Skip to content
Recess homepage


Living Relics

Ogemdi Ude and Sydney King

A photo of Ogemdi Ude
A photo of Ogemdi Ude

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, this project will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

January 5–February 16, 2021

Visitor info
To make an appointment, please sign up no later than 10 am the same day at

Read our safety guideline

Sydney King and Ogemdi Ude’s Living Relics draws out a shared sense of loss and understanding of death that hasn’t yet been physicalized in the body or manifested in thought. King and Ude’s Session examines the precarity of BIPOC bodies, amplified by instances of death and loss that enshroud daily BIPOC life. To address this shared loss, the project offers a variety of meditative spaces, from leading participants through individual dance mediations, to creating plaster molds that involve waiting and breathing, to developing their photographic images in the darkness of the darkroom. How might we allow death to be part of life? The work contends with our bodies and the weight we feel in our chests, in our shoulders, in our abdomens. In what ways does grief shape us? It’s about tracing the body and allowing those traces to gently fall away.

When visitors come into the gallery, the artists will engage them in a private movement practice, followed by a guided self-casting with plaster. By laying strips of plaster gauze and warm water onto their bodies, visitors can create molds of themselves that help to externalize the process of grieving. After visitors depart, the resulting molds will be left to dry in the space. The molds will later be photographed in conjunction with their reflections, conceptualizing an alternative method of seeing and understanding these leftover traces of the body and of personal loss. Ude and King will develop an altar space in the front of the gallery where these molds and photographs will accumulate throughout the Session. This growing collection will begin to paint a picture of our fundamental interconnection.

Throughout the Session, Ude and King will offer kits for remote participation in the plaster casting process. The kits will contain plaster gauze, a small vaseline tub, photographic paper for making lumen prints, plastic sheeting for the floor, and QR code to a recorded movement and mold making guide. For in-person participation, visitors will be able to schedule individual appointments to meet with Ude and King at the gallery following a voluntary health screening and observing social distancing and mask protocols.

Session invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

About the artist

Ogemdi Ude

Ogemdi Ude is a Nigerian-American dance artist, educator, and doula based in Brooklyn, New York. She creates performances that investigate how Black folks’ cultural, familial, and personal histories are embedded in their bodies and influence their everyday and performative movement. She aims to incite critical engagement with embodied Black history as a means to imagine Black futurity. Her work has been presented at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, Gibney, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, Lewis Center for the Arts, La Mama Courthouse, and for BAM’s DanceAfrica festival. She currently serves as Head of Movement for Drama at Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan and is adjunct faculty in the Dance MFA at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Engagement Grantee, a member of Gibney’s 2020 Moving Toward Justice Cohort, and a 2019-2020 Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU Resident Fellow. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English, Dance, and Theater from Princeton University.

artist website

Sydney King

Sydney King is a Brooklyn-based artist working primarily in large format photography. Her work explores the physicality of photography, its relationship to the body, and its potential to create new realities and histories. King graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 2017 and attended the Yale School of Art Norfolk residency in 2016. Her work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography Museum, the Broodthaers Society of America, the Dean Collection, Chashama, Site:Brooklyn, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and others. She completed a residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in July 2019 and is part of the founding cohort of Cereus Art. In Spring 2021 she will be teaching “Sensitive Cameras,” a workshop centered on establishing a topological relationship between the camera body and the bodies it represents, via the Penumbra Foundation.

artist website


See all

On view: May 9–June 19, 2024

The Meeting Place

Helina Metaferia

A site for transformative gatherings by and for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) women (cis and transgender)

March 7–April 19, 2024

Lavendra/Recovery Project

E. Jane

fueled by a reverence for the artistic legacy of Black American R&B divas

November 11, 2023–January 25, 2024

Session & Assembly Collaboration: BARRO

Marcela Torres and Assembly

Torres in collaboration with Assembly will explore the history of New York through its soil and natural clay deposits.