Dispatch with Raven Chacon and Candice Hopkins

Dispatch is a collaboration between composer and artist Raven Chacon and curator and writer Candice Hopkins. It consists of a conceptual score, written for instruments and bodies to be performed by a choir that can include musicians, poets, storytellers, artists, or organisers. The score is an experimental documentation of the events at the Standing Rock Reservation Water Protector encampment during the 2016 protests against the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), as well as a prompt to gather in creative collective action towards similar natural sites under threat.

According to the artists, “This score can be realised as a performance or as a series of imagined events. It can also be enacted in the real world. The players, the prompts, and the schematics are derived from an analysis of the surface dynamics and organisation of the Water Protectors in defense of Standing Rock during the #noDAPL movement, not glossing over the miscommunication, profiteering, and injustices.” The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe contested the construction of the DAPL as it would pollute water sources and desecrate sacred ancestral burial grounds. The stand taken by the Tribe and by the Water Protectors- activists, organisers and cultural workers dedicated to safeguarding the world’s water and water systems- at Standing Rock brought a temporary halt to the construction of the pipeline.

The Dubai iteration of Dispatch will involve Raven Chacon and Candice Hopkins along with UAE-based artists Danabelle Gutierrez, Leonardo Rojas, Noush Anand, Safeya Alblooshi and Lawrence Abu Hamdan.

Raven Chacon is a Pulitzer Prize–winning composer, performer, and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, collaborator, and a member of Postcommodity from 2009 to 2018, Chacon has exhibited, performed, or had works performed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; San Francisco Electronic Music Festival; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Vancouver Art Gallery; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Borealis Festival, Seattle; SITE Santa Fe; Chaco Canyon, New Mexico; Ende Tymes Festival, New York; The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.; Whitney Biennial, New York; documenta 14, Athens and Kassel; Carnegie International, and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Since 2004, he has mentored more than three hundred Native high school composers in writing new string quartets for the Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP). Chacon is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a Creative Capital Award, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Artist Fellowship, the American Academy’s Berlin Prize, the Bemis Center’s Ree Kaneko Award, and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s Fellowship-in-Residence.

Candice Hopkins is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation and lives in Red Hook, New York. Her writing and curatorial practice explore the intersections of history, contemporary art, and Indigeneity. She is Executive Director of Forge Project, Taghkanic, NY, and Senior Curator for the 2019 and 2022 editions of the Toronto Biennial of Art. She was part of the curatorial team for the Canadian Pavilion at the fifty-eighth Venice Biennale, featuring the work of the media art collective Isuma; and co-curator of notable exhibitions including the national traveling survey Art for New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to NowSITElines.2018: Casa Tomada, SITE Santa Fe; documenta 14, Athens and Kassel; and Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Notable essays include “The Gilded Gaze: Wealth and Economies on the Colonial Frontier,” in the documenta 14 Reader; “Outlawed Social Life,” in South as a State of Mind; and “The Appropriation Debates (or The Gallows of History),” in Saturation: Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value (New Museum/MIT Press, 2020).

Danabelle Gutierrez is an award winning artist, writer, actress, and photographer. She is the author of Tears Across the Earth, a collection of short stories and poems, as well as poetry books & Until The Dreams Come and I Long To Be The River and chapbooks Eventually, The River Surrenders and Softer. Her writing has been published in The Common, Cordite Poetry Review, Postscript Magazine, ElectraStreet, WordsDance, and in a video for Vogue Arabia recited by Ciara, among other publications. Born in Las Piñas, raised in Cairo, Vienna, and Muscat, Danabelle currently lives in Dubai.

Leonardo “PHO” Rojas is a DJ and musical producer from Bogotá, Colombia, who has been involved in the music industry since 2003. As a producer and remixer he has worked with artists such as Natalia Lafourcade, DJ Shadow, Little Dragon, Portugal The Man, among others.  As a DJ, PHO’s foundation lies in Turntablism and Scratching. He is a two-time Red Bull Thre3style world finalist, ranking him between the top 40 best turntablist DJs in the world in Tokyo, Japan.  Having become a product specialist and trainer for world-famous DJ software and hardware brands, in 2018 he began his “Conductive Music” project, in which he creates sound through energy-conducing elements and materials. His past collaborations include Maloka Interactive Museum (Colombia), Playlist Retreat (USA), Breakout (UAE), Sound and Fiction (Bahrain), German Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai, and ITHRA (Saudi Arabia). In 2021, he became part of the Cucusonic compilation, a project developed by changemaker organisation In Place of War.

Noush Anand is an interdisciplinary artist residing in Dubai since 1984. Her practice includes music, video, theatre & sound. She is a performing musician under the stage name Noush Like Sploosh, and has produced performance work in Dubai & Montreal. She holds an MFA from Goddard College, Vermont, and teaches at American University of Sharjah. Her current research encompasses somatic voicework, embodied methodologies, and urban belonging through the framework of performance. Her sound experiments position the city as a resonance chamber, and her walking practice involves building awareness to the mutual porosities between the body-self and the surrounding city-space, which includes non-humans and bodies that no longer breathe. Her interests in the supernatural include recognizing ancestral ghost-bodies as epistemological archives. She meets her deceased musician elders during her daily music practice on double bass and Hindustani singing.

Safeya Alblooshi is a sound artist who experiments in the realms of manipulated field recordings, experimental composition and participatory performance to engage with topics of conceptual narrative, environmental listening and interactivity in performance. Her sound work and collaborations extend to being presented and performed at the Expo 2020 Dubai, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, NYU Abu Dhabi, and more recently at the IRCAM Forum (New York), and Alserkal Avenue (Dubai) showcasing her interactive installation Narrated Liquid Contaminants. In addition to performing at the annual Hekayah | The Story at the NYUAD Arts Center (2021), Safeya has also done sound for live performance and moving image, such as Re|sound V at the Sharjah Arts Foundation (2020) and has collaborated in various soundscape projects, one of which was recently presented at the UAE programming of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (2022).  Currently, Safeya is a Research Assistant with the Music and Sound Cultures Research Group at NYU Abu Dhabi under the Kawader Research Fellowship Program. Outside of research and music, she likes to organise gatherings for the sound community in the UAE. Safeya has completed her BA in Music from NYU Abu Dhabi with a minor in Interactive Media in 2021.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a Private Ear, listening to, with and on behalf of people affected by corporate, state, and environmental violence. Abu Hamdan’s work has been presented in the form of forensic reports, lectures and live performances, films, publications, and exhibitions all over the world. He received his PhD in 2017 and has held fellowships and professorships at the University of Chicago, the New School, New York and most recently at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz where he developed his research. Abu Hamdan has been awarded the 2020 Toronto Biennial Audience Award, the 2019 Edvard Munch Art Award, the 2016 Nam June Paik Award for new media and in 2017 his film Rubber Coated Steel won the Tiger short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival. For the 2019 Turner Prize Abu Hamdan, together with nominated artists Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani, formed a temporary collective in order to be jointly granted the award.



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