Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet
Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter

August 17, 2023

This gathering is an ongoing celebration of community, a practice of showing up in care and action. As always, we recognize fire’s capacity to enunciate with us, our joys, our rage, our needs. We gather with artists Savannah Romero and Abdiel who voice future memory and land-body relations, dance for O’Shea, our transformations and justice. We will send support to our relatives on Maui, in community.

The Kinstillatory is an ongoing project of Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet. The fire itself is process, a way to bring us out of the catastrophe of now. A lot is happening in the time/space envelope of the kinstillatory that is care, that is necessary. This is a practice of provocating. This is an offering of seed, of vessel, of protection, of becomingness.

This is the last fire before parental leave and a fire to note a loved community member’s last night in NYC.

Image by Maria Baranova


Understanding Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter


About Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet

Emily Johnson, originally from Alaska, is an artist who makes body-based work and the artistic director of her performance company, Emily Johnson/Catalyst. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award, she is based on the Lower East Side of Manahatta in Lenapehoking. Emily is of the Yup’ik Nation and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. She is a land and water protector and an activist for justice, sovereignty, and well-being. Her dances function as portals and installations, engaging audiences within and through space, time, and environment–interacting with a place’s architecture, people, land, history, and role in community. Emily is a co-compiler of the document Creating New Futures: Guidelines toward Ethics and Equity in the Performing Arts, is developing a Global First Nations Performance Network with colleagues Reuben Roqueni, Ed Bourgeois, Ronee Penoi, Lori Pourier, Vallejo Ganter; and has hosted ceremonial fires in partnership with Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side since 2017.

Karyn Recollet Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is an urban Cree scholar/writer currently living in the Williams Treaty territory, and teaching in the Dish with One Spoon treaty territory. Recollet explores celestial land pedagogies as ‘kinstillatory’ in her work, expressing an understanding of land pedagogy that exceeds the terrestrial. Recollet thinks alongside dance making practices, hip hop, and visual/digital art as they relate to forms of Indigenous futurities and relational practices of being. Recollet co-writes with dance choreographers and artists engaged in other mediums to expand upon methodologies that consider land relationships and kinship making practices that are going to take us into the future.

About Savannah Romero

Savannah Romero is an Eastern Shoshone storyteller, writer, poet and educator. She lives in Lenapahoking, also known as Brooklyn, New York. Her poems explore the confluences of colonialism, capitalism, land-body relations, and memory. She is working on a debut collection of fiction stories, is earning her Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts and serves as a poet editor for Chapter House Journal.

About Abdiel

Abdiel (they/them) is a Hustle dance champion, educator, and community organizer dedicated to the cultural preservation and creative expansion of the New York Hustle partner dance style. As co-founder of "Dance is Life"--a communitarian free public dance party event-- Abdiel creates space to facilitate human connection, communal healing, and celebration while revitalizing cultural historical sites where Hustle has been traditionally danced. Abdiel has taught their gender neutral approach to partner dance at the Juilliard School, Harvard University, Stamford University, University of Washington, University of California Irvine, and others. They are also a former Fulbright Specialist with the US Dept. of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and a former Principal dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company.


Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter was created with funding from The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.