A Lecture on Absence "minor b" with Nile Harris
Performer Nile Harris believes that the site where a work is created is inherently crucial to the context of the piece and, with his return to the East End, will develop a site-specific performative lecture inspired by the themes of his forthcoming work minor b. An interdisciplinary performance piece, minor b, considers how madness has been canonized, from the social to the aesthetic, within Black performance throughout history.
Harris will speak on his research on the life and legacy of Buddy Bolden, known as King Bolden, an early jazz cornetist who was institutionalized at a mental hospital from 1907 until his death in 1931. Little is known what became of Bolden, often credited for originating what became known as jazz, due to the institution’s records being lost. First-hand reports from former ward attendants have described Bolden continuing to play his horn out the hospital’s window.
The lecture will highlight Harris’s inspiration and development of the piece, woven with snippets of theatrical performance, allowing the audience a sneak peek of what will become of minor b before its premiere at The Shed in August 2024. This is a rare opportunity to hear an artist speak on the various stages of constructing a performance during its infancy.
ABOUT NILE HARRIS
Nile Harris is a performer and director of live works of art. His work has been presented at the Palais de Tokyo, Under the Radar Festival (Public Theater), The Watermill Center, Volksbühne Berlin, Prelude Festival, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, La MaMa, Poetry Project and Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church. His work has been supported by the New York State Council for the Arts, MAP Fund, Franklin Furnace Foundation, Pepatián, Foundation for Contemporary Art, YoungArts, and Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Nile is a member of the Artistic Leadership Team at Ping Chong and Company and is a recipient of the 2023 Open Call commission at The Shed, the premiere of his next evening length work 'minor b' in Aug 2024.
He has worked extensively as a performer in works by artists including Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Tina Satter, Robert Wilson, Malcolm-x Betts, Anh Vo, and Crackhead Barney in venues including Playwrights Horizon, New York Live Arts, The Walker Art Center, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, EMPAC, Danspace Project, PSuperblue, Stanford Live, Dublin Theatre Festival, and MESS Festival.
His approach to art is one of introspection. What information he assimilates and translates into imagery comes from a belief that like life, art is concerned with the search for one’s self, ones thoughts. Understanding the two as one will always be the final goal.