Sunday, March 27, 2011

High science: a conversation with J. Brent Crosson

Tuesday 29 March, 2011, at 7 pm

J. Brent Crosson is a doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology at the University of California and a researcher affiliated with the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. He is currently in Trinidad and Tobago on an eighteen-month Fulbright research grant. From November 2010 to February 2011, he was based at Alice Yard.

He describes his research:

“My broader project examines spirits as cultural archives, especially for mute or concealed histories, where embodied practice is the method for remembering. I am also interested in Trinbagonian perceptions of superstition — who or what counts as obeah — and the relation of these perceptions to modernity and postcolonialism. Finally, I am looking at how ‘high science,’ as sorcery is sometimes known in the Caribbean, relates to the science that emerged out of the Enlightenment in its approach to materiality.”

On Tuesday 29 March, 2011, at 7 pm, Crosson will give a presentation at Alice Yard on his current fieldwork. There will also be an opportunity for members of the audience to engage him in dialogue. His talk will focus on his fieldwork in Moruga on the south coast of Trinidad:

“From the mass hysteria/demonic possession at the local secondary school to the descent of helicopters and military personnel to the town savannah, the first week I spent in Moruga was punctuated by events that conjured the place of this region in the national imaginary. These two events, especially the former, stirred local and national debates regarding the relation of belief in supernatural forces, on the one hand, and rural economic livelihoods, on the other, to postcoloniality, development and modernity. My research examines the complex relations and convergences between religion and rationality, spiritual and psychological forces, modernity and belief, and rural and urban spaces that these events in Moruga conjured.”

All are invited.

Crosson can be contacted at

Friday, March 25, 2011

Celebrating Independent Mas

Friday 25 March, 2011, at 7 pm

Robert Young and Lupe Leonard of Vulgar Fractions will host an evening celebrating contemporary independent mas at Alice Yard. Featuring slideshows of images from Carnival 2011 and live entertainment, the event will include visual contributions from:

Cat in Bag Productions: Snake in the Grass
Vulgar Fractions: Coalition
Alice Yard Players: When Arima Rained
Generation Lion Jouvay: Cleanse
Mas Jumbies: Bourgeois

The Cloth 25 + Alice Yard Pop-up Shop, featuring clothing and design objects by Trinidadian designers, will also be open.

All are invited.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A conversation with Shani Mootoo

Thursday 24 March, 2011, at 7 pm

Shani Mootoo is an internationally acclaimed writer, artist, and experimental filmmaker. Born in Dublin of Trinidadian parents, she grew up in San Fernando and now resides in Canada. She is currently writer in residence at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.

She is the author of three novels: Cereus Blooms at Night (1996), He Drown She in the Sea (2005), and Valmiki’s Daughter (2008), as well as a collection of short stories and a book of poems. Her films have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the Venice Biennale.

On Thursday 24 March, 2011, at 7 pm, Mootoo will read from her recent work at Alice Yard, and talk about her writing process and creative concerns. The programme will also include a screening of several of her short film works. Copies of her books will be available for purchase.

This event is a collaboration with Paper Based Bookshop.

All are invited.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Greta Mendez and Akuzuru: What Lies Beneath the Skirt of Globalisation? and A Poem for Desi

Thursday 17 March, 2011, at 7.00 pm


From a performance by Greta Mendez in Shimla, India, during Art Karavan International 2010

What Lies Beneath The Skirt of Globalisation? and A Poem For Desi are two performance works which integrate sculptural installation and movement to establish form.

Over the Carnival season, artists Akuzuru and Greta Mendez have been meeting at Alice Yard to construct and develop a collaborative narrative work, incorporating mixed multimedia and movement. Playing to their strengths, Akuzuru has contributed the installation and design, and Mendez the concept and text.

They write:

“The convoluted narratives of both works are connected by the interrogation and analysis of the human condition through the web of those persistent artificial webs and matrices that shroud the consciousness of the everyday.

“A visceral presentation that challenges the gaze of external participation, this multi-sensorial projection offers to restore the dormant calamity that plagues the mind.”

Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

"Vein" at Alice Yard

From Vein (2009), a performance work by Akuzuru

About the artists:

Greta Mendez is a performance artist, dancer, producer, director, carnivalist, and choreographer. Originally hailing from Fyzabad, Trinidad, she moved to London very early in her life to expand her horizons in dance. Over her forty-year career she has performed and choreographed worldwide, including projects in Greece, India, Italy, and China. She has received the BP & National Westminster Dance and Mime Award, a New York International Film and Video Award, a Dance Fellowship from the Greater London Arts Council, and been awarded a Travel Bursary by the Arts Council. In April 2009, she presented her performance work Ndulgence at Alice Yard.

In 2010 Mendez participated in Art Karavan International, an initiative developed by Indian artist Inder Salim. She joined the Karavan in Shimla and journeyed on to Jammu, Srinagar, and Delhi. The central premise was to involve local Indian and international artists, to find a vehicle for common expression and common ground.
In her forthcoming Alice Yard presentation, she will share some of the work created, tell a few anecdotes, and introduce the work of artists from India, Serbia, and China.

Akuzuru is an experiential artist known for her many multi-layered performances and large sculptural-installation works, which have been shown internationally at venues in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Interdisciplinary in approach, she creates intense experiences, working primarily in the natural environment in site-specific situations. She has presented and exhibited her work at Notting Hill Carnival in London, LIFT-London International Festival of Theatre, the 2nd Biennale de Martinique, and the Rockstone & Bootheel exhibition at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut. She has received a Commonwealth Fellowship Scholarship to Nigeria and a Commonwealth International Artist Residency to India, among other awards. In November 2009 she presented her installation and performance work Vein at Alice Yard.

All are invited.