INK: A Piece for Museums

An original, creative Zoom performance in celebration of the Williams College Museum of Art collection.

Photo by Marcus Middleton

“In place of a hermeneutics, we need an erotics of art.” (Susan Sontag)

Originally a show for museums and theater spaces alike, INK has been reconceived as a Zoom lecture and musical experience developed in conversation with museum objects.

New York City-based musician storytellers James & Jerome (James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis) have long combined electronic music and the art lecture to explore collections in imaginative new ways. 

In November 2019, James & Jerome were invited as artists-in-residence to Williams College and hosted by the Williams College Museum of Art. Along with media designer Shawn Duan, they explored the museum’s collection of more than 10,000 works, drawing inspiration across centuries and global cultures.

Intended to take place as a series of live performances at WCMA in April 2020, more than a year later, on May 6, 2021, the artists will transform the essence of their work into a virtual image-based musical experience. This will be a way of exploring what Susan Sontag famously wrote toward creating embodiment, liveness, and connection in times of pandemic. 

INK is produced by the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College in partnership with Williams College Museum of Art.

Register for this free online event here.

You can view the program here.

Artist bios:
Jerome Ellis is a dysfluent, Afro-Caribbean composer, performer, and writer originally from Virginia Beach and based in New York City. His concerts, performances, and texts are invitations to healing, transcendence, communion, and deep listening. Through an interdisciplinary practice that focuses on oral storytelling, improvisation, and the interrelations between speech, silence, disability, and religion, he’s collaborated with choreographers, rappers, playwrights, booksellers, typographers, podcasters, toddlers, otolaryngologists, and filmmakers. Mr. Ellis’ work has been presented or developed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Lincoln Center, and WKCR. He’s a 2019 MacDowell Colony Fellow, a writer in residence at Lincoln Center Theater, and a 2015 Fulbright Fellow. Together with childhood friend James Harrison Monaco, he forms one half of the musician-storyteller duo James & Jerome. Their show Ink: A Piece for Museums (co-created with media designer Shawn Duan) was presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival 2019 – the first ever collaboration between the Met and Under the Radar. He’s also a piano tuner and teacher, as well as a translator from Portuguese.

James Harrison Monaco is a storyteller, writer, and musician. He is one half of the music-storytelling duo James & Jerome. His shows are frequently directed by Rachel Chavkin, Andrew Scoville, and Annie Tippe. Recent James & Jerome projects include: Piano Tales (La MaMa, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Education, etc.), Ink (The Brick, BRIC Arts Media), Aaron/Marie (Under The Radar Festival, Ars Nova), and They Ran and Ran and Ran (HERE Arts). Recent solo storytelling projects include Tales for Telling (Ars Nova), and Reception (HERE Arts, The New Ohio). He co-wrote, performed in, and co-composed the music for Love Machine(Incubator Arts), and he is a collaborator on Reconstruction (Still Working but the Devil Might Be Inside), an upcoming project by The TEAM. Recent dramaturgy work includes: Dave Malloy’s Ghost Quartet (The Bushwick Starr, The McKittrick Hotel, etc.) and Howard Fishman’s A Star Has Burnt My Eye (BAM, The Brick, etc.). He has been granted residencies with The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, The Public Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and BRIC Arts Media. He has studied and worked in the USA, Ghana, and Spain. He also works as a fiction writer, percussionist, and translator from Spanish and Italian.

May 6, 2021
7 PM

This event will take place virtually over Zoom. Registration is required for this free event.

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