Projects + Collaborations

Guest Writer and Workshop Leader – “Flota de Tierra Firme; Works in Landscape” – Gobernadora Island, Veraguas, Panama – 2018 – In-Process

Jennifer is currently working on a series of site-responsive ‘fieldings’ in poetry and prose informed by the poetics of landscape, place, and engagement with the natural world. In collaboration with visual artists, Yvés and Valérie Leblet, an interchange of practices embracing cultural history and craft will be explored; local wood species, clay, and stone culled for collaborative installations will be woven to a process of written notation. Gobernadora Island, located in the Gulf of Montijo, is a wetland of international importance, a link between marine, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and a renowned nesting habitat for migratory birds. Working themes include notions of dwelling, kinetic gesturing, the unnotated, vitality, land-soundings and tidal-song, and the ways in which alterity is accessed and retrieved in poiesis.

Photos: Jennifer Spector; Photo 2: “Stoneflights” circular by Yves Leblet and Jennifer Spector

Collaborator for “Genesis Tree, New York” by Valerie Hird. Exhibited at Nohra Haime Gallery, New York, NY – January – May 2016

As a collaborator for Genesis Tree NY, visual artist Valerie Hird’s 10’x14’ tree assembled from 4,000 hand-folded paper forms from around the world, Jennifer contributed 100 original poem-origami cubes, made from 1950s surveillance maps of Panama, donated to her by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Conceived as missives from the Panamanian landscape, these poems spoke to Hird’s theme of the four elements which Jennifer built upon by adopting a Paul Celan reference to the poem as a “flaschenpost” or message in a bottle. Poems typed or written on cut map fragments were worked into origami cubeforms and sent back to New York to be carried within the body of the Genesis Tree. Recordings and photographs of the poems prior to embarkation document Jennifer’s process.

Poems are also in this way en route: they are making for something. For what? For something standing open, engageable, for an addressable You perhaps, for an addressable reality.
– Paul Celan

Photos 1, 2: Valerie Hird, Photos 3-9: Jennifer Spector

Local Correspondent, Panama – Performance Studies International #21-Fluid States-Performances of Unknowing: Interoceanic: Isthmus/Zone/Canal – January 2015

PSi #21 Fluid States, a transiting, interdisciplinary symposium which traveled across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific throughout 2015, brought artists and scholars together to reimagine performance traditions from diverse locations. As local correspondent for Panama, Jennifer’s reportage of performances was published to the “ship’s log,” a virtual tablet across countries incorporating the conference dramaturgy of Islands, Vessels, and Docks in its metaphorical framework. Themes addressed in the Panama symposiums included the geopolitical history of transoceanic trade, sovereignty and cultural migration.

“Reflection on Panama Caribe – a Performance Propelled by Ela Spalding”
Fluid States: Performances of Unknowing PSi #21- Interoceanic: Isthmus/Zone/Canal

“Migrant Places, Patterns and Dwellings”
Fluid States: Performances of Unknowing PSi #21-Interoceanic: Isthmus/Zone/Canal.

Photos: Jennifer Spector; 1, 2, 3, 6, 7: Performance “Panama Caribe,” Photo 4: Performance “The Hitchhiker”

Writer-in-Residence, Poetry Workshop Leader, and Co-binder of “Suelo-vol.1” Chapbook for the “Suelo” Project – an Estudio Nuboso Arts and Human Ecology Residency & Platform for Creative Exchange – Arrimadero, San Lorenzo de Veraguas, Panama – January – May 2014

Over 10 days on a high sliver of land in Panama, twenty artists, scientists, and architects collaborated in response to the theme of soil and territory, and the geological significance of unique sites in Arrimadero, Veraguas. Jennifer’s workshop proposed place-responsive poetries written off landscape from chosen locations. Other workshops with the community of Arrimadero included composting, the science of local soils, ecotourism initiatives, natural architectural structures, and geological walks over ancient pillow lava, attesting to the formation of the isthmus and its historical role as a land bridge for the migration of terrestrial animals and plants across continents. “Suelo” (vol. 1), a limited-edition, hand-sewn chapbook from Estudio Nuboso, for which Jennifer was co-binder and copy-editor, documents the residency in English and Spanish editions, and in PDF:


Photos 1, 4: Anne Dillon, Photos 2, 7: Christ van Leest, Photo 3: Claire Pentecost, Photos 5, 6, 8, 10: Jennifer Spector

Writer/Artist-in-Residence at Investigación Colectiva: Alma Performática, Panama City, Panama – January 2012

Investigación Colectiva, a dance/arts platform based in Panama City activates collective and individual performance in dialogue with the public. During the residency, Jennifer choreographed and performed in “Un Puente Entre La Vida y La Muerte,” a short piece for five dancers, exploring passing realms and liminal spaces in poetic fragments and movement. Word-scrap poetries on paper strips were distributed as talismans to audience members.

Photo 1: Marigalfa Fotografía, Images 2, 3: Video performance stills: Said Isaac, Photo 4: Jennifer Spector

Visiting Writer and Workshop Leader for The Darién Poetry Sessions: “First Poems” – Grades 1-6, Agua Fría No. 2, Darién, Panama – June 2012

Invited by a local Peace Corps volunteer, Jennifer traveled to the province of Darién to introduce young students to poetry and lead them through primary responses to creative writing. Students developed “First Poems” drawing from personal narratives; phrases and words associated with their unique landscape were used to build an arc towards personal storytelling. The recitation and enactment of poems was explored, with students sharing work with their peers. Class teachers were encouraged to participate as well, and later adapted aspects of Jennifer’s process into their classrooms.

Photos: Jennifer Spector