Courtney Surmanek            


Photos documented at the Velvet Lounge, South Setauket, NY with credit to Andrew Sliwoski; and The Performance Project at University Settlement, New York, NY

Show and Tell


Director, Facilitator
2016-present

There is a story woven into the fabric of the junk that we surround ourselves with.

Show and Tell is an evolving series of workshops and performances that explore the meaning of the objects in our lives.

Past workshops have included a “hoarders anonymous” session wherein participants empty out the contents of their bags and pockets, and work with a partner to re-order their personal items in order of least to most important; a writing seminar and open mic that invites participants to write and perform a heartfelt ode to their most prized possession; a collaborative sculpture and weaving project connecting participants’ objects to one another; and more.

The workshops are thought of as poetic exchanges—processes not products. They are invitations to stand out of time together. They are a hopeful, playful series of gestures.

What do the objects in our lives say about our politics? Our fears? Our mental blocks? What do they reveal about our relationships? Our oppression? Our role as oppressors? These questions are explored through a queer lens, with the hopes that these moments provide grounds to move differently in the world, and, in doing so, to re-­make the world according to a queerer set of coordinates; that is, to actualize a world that insists on always becoming other than what we are told it should be.