A. Sef & Akeema-Zane: Void Spa

May 20-June 13, 2023

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

Ways to Experience the Project

Events are subject to change. With the exception of drop-in hours, we ask the public to reserve a time online for one or more of the following public engagements. Since slots are limited, we ask that visitors commit to attending and cancel in advance if their plans change. All events are free. 

Individual or Small Group Void Spa Visit
Thursday – Sunday: 10am-1pm, 3-6 pm

Reserve your 1-hour slot for a private visit during open hours, as an individual or group of no more than three people. The artist(s) will guide you through the full sensory installation adapted to your needs. Followed by conversation to explore their evolving practice.

Reserve a Slot

Opening Reception
Saturday, May 20, 2-5 pm

View the installation, hear sound by a²z and enjoy cake and light refreshments. Sef will facilitate a Crying/Laughing (wailing) circle.

Register for the Opening Reception

Closing Performance & Reception
Saturday, June 10, 5-8 pm

Join the artists and their collaborators for tea as they share the emergent rituals of Void Spa accumulated over several weeks. Live sound facilitation by Kamra and Alzena.

Register for the Closing Performance & Reception


Void Spa

Drop-in Hours

Thursdays – Saturdays, 1-3 pm

Docents will set you up for a self-guided installation walkthrough and set of reflection questions.

Drop-in Void Spa Service

Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26, 6-7 pm

Join the artists for playful group or individual approaches to devotional practices of tending to community space. This may include methodical or repetitive movement scores, rearranging objects or improvisational games.

Drop-In Silent Sit @ Sunset

Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26, 7 pm-sunset

Close the evening at Void Spa with a silent contemplative facilitation. Participants will arrange themselves comfortably in the space to watch the sunlight wane.

Individual/Couples Spa Treatment (60 min.)

By appointment only.

Thursday – Sunday: 10 am-1 pm, 3-6 pm

Reserve your 1-hour slot for a private visit during open hours, as an individual or group of no more than three people. The artist(s) will guide you through the full sensory installation adapted to your needs.

To make an appointment, sign up no later than 10 am the same day at recessartscheduling.as.me

While we do not require proof of vaccination, use of KN95, or N95, or KF94 Masks (age 2+) are required for all visitors. One will be provided if other types of mask are worn. While not required, we encourage guests to take a rapid test before visiting the space.


Void Spa aims to challenge and subvert the extractive and appropriative use of Black and Brown spirituality within the luxury wellness industry. Drawing on the archaeological notion that ritualistic mourning in early human societies signified the emergence of significant cultural epochs, the artists posit that feeling into immense grief–rather than luxuriating in comfort–can prepare us for new social forms. To design Void Spa, they draw from familiar rites in their own Afro-Caribbean and Midwestern Great Migration lineages, as well as scientific research on sonic frequencies used for healing human tissues.

Inspired by the church-like sanctity of underground clubs (ex. music, drag, dungeons, contact sports) for racialized, queer and Disabled people, the artists hope to challenge dichotomies between “noble” pursuits of spiritual transformation and “wild” pursuits of subcultural catharsis. They challenge the idea that recreational or risky activities are meaningless, unholy or hedonistic. Within the Judeo-Christian and imperial context of the United States, the cave is a site of resurrection, excavation and theft. The artists ask what happens when we spend more rather than less time touching death, disorientation and mystery in the cave.

Their Session space will encompass three zones: Rubble Grid, Noise Bath, and Trash Burial. Rubble Grid is an intentional collection of New York City detritus drawing on the practice of geomancy.  Noise Bath is a black box where visitors can recline in total darkness or near darkness and experience intense sound or vibration, consisting of a 20-minute sound piece composed by Akeema-Zane that will continue to evolve with visitor feedback. Haptic transducers and headphones will be used to create “big” sound and intense vibration, while preventing hearing loss and offering precision to d/Deaf & HoH participants. Trash Burial is a debriefing space where the artists or docents will assist visitors to reflect, regulate and exit the experience through comforting tactile props and conversation.

Access Note: The space of Void Spa is designed to feel intense, like a rite of passage, but the emphasis remains on psychological safety and physical comfort. In order to gauge access intimacy with a wide variety of visitors, those who RSVP for individual or couples sessions will engage in an intake process with the artists before entering the space. Void Spa will attempt to conform to the access needs of each individual.

Void Spa is part of Recess’s program, Session, which 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 Artists

A. Sef (they/them) is a somatic educator, access worker and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Sef organizes strategies for intimacy and collaboration based on sensory awareness. Drawing on dance, writing and design tools, they foreground pleasure in the project of self-determination. Sef is also a co-founder of Autosomatica, a relational bodywork practice prioritizing services for BI/POC, T/GNC, Disabled, queer, migrant and working class individuals. Sef has performed, taught and supported through The Brick, School of Making Thinking, Abrons Art Center, Arts on Site, Triskelion Arts, Mark Morris Dance Center, Gibney Dance, Bronx Museum, Chocolate Factory Theater, Judson Memorial Church, Minka Brooklyn, Roulette Intermedium, The Shed, Whitney Museum, UC Santa Barbara, Rutgers University

Akeema-Zane (she/her) is an artist and researcher working in the mediums of literature, film performance and sound. a²z is the arm which houses some of the artists’ music/sound practice which includes deejaying, composition and scoring/sound design. Her sound design is credited in Nile Harris’ “Testify (The Worst Is Yet To Come” (2023; commissioned by Under The Radar and Ping Chong and Company), Shea Moisture’s Pride campaign (2021), Mia Wright-Ross’ “A Moment To Breathe (2021; commission by MAD MUSEUM), Naima Ramos-Chapman’s short film, “In Place of Monuments” (2021) and Art 21’s short doc “Doreen Garner on Her Own Terms” (2021). With collaborator Rena Anakwe, the artist has developed works that combine her literary, film, performance and sound practices including “Sonic Escape Routes: Shall We Fly? Or, Shall We Resist?” (2020; commissioned by Weeksville Heritage Center) and “Our Mourning Due: A Funeral Sermon” (2022; commissioned by SCAD Museum of Art’s Evans Center for African American Studies). She is currently serving as board chair of The School of Making Thinking and on the board of Cucalorus Film Festival.

Recess is supported, in part, by Alloy Development, LLC, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Art for Justice Fund, Art Matters Foundation, The Andy Warhol, Foundation for the Visual Arts, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Bloomberg LP Philanthropy, Brendan Dugan, Brooklyn Community Foundation, The Cy Twombly Foundation. The David Teiger Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Destina Foundation, DFW Fund, ELMA Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Frank E. Clark Charitable Trust, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Jane Hait, Jewish Communal Fund, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Lawrence & Idell Weisberg Foundation, The Luce Foundation, Kickstarter, MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewitt, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Community Trust, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Odyssey Fund, The Pinkerton Foundation, Progressive Philanthropy Group, The Prospect Hill Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Salomon Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, The Shapiro-Silverberg Foundation, The Silverweed Foundation, Sozosie Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Tikkum Olam Foundation, VIA Fund, Visionary Freedom Fund, Wescustogo Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation