Jen Abrams
Space Grant (2005/2006)

I have been making body-based multi-disciplinary performance since 1994. I have been presented at Dixon Place, LaMama, BAX, HERE, and WOW Café Theater, where I was a member for twelve years. I have had residencies at BAX, Movement Research, and White Bird Theater Project.

I am deeply informed by the work of Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver; by WOW’s reciprocal, community approach to developing and presenting performance; by Mary Overlie’s Viewpoints; and by 30 years of practicing Contact Improvisation.

I took a break from performance for five years to become a mother. My performance practice was reanimated by the SITI Company’s Suzuki/Viewpoints training method, which permeates my current work.

My work is located at the intersection of dance and text. I’m interested in the speaking of text as a physical act at all levels—one that requires a specific energetic quality, movement vocabulary, and time signature. I make my work from my place in time and space—where am I/when am I—as articulated by Mary Overlie, and I intend my work to, as the SITI Company puts it, “speak the event of the body.”

My body of work is queer on many levels—its content, my history of self-production, the work’s presentational aesthetic, and also its rejection of traditional disciplinary categories.

My work exposes the intimate and invisible experiences of parenthood and especially motherhood. I’m interested in the intersections of parenthood, queer identity, and disability; in saying out loud the things mothers are expected to keep silent about; and in challenging the shaming-and-blaming culture of parenthood in the US.

In response to the 2009 financial crisis, I co-founded OurGoods, a resource-sharing network helping artists do their work without money. This was an outgrowth of my work at WOW, and of my foundational belief in horizontal, peer-to-peer structures for art making. I believe in community-based, relational responses to structural challenges—be they lack of resources for art making; structural racism and ableism; or raising children in an unsupportive culture.

I am a member of ACRE (Artists Co-Creating Real Equity), which is an affinity group of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, an organization that envisions the end to structural racism in our lifetime.