Ni'Ja Whitson in a blue sweatshirt with a led light rope wrapped around their shoulders and in their mouth crouched on the floor of a dark room.

The Unarrival Experiments — Unconcealment Ceremonies

Ni’Ja Whitson
Studio 1—Goodman

“How do you see something you can’t see?”  
“What if Blackness refused to arrive and exists in the unarrival?” 
“What is the nature of antebecoming?”

The Unarrival Experiments – Unconcealment Ceremonies is a new live performance installation work by artist Ni’Ja Whitson that is designed to amplify the dark. In dialogue with Yorùbá Cosmology, Astrophysics, and research on the “blackest black,” the work centers the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy through a Black, Queer, and Transembodied lens. Dark matter and dark energy serve as portals to interrogating spaces of the unknown, yet that which have an unequivicated impact on the composition of the universe.

Spring 2022

Artist Ni’Ja Whitson is at EMPAC to continue set, lighting, video, and Virtual Reality design for their upcoming EMPAC commission, The Unarrival Experiments — Unconcealment Ceremonies. Work includes developing a proof of concept for a performance dome.

Summer 2020

Whitson is in residence at EMPAC to design a performance dome that aids in visualizing darkness while also allowing for the seamless integration of immersive VR, projection, and spatial audio. The highly technical multimedia environment will cradle performers and audience members alike in embodied encounter, collectivity, invisibility, and cosmos.

Main Image: Ni'Ja Whitson, Courtesy the artist. Photo: Maria Baranova.

Presented By

EMPAC 2021–23


The Unarrival Experiments — Unconcealment Ceremonies is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project. The work is co-commissioned by EMPAC/the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY and New York Live Arts Live Feed Residency in partnership with NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information, visit The Unarrival Experiments — Unconcealment Ceremonies is also made possible, in part, by the support of the Omomuki Foundation.