The New Museum invited two scholars to review the work in process, speak with Ensayos practitioners, and contextualize this work in relation with both current scholarship and the broader cultural moment. Una Chaudhuri’s critically influential work on “eco-theatre” and Olivia Michiko Gagnon’s recent theorization of “closeness” as a research methodology each offers a new entry point into “Cucú and her Fishes,” the culminating project of Ensayos’s residency.
Una Chaudhuri is a Collegiate Professor and Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University. She is currently the Director of NYU’s XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement. A pioneer in the fields of eco-theater and ecocriticism, her current research, teaching, and creative projects explore what she calls “ecospheric consciousness”: ideas, feelings, and practices that attend to the multi-species and geo-physical contexts of human lives.
Olivia Michiko Gagnon is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia. She specializes in performance studies, with research and teaching interests in minoritarian performance, cultural production, and multimedia aesthetic practice; critical race and ethnic studies; feminist and queer theory; critical Indigenous studies; archival theory; and performative writing. She is currently working on her first monograph, which brings together a transnational cohort of feminist, Indigenous, and of color artists in order to theorize closeness as a feminist and decolonial method of doing history beyond the archive and through art and performance.