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Sibyl Kempson: 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens: Spring Equinox

Mon, Mar 20, 2017  6–8 AM

Location: Floor One, Kenneth C. Griffin Hall

This performance, the fifth Shout in this cycle of twelve rituals, marks the beginning of the second year and will celebrate the upcoming Spring Equinox, which takes place on March 20, 2017 at 6:29 am EDT

The Spring Equinox presents a new beginning, a remaking of the world after the desolation of Winter. As a group, the audience will gather to mourn what is gone, and attempt to recall the ways and means that we have forgotten how to remember. This ancient knowledge has the potential to unearth new sources of information, ideas, and solutions, necessary to guide us forward and welcome new life. 

The performance will begin in the Museum’s lobby, where the audience gathers to be transported up to the 8th floor, the top of the building. There, the performers will lead the group through the exhibition Fast Forward: Paintings from the 1980s, briefly undergo a test, and cause a resurrection. The performance will include a light breakfast reception and conclude around 8 am.

12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens is a three-year iterative performance project by American playwright, director, and performer Sibyl Kempson with her theater company, 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co. Presented at the Whitney on twelve occasions, 12 Shouts will mark each solstice and equinox occurring between March 2016 and December 2018 creating a new ceremonial calendar and a contemporary mythology.

Please note: The Museum’s galleries will be closed to the public.

The performance begins at 6 am, and the doors open fifteen minutes before the program begins. Late arrivals will not be admitted.

This event has reached ticketing capacity. 

A message from the artist:

The audience is invited to bring the bone of something beautiful that died before its time. This might be an actual bone, or a sack of ashes, or a natural object that somehow symbolizes or has been charged with the spirit of that which was beautiful but died before its time.
A bone is dry, clean, and doesn’t have any living flesh on it. It has no bugs, it has no moisture or liquid. Nor is it all that fragile.
Shells are bones.
Teeth are bones.
Dried sticks and roots are the bones of trees.
Birds’ nests are a kind of bones.
The entire bodies of certain very special insects can serve as bones in this instance.
Birds’ bones are bones.
There are rocks and stones that will hold a history or an event or a personality, and can serve as bones.
The jewelry of a person who has passed too early becomes part of their bones and can serve as such in this instance. Especially pearls.
A shoe is possibly a bone.
A tool can be a bone for a dead way of doing things.
A pamphlet or scroll with a manifesto or a prayer inscribed upon it can serve as the bone of an idea or belief that has died before its time.
A drawing, for an image that has passed out of immediate consciousness, and which is missed.
All the audience should have something like this in mind, and in hand, as well.

12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens is organized by Greta Hartenstein, Senior Curatorial Assistant and Jay Sanders, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance.

Major support for the Whitney’s Performance Program is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Generous support is also provided by the Performance Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

12 Shouts was developed in residence at the Watermill Center. Special thanks to the Byrd Hoffman Foundation. Development support is also provided by a residency at Abrons Arts Center. The 2016 Shouts are partially funded by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

Sibyl Kempson (b. 1973), 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, Winter Solstice, December 21, 2016, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph © Paula Court

Sibyl Kempson (b. 1973), 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, Winter Solstice, December 21, 2016, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph © Paula Court