On Sunday July 15, 2012, LMCC’s Manhattan Community Arts Fund grantee and former resident artist, Sara Jordenö will present The Reincarnation of Rockland Palace: The Mythology Ball (a Kiki ball performance), an outdoor performance event at the corner of 155th street and Frederick Douglass Avenues in Harlem. This corner once housed the famed Rockland Palace, where political rallies, sports events, concerts, and elaborate drag balls were held during the Harlem Renaissance. The building was torn down in the 1960’s and is now a parking lot. Visual artist and filmmaker Sara Jordenö and House Ballroom runway performer and community health specialist Twiggy Pucci Garçon will re-occupy this now defunct historic and epic site for a multifaceted Kiki ball event, featuring a dance performance/Kiki ball competition that showcases creativity and a reconnection with LGBTQ history.
As an artist, Sara Jordenö works through historical and contemporary narrations around issues of authorship, labor, real and imaginary queer spaces and the habitual acts of everyday life. While a resident artist in LMCC's Workspace program in 2010-2011, Jordenö started to collaborate with people in other fields on a series of projects about urban life and formal/informal economies in New York City. The Reincarnation of Rockland Palace grew out of a similar collaborative process.
Emerging out of the NYC House Ballroom community, the Kiki scene is a highly organized and youth-led, pro-social movement. Kiki scene is characterized by a high level of organization, with formation of Kiki houses and bodies such as the Kiki Coalition and the Kiki Parent’s Council. This organization encourages self-motivating and well-informed plans and decisions around health, personal and professional development, and community leadership. These efforts are a response to the concerns and challenges of its members, comprising primarily African American and Latino LGBTQ youth between the ages of 14 and 25. Jordenö and her artistic collaborator Twiggy created The Reincarnation of Rockland Palace to celebrate their incredible resilience, talent and creative expression.
The project is also featured in the exhibition, Matter out of Place, currently on view at The Kitchen from June 27 – August 17, 2012. Curated by Lumi Tan, the exhibition considers how disturbances arise in the city’s physical contours and social order, presenting new work by artists who observe, represent, and activate public sites.