Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born | Sweat Variant.
Sweat Variant describes the collaborative practice of Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born. We are partners in our work and our lives. Since 1996, we have been working at the intersection of dance, theater and visual art to make challenging and rigorous work that explores the many meanings entangled in the bodies of Black women. We are interested in building a spectacle of radical intimacy, where both performers and audience are acknowledged as being locked in a mutual gaze. We build gestural vocabularies and narrative frameworks that are concerned with the problem of memory in the inherent instability of the construction of a persona. We hope to activate a space that allows the audience to question who they are looking at and how they are looking. We hope this creates a critical space of wonderment, of uncertainty and of mystery. It is in this space that we believe we can see each other anew.
Okwui Okpokwasili (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based performer, choreographer and writer creating multidisciplinary performance pieces. The child of immigrants from Nigeria, Okpokwasili was born and raised in the Bronx, and the histories of these places and the girls and women who inhabit them feature prominently in much of her work. Her highly experimental productions include Bessie Award-winning pent-up: a revenge dance, Bessie Award-winning Bronx Gothic, as well as poor people’s TV room, poor people’s TV room (SOLO), when I return who will receive me, Adaku’s revolt, and the participatory performance installation Sitting on a Man’s Head. In 2022, she was the inaugural artist for the Kravis Studio Residency program at MoMA. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a 2018 Princeton University Hodder Fellowship, a 2018 Herb Alpert Award in Dance, a 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award, and a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship.
Peter Born works as a director, composer and designer of performance and installation, often in collaboration with Okwui Okpokwasili, with whom he has created the installations repose without rest without end in Trondheim, Swallow the Moon at Jacob’s Pillow, on the way, undone at the High Line and Bronx Gothic, among other projects. Four of Peter’s collaborations have garnered New York Dance Performance Bessie Awards. His work as an art director and prop stylist has been featured in video and photo projects with Vogue, Estee Lauder, and Barney’s. He is a former New York public high school teacher, itinerant floral designer, corporate actor-facilitator, video maker and furniture designer.