About

Inside the Pillow Lab:
Emily Johnson/Catalyst

December 3 at 7pm Eastern | Screened on YouTube

Emily Johnson’s work is “a domain in which dream and memory and history meet in present-day… and reach out their arms to one another” (Deborah Jowitt, Arts Journal). In her first residency at the Pillow, Johnson will develop Being Future Being, a new, richly layered evening-length performance for the stage and beyond. Working with one other dancer as well as Indigenous scholars during her Pillow Lab residency, Johnson will later incorporate an ensemble of four Indigenous performers and a chorus of ten more-than-human creatures—an omnipresent collective adorned in futuristic garments crafted from community-sewn quilts, designed by Ojibwe textile artist Maggie Thompson. Being Future Being contains narrative elements from Johnson’s own family history, a commissioned score sung by a BIPOC community chorus, a soundscape by Diné composer Raven Chacon, and movement, projections, and scenic design that build a visual and aural landscape of Indigenous power. Being Future Being asks audiences to consider new stories with the power to sustain a world that must begin again, with the goal of igniting community stewardship.

Emily Johnson is a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award. Originally from Alaska and now based in New York, Johnson is of the Yup’ik Nation and since 1998 has made work that considers the experience of seeing and sensing performance. Her works have included opera (Doctor Atomic at the Santa Fe Opera, directed by Peter Sellars) and durational performance gatherings (Then A Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing At Stars, an all-night outdoor event that took place in the midst of 84 community-hand-made quilts, premiered on the Lower East Side of Manhattan), and have been presented across the United States and Australia. Johnson is a lead organizer of First Nations Dialogues and part of a US-based advisory group—including Reuben Roqueni, Ed Bourgeois, Lori Pourier, Ronee Penoi, and Vallejo Gantner—who are developing a Global First Nations Performance Network.


After months of navigating layered crises, the opportunity to return to the studio in an environment that is not only physically safe, but nestled in an inspiring and restorative natural environment, is a profound gift to any artists. I’m looking forward to being able to reconnect with my artistic practice and to recharge my creative resources.
Emily Johnson


This event is produced in collaboration with 

Event Dates
Thursday, Dec 3

7:00 PM

Inside the Pillow Lab:
Emily Johnson/Catalyst

At Youtube.com: Dec 3