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Metamorphosis Theater: An Oral History Project on the Performance Work of Assotto Saint

Jaime Shearn Coan, English
Faculty Advisor: Kandice Chuh

Metamorphosis Theater: An Oral History Project on the Performance Work of Assotto Saint

Working with the design practice Partner & Partners, with the support of The Center for the Humanities, I am creating an oral history-focused website around the performance work of the late artist Assotto Saint, a black gay man born and raised in Haiti who died from AIDS-related complications in NYC in 1994. This website is connected to and also exceeds my dissertation in an effort to provide materials that can be utilized by artists, community historians, and cultural workers that retrospectively document his otherwise undocumented performances from the 1980s. Saint was a major figure in 80s and 90s black gay cultural production, serving as an editor, playwright, poet, essayist, activist, playwright, and performance artist. This project is an effort to amplify his legacy. While Partner & Partners are doing the majority of the design and programming work, I am conducting approximately fifteen interviews, editing them, collecting and posting audio and video archival materials, and labeling, editing, and organizing ephemera. Using software designed by Partner & Partners, I am annotating the interviews by summarizing sections, generating keywords, and linking them to various other resources and sites in order to make the site as interactive and interwoven with other related projects as possible.