PACC

Bodies Assembled

A performance of guitar and voice w/ Johanna Hedva, Artist

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Bodies Assembled

Bodies Assembled Performance and Exhibition

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Bodies Assembled

Acting Without Boundaries, Non-Profit Partners

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Introduction

The body is a social and material entity that carries diverse meanings and makes social life possible. Charting flows across the boundaries between material and immaterial, we explore how the body comes to be in its location, historically and geographically. We ask where and how the body signifies normality or abnormality, self or other, abled or disabled. We trace these binaries as they animate both affinities and differences in species, kind, gender, race, class, and ontology. We explore the intermingled origins of these binaries and their effects on the organization of our social and biological worlds. In dialogues prompted by literary and philosophical texts about animal and artificial life forms, we read the past through the present — and ponder speculative futures. We engage in theories of disability and intersectionality in an attempt to complicate differences and ask how the past illuminates our present and enables or limits our imaginings for the future.

This project was active during Fall 2019, in addition to a significant planning phase preceding the active semester as well as a follow up once the semester had concluded.

Collaborators

Artist

Wit López is a Brooklyn-born Philly-made performer, visual artist, and independent curator of African American and Boricua heritage. Their work uses absurdity, Black Existentialism, and conjure to communicate how they engage with the world as a nonbinary trans, intersex, queer Black Latinx person with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses, while also challenging oppression and colonization. They are the founder and director of Till Arts Project, a grassroots arts-services organization for LGBTQ artists in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

Artist

M Téllez is a heavily cyborg storyteller and sloganeer from the 215. They serve as Minister of Crossroads and founding member of METROPOLARITY, a corner store sci-fi & action collective that uses speculative thinking as a shield and wand against standing empire

Managing Director

ESF Foundations

Jules is an advocate for the physically disabled, for children and education, and a health and wellness enthusiast. She is an entrepreneur at heart with over 20 years-experience working with start-ups and new initiatives in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds. She founded a woman’s apparel company and grew it into a national brand with distribution in Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Marshall Fields and many specialty stores across the US. She is a graduate of Cornell University, an active community member, wife, mother, and friend.

General Manager

Acting Without Boundaries

Jennifer Huth is a veteran theatre actor and theatre artist. She holds a Master of Arts in theatre from Villanova University and a certificate in acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. Her skills as an arts administrator were honed at Prudential Securities, where she was an Associate Vice President; Music Management in Belmont, MA; and most recently as the General Manager of Main Line Lawn & Garden in Bryn Mawr, PA.

Founder and Executive Director

Acting Without Boundaries

Christine Rouse created Acting Without Boundaries in 2004 because of her personal experiences growing up with Cerebral Palsy. Since 1991, Christine has been a source of inspiration and motivation for thousands of children through her disabled awareness educational workshop, Kids are Kids. Following her graduation from Saint Joseph’s University in 2002, Christine began to further develop her interest in theater and the performing arts. She has received extensive training at various acting programs across the country and is the recipient of a number of awards including the 1994 Presidential Award from the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. Christine was recently featured on The Today Show’s “Everyone Has a Story” segment.Through AWB Christine is successfully paving the way to acceptance and inclusion for young people with disabilities by encouraging them to not let their disabilities stand in the way of achieving their goals and dreams.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Haverford College

Shelly Ronen received her B.A. in Psychology and Feminist Studies from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University. Dr. Ronen teaches courses on gender, sexuality, feminism, culture, and science and technology studies. Previously she taught at Temple University, West Chester University and New York University.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics

Haverford College

When I first embarked upon my undergraduate degree — at none other than Haverford College — I intended to major in some combination of English, History, and Fine Arts. It was only a matter of time before my love of myth and literary history took me to the study of Latin, and later, Greek. I spent my junior year abroad studying Classics and English at Oxford, where reading James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Thomas Pynchon helped me think more vividly about Homer, Ovid, and Virgil. The enthusiastic interdisciplinarity of my Classics professors at Haverford also helped me realize that I could nurture my interests in music, art, history, literature, and philosophy all within the Classics department.

I found myself attracted to a life of long hours of reading, writing, and discussing literature. I became interested in the way ancient myth circulates through popular culture: film, music, television, and popular discourse. I have always been interested in the power of the voice, so I became very curious about the myth of the Sirens. Over the years I’ve explored their reception in ancient myth, in Joyce’s Ulysses, in the music videos of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Madonna, and in Western opera. I love talking about voices and their power over the human body and mind. I love thinking about the way myths influence the world around us and shape our ideas of what it means to be human. But more than “what it means to be human,” I’m fascinated by how distinctions between humanity and other categories of being are drawn and subsequently blurred. I’m very interested in the state of Classics as a discipline and its connection to big issues of social justice and identity politics.

Events

Acting Without Boundaries: Jules Catania, Managing Director, Jennifer Huth, General Manager, Christine Rouse, Founder

Non-Profit Partner

750 E. Haverford Road, Bryn Mawr, PA

Acting Without Boundaries (AWB) was established in 2004 to provide extraordinary, one-of-a-kind acting and theatrical opportunities for children, teens and young adults with physical disabilities. At its core, AWB is a unique year-round theater program that provides an open forum for the creative and artistic expression of young people with physical disabilities, over the age of four. The primary goal of AWB is to provide young people from the disabled community with the rare opportunity to pursue their love of acting and performing while building their self-confidence and developing an enhanced belief in themselves and their abilities.

Christine Rouse, Founder and Executive Director of AWB, created Acting Without Boundaries in 2004 because of her personal experiences growing up with Cerebral Palsy. In high school, Christine tried to fuel her passion for acting by auditioning time and again for school and community plays but disappointingly, she was never cast in a lead role. It was extremely difficult for her to fit in and to feel a part of the “in-crowd” because of her physical disability. What’s more, there were very few outlets and opportunities for Christine to engage in activities with other physically challenged teenagers. Christine’s personal experience with Cerebral Palsy coupled with the lack of resources for children and teenagers with physical disabilities provided the impetus for Christine to launch a life-changing acting program for young people in similar situations. Christine has said of her decision to establish Acting Without Boundaries, “I love to act, but I always had a difficult time. I wanted to create a place where kids could get involved in theater, form friendships and gain confidence.”

AWB is much more than a theater program – it is a place where actors feel like they belong. Through their theatrical work and social outings and opportunities, AWB actors build lasting friendships. An AWB parent described the organization and its participants as being like a “family” and she is right. AWB actors and staff have developed a strong bond with each other that lasts for years. New actors are welcomed with open arms and made to quickly feel like they belong. Everyone finds a place at AWB where they are supported and encouraged.

Acting Without Boundaries is a non-profit organization that relies on support from kindhearted individuals, foundations and corporations. The organization does not receive any public support nor does it have any permanent funding streams. What AWB does is unique. There is no other organization in the Philadelphia region that provides theater arts opportunities to young people with physical disabilities.
Photo Credit: Acting Without Boundaries

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Wit López, Lead Artist

Artist in Residence

Wit López is a Brooklyn-born Philly-made performer, visual artist, and independent curator of African American and Boricua heritage. Their work uses absurdity, Black Existentialism, and conjure to communicate how they engage with the world as a nonbinary trans, intersex, queer Black Latinx person with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses, while also challenging oppression and colonization. They are the founder and director of Till Arts Project, a grassroots arts-services organization for LGBTQ artists in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
Photo Credit: Kenzi Crash

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M Téllez, Lead Artist

Artist in Residence

M Téllez is a heavily cyborg storyteller and sloganeer from the 215. They serve as Minister of Crossroads and founding member of METROPOLARITY, a corner store sci-fi & action collective that uses speculative thinking as a shield and wand against standing empire.
Photo Credit: M Téllez

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Sociology of the Body Course Visit - Sensitivity Workshop w/ Christine Rouse, Founder, Acting Without Boundaries

Course Visit

9.17

2:15-3:45pm, Haverford College, Stokes 207

Christine Rouse, founder and Executive Director of Acting Without Boundaries, visits and leads a Sensitivity Workshop with Shelly Ronen’s course, “Sociology of the Body: Theorizing the Body Across Dualisms”.

Rouse delivered a short presentation on Acting Without Boundaries – the history and mission of the organization – before transitioning to a more hands-on exercise. She brought button-up shirts, mittens, and blindfolds. Students were asked to volunteer, head to the front of the class, put on the blindfolds, gloves, and shirts, and then attempt to button up all the shirt buttons.

Students were asked to reflect on their experience and talk through any difficulties they experienced while working through the tasks with muted senses. This activity was designed by Acting Without Boundaries.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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Significant Others Course Visit - Sensitivity Workshop w/ Christine Rouse, Founder, Acting Without Boundaries

Course Visit

9.18

1:00-2:30pm, Haverford College, Stokes 16

Christine Rouse, founder and Executive Director of Acting Without Boundaries, visits and leads a Sensitivity Workshop with Shelly Ronen’s class, “Sociology of the Body: Theorizing the Body Across Dualisms”.

Rouse delivered a short presentation on Acting Without Boundaries – the history and mission of the organization – before transitioning to a more hands-on exercise. She brought button-up shirts, mittens, and blindfolds. Students were asked to volunteer, head to the front of the class, put on the blindfolds, gloves, and shirts, and then attempt to button up all the shirt buttons.

Students were asked to reflect on their experience and talk through any difficulties they experienced while working through the tasks with muted senses. This activity was designed by Acting Without Boundaries.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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Sociology of the Body Course Visit w/ Wit Lopez, Lead Artist

Course Visit

9.23

2:15-3:45pm, Haverford College, Stokes

Artist Wit Lopez, shared their work and artistic practices with the students in Shelly Ronen’s course, “Sociology of the Body: Theorizing the Body Across Dualisms”. Lopez centered their multiple identities as a nonbinary trans, intersex, queer Black Latinx person, with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses.
Photo credit: Kaltoum Alibrahimi

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Significant Others Course Visit w/ Wit Lopez, Lead Artist

Course Visit

9.24

1-2:30pm, Haverford College, Stokes

Artist Wit Lopez, shared their work and artistic practices with the students in Shelly Ronen’s course, “Sociology of the Body: Theorizing the Body Across Dualisms”. Lopez centered their multiple identities as a nonbinary trans, intersex, queer Black Latinx person, with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses.
Photo credit: Kaltoum Alibrahimi

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Play Workshop w/ Wit Lopez & M Téllez, Lead Artists

Workshop

11.2

11:30-1:30pm, Haverford College, Lutnick Library

Through many conversations with AWB staff and actors, we identified that there was a desire to organize unstructured socializing opportunities. Inside the conversations at Haverford, we realized that due to the rigorous and ordered academic schedule, the Haverford students had very little time to engage in tasks that were open-ended. After feeding this information to the lead artists, Wit Lopez, M Téllez, and the staff from Acting Without Boundaries designed this schedule and activities.

The room will be sectioned into different stations where attendees can get into playing with various modes of narrative making. The emphasis will be on decompressing with each other and generating a sense of play – similar to when we were children – as well as getting into some activities we may have been punished for or derided for liking as a young person.

-Name-pronoun intros for the whole room (10 minutes)
-Introducing the stations: zine-making\collaging table, play-doh table, coloring book\stickers table, draw wall, mini-library, and story corner
-Wit Lopez will read 2 short stories in the story corner. The story corner will have 5-8 listening masks on deck
-Wit can lead folks through optional physical zine-making (how stickers & play-doh can tell a story) and Monk can talk to them about being in charge of their own narratives
-Break
-Q & A
-M Téllez will close with a dramatic reading of a Robin Hood adventure tale from 1912, contextualized for the present. At this point, everyone should have had ample time to experiment with narrative making, and will be able to enjoy listening to this tale with a critical ear or shifted perspective based on the context created by the activities in the room
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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Sociology of the Body Course Visit w/ M Téllez , Artist

Course Visit

10.23

Stokes Building, Haverford College

M Téllez, Artist, share their practices as a cyborg storyteller centering speculative thinking as a critical tool against a social order in Shelly Ronen’s course “Sociology of the Body: Theorizing the Body Across Dualisms”. They talked with students about social, cultural, and class-related issues that they have experienced within institutions and answered questions about how those experiences affect their artistic practice. M also did a reading of their recent piece and brought a collection of publications to share with the students.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the Fourth House w/ Johanna Hedva

Performance

12.3

VCAM, Haverford College

Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House
A performance of guitar and voice by
Johanna Hedva (Berlin)

This event and is free, open to the public and ADA accessible.

A keening. Mystical drone. Hag blues. Intimate metal. Moon hymns. A dirge. O Death. For my mother, who was a Pisces (March 2, 1955 – April 30, 2018).

Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House is a performance of guitar and voice which is at once a mystical grief ritual and droned-out metal concert that summons the holy spirit. Informed by Korean shamanist ritual and the tradition of P’ansori singing (which demands rehearsal next to waterfalls in order to ravage the vocal cords), the performance is also influenced by the work of musicians Keiji Haino and Diamanda Galás.

This performance is specifically for the faint of heart. It will be loud AF and swimming in tears.

Earplugs will be provided. This is a wake, so there will be death doula tea and flowers. It’s 50 minutes long with no intermission.

ADA compliant, private, all-gender bathrooms and CART will be provided. VCAM is less than 0.2 miles (around 718 feet) from disabled parking on Walton Lane, 0.7 miles from Haverford Regional Rail station and 0.6 miles from Haverford Norristown High-Speed Line station.

Find out more about Johanna Hedva here.
Photo Credit: John Muse

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"Bodies Assembled" Exhibition and Opening Reception

Performance & Exhibition

12.5

4:30-7pm, Haverford College, Lutnick Library

Please join us for the opening reception of the student exhibition “Bodies Assembled”, collaborative reading of an original play with actors from non-profit organization Acting Without Boundaries, readings of work by artists Wit López and M Téllez, as well as additional performances by students in ‘Significant Others: Androids & Animals in Greek and Latin Literature’ taught by Professor Hannah Silverblank and ‘Sociology of the Body: Theorizing the Body Across Dualisms’ taught by Professor Shelly Ronen.

Readings and events begin at 5pm, this event is free and open to the public.

ADA compliant, private, all-gender bathrooms, are available. The Lutnick Library is 200 ft from disabled parking on Walton Lane, 0.7 miles from Haverford Regional Rail station and 0.6 miles from Haverford Norristown High-Speed Line station.

The body is a social and material entity that carries diverse meanings and makes social life possible. Charting flows across the boundaries between material and immaterial, this show presents the work of our courses this semester, to explore how bodies come together in their locations, historically and geographically. We ask where and how bodies signify normality or abnormality, self or other, abled or disabled. These pieces trace binaries as they animate both affinities and differences in species, kind, gender, race, class, and ontology. The works explore the intermingled origins of these binaries and their effects on the organization of our social and biological worlds. In dialogues prompted by literary and philosophical texts about animal and artificial life forms, we invite you to read the past through the present – and ponder speculative futures. We engage in theories of disability and intersectionality in an attempt to complicate differences and ask how the past illuminates our present and enables or limits our imaginings for the future.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Bursese

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