Ed Mock died in 1986 at the height of the AIDS epidemic; his story continues to engage contemporary conversations. Purnell states, “I believe Ed Mock is the missing choreographic link between Alvin Ailey, Anna Halprin, and Bill T. Jones. He is my direct predecessor, creatively. We – artists, black queers, Bay Area dancers, gay men – have to extract our collective past and create the historical record.”
Purnell reimagined the work and life of Ed Mock through archival research, interviews, choreographic interpretations, music, and film. The new and re-created choreography significantly expands Mock’s publicly accessible archives for future dance audiences. Purnell wrote, choreographed, produced and directed the final film.
Also during his residency, Purnell wrote a chapter dedicated to Fire Island for his book, 100 Boyfriends.