About the project
Rooted in Marinella Senatore’s engagement with collaboration, Jammin’ Drama Project is a participatory-based project that aims at bringing together different communities: residents of Harlem, NYC, ranging from age eight to seventy and including people of American, African-American, Hispanic, and European descent, among others.
The collaboration would emerge between participants, who would write and record a radio drama, in many senses mirrored by the ways that the members of the community live together while maintaining cultural identity and shared unity. The richness of the Harlem community will be apparent, as the participants from African-American and Hispanic communities will be able to work together on the same project, to which they will bring their own unique cultural perspectives and be able to collaborate in a democratic way.
Usually, in Senatore’s works, the public is involved as co-writer, actor, set designer, camera operator or director working together in an atmosphere of an ongoing laboratory, in contact with the contents they find in their environment and according to the level of involvement they want.
The narrative results of the interplay between fact and fiction, history, and chronicle; in such sense, her work fosters the construction of an archive of shared narratives that creates a sense of community.
While she acts as the facilitator, or mediator, in the making of the project, the process will be a platform for each of the participants to share experiences and time, learn and cultivate new skills and technical practice, fostering a process of identification and engagement.
By only working with two professional actors and some student amateur crewmembers, there will be the opportunity for collective growth and interchange, with participants gaining confidence and pride as they witness the outcome of their efforts when, for example, their screenplay is incarnated and performed by the actors.
Jammin’ Drama Project is a participatory project involving over 450 members of the Hispanic, African-American and other communities in Harlem, NYC. From our preliminary meetings in January and February 2011 with various groups including poetry clubs, rappers, neighborhood associations, African-American and Hispanic women’s associations and over 400 citizens interested in taking part in the Project, our work has developed an outline for a radio drama to be structured in 4 chapters and to be recorded live, in front of the participants who will write the screenplay.
The set will be located in the neighborhood, while the play, recorded and edited daily, will be presented both there and in art spaces, thus connecting geographically and contextually different places.
The completed form of the radio drama will be a non-conventional mix of sound elements with emphasis on the process and not only on a finished ‘story’ since, in the making of the play, but all processes of the workshop will also be recorded as potential sound elements for the final edition. The artist will provide a small troupe, a set, and two actors and will be in charge of recording. The participants will be involved in writing the radio drama and directing it. (…)
Different perspectives for watching the events, the independent eye movements of the actors will highlight the different stories as divided and viewed from different angles, the emphasis on the moral and social issues through the conduct of characters results in a collage of places, figures, and landscapes, linked to their histories and contexts.
A small crew of amateur citizens (high school students) will carry out the recording in an atmosphere of an ongoing workshop that is based on self-training and self-cultivation, ensuring dialogue between different groups. Restaurant owners World offer catering, taxi drivers would provide free transportation for participants, students, workers, all together will take part in the project.
About the artist
Trained in music, fine arts and film, her practice is characterized by public participation, initiating a dialogue between history, culture and social structures. Rethinking the role of the artist as author and the public as recipient, Senatore’s work merges forms of protest, learning theatre, oral histories, vernacular forms, protest dance and music, public ceremonies, civil rituals and mass events, reflecting on the political nature of collective formations and their impact on the social history of places and communities.