Open Call: AnAkA

JUN 12, 2021
A multimedia performance that encompasses communal ritual healing through visuals, music, and movement
In The Works
Meet the artist

About this commission

AnAkA’s AKTIV8 Archive Portal preserves sacred consciousness and honors cultural wisdom practices through photography, music, dance, and herbal creations. By sharing an experiential window into this archive, AnAkA intends to provide a sacred space for the NYC community to come together in peace and give thanks to the Ancestors. As we collectively heal from the shifts of 2020, this space will serve to elevate our spiritual awareness and encourage cultural exchange.

In 2014, AnAkA began the AKTIV8 project, an archive protecting global cultural movements, processes, and rituals, which the artist sees as a work of ethnographic reclamation. AKTIV8 has since grown into a vast collection of stories of healers, artists and revolutionaries within the African, American, and Caribbean diaspora. By creating experiential portal experiences of this archive, AKTIV8 is a safe-space movement for communal cultural exchange and balanced wisdom preservation. Using their art as a compass, AnAkA will activate this sacred wisdom portal to intentionally heal the land and the people.

Creative Team

A photo of the artist AnAkA. She sits in light and shadow from a window while holding a drum.
Photo: Elizabeth Wirija.
A Black woman with curly hair to her shoulders speaks into a microphone during a performance. Behind her are tall windows with dusky sunlight and a video screen and members of the audience.
India Sky
AnAkA is a storyteller preserving spiritual omnipresence within the global rituals of creation. Born with the divine faith to create bridges between worlds, AnAkA’s storytelling approach is to honor the rooted intricacies of culture, highlighting sacred elements of human connection and conscious elevation. AnAkA’s mediums of creation encompass a movement entitled AKTIV8: a breathing archive revolutionizing cultural wisdom protection. AKTIV8 activates a world where sacred knowledge is empowered rather than erased. As a descendent of slavery and colonization, AnAkA recollects and protects ancestral healing practices by creating visionary films, photographs, movement, and music. AnAkA has showcased works and/or been an artist in residence in Ghana, Nigeria, the US, Kenya, Saint Lucia, Madagascar and South Africa. AnAkA is currently based in Brooklyn.
India Sky
India Sky’s interdisciplinary art practice of dance, acrobatics, music, writing, and storytelling investigates the invisible forces of power, ancestry, and spirit that shape her experience and engages radical Black queer imagination as a source for transformation, communion, homecoming, liberation, and survival. She is the founding artistic director of Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus, an all-queer-of-color performance company based in Oakland, California, which combines physical feats, Afro-diasporic dance forms, theater, and moving image in its productions. India received an MA in artist film and moving image from Goldsmiths University of London in 2020.
Victor Morris
Victor Morris’s credits include, in theater: La Jolla Playhouse. Moxie Theatre, San Diego Rep, Artists Rep (Portland), Portland Center Stage, Oregon Shakespeare, Fifth Avenue Theatre, Intiman, and Seattle Rep; in film: Sleepless in Seattle (dir. Nora Ephron), Restless (dir. Gus van Sant); Surviving the Game (dir. Ernest Dickerson); Black Circle Boys (dir. Matthew Carnahan); on TV: American Vandal, Criminal Minds, Grimm, and Leverage; and in music: San Diego Opera Ensemble. Morris is proficient in Lakota flute, soprano saxophone, flugelhorn, and the euphonium.


Shed Production Credits

Itohan Edoloyi, Lighting Design Coordinator
DJ Potts, Audio Design Coordinator
Erica Schnitzer, Stage Coordinator
Stefan Carrillo, Head Carpenter – McCourt
Stuart Burgess, Head Electrician – McCourt
Jim Van Bergen, Head Audio – McCourt
Adam Farquharson, Production Video

Sean Meehan, Assistant Video
Maytté Martinez, Lighting Programmer
Mike Diaz, Assistant Carpenter
Harry Platt, Monitor Engineer

Location and dates

This event takes place in The McCourt.
Saturday, June 12, 8 pm


The Shed’s spaces are all wheelchair accessible. This event takes place in The McCourt.

Assistive listening is available on your smartphone over The Shed’s free Wi-Fi network via the free Listen Everywhere app. Devices will be available for you to borrow at the ticketing desk if you do not want to use your own smartphone.

Download the Listen Everywhere app before you arrive.

This performance will include ASL interpretation with Deaf interpreters coordinated and supported by a hearing interpreter (provided by Leela Chaitoo and Brandon Kazen-Maddox).

To request live audio description of the performance, please email or call (646) 455-3494 at least 10 days prior to the performance date.

To learn more about what to expect during your visit and the performance, please read these descriptions.

If you have any questions or other requests, please email or call (646) 455-3494.

What to Expect

Arriving at The Shed

Thank you for planning a visit to The Shed. We’re looking forward to welcoming you for Open Call. Currently, the entrance to our building is through The McCourt door on the east side of our building adjacent to the Hudson Yards Public Square. The McCourt is a large performance space created when The Shed’s shell, or movable roof, rolls out to cover the plaza on the east side of the building. You can access this entrance from 11th Avenue and Hudson Boulevard, just one block north of 30th Street, or from the 34 St–Hudson Yards subway station between 10th and 11th Avenues.

As you arrive at The Shed, you will enter The McCourt through a wide, unobstructed entrance at the southeast corner of the building. It is close to the area where the High Line meets Hudson Yards at 30th Street. Most performances will take place in The McCourt. You will pass through this space to enter the rest of the building and access the Level 2 Gallery and The Tisch Skylights for the exhibition and other performances.

The shell of The McCourt is covered in a shiny, pillowy material, and its floor is level with the ground of the plaza. The Shed’s building, including The McCourt, is wheelchair accessible. You will scan your own ticket on your smartphone, with help if needed from a friendly visitor experience staff member standing nearby wearing a black t-shirt and ID badge on a purple lanyard.

Once you’re inside The McCourt you’re protected from the sun and weather but the space still feels open. The McCourt has 110-foot-high ceilings and feels airy with large wall panels lifted so the space remains open to the outdoors. You can feel the breeze and hear the activity on the plaza and on the streets in the distance, and light from the plaza and the Shops at Hudson Yards filters into the space after sunset.

The flooring in The McCourt is made of hard paving stones. They are in two shades of gray, and the lighter stones stretch across the east and west sides of The McCourt to form a large artwork by Lawrence Weiner that reads “In front of itself” in large letters. (This phrase is also the title of the work.) The letters on the east side of the space are partly covered by the Open Call stage so you can only partially read the phrase.

Seating in The McCourt is general admission, so you can choose from any available spot. The seats have armrests and thick cushions, and some are folding chairs that flip up as you stand up from them. If you would like help in finding a seat, a staff member at the entrance can guide you.

For any additional access needs or requests, please email or call (646) 455-3494.

During the Performance
AnAkA’s performance will last approximately 120 minutes. The audience will be seated in a circular configuration of concentric rings with a performance space in the center of the room. The performers will be positioned here on raised platforms. Projectors will stand at the outer edges of the audience circle playing original films. Nature sounds will play in the space as a sonic background throughout the performance, and the performance includes live music and a DJ set. For any additional access needs or requests, please email or call (646) 455-3494.


  • Running time: 120 minutes

Thank you to our partners

The Lead Sponsor of Open Call is
Support for Open Call is generously provided by

Additional support for Open Call is provided by Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation.

The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and the Shed Commissioners. Major support for live productions at The Shed is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund.