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Kaneza Schaal

Artist: Kaneza Schaal
Case Study:

Performing Artist Case Studies

Keywords: borders, digital intimacy, intercultural, language, mapping, memory, migration, pattern, refugee, scoring, scriptwriting, participation, storytelling
See Also:

ICPP → Kaneza Schaal

Related Materials

A lullaby performed in Cartography, a performance created by Kaneza Schaal & Christopher Myers, 2019. Courtesy of the Artists.

A series of digital maps from Cartography:


New York

Washington, D.C.

Cartography (2019), created by Kaneza Schaal in collaboration with Christopher Myers. Courtesy of the Artist.


A lullaby sung in multiple languages migrates from one voice to another—forming a layered space that breathes. A series of digital maps with a lattice-like web of crimson red lines, animate across geographies, picturing various territories in changing green shades. This is a story of multiple migrations.

"For audiences of all ages, CARTOGRAPHY centralizes young people as vital viewers of contemporary performance. Created by Kaneza Schaal in collaboration with artist/writer Christopher Myers, the production draws on their work with refugee youth in the United States and internationally.

This story begins in a waiting room. Four young people have set out to make a new home. They must fill out the paperwork for the new country they are entering. It is hard to fit the fullness, complexity, and contradictions of their lives into the little boxes. The performance moves between the waiting room and scenes that imagine new possibilities for how to answer the questions. CARTOGRAPHY explores the histories of movement and imagination that brought us all together at the theater and the maps we have yet to draw.

CARTOGRAPHY addresses the commonalities of migration and the concrete and metaphorical mapping at the center of worlds in motion. Audiences are invited to consider how their personal histories of movement, whether recent or many generations passed, have brought us to this historical moment of the largest mass migration in human history. As part of the performance, audiences use a mapping tool on their own cell-phones to illustrate their personal histories of migration. These illustrations are then submitted and displayed on a map projected in the space. The following images are screenshots of the application in action, and come from performances of the work in Abu Dhabi, Cleveland, New York, and Washington D.C. As images, they serve as portraits of the audience's actual personal histories of migration, their counter-narratives, and their imaginations." —Kaneza Schaal


Kaneza Schaal works in theater, opera and film and is based in New York City. Schaal's work has shown in many contexts from NYC basements, to courtyards in Vietnam, to East African amphitheaters, to European opera houses, to US public housing, to rural auditoriums in the UAE. Creating performances that speak many formal, cultural, historical, aesthetic, and experiential languages she seeks expansive audiences. Domestically her work has shown at Brooklyn Academy of Music, LA Philharmonic, The Kennedy Center, The Shed, Walker Arts Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, REDCAT, The New Victory Theater, New York Live Arts, Performance Space 122, New Orleans Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, PICA, and On The Boards. Schaal received a Guggenheim Fellowship, Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, United States Artists Fellowship, SOROS Art Migration and Public Space Fellowship, Ford Foundation Art For Justice Bearing Witness Award, and Creative Capital Award. External links: