New and Unknown Thing: A Performance


Join us for a performative event inspired by Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies, transposing the 14th century text and ideas into the present days, performing alchemy between the real and unreal and synthesizing dreamscape and materiality.

Stories of cities are often told through material reminiscing that can feel intangible, the sort of materiality of sidewalks cracked, cathedrals of glass, dust and rust. The stories of all ladies in all cities, and “City of Ladies” happens through material languages and material symbols with wonderful specificity.

Whether it’s through a lady’s trinket, her sewing, her tools of domestic labor, we see and feel her wisdom through her artifacts. What better way to tell a story than through these things.

De Pizan's book is not only a taxonomy, a compendium, an encyclopedia, but a census. She marks the lives of as many ladies as she could because if she were to perish, who else would know to tell.

Imagine it is the year 1347, you are most likely dead from plague. In the unlikely event you lived and went on to reach maturity and bare children, imagine inhabiting a world half empty. Not only is it half empty, it is cloistered, sequestered, where you go and who you see is limited not only by technology, but also fear.

What was a lady to do all day but reinvent the world, brick by brick, lady by lady.

Written & directed by Soffi Stiassni & Jill Spector, mirrors by Olivia Booth, with performances by Nora Beckman and Andrea Tzvetkov.

Writer, producer and artistic collaborator Soffi Stiassni manages the music project Sundaes. She has contributed poems to Night Gallery’s Night Papers and the Amanda+James American Gothic accompaniment book. Her most recent play No Place Like, a Downtown Reparatory Theater Company production, was staged at the Pico House in Los Angles with support from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Soffi graduated from Mount Holyoke College in with a B.A. in English Literature and attended the University of Iowa Young Writer’s Program. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Jill Spector is the founder of In Favor Of, a creative consultancy that works closely with individuals, groups, and businesses to grow their creative projects. Jill Spector's sculptures suggest mimicry and roles to be played, placing the viewer into relationships between bodies and objects. Spector’s sculptures and collages were part of Made in L.A. 2012 at the Hammer Museum. Her work has been included in the exhibitions Biomorphic Forms In Sculpture at the Kunsthaus Graz and Drawling, Stretching and Fainting in Coils… at the Pinakothek der Moderne and Nationaltheater in Munich, Germany. Jill Spector’s photography has been featured in publications including Valeria Napoleone’s Catalog of Exquisite Recipes, and published by the MAK Center. Following this project, Spector created The Editor’s President: Models and Mock-Ups for Elaine May, Nora Kaye, and Eileen Gray, an installation for the vitrine at JOAN in Los Angeles. Her works are included in the Zabludowicz Collection, London and The Kunsthaus Graz. In 2015, Jill Spector and Bret Nicely founded TARP, an ongoing series of performances and installations in and around their empty pool in Altadena, California.