MARLON RIGGS & “No Regret”: DISCLOSURE, PERFORMATIVITY & LEGACY
The 8th Floor
An excerpted screening of Marlon Riggs’ Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, a performance by Kiyan Williams, a performance/presentation by Ni'Ja Whitson, and a conversation moderated by Tavia Nyong’o.
“In Marlon Riggs' seminal 1992 film Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret), through music, poetry and quiet, at times, chilling self-disclosure, five positive black gay men speak of their individual confrontation with AIDS, illuminating the difficult journeys black men throughout America have made in coping with the personal and social devastation of the epidemic.” ~Signifyin’ Works
Artists Ni’Ja Whitson and Kiyan Williams performed and presented their work in response to Riggs’ declarative, affirmative practice in the context of a screening of his film Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret), 25 years after its creation. Williams staged a performance titled "Reflections in BlaQ," activating Black queer and trans archives as part of their ongoing engagement with Riggs’ writings and films. Whitson presented research and performance excerpts of their evening-length work A Meditation on Tongues, a live interdisciplinary adaptation of Marlon Riggs' iconic film Tongues Untied (1989) — performed by The NWA Project - Ni'Ja Whitson and Kirsten Flores-Davis.
Following the screening, performance, and presentation, a conversation between Williams and Whitson, moderated by Tavia Nyong'o, addressed Riggs’ work and legacy. The event centered contemporary conversations across the gender non-conforming spectrum, highlighting testimony and performativity as central to combating the ongoing rampant whitewashing of HIV/AIDS narratives.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition VOICE = SURVIVAL.
Read a reflection by Dr. Laura Lomas about the event, highlighting Interdisciplinarity and Recovery, here.
Listen to the conversation here.
Sponsored by a Humanities New York Vision/Action Grant.
Ni’Ja Whitson (MFA) is a Los Angeles and New York based award-winning interdisciplinary artist, performer and writer who has been referred to as “majestic” and “powerful” by the New York Times and noted by Brooklyn Magazine as a cultural influencer. Whitson engages a nexus of postmodern and African Diasporic performance practices, intersecting gender, sexuality, race, and spirit, receiving recognitions across disciplines. Recent awards include residencies and fellowships with Hedgebrook, LMCC Process Space, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and the Bogliasco Study Center in Italy. They are currently an Assistant Professor at UC Riverside and the founder/artistic director of The NWA Project.
Kiyan Williams is a multidisciplinary artist and writer whose work explores Black queer identity. They create performances, texts, objects, images, sounds, and installations informed by autoethnography, archival research, and social practice. Williams’ performance is based on their ongoing research in Marlon Rigg's archives at Stanford University. You can learn more about their work at www.kiyanwilliams.com.
Tavia Nyong’o is Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and Theater Studies at Yale University. His research and teaching interests include black queer studies, and the legacy of pioneering black queer artists and activists such as Assotto Saint, Essex Hemphill, and Marlon Riggs. His first book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minnesota, 2009), won the Errol Hill Award for best book in African American theatre and performance studies. He is completing a study of fabulation in black aesthetics, while also embarking on another on queer logics of sense.