the collective

deadbird team:

devynn emory, in collaboration with stevie may, Angie Pittman, and Jules Skloot

devynn emory

written text
devynn emory in conversation with their patients, Nana, and Mark Aguhar

cinematography and editing
Jorge Cousineau

live performance
stevie may, Angie Pittman, Jules Skloot, devynn emory, and manny the mannequin

film performance
devynn emory and manny the mannequin

conversation partner
Okwui Okpokwasili

music composition and mixing

mannequin voice acting
Julia Bennett, Neil Greenberg, and Calvin Stalvig

mannequin audio production
Michael Ryterband

production/stage management
Reilly Horan

manny care team
Reilly Horan
Heather Kushner
Kelsey Leuken
Gina Siepel
3 Angels at Home Depot

film captioning
Yolanda Royster

the music in this film is comprised of mixed compositions by HPrizm and a cover of “Dancing Queen” by Hannah Grace (original music by ABBA).

can anybody help me hold this body team:

devynn emory

altar tenders
NYC/Lenapehoking, Canarsie, Munsee +: devynn emory, Joseph M. Pierce (Cherokee Nation)
PHL/ Lene Lenape, Lenape Haki-nk +: devynn emory, jumatatu m. poe
PDX/Chinook, Cowlitz, Atfalati, Kalapuya +: Maya Vivas
SYR/HAM, Onondaga and Oneida+: devynn emory

institutional support
Danspace Project
Onassis USA
Bartram’s Garden
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)
Colgate University
SUNY Upstate Medical University

Upstate Nursing Alumni Association Whitney Lectureship

Upstate Medical University College of Nursing with additional support from the Consortium for Culture and Medicine

altar design
devynn emory in collaboration with Reilly Horan

production/stage management
Reilly Horan

altar carpenter
Jordan House, Soda Creek Furniture

sign carpenter
Dave Hall, Hall’s Edge Inc.

gold leafing/props artist
Nayon Kim*

website designer
Fei Liu

website producer
Leslie Cuyjet

deadbird and can anybody help me hold this body were commissioned and premiered at Danspace Project in 2021 and was a part of the Eureka Commissions Program by Onassis USA. can anybody help me hold this body was presented in New York City with community partner Prospect Park Alliance.

the project was created with residency support at YouAreNowhere (NYC), Chocolate Factory Theater (NYC), Snug Harbor Residency (NYC), and Subcircle (ME) with additional support by Foundation for Contemporary Arts.


special thanks to
Judy Hussie-Taylor, Benjamin Akio Kimitch, Okwui Okpokwasili, Seta Morton and the Kin and Care collective, Lydia Bell, Sophie Sotsky, Lily Cohen, Jodi Bender, Yolanda Royster, Sev Kaufman, Vallejo Ganter, Niki Cousineau, Jorge Cousineau, Scotty McPheeters, Brian Rogers, Sheila Lewandowski, Blaze Ferrer, Madeline Best, Demetries Morrow, Melissa West, Shawna Salmon, Jenny Kelly, Peter Musante, Andrew Schneider, ayo ohs, Bran Fenner, Yanira Castro, Ryan Kelly, Morgan Bassichis, Fatima Adamu, New York Peace Institute, the Knowledge of Wounds family, Nurse Babin and Doctor Manda (Nana’s medical team), Dulce Izaguirre, Nayon Kim, Leslie Cuyjet, Fei Liu, IV Castellanos, Irit Reinheimer, Aretha Aoki, Tara Aisha Willis, Anna Gallagher-Ross, Ron Berry, Kristin Juarez, Kristy Edmunds, Erin Boberg, Roya Amirsoleymani, Kristan Kennedy, Mami Takahashi, Kevin Holden, Leslie Vigeant, Reuben Roqueni, Anthony Hudson, Carlee Smith, Aseel Rasheed, Shanna Mitchell, LJ Brubaker, Christian Ducomb, Caitlin Nye, Mary Simonson, David French, Denise Crandall,Marielys Burgos Meléndez, Liz Jorolemon Smith, Meika Loe, Rebecca Garden, Mary Knepper,Mark Hine,David French,Megan Ball, Trina Northardt, Roin Morigeau, leeba emory, Angbeen Saleem, Amanda Mays, Brett Smith-Hams, Cayden Halligan, Angie Manes, the many people who offered food and mutual aid PPE during the COVID-19 times, and the many patients who offered their stories as teachers.



    • photo provided by the artist

      devynn emory is a transgender choreographer, dance artist, bodyworker, ceremonial guide, and a registered nurse with a background in acute medical surgical, hospice, COVID-19 and currently integrative health in NYC. emory's performance company devynnemory/beastproductions draws from their multiple in-between states of being, holding space for liminal bodies bridging multiple planes of transition. their formal dance training pulls on mathematical and mapped scores to support bodies decolonizing and bleeding human truths, opening peep holes and revelations for collective performers and audiences. they are currently working on a trilogy centering medical mannequins processing transitional mediumship. deadbird with it’s touring public altar can anyone help me hold this body will be first. Cindy Sessions and boiling-rain are to follow which are interactive storytelling projects with an elder mannequin holding a collection of grandmother wisdom. as a healer they have dual licenses in "western" and "eastern" bodywork and run a private practice sage-massage that offers end of life consultation, channeled counseling and hands on care modalities in conversation with thresholds. emory descends from mixed Lenape/Blackfoot ancestry and currently resides in Lenapehoking (NYC). you can find their work at Headshot (Photo provided by the artist).

  • photo by Izzy Zimmerman

    Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based performance maker. Her work includes two Bessie Award winning productions: Pent-Up: a revenge dance and Bronx Gothic. Other productions include Poor People’s TV Room, and Adaku’s Revolt. She was the “Lady in Green” in the Public Theater’s revival of “For Colored Girls..” Okpokwasili recently co-curated the Danspace Project Platform “Utterances From the Chorus”. An installation work is currently on view in the New Museum show, “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America.” Her commissions, Residencies and awards: 10th Annual Berlin Biennale Commission, 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award in Contemporary Dance, 2018 USA Artist Fellow, 2018 Princeton Hodder Fellow, 2018 Herb Alpert Award in Dance, LMCC’s Extended Life Program (2013-2016, 2019); The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ Artist Grant in Dance (2014), MOMA, The Young Vic, Tate Modern, the OnassisUSA Foundation, and CapUCLA. Okpokwasili is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

  • photo by Sebastián Freire

    Joseph M. Pierce is Associate Professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature at Stony Brook University. His research focuses on the intersections of kinship, gender, sexuality, and race in Latin America, 19th century literature and culture, queer studies, Indigenous studies, and hemispheric approaches to citizenship and belonging. He is the author of Argentine Intimacies: Queer Kinship in an Age of Splendor, 1890-1910 (SUNY Press, 2019) and co-editor of Políticas del amor: Derechos sexuales y escrituras disidentes en el Cono Sur (Cuarto Propio, 2018) as well as the forthcoming special issue of GLQ, “Queer/Cuir Américas: Translation, Decoloniality, and the Incommensurable.” His work has been published recently in Revista Hispánica Moderna, Critical Ethnic Studies, LARR, and has also been featured in Indian Country Today. Along with SJ Norman (Koori of Wiradjuri descent) he is co-curator of the performance series Knowledge of Wounds. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

  • photo by Tayarisha Poe

    jumatatu m. poe
    I am a choreographer and performer based between Philadelphia and New York City who grew up dancing around the living room and at parties with my siblings and cousins. My early exposure to concert dance was through African dance and capoeira performances on California college campuses where my Pan-Africanist parents studied and worked, but I did not start “formal” dance training until college with Umfundalai, Kariamu Welsh’s contemporary African dance technique. My work continues to be influenced by various sources, including my foundations in those living rooms and parties, my early technical training in contemporary African dance, my continued study of contemporary dance and performance, my movement trainings with dancer and anatomist Irene Dowd around anatomy and proprioception, my sociological research of and technical training in J-sette performance with Donte Beacham. Through my artistic work, I strive to engage in and further dialogues with Black queer folks, create lovingly agitating performance work that recognizes History as only one option for the contextualization of the present, and continue to imagine options for artists’ economic and emotional sustainability.

  • photo by Celeste Noche

    Maya Vivas is a multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of mediums such as ceramic, performance, painting, and installation. Maya has exhibited work, spoken on panels and hosted workshops throughout the United States including venues and institutions such as Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, Louisiana State University and Yale. Vivas is also co-founder of Ori Gallery. Whose mission is to redefine "the white cube" through amplifying the voices of Queer and Trans Artists of color, via community organizing and mobilization through the arts.