Featuring the song-poems of Quechua poet and activist Irma Alvarez-Ccoscco, Anonymous Ensemble’s Llontop celebrates indigenous Andean culture and language. The piece is an interactive installation of Peruvian objects and a live film performance for both in-person and virtual audiences followed by a lively conversation with the artists about the work and about Quechua empowerment.

Photos by Paola Vera

The Llontop installation features a display of illuminated Peruvian heirlooms including some purportedly pre-Columbian Moche pottery. The installation invites each audience member to use a mobile device to frame and “see” the cultural artifacts using cloud-based machine learning technologies. Moments of digital recognition cause sound clips to stream to the audience member resulting in an individualized audio journey through the installation that helps to contextualize Irma’s poetry in the second portion of the work.

Irma’s Quechua song-poems present perspectives of various Andean women and are set in specific moments in history–from the brutal invasion of the Andes in 1532, through centuries of cultural survival despite harsh colonialist oppression, and on up to the present-day burgeoning of Quechua pride and advocacy. The poems are sung and spoken by Irma and supported by Anonymous Ensemble’s signature “live film” aesthetic with multiple camera feeds, projections, a musical soundscape, and a simultaneous trilingual live stream of the performance to online audiences throughout the world. Each performance is followed by a conversation between the Llontop artists and audiences in real space and throughout the Andean diaspora via Zoom. Ultimately, Llontop is a powerful community experience that bridges divides between North and South America and honors the people of the Andes, their language, their culture, their history, and their future.

For the development of Llontop, the core members of Anonymous Ensemble (Lucrecia Briceño, Eamonn Farrell, Liz Davito, and Jessica Weinstein) are joined by director Ashley Tata, composer Paul Pinto, technologist Adrian Cameron, and poet Irma Alvarez-Ccoscco. Irma is a Peruvian Quechua language poet and digital language activist who came to the United States via a fellowship at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Download Full Llontop Info Sheet

Llontop was made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, by NALAC, by Net/TEN, and by the A.R.T./New York Small Theatres Fund with Production design support provided by the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York). The production has been developed through generous residencies at Royal Family Theater, Coffey Studios, Mayday Space, Eastern Mennonite University, The Princeton Quechua Workshop, The Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College, and two ASAP Residencies at Pregones/PRTT.