Census-Takers of the Sky

A performance and presentation, an observation of the night sky, “full of ghosts, tonight’s light emanating from astral bodies long vanished.”

With Constance DeJong 7:00 p.m. 264 Canal Street, 3W, New York, New York $7 suggested donation, free for membership

“Every night sky so nearly identical, oh, the antidote to wakeful fretful nights, it’s waning, it’s losing power,” writes Constance DeJong in her digital project “Nightwriters,” recently published by Triple Canopy. For Census-Takers of the Sky, DeJong will animate “Nightwriters,” in which an insomniac traces the night through her skylight, through a performance and conversation. The protagonist records encounters with revenant women astronomers. They include Annie Jump Cannon, known as the “census-taker of the sky,” who classified three hundred stars an hour at her viewing station at Harvard’s Observatory from 1896 to 1939. For these observers, a pen becomes an object of space travel. In a time when technology envisions life primarily as a “prospect of outer space,” DeJong notes, writing the “biography of space locates us in the past, in old old light.”

Census-Takers of the Sky and “Nightwriters” are part of Active Recollections, a series in which artists, writers, and researchers trace histories that are obscured, partially erased, or seemingly unassimilable.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to ensure that events are accessible and comfortable, we’ll open the doors at 6:30 p.m. and strictly limit admittance to our legal capacity. Please check Triple Canopy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates, as we’ll indicate if events are sold out.

Triple Canopy’s venue is located at 264 Canal Street, 3W, near several Canal Street subway stations. Our floor is accessible by elevator (63" × 60" car, 31" door) and stairway. Due to the age and other characteristics of the building, our bathrooms are not ADA-accessible, though several such bathrooms are located nearby. If you have specific questions about access, please write at least three days before the event and we will make every effort to accommodate you.

  • Constance DeJong is an artist, writer, and performer, who produces fiction, language- and image-based work for performance and theater, audio and video installations. She has permanent audio installations in Beacon, NY; London; and Seattle. DeJong has twice collaborated with Tony Oursler on live performances; was a collaborator on Super Vision, with The Builders Association & dbox (2005); librettist for the opera Satyagraha, with composer Philip Glass (1979). Her first book, Modern Love, was reissued by Primary Information and Ugly Duckling Presse in 2017. A series of audio works consisting of modified vintage radios programmed to play spoken word performances of new texts (2016–18) was exhibited at Art Basel, 601 Gallery, and the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts. The multi-part work NightWriters includes a digital project published in Triple Canopy, as well as drawings and audio works exhibited at Bureau Gallery (2018).