Haus of Dust by: Gabriel Torres
2020 Artistic Residency Recipient
Haus of Dust is a new coming-of-age fantastical docu-mixed media installation by Gabriel G Torres. The story follows a young man, G, writing a story about eight spirits meeting in a bar called “The Abysm”. In this bar, spirits and souls gather to release their last words before they can move into the afterlife.
Gabriel Torres and crew (POTCP) are the latest Artistic Residency Recipient at the Loisaida Inc. Center. Their aim was to create and develop the project titled; Haus of Dust; is also a multimedia campaign aimed at supporting and projecting the realities of a Queer-Latinx community that is struggling with substance abuse, physical and emotional addiction, redemption and rehabilitation through an interdisciplinary artistic lens.
The team behind the Haus of Dust project are comprised of multi-disciplinary creatives: Gabriel Torres (Writer & Director), Dani Sanchez (Designer), Aaron Salazar (Producer) and Josh Friedman (Cognitive Developer) as well as the rest of the People of the Chaotic Period collective; Allie Marotta, Vinny Eden Ortega, Fernando Moya, Salome Eggas, Anthony O’Conell, Vanessa Rappa, Samantha Herrera, Raquel Rivera and Kirsten Kelso among many volunteers and supporters. They will be working closely with a vast group of social workers, neuroscientists, and queer community leaders to activate this campaign with three central objectives:
– Create an online platform to provide resources, data, and personal stories to engage participants and de-stigmatize conversations surrounding drug abuse in the community.
– Design garden area to be built inside of Loisaida Inc. Center where we they will host a variety of social outreach functions that serve as a therapeutic and educational oasis.
– Develop an interactive digital platform and possible on-site immersive theatrical experience that conforms to social distancing guidelines and explores drug addiction, trauma and survival through a personal Queer-Latinx lens.
This project is arriving at a crucial time, as Covid-19 has presented unique challenges for those struggling with substance abuse. This project is aimed to serve as a tool for outreach that not only addresses the problems the Queer-Latinx community face with the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but also provides safe haven.
Our collective understands that human connection is crucial, and it is specifically needed in our targeted communities.
The center of this campaign will take place in an online hub where community members are encouraged to share their stories. Whether posted anonymously or not, sharing experiences and creating a judgment free conversation is an effective way of helping to de-stigmatize conversations around drug abuse and build strength between community members.
We will be partnering with the Oasis Wellness Center at the Latino Commission on AIDS to advocate for their INSPIRA pretreatment program.
During monthly meetings, this program helps participants find housing and job opportunities, brainstorm and educate themselves on different topics of inclusivity, racial bias in the queer communities, and next steps.
This partnership will engage in resource sharing and the pre-treatment program will be featured on our interactive online platform.
In collaboration with our partners at OSS Project, we will be creating a sustainable green space and indoor garden at the Loisaida Inc. Center. Through the creation of this space, we will be providing our community a lasting resource.
Fresh produce is only the beginning; community gardens open opportunities for education on sustainability and nutrition, a greenspace haven from the city, and provide a productive alternative to drug use.
Through a partnership with Teatro Yerbabruja in Long Island and the National Queer Theater, we will involve their network of artists in the creation of Dust Vanishes Away as The Godseeds Spread as performers, design assistants and production assistants.
We are committed to upholding the values of our community by providing opportunities to learn new skills virtually and/or in person. We continue to seek new collaborators in the creation of the production to widen our community.
During the length of the Haus of Dust Campaign, we will be documenting all aspects of the project including outreach, community engagement, and the creative process. Our residents at Loisaida Inc. will be our creative collaborator in this endeavor helping us produce a documentary.
By advocating for our community to seek medical intervention when needed, we are looking to collaborate with a wide variety of medical programs. We are looking for partners in rehabilitation, mental health, LGBTQIA+, etc where we can refer people in need to seek programs, testing, rehabilitation, and more.
Currently, we are in consultation with the National Institute on Drug abuse to help provide our campaign with data relevant to our outreach to queer Latinx drug users and recovering addicts. By elevating and increasing access to this information, we can spread awareness, offer resources, and normalize conversations about drug use in queer Latinx communities.
People of the Chaotic Period is a new multidisciplinary theater collective of emerging performers, theater makers and activists. POTCP originated in March 2020 and is thus irrevocably marked by the fallout of Covid-19. We began gathering virtually to envision an inclusive story-making process where the narrative is devised through the diverse personal experiences of the collective. POTCP is committed to community outreach and is poised for future growth, with the mission to activate an annual social campaign project raising awareness to socioeconomic, health, and social justice issues facing our community.
People of The Chaotic Period are: Gabriel G. Torres, Allie Marotta, Dani Sanchez, Vinny Eden Ortega, Fernando Moya, Salome Eggas, Anthony O’Conell, Vanessa Rappa, Samantha Herrera, Raquel Rivera and Kirsten Kelso.
Open Community Engagement Events:
Breath of Harmony through Chorus
November 7th – December 5th, 2020
What: In collaboration with National Queer Theater, Haus of Dust is excited to organize and host a chorus workshop. This workshop is open to all who are willing to participate and can commit to participate in the project. Facilitated by Vanessa, who plays the role of the Master of Ceremonies (MC) in Dust Vanishes Away, the workshop will focus on utilizing breath and presence to spiritually connect to the self and others, rather than skill. By omitting the necessity for skill and prior training, the workshop will foster harmony with the self and others and create an inclusive space for creative expression and inspiration. Footage and recordings from this workshop will be used in Dust Vanishes Away. The workshop is limited to six participants.
When: Beginning the week of November 7th to December 5th, Vanessa will meet with two of the six participants at a time for forty-five minute sessions on each of the following dates: November 7th, November 14th, November 21st, November 28th, and a final group session with all six participants on December 5th. Times are still to be determined, but the final session will have the participants record a demo that will be used in the project.
Where: Breath and Harmony Through Chorus will be virtual, with the fifth and final session being in person at The Loisaida Center, located at 710 E 9th Street, New York, NY, 10009. Social distancing guidelines will be followed, with mandatory requirements of participants wearing a mask and taking their temperature upon arrival to Loisaida.
Creativity Through Shrines
December 1st through December 6th, 2020
What: A part of inspiration in Haus of Dust and Dust Vanishes Away derives from the presence of spirituality and god-like forces and their influence and guidance in the project. Haus of Dust is excited to explore these themes through our shrine making workshop in collaboration with The LGBT Center. Facilitated by the design director of the Haus of Dust, Dani, participants will help create life-size shrines for each character to be used in the production. By creating the shrines to be the same size as the actors themselves, the final product aims to engage their presence beyond their physical role in the project. The goal is to directly involve and include the community in creating elements of the production that call for collaboration and whose creation can act as a means of healing, whether it be spiritual, mental, or emotional. All artists welcome.
When: December 1st through December 6th. Participants will be divided into two groups of five, with the first group coming in for the morning session from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, and the second group coming in for an afternoon session from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Where: Creativity and Collaboration Through Shrines will take place at The Loisaida Center, located at 710 E 9th Street, New York, NY, 10009. The workshop will be in person, with guided videos by Dani to be distributed by Revolución Latina.
We acknowledge the support provided by Stonewall Community Foundation. THE LOISAIDA ARTISTIC RESIDENCY PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED, IN PART, BY PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY COUNCIL.