Improvisations with interference: haunted by histories, guided by ghosts

An online performance by mayfield brooks, Mary Pearson & Seke Chimutengwende

12 February 2021 | 6pm
A recording of the performance, followed by a discussion with the artists, is available to watch:

Improvisations with interference is part of How to Be Afraid?, an ongoing performance project led by mayfield brooks and Mary Pearson. How to Be Afraid? explores fear as an antidote to counteract the trauma of their different but connected links to the transatlantic slave trade.

Last summer, Mary and mayfield connected with Seke Chimutengwende as part of Proximity: New Directions in Art and Social Repair with Migrant Artists Mutual Aid.  As a result, and in relation with Seke’s current project, they have developed intersecting dialogues about how histories of slavery and colonialism haunt the present. 

Taking place online from three locations – New York, Liverpool and London – this informal performance emerges from a short period of online collaboration this February and is an attempt at collective clairvoyance. Improvising with interference to open new spaces for connection, the artists ask, What haunts us? What lessons do today’s ghosts bring, along with their physical, psychic and interpersonal disruptions?

Improvisations with interference forms part of a wider body of research co-produced by Mary Pearson, mayfield brooks and Independent Dance in partnership with The Bluecoat (Liverpool) and CPR – Center for Performance Research (New York), supported through public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with support from Creative Land Trust and in-kind support from Metal (Liverpool). The next phase, now rescheduled for May 2021, will include collaborative work between mayfield brooks, Mary Pearson, Seke Chimutengwende, Akeim Toussaint Buck, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot and Amy Voris. Further news of a public research space and talks to be hosted by ID at Siobhan Davies Studios will be announced in spring 2021.

Earlier iterations of How to be Afraid? were supported by Chisenhale Dance Space, Metal (Liverpool) and Improspections Festival at the Museum for Contemporary Art, Zagreb.

Image: mayfield brooks & Mary Pearson performing How To Be Afraid? at Improspekcije Festival (2019) at Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, photo by Tara Ivanisevic