A hybrid performance – part documentary, part conjuring, part performance art – MIND ON HEAVEN explores the boundaries of memory and embodiment. Using live audio and video mixes, original animation, archival texts, storytelling, and dance, two performers tune in to the vibrations of the late Dennis Palmer, a self-taught, avant-garde musician and painter of the American South. 

created and performed by Ben Williams and Brian Cagle

technical supervision by Max Bernstein

lobby installation by Christopher Myers and Sahana Ramakrishnan

MIND ON HEAVEN is an anti-consumerist enterprise.

In the generous spirit of Dennis Palmer, all performances are FREE and open to the public.

you can make a tax-deductible DONATION here.

MIND ON HEAVEN is supported by Axis Theater, Abrons Arts Center, The Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and individual donations.

special thanks to Randy Sharp and Brian Barnhart, Robin Blue, Eric Bayless-Hall, and Judith Elster.

performance history:

Axis Theatre, 1 Sheridan Square, NYC. September 2017

Wayne White's Wayne-o-Rama, Chattanooga, TN. April 2017

a secret loft theater in Soho. January 2017

work-in-progress showings at The Gershwin Live Series at Dixon Place Lounge and the CATCH series at The Invisible Dog.

We are looking for opportunities to tour this production through partnerships with producers, institutions, universities, and organizations. We are also interested in presenting this production along with workshops and open community dialogues. 

for more information, please contact Ben Williams: benswilliams@gmail.com

Ben Williams - is an actor, sound designer, and director. He has worked with Elevator Repair Service for the past 15 years. Acting credits include playing the lead role in Gatz at the Public Theater, and William F. Buckley in No Great Society. Also with ERS: Fondly Collette Richland; Arguendo; The Select (The Sun Also Rises); The Sound and the Fury; Shuffle. As a founding member of minor theater with Julia Jarcho, he has collaborated on 6 of her productions, including Grimly Handsome (2013 Obie Award, Best New American Play). He recently directed an designed Raw Bacon From Poland by Christina Masciotti, and designed and performed in This is the Color Described by the Time, a new show by Lily Whitsitt and Door 10. Other collaborators include Sibyl Kempson, Suzanne Bocanegra, The Wooster Group, New York City Players, Big Dance Theater, Kate Benson, and Lee Sunday Evans. He has toured extensively across 5 continents, to venues including the Noël Coward Theater on the West End, the Sydney Opera House, the Prague Quadrennial, and the American Repertory Theater. Awards: 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, 2012 Obie Award, and 2012 Lucille Lortel Award, all for sound design. www.benwilliamsdotcom.com

Brian Cagle - is a filmmaker - writer, director, executive producer - currently living in Chicago but originally hailing from the hills of East Tennessee. His films have been screened at a number of museums and film festivals around the US and particularly in the Southeast, such as Downstream International Film Festival, IndieGrits, and IndieMemphis. His 2003 documentary No Incident, No Service, based on the 1960 sit-in demonstrations led by Chattanooga high school students, is now part of the permanent collection of the Chattanooga Regional History Museum. In 2006, his short film Bikes + Bridges = Chicago won the top prize in Nokia’s “My Chicago, My Neighborhood” film competition. Commercially, he has shot on various projects including performances by Snoop Dogg and Animal Collective, and in 2012 created a music video for the band Volcano! which was featured on Pitchfork and Spin.com. Currently he is finishing his first feature film, Green Corn. He served as a board member for the non-profit Shaking Ray Levis Society, and has also worked in experimental theater in Tennessee and New York, including Richard Foreman’s Hotel Fuck. Cagle received his MFA in Film from Northwestern University. He has taught at Northwestern U, Northwestern’s satellite university in Doha, Qatar, and at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in Chicago, Illinois.

Max Bernstein - was born and raised in Buffalo, NY where he received his BA in Media Studies from UB. Bernstein received an MFA in Film and Studio Art from UC Boulder. He is an associate of the Wooster Group, media designer for Kaki King, media designer for Michelle Ellsworth, a member of The Flinching Eye Collective, a member of Friends Of The TANK, and drummer and video designer of the band Eupana. Bernstein’s personal works combine elements of cinema, theater, sculpture, performance, and new media, often exploring contemporary notions of representation and phenomenology through experimental narrative and technology. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Sahana Ramakrishnan - was born in Mumbai, India and raised in Singapore. She travelled to the United States to complete her BFA in Painting at RISD and has since been living and working in Brooklyn. Her work is a web of cultural interface. Mesmerizing mixtures of Hindu, Buddhist, and Greek visual mythologies weave together into a tapestry of pop cultural references that are upended by her exploration of identity, sexuality, and gender perspectives. Sahana’s work has been exhibited in The Rubin Museum, the NARS Foundation, Field Projects, Gateway Project Spaces, Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts, A.I.R. Gallery, Front Art Space, and more. She is currently a resident at Yaddo. She has been the recipient of the SIP fellowship at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking workshop, the Feminist-in-Residence program at Gateway Project Spaces, the Yale/Norfolk Summer program, and the Florence Lief grant from RISD.