Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

American Chameleon: The Living Installments (2.0)   

USA  / Nigeria

Structural racism and police violence have become topics of public debate in Europe ever since the tragic public murder of George Floyd. Serious abuses have always demanded an enormous degree of agility and creativity from people of colour and other disenfranchised members of society. Time and again, alternative spaces need to be created in which to think and speak openly and move freely. The Nigerian-American performance artist and poet Jaamil Olawale Kosoko creates and explores such a space in his interactive performance programme «American Chameleon: The Living Installments». The virtual platform is based on the live performance «Chameleon: A Biomythography» and has been crafted into an evening teach-in adapting to current travel and meeting restrictions. Via the gaming chat app Discord, Kosoko aims to investigate the extent to which digital space lends itself as a place where progressive thought can occur and queer Black people can experience healing, joy and beauty.

At Theater Spektakel, Kosoko presents the second edition of this «living multi-media artwork» on the 23rd of August, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. This day commemorates the revolt of formerly enslaved people in the French colony of Saint-Domingue in 1791, which marked the beginning of the Haitian Revolution. On this international Memorial Day, Kosoko and co-hosts invite you to a three-hour event dedicated to the practice of commemoration and remembrance. What tools must we employ to honestly consider history? How does tending to the public digital archives of Black people encourage us to think through the present moment? Via Discord, the attendees are guided through the programme, which consists of discussions, a healing session, poetry reading, and the world premiere film screening of Chameleon (A Visual Album). In this virtual choreography of contemplation, Kosoko and fellow participants investigate the issues and daily life of queer Black people and their experiences navigating a world entrenched in anti-Blackness, racism, and police violence. 

People interested in actively interacting with the hosts and other guests are invited to attend the event upon prior registration on Discord. Additionally, the programme will be streamed live on Vimeo. (rb)

Event Schedule

18:00 | Welcoming and Acknowledgement with Nile Harris (Spoken English/ASL)
18:15 | «The Hold» with Everett-Asis Saunders, Vocal Performances by mayfield brooks], Nile Harris, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Ima Iduozee (ASL)
18:20 | «On Remembering» with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko & Ebony Noelle Golden (Spoken English/ASL)
18:45 | «Chameleon (A Visual Album)» Directed by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko & Ima Iduozee, Edited/Post-Production by Alexis McCrimmon (Spoken English/German subtitles/ASL)
19:15 | «Chameleon Contingency» Conversation/Reading by Dr. Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Edited by Meena Murugesan (Spoken English/German subtitles/ASL)
19:45 | «On Healing» with mayfield brooks (Spoken English/ASL)
20:15 | «Unbreathing and the Possibility of Abolition» with Dr. Vanessa E. Thompson (Spoken English/ASL)
20:45 | «Black Body Amnesia (Public Archive Remix)» Film by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Edited by Meena Murugesan, Featuring sound by Everett-Asis Saunders (Spoken English/German subtitles/ASL) & Community Dialogues for Discord Audience led by Dr. Vanessa E. Thompson and Ebony Noelle Golden (Spoken English /ASL through Zoom link on Discord)

Artistic direction and cast

Regie & GastgeberJaamil Olawale Kosoko
Künstlerisches Teammayfield brooks, Nile Harris, Ima Iduozee, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko u.a.
GästeBrenda Dixon-Gottschild, Ebony Noelle Golden, Vanessa-Eileen Thompson u.a.
Technisches TeamNile Harris, Ryan Jenkins, Vadim Nickel
ProjektmanagementTara Sheena
BildErika Carter


Ein Projekt im Rahmen von Tanz im August Special Edition 2020 in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Zürcher Theater Spektakel, präsentiert von HAU Hebbel am Ufer. «Chameleon» ist eine National Performance Network (NPN) Kreation sowie ein Development Fund Projekt. Im Co-Auftrag von EMPAC / Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center am Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy NY, New York Live Arts Live Feed Residency-Programm, Wexner Center for the Arts an der Ohio State University

KoproduktionTanz im August / HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), NPN. Das Live-Feed-Residenzprogramm von New York Live Arts wurde möglich gemacht durch zusätzliche Unterstützung der Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnerschaft mit dem City Council.

Mit besonderem Dankan Ratsmitglied Corey Johnson, an das New York State Council on the Arts mit der Unterstützung von Governor Andrew Cuomo und der New York State Legislature, der Jerome Robbins Foundation, der Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, der Scherman Foundation, der Shubert Foundation
FörderungNew England Foundation for the Arts – National Dance Project, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
UnterstützungBates Dance Festival, Gibney DiP, pOnderosa, D.O.C.H., Within Practice Stockholm, Movement Research Artist in Residence Program (möglich gemacht durch das New York State Council on the Arts mit der Unterstützung von Governor Andrew M. Cuomo und der New York State Legislature), Centre for the Less Good Idea Johannesburg, PassaPorta International House of Literature Brussels, Studio 303 Montreal, National Center for Choreography Akron, Red Bull Arts Detroit


Interactive live programme

on the occasion of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition on 23 August


approx. 3 hrs



Registration & Access

Registration for the active participation via Discord App until no later than Sat 23 August, 16 hrs. Download the App here. Access to the Discord room here. Further information on Discord and the registration process here.
Live stream (no registration necessary) here; the stream will be activated 5 minutes before the event starts.
Please note: Access only possible during festival.



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