Drill Meditations, On Air Fest Audio Residency Performance, 2018

On Air Fest Audio Residency Performance. Wythe Hotel. Brooklyn, New York. March 3, 2018.

In Buddhist philosophy, it is taught that there are two forms of suffering in life. This is explored in The Arrow Sutta: The Buddha once asked a student, “If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful?” The student replied, “It is.” The Buddha then asked, “If the person is struck by a second arrow, is that even more painful?” The student replied again, “It is.” The Buddha then explained, “In life, we cannot always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. And with this second arrow comes the possibility of choice.” Drill Meditations is a project that remixes drill music (the trap subgenre from Chicago, Illinois, popularized by Chief Keef) to create meditative sound works that serve as the score for choreographed boxing drills. The performative “drills” are inspired by Qigong, the Chinese system of coordinated movements and breathing, and Capoeria, the Afro-Brazilian martial art. The scores are influenced by post-minimalist and ambient music. Meditation techniques have been proven highly beneficial for people who have experienced trauma, loss, and violence, which is the emotional terrain of drill music. Drill Meditations is an effort to create a reaction, or “second arrow” to heal the wound of the first.


The 2018 Audio Residency Performance of Drill Meditations was facilitated by Nola Hanson and Nicky S. Smith, members of the Trans Boxing Collective. As members of the trans and QTPOC communities, we are deeply invested in exploring the ways in which embodied practices such as boxing, dance, and meditation, can be used to transform suffering and achieve collective liberation. 

How To Take Care, 2018

How To Take Care is a collaborative work by Luan Joy Sherman and Nola Hanson of Trans Boxing Collective. This performance explores methods for DIY self-care, how we “make do”, and the process of transforming trauma into strength and endurance. “Binding” is a form of chest compression practiced by trans people who experience dysphoria in regards to their chest. Safe binding methods do exist, but without access to a community or financial resources, many trans individuals “make do” with ACE bandages for long periods of time, despite discomfort and the risk of broken ribs and tissue damage. How To Take Care is about our collective practice of adapting, inventing, and adjusting survival methods. Often, what we do to survive and what we do to take care of ourselves, are not the same thing. Survival tools are what carry us to a place where we can thrive and learn how to take care.

How To Take Care, ACRE Projects. Chicago, Illinois. February 6, 2018. 

The Trans Boxing Collective, 2017- present 

The Trans Boxing Collective, formed in July 2017, facilitates an interdisciplinary approach to the sport of boxing. In addition to providing training for trans and gender non-conforming people, the collective collaborates with artists, community organizations, and activists to explore the intersectional landscape of boxing. The Trans Boxing Collective has held workshops and performances at the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, Bed Stuy Pride, The Center for Anti-Violence Education, On Air Fest 2018, and ACRE Projects in Chicago.

The collective has been featured in: The Bushwick Daily  (Brooklyn's First Exclusively Transgender Boxing Class)
and Buzzfeed (This Boxing Club Helps Trans People Embrace Their Bodies

Photo by: Teresa Mathew

Golden Gloves, 2017

Daily News Golden Glove Semi-Finals, March 23, 2017.
Glen Cove High School, Long Island, New York

Five Shoeshines (This is Not a Race), Art in Odd Places: RACE, 2016

This project, a re-exploration of a previous performance, Bryant Park Shoeshine,  explores aspects of identity, power, and labor through the ritual of shoe shining. It was performed during the public art festival Art in Odd Places: Race, in August 2016. I received five shoeshines at five different locations across fourteenth street in Manhattan:

14th Street and Ninth Avenue

14th Street and Sixth Avenue

14th Street and Union Square

14th Street and Second Avenue

14th Street and Avenue C

Bryant Park Shoeshine, 2016 

Bryant Park Shoeshine is a collaborative performance influenced by Situationist International movement of the 1960's. For this work, I bought a pair of all-white Air Force 1's and received a shoeshine at the stand on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. The performance presents an opportunity for spectators to question what is happening, both metaphorically and physically, through the exchange.

Deluxe Cheeseburger with Fries, 3/23/17

Documentation by: Nicole A. Kouri