Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
Curriculum II ADF
American Dance Festival
Curriculum II applies the ideas of Cameroonian historian and political theorist Achille Mbembe, Nigerian-born writer and scholar Louis Chude-Sokei, and Jamaican writer and cultural theoristSylvia Wynter. Curriculum II explores the historical and persistent connection between race and technology and the pursuit of what is human.
In The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics, Louis Chude-Sokei quoted Sylvia Wynter: “The other must be understood as not just that which is oppressed or marginalized or rendered inhuman, subhuman, or animal; it also must be understood ‘as that which is to come.’” A poetic quilt of text, narration as philosophical lecture, live singing, and soundscore. Jones’s title is an ironic reference to Achille Mbembe’s 2018 interview by the Norwegian journalist Torbjorn Tumyr Nilsen, in which he said “For me, this is a matter of common sense. I am in favor of expanding the archive, reading the different archives of the world critically, each with and against the others. There can’t be any other meaning to a planetary curriculum.” This fertile notion inspired Bill T. Jones to undertake a series of works entitled Curriculum, juxtaposing formal exploration with a range of today’s urgent topics as expansive as Jones’s artistry. The series attempts to embrace formal directness and clarity while allowing it to be intruded upon by word fragments, imagery, and the stuff of Mbembe’s “planetary curriculum.”
Curriculum II is commissioned and produced by New York Live Arts with commissioning support from Peak
Performances at Montclair State University (MSU) and the American Dance Festival. Curriculum II premiered with Peak Performances at MSU in June 2022.