NIC Kay’s #blackpeopledancingontheinternet explores ways that Black online communities have engaged in the transcultural exchange of dance, movement, and music, claiming and maneuvering the internet as a space for visible, culturally coded play, political organization, and innovation.

Cover Image:

NIC Kay, #blackpeopledancingontheinternet, 2021. Digital image, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Image Description: This image contains four photographs featured in a grid-like formation. Each photograph features NIC Kay in various poses with a particular focus on their hands. Their face is covered by a white t-shirt, they are wearing a short black tank top and a blue hat. In the background, there is a blue sky with a small white cloud hovering in the top left-hand corner of the image.

NIC Kay is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, and conceptual choreographer who works with movement to explore relationality and yearning. They employ choreography to excavate relationships between spaces, bodies, and objects in order to shift meaning and change perceptions of place. NIC works site-specifically, informed by the architecture and the inner workings of performative spaces—theaters, galleries, nightclubs, sidewalks, and the internet—to create moments of glitch, interruption, or pause. In the course of their practice, NIC has made durational performance, evening-length dances, experimental theater, performance for the internet, an artist book, sonic interventions, installations, and sculpture.

Building from their personal archive and research practice, NIC’s residency at the New Museum will be a new progression of #blackpeopledancingontheinternet, an ongoing inquiry into the creation, documentation, and circulation of African diasporic dance/movement practices, house and techno music, and Black and queer internet cultures. NIC began using the internet in 1998—as part of the generation whose first social media accounts were on Myspace—and they continue to be fascinated by how these practices manifest through everchanging social media platforms, including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Vine, Triller, Twitter, and TikTok.

Through #blackpeopledancingontheinternet NIC explores ways that Black online communities have engaged in transcultural exchange of dance, movement, and music, claiming and maneuvering the internet as a space for visible, culturally-coded play, political organization, and innovation.

They are particularly interested in the ways that internet platform design can alter and influence textual and movement-based languages, ultimately shaping how content is expressed, framed, and witnessed through media such as video, images, texts, and gifs; how bodies are compressed and expanded; how blackness can subvert and infiltrate virtual space; and how meaning is made, co-opted, and reclaimed.

NIC’s deep attention to digitally-mediated movement will manifest in three parts throughout the residency: a multi-platform, online movement work; a dance film; and a curated series of public programs. The programs will include a conversation with the artist and a work-in-progress screening of material related to keep at it (2021), a newly commissioned video; Sonic Situation, a two-hour online DJ set with echoes of the internet past and present; and a movement workshop Dancing for the Internet, facilitated by NIC.

form in a sentence unfolds daily over NIC’s social media accounts during their residency and will include a New Museum Instagram takeover the week of June 14. To view form as a sentence follow @okaynickay for frequent posts on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook. Periodic content can also be viewed on YouTube.

NIC Kay: #blackpeopledancingontheinternet,” the New Museum’s 2021 artist in residence program, is organized by Emily Mello, Associate Director of Education, and Andrew An Westover, Keith Haring Director of Education and Public Engagement.

NIC Kay (b. 1989 Bronx, NY) makes performances and organizes performative spaces. Their works have been performed nationally and internationally in spaces including Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany; Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto, Canada; Encuentro 19, Mexico City, Mexico; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, United Kingdom; Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; and University of Arts, Zürich, Switzerland. NIC was a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2020). They published their first book, Cotton Dreams, with Candor Arts in 2020. NIC is a Black queer trans non-binary person.

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New Museum Digital Initiatives are generously supported by Hermine and David B. Heller.

Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by:
Laurie Wolfert
The Research & Residencies Council of the New Museum

Support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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