call discuss creating multi-generational queer space and the creation process for Alleged Lesbian Activities, a community performance event eulogizing New Orleans dyke bar culture.

Last Call is a multiracial collective of queer artists, activists, and archivists in New Orleans, LA. Drawn together by the closing of the last remaining dyke bar, Last Call creates innovative, multi-platform performances, events, and digital media that document and interpret neglected queer history, creating connections between those who lived this history and those who have much at stake if it is forgotten. They conjure up intergenerational gathering places where the movement for queer liberation is carried forward. Last Call was founded by Rachel Lee, Sara Pic, and Bonnie Gabel and is Co-Directed by Bonnie Gabel and indee mitchell. For more information on Last Call and Alleged Lesbian Activities or to listen to the Last Call podcast visit www.lastcallnola.org.

This episode of Creating Place features conversations with Rachel Lee, Erin Roussel, indee mitchell, and Shanelle Mills, interviews and recording by Bonnie Gabel and Erin Roussel. Editing, music, and soundscaping by free feral, with additional support from Hannah Pepper-Cunningham. The project is supervised by Nicole Gurgel-Seefeldt. Funding for Creating Place: The Art of Equitable Community Building comes from the National Endowment for the Arts' Our Town program.

Sound Credits: