Yanira Castro’s work is rooted in communal construction as a rehearsal for radical democracy. She is an interdisciplinary artist born in Borikén (Puerto Rico) and lives in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn). Castro develops performance scores and scenarios where the work unfolds in real time in response to the presence and participation of the audience. Cocreating with her collaborators and the public under the moniker a canary torsi, she investigates choreography as a practice of collective embodiment, grappling with agency and communal action as a body politic. The process of gathering, witnessing, and decision-making is where performance and civics merge and, for her, is the critical, challenging, and transformational work of performance. She is the recipient of a 2022 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts for Dance, has received two Bessie Awards for Outstanding Production, and has been in residence at MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. She developed Last Audience: a performance manual, a publication with the MCA Chicago during the pandemic for audiences to perform at home, and Last Audience: a performance podcast, a three-part space opera grounded in Borikén, to coincide with the 2022 primary elections.
Photo by Josefina Santos/ New York Times.
I came here to weep
Yanira Castro’s work is rooted in communal construction as a rehearsal for radical democracy. She is an interdisciplinary artist born in Borikén (Puerto Rico) and lives in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn).Artist Bio
I came here to weep is a multimodal project that investigates colonial power, self-determination and complex relations of citizenship vis-à-vis Borikén (Puerto Rico). It is composed of a series of scores and events that interweave, thicken and inform one another, inviting the public to create their own engagement through multiple forms of witnessing, participating and activating the work. The project is a set of participatory scores for the public to enact, communal meals, dances for mourning, the collective unraveling of U.S. treaties as absurdist monologues, and a tea ritual developed with Boricua teens from Girl Scouts Troop 6000 centering land/control/freedom/belonging. The environment is held by access facilitators who guide guests through in-person, virtual, audio, and print versions of the events. I came here to weep is a space for assembling, for raising, dismantling, and reconstructing ways of inhabiting together.