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5 Artists. 5 Weeks. 5 Prompts.
Performance |

INVERSE and the Momentary invite you to explore the medium of performance art from your own home for the next five weeks (April 20 to May 24) with the INVERSE Challenge. Every Monday, a new prompt by a different artist will be shared on the Momentary’s Instagram. It will be up to you to respond with your own 30-second video in response to that week’s artist-led prompt. All expressions are welcome!

  • Create one or more 30-second video responses to any of our artist challenges.
  • Post videos to your Instagram account.
  • Use the hashtag #MOINVERSEChallenge and mention @themomentary and @inverseperformanceartfestival so we can see and share what you contribute!
  • You can post and tag multiple responses through the end of the challenge on May 24.

PROMPT #5: May 18 - Sarah Hill


Title: Memory and what you already know

This performance prompt is interested in asking questions about time and space. Is time going fast for you, or is the time going slow? Or is it a mix of hurrying and moving through glue? How does memory work? What does it mean to remember? How does collective-group memory work? Can you have a collective memory?



Record a 30-second performance that considers:

  • Objects you interact with daily
  • Memories you have had
  • Desires you have had

Sarah Hill lives and works in New Orleans, LA. They have shown nationally and internationally. Sarah has performed at Le Lieu The Contemporary Art Center in Québec, Canada, at the International Performance Platform Festival in Lublin, Poland at Gallery Labirynt, and at Performatorium 2014: Festival of Queer Performance Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Sarah received their MFA from the Museum School in partnership with Tufts University, Boston. They have studied with Black Market International at the Festival of Live Art in Glasgow, Scotland. They have performed at Mobius, Proof Gallery and Anthony Greaney in Boston, Grace Exhibition Space in New York, little berlin in Philadelphia, Living Arts Space in Tulsa, Waterloo Center for Arts in Iowa and The MACC in Austin. They have screened videos in Australia, Berlin, Canada, London (FRINGE! Queer Film & Arts Fest) Miami, New York (The Armory Show) Portugal, San Francisco (SFTFF San Francisco Transgender Film Festival), and Scotland. Sarah has worked on projects with William Pope. L (Cusp) and Roderick Buchanan (Swim).

PROMPT #4: May 11 - Tsedaye Makonnen

The Story:

Here’s a glimpse into my home and studio through performance and life. The objects, textiles, sculptures, sounds, scents, jewelry, all have significance. Roasting Ethiopian coffee beans in performances started in 2016 for the sound, scent, history, and just to ground my performances in recreating home/my childhood, plus I’ve been roasting coffee every few days during quarantine for the same reasons―it’s grounding. The diamond pelvis is a part of my Crowning series I’ve been doing since 2017 and I’ve been squatting in performances and photographs with them since then, too. There’s lots of meanings there: womxn, pussy, power, I used to be a doula, reproductive rights, etc. The floral coat I’m wearing apparently belonged to Betty Davis, I was told it came from an Ethiopian royal family. It’s traveled with me for years; you can see it in a lot of my documentation. I wear that and other Ethiopian capes in performance and let other people wear them because it’s about breaking hierarchies. The blue textile piece at my studio is The Astral Sea―it’s connected to Christina Sharpe’s In The Wake (one of my bibles) and my light sculptures. I last performed with that piece in front of the migrant ship at the Venice Biennale in November 2019 that put Black death on display.

The Prompt:

Record a 30-second performance that considers how to use:

  • clothing that’s usually saved for special occasions or fancy events
  • unusual objects to adorn yourself with
  • PLAY! (break something, roll around, …)
About Tsedaye Makonnen

Primarily through sculpture, performance and installation, my studio and research-based practice weaves together my identity as a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants and a black American woman, as well as my experiences working as a doula. I explore the blurring between and transience of borders and identities, often using my body as the conduit and the material. Further creating new visual language that portrays our geographic and ancestral connectivity across manufactured borders and circumstances. As of late, my work is an abstracted participatory intervention drawing from universal designs from East Africa and found throughout the Diaspora that is both an intimate memorialization and protective sanctuary for Black lives.

PROMPT #3: May 4 - Jessica Blinkhorn

The Story:

Look…No Hands!

Independence is something everyone values. As an individual who is living with disability, my independence is something I continually have to fight to maintain. I live as independently as possible but still require the use of caregivers. I have nine hours of care daily which means I am on my own 15 hours a day. If I need something outside of a shift or when I am in bed, it requires either creativity or forethought. In Look..No Hands! I am taking the very simple task of brushing my teeth and showing the viewer how I perform that task independently without the use of a caregiver or my very own hands.

In our current climate, we can all use a little clarity, an understanding that we all face challenges, comedy, encouraging laughter as we all endure the traumatic shift into an existence for which we aren’t prepared, and just good, old-fashioned entertainment to focus our thoughts elsewhere.

The Prompt:

Record a 30-second performance that considers how to:

  • Complete a simple task without the assistance of your own hands, feet or however you are usually able.
  • You may utilize assistance for operating the recording device.
Jessica Blinkhorn

Jessica Elaine Blinkhorn is an Atlanta based artist whose work educates and advocates on behalf of the disAbled and LGBTQ+ Communities. In her performances, Blinkhorn focuses on intimacy and disability, accessibility, identity politics, and social and financial inequalities that plague the communities she seeks to represent.

My Momma has always said ‘Jessie’laine, you gotta big mouth!’ In the past I used it to get attention. Now, I use it to promote change…and still get attention!


The story:

“How are you doing?” and “How are you holding up?” we ask each other. To what extent can we communicate how we are? How can we attend to the states of others amidst shared (yet unequally distributed and diffracted) crises?  How can we substantiate each other’s experiences? What presences can we realize, what spaces of appearance are available to us and how are they materialized? For your video, perhaps don’t think too hard about hard meanings or significance; let associations with substances, textures, moods, and the sensory roots of your embodiment surface.

The prompt:

Record a 30-second performance that considers your current STATE(S):

  • A state of mind or being
  • States of your body
  • Other state

Do this via a single action.

Esther Neff
Photo Credit - Julia Bauer, Courtesy of Tempting Failure
About Esther Neff

Esther Neff is a performance artist, organizer, and theorist whose work deals across disciplines and spheres with the ways in which intuitions, mentalities, beliefs, and values are theatrically and affectively materialized. They are the founder of PPL (Panoply Performance Laboratory) and cooperating co-organizer of MARSH (Materializing & Activating Radical Social Habitus) in St. Louis. Neff’s work has included month-long “relational march” tours, books and pamphlets, operas-of-operations, self-surveillance systems, task forces, life art projects, and theatrical(ized) institutions. Current projects include PROTAGONY with Kaia Gilje (NYC as part of the Exponential Festival and Chicago as part of DFBRL8R’s What Remains, etc) and forthcoming publication of the Operating Manual/libretto for PPL’s Embarrassed of the (W)Hole project with Ugly Duckling Presse.  In Fall 2020 Neff will enter the Theater & Performance Studies PhD program at CUNY.

PROMPT #1: April 20 - Marcela Torres

The story:

In Chicago I live in a building with 6 units. We have a comradery communicated through sound and a recent gas leak. I relish waking up on Saturday mornings to the downstairs neighbors blasting Spanish ballads, no lie. This performance is a sound performance for the dog Oso who lives downstairs. I convey “Hi, how are you? I’m sorry I’ve been taking online dance classes upstairs. Hope the banging isn’t annoying, but hoping you’re well!”

The prompt:

Record a 30-second video performance that considers how to use:

  • An orchestra
  • A sound-based Morse code
  • A communication device
INVERSE Lab - Marcella Torres
Photo credit Al Evangelista, Explode Midwest Queer Dance

Marcela Torres brings into action performance, objects, workshops, and sound installation that investigate the interpellation of our diaspora. Torres has performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Three Walls Gallery (Chicago, IL), Performances is Alive (Miami, FL), Fringe Festival (Detroit, MI), Itinerant Festival (NYC, NY), Virtual International Exchange (Boston, MA), Experimental Actions (Houston, TX), and Time Based Arts (Portland, Oregon). Torres has exhibited work at the Flatlands Gallery (Houston TX), Fosdick Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, Green Gallery at Yale School of Art (New Haven, CT), and Tropical Contemporary (Eugene, OR). Recent events include a residency at The Lightbox (Detroit, MI) and an exhibition at the Petzel Gallery (NYC, NY).