Shawn Shafner

Photo by Bridget Badore for the 14th Street Y | @bridgetbadore
Photo by Bridget Badore for the 14th Street Y | @bridgetbadore

Shawn Shafner is an artist, educator and activist. Creator of The People’s Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org), he has catalyzed conversation about sustainable sanitation from NYC’s largest wastewater treatment plant to the United Nations. Shawn’s solo show An Inconvenient Poop was a Time Out NY Critic’s Pick and won him the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival Award for Overall Excellence in Solo Performance. Other major POOP works include the feature documentary Flush, family musical Innie / Outie, and monthly episodes of SHHH: The Poopcast (aka Shit and Shame with Shawn). His new show, Assume the Throne, is currently touring living rooms across the USA.

Shawn was a 2005 Spielberg Fellow, 2014-15 LABA Fellow, 2014-15 iLAND/LMCC resident (featured in their book, A Field Guide to iLANDing), 2017 Global Social Impact House fellow through UPenn’s Center for Social Impact Strategy, a 2017 Performing Arts Legacy Fellow, 2018 National Fellow through the Environmental Leaders Program, and is a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation’s ROI Community.

Outside of The POOP Project, Shawn pursues work that invites human interaction and connection. Community-based projects include The Clap (with Laura Silver), art walks for Jane’s Walks NYC and Elastic City (featured in their forthcoming book), and Latch/Attach commissioned by the World Policy Institute and Fourth Arts Block and exhibited at Cooper Union. An accomplished theatre artist, Shawn’s performances have graced New York Stages from Madison Square Garden to Joe’s Pub, and venues around the world including the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, and Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland. He has sung with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center alongside Marisa Michelson’s Constellation Chor (of whom he is a founding member), and spent the summer of 2017 in residence at the Art Monastery Project, directing a new play about white supremacy. Shawn teaches movement through the lineage of acclaimed choreographer Tamar Rogoff, tells original stories for young children and their families, develops arts-integrated curriculum, and is devoted to manifesting a world of creativity, mindfulness and joy.

Shawn in his 2015 award-winning solo show, An Inconvenient Poop, directed by Annie G. Levy. Photo by Ellise Lesser
Spring 2018, Shawn created a two-part performance, beginning at the Soil Symposium hosted by the University of California at Santa Cruz, and ending at the Follow the Flush Wastewater Walk in Santa Cruz produced by Fictilis. During The Sum of My Soil Part 1: Realization of the Grotesque Body, Shawn baked his own body weight in mud cakes, and led participants in contemplation of the body’s form and impermanence (traditional Paṭikkūlamanasikāra meditation). In The Sum of My Soil Part 2: Earth Witness, Shawn retold the story of Siddartha Gautama becoming the enlightened Buddha by naming the earth as his witness, and thus claiming his right to enlightenment. Visitors were reminded that they, too, are worthy of the space allotted them, and each person was gifted a mud cake. Sprinkled with native seeds, audiences were invited to plant the cakes or allow them to dissolve in a final gesture of embodied impermanence. Photo by Timothy Furstnau.
SHARE
Previous articleBillie Tsien
Next articleJill Freidberg

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

2 COMMENTS

  1. […] Shawn Shafner is the founder of P.O.O.P Project. The People’s Own Organic Power Project began in 2010 when Shafner was on tour with a children’s show. Like many people, Shafner grew up with toilet shame which led to withholding and ultimately self-inflicted constipation. Flash forward, as an adult Shafner got over this and became a proud pooper and was even able to advocate for himself while on tour with an ensemble cast with whom he had to live in very close quarters. His many projects center on diverse topics but poop takes precedence as a theme including how lack of sanitary facilities endanger a large portion of the world. To hear more about his thoughts on this universal human need as well as his life and work, listen to the complete interview. […]

  2. […] Shawn Shafner is the founder of P.O.O.P Project. The People’s Own Organic Power Project began in 2010 when Shafner was on tour with a children’s show. Like many people, Shafner grew up with toilet shame which led to withholding and ultimately self-inflicted constipation. Flash forward, as an adult Shafner got over this and became a proud pooper and was even able to advocate for himself while on tour with an ensemble cast with whom he had to live in very close quarters. His many projects center on diverse topics but poop takes precedence as a theme including how lack of sanitary facilities endanger a large portion of the world. To hear more about his thoughts on this universal human need as well as his life and work, listen to the complete interview. […]