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Barak adé Soleil, SHIFT

May 06, 20231:00 pm - 5:00 pm

About the Event

On May 6, Barak adé Soleil premieres a new work, SHIFT, that amplifies the presence of Black neurodiverse and disabled bodies by occupying the museum’s spaces both digitally and physically.

SHIFT is a new commission comprised of a video installation in one of the MCA’s public stairwells, accompanied by a live performance. In the dreamlike video installation that runs from May 2nd through June 19, the presence of Black neurodiverse and disabled bodies infiltrates a spiral stairwell within the museum, where they are shown from many angles and at multiple scales, both at rest and as they shift. adé Soleil’s installation offers rest, and the everyday gestures of these bodies, as forms of political resistance for Black people—challenging the media’s often violent interpretation of these bodies as lazy or near death. In the live event on May 6, a promenade of performers traverse inaccessible staircases, recalibrating the flow of activity within the museum and challenging simplistic depictions of Black disabled bodies in real time.

About the Artist

Barak adé Soleil (he, they) has been part of the contemporary art scene since 1991. A progressive artist whose work speaks to the expanse of blackness as it intersects with disability, neurodiversity, and queerness, adé Soleil moves fluidly between creating, curating and supporting performance and visual art. adé Soleil is the founder of D UNDERBELLY, an interdisciplinary network of artists of color, and recipient of the prestigious Katherine Dunham Choreography Award given by New York’s AUDELCO for Excellence in Black Theatre. Other acknowledgements for creative work include a 3Arts Foundation Award (2016); a 3Arts Robert Rauschenberg Residency Fellowship (2017); and Art Matters Foundation Award (2017 and 2020). Presentations include from here to there for the 2018 exhibition Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois Chicago and a series of movements for both the 2018 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, Toronto, and VAE Raleigh’s Everyday series at Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh, North Carolina. At 205 Hudson Street Gallery, New York, the work markings premiered as part of the 2019 group exhibition Refiguring The Future. Internationally, adé Soleil has served as inaugural faculty for the 2021 Wildseed Centre for Arts & Activism Fellowship in Toronto, developed creative communal work at Montréal Arts Interculturels, cocurated The TALK for the Prismatic Arts Festival in Ottawa, and presented at the UK symposium New Possibilities for Performance in Birmingham, UK. Currently, adé Soleil is the inaugural Embodied Thinker-in-Residence for Candoco Dance Company in London, and mentors for the PEERS exchange program through Zurich University of the Arts.

Access Information

This performance is durational and will move through different areas of the museum, including the MCA Plaza and front steps, the northwest spiral staircase, and both public lobbies. The majority of the performance will take place in the spiral staircase on the west side of the museum’s first floor, and will be visible from various angles on multiple floors. The available space for viewers will change based on the location of the performance as it moves through the museum, and MCA staff will be available to facilitate the audience’s movement to maintain access to elevators, passageways, and stairwells. Portable stools will be available for visitors who wish to use them, where possible. ASL interpretation will be provided. Designated areas for wheelchair and mobility device users will be available on the staircase landings. The MCA Commons, on the museum’s second floor, will display a livestream of the performance as it takes place for visitors who wish to stay in one location. The livestream will also be available for visitors to join from their mobile devices from elsewhere in the museum. Live audio description will be provided: devices will be available at the museum and audience members may also use their personal devices to access the audio description through a URL provided on-site.

Closed captioning provided.ASL provided.Audio description available.Haptic elements used.


This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest GIG Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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Lead support for the 2022–23 season of MCA Performance and Public Programs is provided by Elizabeth A. Liebman.

Major support is provided by the Alphawood Foundation and by Julie and Larry Bernstein.

Generous support is provided by Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation; Ginger Farley and Bob Shapiro, Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation; N.A., Trustee; Susan Manning and Doug Doetsch; and Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund.

The MCA is a proud member of the Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District.

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