Alice Henry and the Collapse of the Western Plateau with Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Thomas Bartlett, DM Stith, and Sam Amidon

Alice Henry and the Collapse of the Western Plateau with Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Thomas Bartlett, DM Stith, and Sam Amidon

Illustration by Elizabeth A. Povinelli.

Alice Henry and the Collapse of the Western Plateau with Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Thomas Bartlett, DM Stith, and Sam Amidon
Live performance

Admission $15
Doors open at 7, music starts at 7:30pm

January 25, 2024, 7pm
172 Classon Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux on Thursday, January 25 at 7pm for Alice Henry and the Collapse of the Western Plateau, a performance by Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Thomas Bartlett, DM Stith, and Sam Amidon.

Alice Henry and the Collapse of the Western Plateau is a tragedy centered on the disavowed violence of extractive capitalism. It is set in a “post-collapse” world, where the distorted remnants of European sciences, industries, theologies, and armed forces have fallen. Some people are trying to find their way out, even as the world they find themselves in has scrambled the meaning of surface and sky, up and down, here and there. Some are doggedly holding tight to the practices that caved in the earth. Into this world enters Alice Henry, a small Cassandra-like child found miraculously alive in an incinerated zone. As Alice Henry is dragged across various locations, probed for whatever psychological, cartological, mineralogical, and theological information lies within her, she chants the Myth of the Devouring. To some the myth is a psychological and cartological map for what caused the great collapse and, if reengineered, might be a blueprint for their escape. For others the myth is either a worker manifesto or a theological heresy. 

The sound design draws on Gregorian and Byzantine chants, as well as United States Christian devotionals, with elements referencing machine and earth sounds—including massive excavators, MRI machines, sounds of the inner earth. Neither apocalyptic nor redemptive, Alice Henry and the Collapse of the Western Plateau stages the stubborn sadism of western forms of knowledge, politics, and economy, and the irreducible difference between myth and rationality, as all and sundry take a bite out of Alice Henry.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University. Her books include Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism (2016), Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism (2011), and The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism (2002). She is also a founding member of the Karrabing Film Collective.

Thomas Bartlett, also known as Doveman, is an American pianist, producer, and singer, known for his work with Yoko Ono, St. Vincent, The National, Rhye, Norah Jones, and many others. He produced Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell, and three songs for the film Call Me by Your Name including “Mystery of Love” (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2018); and for the final season of Game of Thrones he produced Florence & the Machine’s “Jenny of Oldstones.” 

DM Stith is an American singer/songwriter and arranger with a haunting, experimental approach to songs. Born in Buffalo New York, Stith spent his formative years surrounded by music—his father a college wind ensemble director, mother a pianist, and two sisters’ opera singers—after initially turning his hand to writing, illustration, and graphic design Stith began his own music career. An introduction to kindred musical spirit, Sufjan Stevens, led to him being signed to a recording contract with Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty label. Stith subsequently spent a year writing, arranging, and recording—performing nearly all of the music on what would become his first full-length album Heavy Ghost.

Sam Amidon is an American folk artist, originally from Vermont, US. He is a member of the Icelandic music collective/record label Bedroom Community, and is a multi-instrumentalist. In addition to as singing, Amidon plays fiddle, guitar, and banjo. He has released a string of acclaimed albums on the Bedroom Community and Nonesuch labels, ranging in theme from interpretations of traditional Irish fiddle pieces to old-time melodies and tales from traditional American folk history. His albums draw on old work songs, ballads, hymns, and other sonic artifacts from the past, reimagining them in bold, creative new ways to breathe new life into them and recontextualising them alongside original compositions. Over the years he has collaborated with Nico Muhly, Ben Frost, Eyvind Kang, Aaron Siegel, and Leo Abrahams (Regina Spektor, Frightened Rabbit), among others. 

e-flux Sound is curated by Sanna Almajedi.

For more information, please contact

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the event space and this bathroom.

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