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Heavy handed, we crush the moment

Heavy handed, we crush the moment is a new commission by Last Yearz Interesting Negro, the performance project of London-based artist and dancer Jamila Johnson-Small.

Heavy handed, we crush the moment is performance as event. A new work by Last Yearz Interesting Negro, performed with Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, acts as the host each night for a changing combination of performances from invited guest artists (keyon gaskin or Antonija Livingstone & Mich Cota) and DJs (Elijah* or Planningtorock). Each night’s line-up is different and the work is always moving within the unknown.

Heavy handed, we crush the moment is an evening meditating on infection and the ways in which we are porous, always influenced and transformed by our environment. An attempt to think about ways of coexisting without assimilation and dominance, Last Yearz Interesting Negro’s work swells and subsides around the guest interventions as the audience shift orientation throughout the evening. 

Ideas and instances of decomposition – as necessary, as violent, as healing – run through the work. The soundtrack is created from commissioned music by seven different artists, all working from a poem by Last Yearz Interesting Negro. This poem features in all performances in their ongoing sequence of works known as FURY (including Fury1 and FuryZ). These performances are concerned with boundaries, seeking to question or re-locate the spectacle of the dancing body and intimacy in performance. The experience of being overwhelmed is used as a material and strategy for opening space and inviting movement – of thought, of body, of feeling, of space/time as frequency/vibration.

Here, the poem is ripped apart and rearranged, rearticulated and reimagined by the voices and minds of +TETRA+, ABENÇOADA, Rebecca Bellantoni, Andrew Kerton & Hannah Holland, David Panos, Verity Susman and Young Nettle. These tracks form a landscape and atmosphere, through the sound design by Josh Anio Grigg. The performance environment is created in collaboration with design collective Studio Augmenta and lighting designer Jackie Shemesh, with additional set and costume design by Agf HYDRA.

Last Yearz Interesting Negro and Muñoz-Newsome receive acupuncture at the beginning of each performance; the needles used during this practice stimulate the meridian pathways of the performers, offering a vision of interior space and facilitating movement with and from these internal lines of power.

Conceived as a work for now – navigating entanglement, complexity, emotionality and movements of power within bodies – Heavy handed, we crush the moment focuses on the sensory impact of the live encounter for performers and audience alike. This performance commission is a loose response to our current exhibition Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art.

You are welcome to sit or stand in the space, using the set as seating. Chairs are available on request.

Artists and Collaborators


Commissioned Artist
Last Yearz Interesting Negro

Last Yearz Interesting Negro with Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome

The performance by Last Yearz Interesting Negro with Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome incorporates the following artwork:
Candice Lin and Patrick Staff
Hormonal Fog (Study), 2016-2019
Hacked fog machine, dried herbs, herbal tincture, wood, plastic, miscellaneous hardware. Dimensions variable.
Courtesy of the Artists, François Ghebaly, Los Angeles and Commonwealth and Council.

Barbican Staff
Lotte Johnson, Associate Curator
Jon Astbury, Assistant Curator
Bernie Whittle, Assistant Producer
Caroline Hall, Production Administrator

Many thanks to Rhoda Boateng, Eloi Guri, Joe Hornsby, Jake Manley at Void, Cuan Roche and Steve Snooks at SubPac, Phoebe Collings-James and Zinzi Buchanan.

Guests Artists 
keyon gaskin, Antonija Livingstone & Mich Cota

Elijah*, Planningtorock

Sound Design
Josh Anio Grigg

Sound Commissions 
+TETRA+, ABENÇOADA, Rebecca Bellantoni, Andrew Kerton & Hannah Holland, David Panos, Verity Susman, Young Nettle

Lighting Design
Jackie Shemesh

Set Design
Studio Augmenta

Costume Design and Hanging Structure
Agf HYDRA (HYDRA Sartorial Latex Uniform Offsprings)

Mary Feliciano

The Pit