12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens is a three-year iterative performance project by American playwright, director, and performer Sibyl Kempson with her theater company, 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co. Presented at the Whitney on twelve occasions, 12 Shouts will mark each solstice and equinox occurring between March 2016 and December 2018 creating a new ceremonial calendar and a contemporary mythology.
Bringing into play the Whitney’s architecture and its porous relationship with the city and natural world, Kempson will engage the museum as a strategic frame and entry point for each of these rituals. With a sensitivity and focus toward the specific cycles and rhythms of days, seasons, and human activities, 12 Shouts explores the layers of historical and cultural significance of this location.
Kempson’s work stems from a deep research in history, mythology, art history, metaphysics, and ritual. Through her writing process she knits together multi-faceted narratives that provide the foundation for the world created in her performances. This sense of layering is further bolstered by artistic collaboration, and throughout this process she will engage with various sound artists, choreographers, and visual artists, among others.
12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens is an original work by Sibyl Kempson commissioned by the Whitney, and includes dramaturgy and research by Thomas Riccio, scholar of ritual, indigenous performance and shamanism.
12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens is organized by Greta Hartenstein, Senior Curatorial Assistant and Jay Sanders, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance.
Significant support for the Whitney’s Performance Program is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Generous support is also provided by the Performance Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
12 Shouts was developed in residence at the Watermill Center. Special thanks to the Byrd Hoffman Foundation. Development support is also provided by a residency at Abrons Arts Center. The 2016 Shouts are partially funded by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.
Sibyl Kempson is a playwright, director, and performer, and a 2014 United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. She recently founded 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co., presenting Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag at the Abrons Arts Center in 2015. A resident playwright at New Dramatists, her play Fondly, Collette Richland, a collaboration with Elevator Repair Service, premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in September, 2015. Her plays have been presented in NYC, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Omaha, Bonn, and Austin. She is a 2010 MacDowell Colony Fellow and a 2013–14 McKnight National Resident and Commissionee.