English / Deutsch

15.2.2018 | KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

I’m Not Who You Think I’m Not #3: Bronx Gothic


The third event of the 10th Berlin Biennale’s public program I’m Not Who You Think I’m Not presents Bronx Gothic, the 2017 documentary by Andrew Rossi featuring writer and performer Okwui Okpokwasili. The 91-minute screening is followed by a discussion with Okwui Okpokwasili and Nomaduma Rosa Masilela (member of the 10th Berlin Biennale’s curatorial team).

The starting point of the film is Okwui Okpokwasili’s one-woman show Bronx Gothic, a coming-of-age story about two girls in the Bronx of the 1980s. Following Okpokwasili as the show tours the US and culminates in a final performance in the Bronx, Rossi’s film examines the artist’s background and creative process, discussing the complex social issues and personal trauma embodied in her work. Providing an intimate space for audiences to become entangled with her in an embodied narrative shaped around desire and race, Okpokwasili’s performances feature a multidisciplinary practice of movement, sound, and text, all of which find their way into the film. Scenes from the show Bronx Gothic are accompanied by insights to the artist’s personal life and working practice, childhood and coming-of-age memories as well as talkbacks with her audience on her tour.

I’m Not Who You Think I’m Not, the public program of the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, disavows assumed beingness and know-hows, perspectives that are often based on existing, constructed social frameworks and their associated speculations about particular subjectivities. Throughout the buildup to the 10th Berlin Biennale until its conclusion in September 2018, the public program creates situations evading these points of view and, at the same time, proposes a refreshed grammar for facing the present.

“A tour de force one-woman show … Okpokwasili is quite simply a virtuoso, an exquisite singer, speaker, writer, mover, a siren who draws us to danger.”
— Laura Molzahn, Chicago Tribune

“Mr. Rossi honors the fullness of her live performances … while illuminating the relationships, in particular between daughters and mothers, that orbit her process.”
— Siobhan Burke, The New York Times

“In 2014, I saw Okpokwasili in her piece Bronx Gothic, and the top of my head blew off.”
— Hilton Als, The New Yorker

With special thanks to Andrew Rossi