Through the support of the Creative Campus Initiative at the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University, 3 artists visited and led modules in the Spring 2022 edition of Performing and Producing Anthropology.

Yto Barrada

Selection of biography from artist’s representation, Pace Gallery:

Yto Barrada is recognized for her multidisciplinary investigations of cultural phenomena and historical narratives. Engaging with the performativity of archival practices and public interventions, Barrada’s installations reinterpret social relationships, uncover subaltern histories, and reveal the prevalence of fiction in institutionalized narratives.

Barrada arrived at her artist practice through studies of history and political science, particularly in the negotiation of political and personal experiences. Her work was introduced for the first time in the group exhibition Impressions d’Afrique du Nord at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (1998), in which she presented photographs of subjects taken in Israel and Morocco. Barrada’s first series of photographs, A Life Full of Holes, (1998–2004), used the Strait of Gibraltar as a site of inquiry, examining its status as a border between North Africa and Europe and its impact on the residents of Tangier.

Much of Barrada’s work has since focused on borderlands, microhistories, and autonomous agency within a political landscape. Interested in developing a platform for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange, She founded the non-profit Cinémathèque de Tanger in 2006. Tangier’s first and only repertory cinema and archive, the Cinémathèque operates out of a restored 1930s theatre known as the Cinema Rif, located in one of the city’s main squares. In 2007, Barrada was selected to participate in the Venice Biennale, where she presented her Public Park—Sleepers series (2006–7), wherein photographs of wild irises and men napping in parks become allegories of resistance and spontaneity in the face of civic and commercial development.

In keeping with her exploration of identity, economics, and notions of authenticity, Barrada’s Faux Guide, presented at Pace in London (2015), focused on the fossil and mineral trade as an aspect of cultural production. Using museum collection practices as conceptual strategies, the artist’s multifaceted exhibition reflected on acts of subversion within tourist economies. Her first gallery exhibition in New York, How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, included a survey of the artist’s practice and included her installation and film essay, Tree Identification for Beginners, revisiting her mother’s 1966 trip to the United States on a State Department-sponsored travel program.

Informed by postcolonial thought and socio-political concerns, Barrada’s interests range from the tensions around borders, immigration, and tourism to the urban landscape, and from children’s toys to botany and paleontology. Her practice encompasses photography, film, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and publishing, while her installations are often comprised of both original work and found objects.

Nonverbal communication, family myths, “hidden transcripts” that unearth new grammars—within the interlinked logic of Barrada’s work lie secrets, pleasures and a celebration of strategies of resistance to domination.

Jessica Kahkoska

Biography from the artist’s website:

Her writing has been additionally developed and presented at New York Stage and Film, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab, New York Theatre Barn, Village Theatre, Phoenix Theatre Company, Colorado Environmental Film Festival, the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition, and more.

Jessica Kahkoska is a writer, dramaturg, and producer/researcher for theatre and TV. She is most interested in work inspired by history, rural places, the American West, and community collaboration. Plays/musicals include Wild Fire (Denver Center for the Performing Arts, History Colorado), Agent 355 (with Preston Max Allen, New York Stage and Film, Chautauqua Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre “Space Jam” residency at Bucks County Play House, Marion International Fellowship), In Her Bones (Colorado New Play Summit, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Inaugural Powered by Off-Center residency), The Death of Desert Rose (with Elliah Heifetz, Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals), Baba (with Elliah Heifetz, Iowa State University), Letters to the President (co-conceived with Michael Bello, The Great Hall at Cooper Union, Level Forward and Center for Public Democracy), Wild Home: An American Odyssey (Notch Theatre Co, 2020 NEA ArtWorks Grant), Front Range Fables (Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center), and Nia (the Drama League, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

Jessica is currently under commission by Green Box Arts and Northern Stage Theatre Company. She has previously been commissioned by the m12 Collective “Landlines Initiative,” Mount St. Mary College, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, SBR Productions, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

In television, she is currently working as an Associate Producer and Research Producer on productions for Discovery Channel (American Spirit), Discovery +, and CNN, and is developing projects with Half Yard Productions and Magilla Entertainment. She has previously worked as Writer/Researcher for Anchor Media, Velocity Creatives, Reda Films, Hardpin Media, Punch Projects, Spotify, and AMC/Sundance Networks.

Dramaturgical work includes new play and musical development Off-Broadway (SAFEWORD., WE ARE THE TIGERS), in NYC (with composers Rona Siddiqui, Kira Stone, Teresa Lotz and Naomi Matlow), and regionally (the Athena Project, Creede Repertory Theatre). She is currently Co-Regional Vice President of the Mountain West Region for Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA).

She is proud to be an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts and Guest Lecturer at Wesleyan University, Oregon State University, and SUNY New Paltz. She has previously been a Theatre Artist-in-Residence at Iowa State University, Mt. St. Mary College, The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) Northwestern University, and Denver University (Arts & Humanities Marsico Visiting Scholar).

Luis Luna

Biography from

Luis Luna was born in Quito, Ecuador.

Host of Módulo Lunar // The Lunar Module; a three hour monthly radio program combining new, under the radar, innovative, unconventional and traditional fusions of music from the latin american diaspora.

Luis is the co-creator of Melting the ICE, a podcast that aims to deconstruct the mechanisms of our detention & carceral state by lifting up the voices of those affected, as well as Abolition Transmission.

He is also the Senior Organizer at the Connecticut Working Families Party, and co-founder of Semilla Collective in New Haven.