we are collectively grieving, walking a durational vigil. let us join together, to be with the one who knows us best, the land who holds us. let us be alone together there, as the land in many cities hears this mourning, tears fertilizing as a reciprocity practice in gratitude. this location can hold your loneliness, and recycle it into the holy if you let it. let it recharge us, this land that still keeps us here, choosing us to be amongst the living as we are called to ripen, season, deepen and attune. some of us continue to connect with the land and some of us are being awakened to the practice of offering back to this benevolent earth. we, the living, are being boldly asked to be in right relation earthside, as the future speaks ruthlessly through us.

may we grieve in honor of the bodies and spirits who are our teachers as they leave this plane.

may we grieve with the land that has seen this before, may we see the land in return and continue our relationship and exchange. 

you are invited to a series of events. 1. a conversation, 2. a film, 3. a traveling collective public grief altar, and 4. an archive of our offerings--to the deceased, to the living, to ourselves, to each other.  we begin with a conversation between the creator devynn emory and artist Okwui Okpokwasili, followed by a world film premiere of deadbird. at the end of the film you will be invited to an altar. once you are there, please take a photo of your offering and archive it on this site. please join the procession in this order and direction for the intended collective experience.

deadbird and its public grief altar project can anybody help me hold this body toured to the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Portland, and is currently touring to Syracuse + Hamilton, NY from oct 13-15, 2022. you will be able to screen the film and engage an altar in those cities. the altars are tended by local BIPOC artists honoring the land they reside on and creating space for you. if you are not in one of the touring cities, or prefer to practice differently, instructions are offered here on how to create a grief space of your own. please find the instructions on how to photograph and upload an image of your offering to the online archive so that we may join in this collective moment together.


a conversation about the film

director devynn emory invites kindred comrade, friend, and artist Okwui Okpokwasili to the world premiere of the film at Danspace Project (NYC) on march 31, 2021, as the two of them discuss their

overlapping trajectories of choreographing in partnership with grief and dance making in pandemics while documenting and expanding forms.




deadbird is a film reimagining of a live work by devynn emory that was to premiere at Danspace Project in NYC in Spring 2020. It is a grief space for their body as a hospice and COVID nurse and spirit medium, and is a balm to reimagine care. 

deadbird has always served as a container to process the intensity of nursing and honor the lives who have passed in their care. The project became even more important to hold the grief and loneliness of being a healthcare worker during COVID-19.

deadbird has and will continue to take many forms (including its public grief altar project can anybody help me hold this body), and serves as a container to process and bridge devynn’s work in the world as an edgewalker, spiritual guide, bodyworker, choreographer, performer, and hospice nurse.

this project was made in honor of Shirley “Nana” Trostle and Mary “Mom Mom” Kroliki, devynn’s grandmothers, and all of their patients lost to COVID and the uprisings. 



a New York Times feature on devynn emory, by Siobhan Burke.

“deadbird” featured in New York Times Best of Dance 2021, By Gia Kourlas, Brian Seibert and Siobhan Burke.

a Brooklyn Rail review of the work, by Noa Weiss