Sep 15th 2022

Joy as a Question is presented as part of Chicago Performs, the MCA’s annual weekend of groundbreaking new performances by Chicago artists. Each year, three artists share new works of performance, including pieces developed through MCA’s In Progress series and the New Works Initiative Chicago Commission. Chicago Performs is organized by Tara Aisha Willis, Curator, Performance and Public Practice, and Laura Paige Kyber, Curatorial Assistant in Performance and Public Practice.

MCA Talks highlight cutting-edge thinking and contemporary art practices across disciplines. Joy as a Question is organized by Willis and Daniel Atkinson, Manager of Learning, Adult Interpretive Programs. 


About the Speakers 

Tempestt Hazelis a curator, writer, and co-founder/co-director of Sixty Inches From Center, a Chicago-based collective of writers, artists, curators, librarians, and archivists who have published and produced collaborative projects about artists, archival practice, and culture in the Midwest since 2010. Through her work at Sixty Inches From Center, Field Foundation, and collaborations across Chicago and the midwest, Tempestt has worked alongside artists, organizers, grantmakers, and cultural workers to explore solidarity economies, cooperative models, archival practice, and systems change in and through the arts. You can see more of her editorial, curatorial, and other projects on her website.

Bimbola Akinbola is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar based in Chicago. Working at the intersection of theory, performance, and visual art, her scholarly and artistic work is concerned with the complicated and nagging nature of belonging, queerness, and the concept of family. Incorporating a variety of practices ranging from drawing and painting to rubbing her make-up stained skin across surfaces, her work explores mark-making and performance as modes of organization, remembrance, and repair. Bimbola has a B.A in American Studies and Studio Art from Macalester College, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.  

Erin Kilmurray is a genre-straddling artist drawing on space-making practices found in nightlife culture, theater, and dance. Her work challenges the traditional relationships between performer and spectator through electric, often political performance that enlivens body and environment. Her work has been presented by The Dance Center of Columbia College, Links Hall, Thalia Hall, Pivot Arts Festival, DanceBox in Kobe Japan, and has held residency through High Concept Labs, University of Chicago Performance Lab, Ragdale Foundation, among others. Kilmurray has received support through 3arts and Chicago Dancemakers Forum’s 2018 Greenhouse Program. She is the founder and director of The Fly Honey Show, which has run annually for over ten years.  

Derek McPhatter is a Chicago-based theater-maker committed to new work that engages diverse communities, emphasizing narratives at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and technology. McPhatter is a founding playwright with the Fire This Time Festival, and was featured in Harlem9’s 48 Hours in Harlem Festival—two Obie-award winning platforms that champion Black playwrights and theater-makers in New York City. McPhatter served as librettist, book writer and lyricist for five new music-theater works with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is a 2021 Creative Capital Awardee. McPhatter is the MCA’s inaugural Chicago Performance Commission grantee through its New Works Initiative Program.   

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