Last Yearz Interesting Negro is the solo project of Jamila Johnson-Small, she makes shows, working with in-between spaces – things that exist in and through cracks in time/memory/attention – with syncopation, trance states, internal narratives, intensities, electronic music, and a love of dancing on the spot. In her performances, bodies of public and performer(s) are navigated as object, animal, human, machine, environment, energy, to build atmospheric landscapes created by the live unfolding of the tensions between things that produce meaning.
Her practice affects/disrupts/deflects/distorts/reflects the gaze(s) directed towards her body and the resultant choreographies are a stage or dreamspace or battleground for working through questions of presence, visibility, responsibility and pleasure, for situating and expanding (or dismantling) her ‘identity’ and turning it into theatre. She moves with an awareness that her dances will always be a lament for the histories her body represents, carries and conjures. Her current research is exploring surrender as a strategy for destruction and producing states of alienation as part of this resistance. The enemy is also within and the dances are driven by these strategies as internal processes.
Not interested in invention or innovation she uses things that are already there and rearranges them in an effort to encounter some unholy combination that resonates with the horror, discomfort, cringe, confusion and sensuality of this contemporary moment and her position within it, opening up spaces in thinking, feeling, reading and dancing.The landscapes she creates for her dancing body to inhabit with a public, seek to access and utilise her own power for her own ends, disentangling from – or entangling herself further with – the isms that instrumentalise her existence on a daily without her consent.
Of Caribbean descent, born and based in London she has formed long term collaborations with other artists including Project O with Alexandrina Hemsley, immigrants and animals with Mira Kautto. More recently she performs in work by Fernanda Munoz-Newsome, runs HOTLINE with Sara Sassanelli, and GUSH, a semi-regular low-key DIY event.
She is one of the holding space associate artists at The Showroom, a project initiated by Teresa Cisneros looking at equity and decolonial processes.