Jennifer Miller, MFA Program Coordinator
Jennifer Miller has been working with alternative circus forms, theater, and dance, and for over twenty years. She is the recipient of the 2008 Ethyl Eichelberger Award. Her work with Circus Amok was awarded a “Bessie” (a New York Dance and Performance Award) in 1995 and an OBIE in 2000. Circus Amok is the subject of a French documentary film, Un Cirque a New York (2002) and Brazilian documentary, Juggling Politics (2004). As a dancer she has performed with Cathy Weis, Jeff Weis, Jenny Monson, John Jasperse, Johanna Boyce, Doug Elkins, and They Won’t Shut-up among others. She had a seven year stint at Coney Island Sideshow by the Seashore. She toured her solo shows Morphadyke and Free Toasters Everyday here and abroad. She is the author of Cracked Ice or The Jewels of the Forbidden Skates and The Golden Racket.
Jenny Romaine is a director, designer and puppeteer and co-founder/artistic director of the OBIE winning Great Small Works visual theater collective. She is music director of Jennifer Miller’s CIRCUS AMOK and artist in residence at Milk Not Jails and Inside Change.
Romaine has directed and designed community based spectacles for numerous projects in New York City and around the world. Romaine was a sound archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for 13 years and for several decades has drawn on Yiddish/Pan Jewish primary source materials to create art that has contemporary meaning. Her projects include the Sukkos Mob (featured in the film Punk Jews), community Purim Shpiln with the Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee, The Revival of the Uzda Gravediggers with Geoff Berner, Sadie Gold Shapiro, and Belarusian poets Siarhej Chareuski and Maryia Martysevich, “Bobe Mayses" – Yiddish Knights and Other Impossibilities with the Other Music Academy (Weimar/Berlin), Soul Songs: Great Women of Klezmer with the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls with Great Small Works. She was the first recipient of the Adrienne Cooper Award for Dreaming in Yiddish (2014), received a Marshall Meyer Risk-Taker Award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (2015) and is featured in "Dazzle Camouflage: Spectacular Theatrical Strategies for Resistance and Resilience" a monograph by Ezra Berkley Nepon. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Pratt Institute department of Performance Studies.
Karin Shankar received her PhD in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. As a researcher, writer, performer, and educator, her interests include performance studies in/from the Global South, political economies of culture, urban studies, transnational feminist theory, critical race theory, South Asian visual culture and performance and public art and social practice. She is the co-editor (with Kirsten Larson) of P[art]icipatory Urbanisms, a two-part publication featuring a compilation of interviews with urban practitioners in Sao Paulo and New Delhi and a critical anthology of essays examining the triangulation of urban participation, aesthetics, and politics. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Women & Performance: a Journal of Feminist Theory, TDR, Feminist Teacher, Art India, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, "Molecular Aesthetics: Contemporary Art and Performance in New Delhi." Prior to joining the faculty in the Performance and Performance Studies program at Pratt, Karin was the Andrew W. Mellon Global Postdoctoral fellow at Creative Time. Karin also holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from Cornell University.
Julia Steinmetz is a performance studies scholar, contemporary art writer, visual artist and performer. Her scholarly work has appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, QED: a Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, E-misférica, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, in which she also co-edited the special issue Feminist Landscapes. Julia's work as a contemporary art writer has appeared in the form of multiple exhibition catalogue essays as well as the monograph Cassils. She has appeared as a guest blogger for Art21 and the Huffington Post. Julia is currently working on the blog and podcast Contemporary Art Crisis, set to launch in January 2020.
She is co-founder of the Los Angeles performance collective Toxic Titties, with whom she has performed and exhibited at LACE, REDCAT, USC Center for Feminist Research, the Hammer Museum, CoCA Seattle, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Art in General, Art Basel Miami Beach, Whitechapel, MUCA Roma (Mexico City), Ex-Teresa Arte Actual (Mexico City), Schnitt Austellungsraum (Cologne), and MUMOK (Vienna). Her collaborative film and video work has appeared in international film festivals including Outfest: Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Viennale International Film Festival, Centro de la Imagen (Mexico City), and on the DVD compilation First Person. Her work has been reviewed in Tema Celeste, the LA Times, LA Weekly, Rhizome, Wired, Black Book, MASKA, and she has been interviewed for National Public Radio, the Utne Reader, and the Journal of the National Women's Studies Association, as well as in numerous academic publications.
Julia has received funding from the Mellon Foundation, New Radio and Performing Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; she was a finalist for the 2016 Creative Capital Andy Warhol Arts Writers Grant.
David Thomson is a Brooklyn based interdisciplinary collaborative and performing artist who has worked in the fields of music, dance, theater and performance with such artists as Mel Wong, Jane Comfort, Bebe Miller (’83-’86; ’03-’06), Remy Charlip, Marta Renzi, The Lavender Light Gospel Choir, Trisha Brown (‘87-‘93), David Roussève, Wendy Perron, Susan Rethorst, Michel Laub/Remote Control (NL), Ralph Lemon (’99-’10), Bo Madvig (DK), Sally Silvers, Tracie Morris, Sekou Sundiata, Reggie Wilson, Dean Moss/Layla Ali, Meg Stuart, Marina Abramović, Muna Tseng, Daria Faïn & Robert Kocik, Clarinda Mac Low, Alain Buffard (FR), Deborah Hay, Yanira Castro, Tere O’Connor, Beth Gill, Patricia Hoffbauer, Yvonne Rainer, David Bowie, Fiona Templeton and Kaneza Schaal among many others. He has performed downtown, Off-Broadway and in London with the Drama Desk nominated a capella performance group, Hot Mouth, founded by Grisha Coleman, Jonathan Stone, Viola Sheely and Thomson.
His own work has been presented by The Kitchen, Danspace Project at St Mark’s Church, Dance Theater Workshop, Roulette, The Invisible Dog, Mount Tremper Arts Center, Movement Research at Judson Church and The Yard. Thomson has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships including The Map Fund, Jerome Foundation, Robison Foundation, United States Artists|Ford, NYFA in Choreography, as well as residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo and The Rauschenberg Foundation. He is currently a LMCC Extended Life | Lifeline Artist (2018-21). Thomson was honored with a New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for Sustained Achievement (2001), as part of the creative team for Bebe Miller’s Landing/Place (2006) and for Outstanding Production for his first evening length work he his own mythical beast (2018). He is a 2017-19 QUEER ARTS Mentor.
An ongoing advocate for dance and the empowerment of artists, he was one of the founding members of Dancer’s Forum. He is currently working with Kate Watson-Wallace on The Sustainability Project, a platform for research and arts activism that seeks to create and expand the discourse surrounding ideas of financial, artistic, and personal empowerment in the performing arts community. Thomson began dancing at Haverford/Bryn Mawr Colleges and later received his BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from SUNY Purchase.
Guest Artist - Fall 2019
Pyeng (pronounced py-ying) Threadgill is a vocalist, voice over artist, songwriter, voice teacher and certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and Somatic Voicework, the LoVetri Method.
As a performer Pyeng has been described as “charmingly eclectic" by St Louis Today. Singing ‘New Porch Music’ Pyeng crafts an intimate journey through folk and Jazz with Afro- electronic inflections. In her fourth solo album and multimedia project entitled Head Full of Hair, Heart Full of Song, Ms. Threadgill shines a light on hair, adornment, and ancestry and the political well as spiritual implications of race, hair and identity.
As a guest performer Ms. Threadgill has shared the stage with pianist/composer Marc Cary, the Urban Bush Women and Contra Tiempo. She has accompanied poet, author, playwright hattie gossett as a soundmaker/actress on her Conjure Wimmins Project. And in 2008 Ms. Threadgill was a recipient of the fellowship in music composition from New York Foundation for the Arts for her album Portholes To A Love & Other Short Stories. In 2018 she was featured by the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment on "A Day's Work" showcasing the work of three working musicians living in New York. This March, 2019 Pyeng's narration for the book Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham was named Best Multi-Voiced Performance by the Audie Awards.
As a voice and movement teacher Pyeng approaches the voice with an emphasis on slowing down and offering accessible and healthy vocal technique for all styles of music. Pyeng guides students to refocus on the joy and pleasure of singing rather than self-judgment. By connecting to the breath, body and movement students develop a holistic voice practice thereby eliciting each individual's Soul music.
Pyeng teaches out of her private studio in Brooklyn and this Fall she will be an artist-in-residence in the MFA Performance & Performance Studies program at Pratt Institute.
Marielle Pelissero is a performance theorist and practitioner, working as a Visiting Scholar in Performance Studies, at NYU Tisch. Her research, sponsored by Fred Moten, focuses on the sociality of audience, reconsidering the definition of spectatorship beyond the individual standpoint. In Paris, she works as Research Fellow at the Centre Pompidou and Paris-Nanterre University, undertaking research on experimentation in art and politics, notably the Situationists and the Lettrists. Her first monograph,'De l'underground a la superstructure' will be published in France in 2019. This book presents a 'prehistorical epistemology' of the notion of performance in French thought and art experiment, throughout the early neoliberal context. She was also a visiting scholar at the Martin Segal Theater Center, the Graduate Center - CUNY in 2016-2018.
Jayna Brown's areas of knowledge and interest include black expressive cultures, film, queer of color critique, anarchism, materialism and science fiction. Her first book, Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern (Duke University Press, 2008) won Best Book awards from both the American Society for Theatre Research and the Theater Library Association. She has also published on African American race film and popular performance in various journals including The Journal of Popular Music Studies, GLQ, Social Text and Women and Performance. Her new book, Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds (Duke University Press, forthcoming) traces black radical utopian practice and performance, from the psychic travels of Sojourner Truth to the cosmic transmissions of Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra.
Awards include grants from the NEA, NYFA, UNIMA, and the Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Rockefeller Foundations, among others; twice, The New York Times has named her plays among the 10 best of the year; her production Iphigenia won two New York Innovative Theater Awards; has created performances in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Korea, and travels frequently to India to develop new projects; has taught workshops to diverse populations with Hospital Audiences, Inc. and has developed classes and performances at Rikers Island prison; projects include teaching performance workshops in India as a Fulbright Scholar and developing a site-specific permanent installation at Gibb Mansion, a housing facility for homeless and chronically ill community residents, managed by Pratt Area Community Council.
Ira Livingston is Professor of HMS and director of Poetics Lab at Pratt. He is known for his exploration of past and potential future co-evolutions of cultural and scientific theory, especially via the study of emergence, complexity, and systems. His inclination to situate this exploration under the heading of an expansive conception of poetics is declared in the title of his current book-in-progress, Poetics as a Theory of Everything. Excerpts from Ira’s current and recent work (scholarship and visual art) can be found at PoeticsLab.com.
Ira is the author of three books—Where God Comes From: Reflections on Science, Systems and the Sublime (Zer0 Books, 2012), Between Science and Literature: An Introduction to Autopoetics (U. of Illinois Press, 2005), and Arrow of Chaos: Romanticism and Postmodernity (U. of Minnesota Press, 1997)—and co-editor of two collected volumes, Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader (with Maria Damon; U. of Illinois Press; 2007) and Posthuman Bodies (with Judith Halberstam; Indiana U. Press, 1995). His former institutional incarnations include Chair of HMS at Pratt (2007–13), and founder and director of Stony Brook University’s Cultural Studies graduate program (2010– 2013). His Ph.D. is in English from Stanford University.
Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director, who over the past four decades created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity through role-playing, costume transformations, and “invasions” of other people’s personae. She began making these videos and photo/text works in the early 1970s while in Halifax in Nova Scotia, and further developed her performative and videobased practice after moving in 1974 to New York City, embarking on a long career that would see her gain attention across the U.S. for her provocative appearances and works. In 1976 she also founded and continues to direct Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion and preservation of artists’ books, installation art, video, online and performance art, further challenging institutional norms, the roles artists play within society, and expectations about what constitutes acceptable art mediums.
Wilson, a native of Newtown, Pennsylvania, who has lived in New York since 1974, is esteemed for both her solo artistic production and her maverick efforts to champion creative forms that are “vulnerable due to institutional neglect, their ephemeral nature, or politically unpopular content.” Described by New York Times critic Holland Cotter as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s,” Wilson remains what curator Peter Dykhuis calls a “creative presence as an arts administrator and cultural operative.”
Former Faculty + Guest Artists
Joshua Akullian and Judith Akullian from Outside Voices Theater Company
Dr. Shirly Bahar
Kuang-Yu Fong from Chinese Theatre Works
Dr. Elena Martinez
Alok Vaid Menon
Kate Watson Wallace