Mental Health

BLACK POWER NAPS by niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa. Photo by Xeno Rafaél.

Kristina Wong
Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a comedic multimedia solo performance about mental illness among Asian American women. Combining monologues, movement and a host of pop culture references, Kristina Wong appropriates visual materials such as print brochures and TV advertisements dealing with mental illness, using them as comedic foils to the seriousness of the subject. Drawn from her own experience and from two years of research into the issue, Wong’s subject matter becomes the central metaphor for the changing global political climate.

Kristina Wong is a solo performer, writer and cultural commentator named “One of the Seven Funniest Eco-Comedians” by Mother Nature Network.

Jay Rosenblatt
The Darkness of Day

The Darkness of Day is a haunting meditation on suicide. It is comprised entirely of found 16mm footage that had been discarded. The sadness, isolation, and desire to escape are recorded on film in various contexts. Voice-over readings from the journal kept by a brother of the filmmaker’s friend who committed suicide in 1990 intermix with a range of compelling stories, from the poignant double suicide of an elderly American couple to a Japanese teenager who jumped into a volcano, spawning over a thousand imitations. While this is a serious exploration of a cultural taboo, the film’s lyrical qualities invite the viewer to approach the subject with understanding and compassion.

Jay Rosenblatt has created over twenty-five films that have been released theatrically in several cities, screened at festivals across Europe and North America, and broadcast on the Independent Film Channel, Sundance Channel and HBO/Cinemax.

Meng Jin Mothers and Girls: A Fake Memoir

Meng Jin
Mothers and Girls: A Fake Memoir

Mothers and Girls is a novel or “fake memoir” narrated by the daughter of a Chinese poet and a white American translator/scholar of Chinese literature. The narrator tells the story of the discovery of a fictional text, also titled Mothers and Girls, which interrogates the reliability of text, and conceives of and enacts authorship as performance. By playing with narrative expectations of autofiction—questioning a form that has itself arisen out of a questioning of form—Meng Jin complicates narratives of motherhood and girlhood, expands imaginaries of mental illness in non-Western contexts, and illuminates the lives of minority-written texts.

Meng Jin is a novelist whose stories explore the ways in which the self fractures and attempts to cohere in times of hallucinatory social, political, economic, environmental, and technological change.

Jesse Bonnell
Group Therapy

Group Therapy is a living documentary performance work centered on the inner workings of Poor Dog Group as they commit to clinical therapy. Drawing on audio recordings of 16 hours of real therapy, Group Therapy will combine reenacted moments from the group’s therapy and extemporaneous confrontations. Having met when they were eighteen years old, Poor Dog Group has been making art together for over a decade. Group Therapy probes the inner workings of this long term collaboration and close-knit group of friends as they process their marriages, divorces, falling outs, alcoholism, the hustle of making art together, and above all, what it is like to endure it all.

Jesse Bonnell is a writer and director, and a co-founder of Poor Dog Group, a collective dedicated to contemporary theater.

Scott Saunders
The Technical Writer

The Technical Writer is a dramatic, feature length digital video project that tells the story of a man who, by virtue of an agoraphobia complicated by acute social anxiety disorder, has cut himself from almost all physical contact with the outside world. This film’s main character, Merriman Jessup, exists in a place where a simple greeting from a stranger on the street can terrorize him. Jessup lives hidden away like an urban monk, without leaving his Hollywood apartment building. Jessup’s carefully preserved reclusion is shattered by the arrival of a pair of dazzling, cosmopolitan new neighbors. When, shortly after they move in, the husband is called overseas for a two-month job, his enigmatic wife, Slim, decides to play Dr. Frankenstein to the damaged agoraphobic creature she finds lurking near her new home. Scott Saunder’s strategy is to present these characters with a small but defining crisis which reveals impulses and behaviors that they would normally keep hidden.

Scott Saunders has directed, co-written, and co-produced two features and over twenty shorts.

niv Acosta

BLACK POWER NAPS is a space for self-care. The installation has multiple surfaces to facilitate reclining positions, a bass sound healing station, multiple levels in which to find and create a space of one’s own to rest. The artist will create a multi-purpose separatist organizing space with a focus on rest, restoration, rejuvenation, reparation and black joy.

niv Acosta is a multimedia artist and activist based in Brooklyn, NY, whose intersectional identities as transgender, queer, and black-dominican have continuously inspired his community-based work.

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See Artists & Projects (A-Z).