How to be Afraid? | Mary Pearson and mayfield brooks

Improvisations with interferences: haunted by histories, guided by ghosts
An online performance by mayfield brooks, Mary Pearson & Seke Chimutengwende

12 February 2021 | 6pm

Improvisations with interferences is part of How to Be Afraid?, an ongoing performance project led by New York-based artist mayfield brooks and Liverpool-based artist Mary Pearson. How to Be Afraid? looks at performance and social change, exploring notions of power, trauma and agency emerging from the artists’ separate yet connected histories of the transatlantic slave trade, finding hauntings in their current psyches.

Last summer, Mary and mayfield connected with Seke Chimutengwende as part of Proximity: New Directions in Art and Social Repair symposium with Migrant Artists Mutual Aid, and through this have developed a dialogue around hauntings and ghosts in relation to Seke’s current project 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 in February 2021 and is an attempt at collective clairvoyance, improvising with interferences to open new spaces for connection, and asking; What haunts us? What lessons do today’s ghosts bring, along with their physical, psychic and interpersonal disruptions?

Improvisations with interferences forms part of a wider body of research co-produced in 2021 by Mary Pearson/mayfield brooks and Independent Dance in partnership with The Bluecoat, Liverpool and supported though public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The next phase, rescheduled for May, 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 held 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