FIRST LITERATURE PROJECT

Wunetu Wequai Tarrant. Photo: Christian Scheider
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First Literature Project proposes to support Native nations in their efforts to maintain and further their languages, narratives, and oral traditions. Employing a new immersive storytelling platform, 3D video is mixed with virtual reality to re-create the timeless experience of sitting face-to-face with a storyteller.

First Literature Project utilizes the newly released Apple Vision Pro headset to present the immersive experience Padawe, developed over a two-year period by Guild Hall Community Artists-in-Residence Wunetu Wequai Tarrant and Christian Scheider. The exhibition also features video works by the Shinnecock language revitalization collective Ayim Kutoowonk and interviews with members of the Shinnecock Nation.

Timed entry is required to experience First Literature Project’s virtual-reality work. Admission is free. Patrons who wear glasses or corrective lenses are strongly encouraged to wear contact lenses. 

Organized by Anthony Madonna, Guild Hall Patti Kenner Director of Learning + New Works.


Timed entry is required to experience First Literature Project’s virtual-reality work. Limited space is available every half hour from Friday to Monday, during the times below, and can be reserved HERE. Advance reservations are recommended to ensure time slots, but are not required.

  • 12 PM
  • 12:30 PM
  • 1 PM
  • 1:30 PM
  • 2 PM
  • 2:30 PM
  • 3 PM
  • 3:30 PM
  • 4 PM
  • Wunetu Wequai Tarrant

    Wunetu Wequai Tarrant is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, located on the East End of Long Island, NY. She grew up with her family on the Shinnecock reservation peninsula. Wunetu has been inspired by her grandmother and matriarch of the ThunderBird clan, Elizabeth ‘Chee Chee’ ThunderBird Haile, to promote cultural preservation and education. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University in 2011, a Masters of Native American Linguistics and Languages from the University of Arizona 2020 and is currently a Linguistics Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona focusing on the reconstruction and revitalization of the Shinnecock dialect of Southern New England Algonquian.

    Wunetu has worked closely with the Algonquian Language Revitalization Project on designing curriculum and activities for teaching Shinnecock and related dialects and continues to research best practices in language research and production of materials that will be accessible to community members and teachers regardless of linguistic education experience. She has continued to advocate for Indigenous students as the Julia & Bernard Bloch fellow (2019-2022) and special interest groups through the Linguistic Society of America.

    Wunetu is a 2022 – 2024 Guild Hall Community Artist-in-Residence (CAiR). With support from the competitive Creatives Rebuild New York grant, Wunetu and filmmaker, Christian Scheider will spend the next two years developing the First Literature Project (FLP) work. The FLP aims to support the preservation of Indigenous stories, culture, and language by utilizing immersive 3D, VR, and holographic technology to create two immersive orations to be exhibited at Guild Hall in Spring 2024. Additionally, another component of this project will include a compilation of all materials utilized to help with Shinnecock language research to create a centralized database that will help with future research, as well as a video archive for the Padoquohan Medicine Lodge to document the interviews with Shinnecock Tribal members.

    firstliterature.org

    Photo: Phil Lehans

  • Christian Scheider

    Christian Scheider is an independent filmmaker and theatermaker living between New York City and the East End of Long Island. In addition to his original film and theater work, Scheider heads video production for The Sunny Center in Ireland, the world’s only post-exoneration residential community, and produces films for the Bard Prison Initiative, his alma mater. As a theatermaker, Scheider co-adapted, produced, and directed Ray Bradbury’s short story, The Murderer, and Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Galápagos into fully staged productions, and premiered with his collaborators an original slapstick comedy, The Summit.

    For film, Scheider has produced and directed the documentary The Sunny Center about death row exonerees, and co-produced and directed the documentary The Tree Prophet about a self-identified climate prophet, which won the Audience Award at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival. Scheider is in perpetual pre-production on the quixotic feature comedy film Animal Party about human-animal rituals all over the world, the original screenplay for which was honored by the Redford Center as part of their 2016 grants program. Scheider is currently writing and producing a limited series, Pullman, about the eponymous railroad baron and the epochal national labor uprising of 1894.

    https://www.christianscheider.com

    Photo: Phil Lehans

  • Ayim Kutoowonk (She Speaks)

    Ayim Kutoowonk (She Speaks) is a collective of three Indigenous Shinnecock Women, Cholena Boyd-Smith, Kaysha Haile, and Ahanu Valdez, working towards the reclamation and revitalization of the Shinnecock Language. Facilitated by Shinnecock Linguist, Wunetu Wequai Tarrant, and guest lecturers, Christina Tarrant, Conor McDonough Quinn, and Kaylene Big Knife, Ayim Kutoowonk works to bridge the divide between academic linguistics training and contemporary Indigenous culture, easing anxieties and building a language-learner focused pedagogy through multi-media projects and learning tools.

    The collective was founded in Spring 2023 as part of Guild Hall’s Community Artist-in-Resident program, sponsored by the Library of Congress’s Connecting Communities Digital Initiative, part of the Library’s Mellon-funded program Of the People: Widening the Path.

  • Anthony Madonna

    Anthony Madonna is an interdisciplinary collaborative artist, educator, and creative producer, Anthony strives to construct experiences that both critically challenge our individual beliefs and bring awareness to our responsibility as a community. 

    This ambition has led him to work in various roles and contexts: a music-theater workshop leader amongst diverse age groups and learning developments; a music practitioner within hospitals and rehabilitation centers; a concert and festival producer; a composer/performer of experimental vocal works; and a collaborative installation artist. Anthony has worked within institutions such as The McCarter Theatre Center, The Juilliard School, and the Barbican Centre. His projects have been shown and/or performed as part of the Tate Modern: Tate Exchange (London), the Barbican Centre’s Dialogue, UnFinished, and Curious festivals (London), Guild Hall of East Hampton (Long Island, NY), and The Arts Center at Duck Creek (Long Island, NY).

    Anthony currently serves as the Patti Kenner Director of Learning + New Works at Guild Hall of East Hampton. In this role he manages all Guild Hall (GH) initiatives on site, and in schools, the Guild Hall Teen Arts Council (the first paid teen arts program in the region), and Guild Hall’s three residency programs: the Guild Hall William P. Rayner Artist-in-Residence program; Community Artist-in-Residence program; and the Guild Hall & Bel Canto Bootcamp Resident Artist series.

    Anthony is a graduate of the Beth Morrison Projects Producer Academy, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (M.M. Music Leadership), The Juilliard School’s Professional Apprenticeship Program, and Westminster Choir College (B.M. Music Education & Vocal Performance).

    https://www.anthonymadonna.com

    Photo: Jessica Dalene Photography

Sponsors

The exhibition First Literature Project is supported by The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

Guild Hall’s Community Artist-in-Residence Program and collaboration with Wunetu Wequai Tarrant, Christian Scheider, and the Padoquohan Medicine Lodge was made possible through support from CRNY’s Artist Employment Program. Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY), a project of the Tides Center, is a three-year, $125 million investment in the financial stability of New York State artists and the organizations that employ them.

Additional project support was provided by the Long Island Community Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and an anonymous donor.

The formation of Ayim Kutoowonk was made possible through the Library of Congress’s Connecting Communities Digital Initiative, part of the Library’s Mellon-funded program Of the People: Widening the Path. The program provides funds to projects that offer creative approaches to the Library’s digital collections and center Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic or Latino studies.

First Literature Project’s VR installation was developed by Khora, a leading Scandinavian virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) production studio, creating cutting-edge content within multiple application areas.

Guild Hall’s Learning + New Works programs are made possible through The Patti Kenner Arts Education Fellowship, Vital Projects Fund, the Glickberg/Abrahams S. Kutler Foundation, Stephanie Joyce and Jim Vos, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Endowment Fund, and The Melville Straus Family Endowment. 

Museum programs are supported by Crozier Fine Arts and funding from The Michael Lynne Museum Endowment and The Melville Straus Family Endowment.  

Free gallery admission is sponsored, in part, by Landscape Details. 

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