Summer Residency 2015 Course Preferences
Please rate the courses you would like to see offered from 1-5 in terms of your interest (5 being most interested) by Tuesday, Dec. 23 on this survey.
Mobility, Networks and the Politics of Exchange
The concepts of social transformation and intercultural dialogue are deeply rooted in the artistic practices. In the new global context, art and creativity offer a different way to think about the community, with its local/global connections and intercultural relations. In a situation where plurality and complexity are dominant, elements such as “mobility”, “encounter”, “connection”, “network”, “intercultural exchange” and “dialogue” become increasingly necessary and somehow inevitable in order to compose new ways and new forms of coexistence. “Art”, as the French philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud said, “is a state of encounter”. The links between art, mobility and globalization; the reconfiguration of the urban, social and cultural landscape; the need for cooperation and participation; the transformation of cultural identities; and the will to build transcultural networks, will be some of the issues analyzed and discussed in the course.
Holding onto our bodies, our stuff, our identities makes it more difficult to face the final letting go. We will explore cultures that let go of loved ones in aesthetic and satisfying ways via you tube, internet research which will then be presented as performative research in class. We will interview people outside of class, finding their techniques for letting go. Assignments: research funeral rites, create a performance using something learned from that research, interview someone from another culture about how they practice letting go. This course explores the concept of memory, using my Transart Summer 14 Reading as Art course as a starting point. On the first day, I will try, through a written piece, to reconstruct what happened between the 4 and 8 August 2014, and to pinpoint the exact moment a year ago. Some of you may have witnessed it first hand and your memories may or may not differ from mine. Some of you will have parallel experiences of Transart and, for some of you, it will be new and will have to trust my story.
This course explores the concept of memory. On the first day, I will try, through a written piece, to reconstruct what happened between the 4 and 8 August 2014, and to pinpoint the exact moment a year ago. Some of you may have witnessed it first hand and your memories may or may not differ from mine. Some of you will have parallel experiences of Transart and, for some of you, it will be new and will have to trust my story. Following from this, we will analyse and discuss Alain Resnais film ‘Last year at Marienbad’, through the psychoanalytic view of memory. We will read key texts of Freud (‘Screen memories’, ‘On remembering, repeating and working through’, ‘A disturbance of memory on the Acropolis’, ‘ instructions in analysis’) and we will discuss memory events such as dejá vu, false memory syndrome, misrememberings, amnesia and traumatic forgettings and afterwardness (also called après-coup by Jean Laplanche or retroaction). We will explore key works on memory and trauma such as those by Sharon Kivland, John Stezaker, Nicky Bird, Irina Werning, Ellie Harrison, Mona Hatoum, and Adrian Piper, as well as artists that work within the archive. Through this exploration, my aim is to make you aware of both a sense of trajectory in your work and, at the same time, to develop a mindfulness for the present moment. Assignment examples (course only)I will ask you to also produce a narrative piece about what happened to you last year and to post it into a collective blog aimed at (re)creating August 2014, to construct a memory that resolves a problem (a screen memory), to understand, interpret and build someone else’s memory, to remember something forgotten (or devise a strategy for it, such as repeating or working through) and to dream of Marienbad, a place where none of us has been to but which we will visit.
Obsessions and Possessions
This course explores neuroses that come from obsessing over something, possessing something (or many things), or being possessed by something. Related to this are the concepts of spirits, ghosts, collectors, phobias, philias, compulsions, repetitive acts, hoarding and the disposal of possessions. Most of these issues relate to art in one way or another and there are countless examples of artists that are either possessed or obsessed. The course will also look at the relation between obsession, possession and perversion, especially when related to objects. Using psychoanalytic theory on neuroses as a starting point, the course will examine behaviour, and a connection to objects and thoughts in practice. What is the creative potential of obsessions and possessions? As neuroses mainly come from a conflict between mind and body, and reality and pleasure, these relations will be discussed. The course will work at the points where theory – mainly psychoanalytic – meets practice and will aim to refine your articulating and critical capabilities both in thinking and making. The works of Andrzej Zulawski, Andrei Tarkovsky, Christopher Nolan, Sophie Calle, Paul Noble and Sue Webster, Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, Lauren Adams, Cildo Meireles, Yayoi Kusama, Song Dong’s work ‘Waste Not’, Michael Landy, Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin, Piero Manzoni, Marcus Harvey and the practice of tarantism will be discussed, amongst others, in class. Assignment examples (course B only)I will ask you to bring your most treasured possession, a talisman, something important to you in object form, to keep it on you for the whole week, to look at it, analyse it and see who possesses whom, to make a work around it; to explore strategies obsessives use (collections, repetitions, focus, avoidance) and apply them to your work; to become possessed or haunted by something or someone (including, perhaps, a nostalgic time); to devise a fetish object and to put yourself in the picture in relation to it.
Inventing and performing ‘selves’
This workshop is a multimodal and immersive engagement demanding rigorous commitment to inventing and performing ‘selves’. By investigating embodiment beyond what is ordinarily a conditioned and fundamentally unchanging biological body and representation of a static ‘self’, you will elaborate extensions of your bodies, your voices and any other media that you perform your art practice through. Much like the ‘prepared piano’, you will add on, manipulate, aggregate, stratify, pixilate and magnify bodies (including hyper, quasi and speculative bodies), and voices (including sounded, recorded, textualized, and amplified voices). Assignment examples (course only) 1. Walking and Talking – attach a small audio recording device to your person near enough to your mouth to pick up discreet sound. Determine a walking path that lasts exactly 30 minutes (or designate start/end points within that time frame). With the first step, begin talking and don’t stop for the entire time (much like an automatic writing exercise where the pen does not leave the page). Transcribe into a word doc (including any non-text based voicing and interactive exchanges) and trade with someone else, with each person now performing the other text in an extended translation. Videotape your extended version and show to class. Examine emerging forms of performative interpretation and the migration of meaning to propose future extensions. 2. Prototyping – Each day, attach a body modifier object to your person to perform routine tasks. Wear for at least one hour to explore potentials for new affects and actions. Capture problematic nuances of inhibition, risk, impossibility, pleasure, inefficiency, etc, in a written journal. Include drawings, diagrams, photo documents that both reflect and project your findings. You may choose to innovate along the same lines each day in traditional prototyping fashion, or develop a range of prototypes that open up pathways for future development. Upload to workshop blog each day and share through discussion. Bring in a selected body modifier prototype at the end of the workshop to demonstrate.
On the Mark – Explorations in Drawing Practice
This course explores the mark – the act of evincing images, ideas and other communications in material form through a studio/seminar inquiry into representation, its projective possibilities and contradictions. Traditional drawing methods will be explored from domain specific and domain general frameworks, as well as extended practices that consider drawing in all of its myriad forms: sketching, diagramming, mapmaking, by hand, via computer programs, through prosthetics, solo and collaborative experiments. Non-traditional and unorthodox methods of mark making from the expansive approaches found in contemporary art, public domains, as well as in ritual customs outside the realm of what might be considered art (in Western terms) will be researched. In each area of drawing consideration will be given to aesthetic, instrumental, psychological and cultural perspectives will include the recurring question, “What is a mark and what is its status?” Assignment examples (course B only)1. Body Marks – Develop a catalogue of marks that your body makes with as many different parts and surfaces, and with as many marking making materials as possible each day of the workshop. Document and archive as an extension of the mark making. Select a set of marks and refine the medium and the process; share your findings in the most appropriate ways. 2. Collaboramarks – develop an array of collaborative partners from duo to infinite to explore mark making as a set or unit (that may or may not be convergent). Develop a system of mark making with your unit that produces a distinct methodology and outcome. Perform your drawing in a public place. Decide whether your process becomes open to interventions, remains a closed system, etc. Gather knowledge, document in accordance with the setting, report findings to workshop group.
Critical theory/critical acts
Critical theory is about the unraveling of streams of repressive discourses and hierarchies in our contemporary world, and it has been performance artists who have fostered ruptures and fissures in everyday life. This seminar ponders the concept of “cultural worker” and laments the domain of theory by exploring the intersections between critical theory, art, and cultural politics. Students engage in the ruptures, the fragments of knowledge, and the making sense of the residue of “social change” while not forgetting the problematization of the aesthetic. They consider interdisciplinary artists such as Thiong’o, Fusco, Ana Mediata, Tania Bruguera, David Hammon, Jay-Z, Pope.L, and Lady Gaga with critical theorists such as Fanon, Butler, Foucault, Phalen, Munuz, Moten, Adorno, Barthes, and Benjamin. This seminar is based on close readings of theoretical texts and connecting those texts with contemporary performance artists.
Can we fail failure?
Abandoning expectations that rub up against our preconceived notions of succeeding, this 3-day workshop will create a space in which to explore the potential of our own seemingly failing (and flailing) process while attempting to shed light on the contradictions and absurd opinions that surround this often misunderstood state of being. Assignment examples (course only)Assignments and readings will be based on the various social structures, visual artists, filmmakers, performers, musicians, etc., whose work sets out to question, examine and debunk failure. Daily screenings and assignments to be carried out in collaborative groups and/or individually might focus on failing the one or more of the seven virtues and/or the perception of the aural / visual / olfactory senses. This process-based workshop will focus on the development of aesthetic skills critical to the creation of photographic and time-based works involving still and moving image, sound, and performance. Slide/Film lectures and readings will provide a deeper context for daily, hands-on studio work as we consider theoretical and practical problems inherent to interdisciplinary forms.
Naming the Invisible
Short description course or talk BIs invisibility only contingent on its visibility? Do we assume that ‘things not seen’ lack a physical response to what we otherwise know and understand as existing in time and space? This workshop will investigate the concept of invisibility as a physical presence and explore the power behind what is revealed through the silent voice, and disengaged presence of what is hidden or vanishes before our eyes.
Assignment examples (course B only)Notions of invisibility throughout various political/social/spiritual/scientific landscapes will be explored. Andrei Tarkovsky, Tacita Dean,’ Italo Calvino, and the consequences of HG Wells, and/or Jose Saramago are potential trajectories into discussion/ assignments surrounding invisibility. Required Goals: This process-based workshop will focus on the development of aesthetic skills critical to the creation of photographic and time-based works involving still and moving image, sound, and performance. Slide/Film lectures and readings will provide a deeper context for daily, hands-on studio work as we consider theoretical and practical problems inherent to interdisciplinary forms.
Encountering the subjectivity
This one-day workshop will look at practices that are driven by the notion of encounter and subjectivity in artistic work. Among the topics that will be considered are loyalty, intimate relations and difference, trust, singularity, primal affects, and how to imagine the subject in the artistic work. This will entail thinking about testimony, memory, joy, faith, belief, artworking, transference, trauma and connectivity in different ways in order to ask what transcendence might mean today. In order to access this complex territory, we will read and discuss Bracha Ettinger’s matrixial theory and her concepts: com-passion, wit(h)nessing, copoiesis and co-emergence. The students will look at artistic practices that are exploring this systems, like: Tanja Ostojic, Tris Vonna-Michell, Kate Tempest, Spartacus Chetwynd etc. The students will be required to contemplate a site-specific response based on personal memories and encounters. This module seeks to encourage research into the use of experimental text in contemporary performance in order to inform the creation of an original text. It aims to widen student’s vocabulary for use in collaboration and the critique of performance work and problematise the use of text in performance in order to engage participants in a process of exploration, experimentation and invention. Through a practical and critical study of existing texts, performances and their own practice, students will develop an understanding of a broad range of textual practice and engage in a practice-as-research methodology. In this module students will engage with the following ideas and practices: Contemporary Performance Writing and how to create text for performance. Adaptations and deconstructions. Theories of textuality, authorship and deconstruction. Development of scoring and documenting practices and appraisal of multiple approaches to text generation and their related outcomes. We will investigate the idea of experimental practices of writing and play with collaborative practices, directing improvisation, automatic writing, automatic speaking, instant composition and initial approaches to scoring. This course is suitable for students from a range of disciplines to experiment with text through the lens of performance practice.
Making Routes: Performance and Journeys
Short description course or talk BIn this three day workshop students would get an opportunity to explore the relationship between performance and journeys and consider this in relation to their own arts practice. We would begin by critically analysing recent case studies of artists working with performance and journeys (such as Blast Theory, Dog Kennel Hill Project, PVI Collective and others) before beginning our own embodied explorations into walking the city as a creative and politicised practice. Many recent experiments in this area position audiences as interventionists on the streets and encourage a deviation from the norm in order to re-imagine the social codes of the city and participant-spectators encounter potentially transformative interactions with public spaces. In Performance and the City (2001), Hopkins et al. suggest the city is a product of ‘pervasive and routine performance’. Building on Henri Lefebrve’s Writings on Cities (1993) and The Urban Revolution, (2003) we will discuss mapping as a politicised performative practice that enacts participants ‘right to the city’ and we will consider our everyday journeys between home and work as potentially open to “nomadic shifts”. This workshop examines the potential of immersive arts practices that explicitly explore issues of social engagement on the streets as an impetus for wider social change and asks how we can explore and re-code urban spaces through our everyday journeys.
Chance as mediator or collaborator
This three day practical workshop begins with an examination of the historical origins of chance as an acknowledged mediator (or collaborator) in the artistic process before moving on to examine the ways in which artists have incorporated chance occurrences in their work. We’ll then move on to considering the workings of chance in our own individual practices and conduct an ‘audit’ of the workings of contingency and control in our respective processes, in order to ensure that the two are functioning in a well-balanced and considered way. We’ll also be examining the difference between chance and randomness, and exploring how ideas from physics, philosophy and art intersect and inform our understanding of these concepts. Artists and theorists who inform this workshop include William Anastasi, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Anthony Eagle, Max Ernst, Helen Frankethaler, Eva Hesse, Margaret Iverson, Ellsworth Kelly, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, Dieter Roth, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Kazuo Shiraa. Each day consists of a longer individual or collaborative practical assignment, backed up by presentations and class discussions of relevant artworks and readings, along with shorter exercises intended to bring the implications of the readings into sharper focus. Assignment examples: 1. Drawing Blind Together (30 minutes – icebreaker) working collaboratively on the large roll of paper on the floor draw with your eyes closed for 30 minutes. Interact with those around you who are also working in the same way and allow the chance occurrences, thoughts and sounds that surround you to inform your passage of your line across the paper. Negotiate movement through the creative and physical space without speaking as far as you can. Don’t open your eyes. 2. The Audit (2 hours including presentation to class and collective discussion). Working in pairs, and using the documentation of your practice which you have brought to class, take the time to examine and discuss in detail the points in your own artistic process at which there is an opening to (or openness to) chance. Similarly, investigate the points at which you exert explicit (or implicit) control over the process. After these discussions prepare a short report or summary of the key points for each other and present these to the class. 3. Opening and closing (3 hours including presentation to class and collective discussion) Using the key points developed during The Audit, revisit or rework an earlier example of your own practice and re-work or re-imagine it in a way which (depending on the results of The Audit) either opens the work further to chance or brings chance under greater
Art versus Life
Art has always reflected life, but from the 19th Century onwards this relationship has changed, blurring these categories in a way that sometimes seems only to reinforce them. This course asks the question ‘what can we gain from examining a number of different historical and contemporary manifestations of this dialogue?’ In this three day workshop we’ll revisit the roots of this change in industrialization and the advent of photography (and contemporaneous changes in French literature) and then we’ll consider how this dialogue has manifested historically and how it continues to be played out in a variety of media and contexts in contemporary practice. We’ll engage with the writings of Karen Barrad, Claire Bishop, Nicolas Bourriaud, Michel de Certeau, John Roberts, and William Seitz, and look at work by artists including Pina Bausch, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Duchamp, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Meret Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso, Rikrit Tiravanija, and Arte Povera. We’ll explore the origins of the art/life duality, the political implications of the Readymade, pedestrian movement in choreography, relational aesthetics and social practice. We’ll also be considering how these expressions of the art/life couplet might inform work in other media. Each day consists of a longer individual or collaborative practical assignment, backed up by presentations and class discussions of relevant artworks and readings, along with shorter exercises intended to bring the implications of the readings. Assignment examples: 1. Pedestrian movements (45 minutes exercise) – following on from our examination and discussion of the role of ‘pedestrian [or everyday] movement’ in Pina Bausch’s choreography, working in pairs with the pedestrian movement phrases that you have brought to class, experiment with the manipulation of these phrases – how do they change when they are examined this way? Do they become more or less performative as the exercise progresses? What role does repetition play in this? What happens when you juxtapose or combine your two phrases? Can you find a way to render them truly pedestrian again? How? 2. Readymania (2.5 hours assignment) using an everyday object that you have bought to class for this purpose, find a way to allow this object to tell the story (after John Roberts) of the people whose productive labour shaped and controlled its entry into the world. 3. Harmony/Disharmony (3.5 hours assignment).Bearing in mind the different perspective on social practice that we have examined this morning (Bourriaud versus Bishop) either individually or in groups develop two versions of an artwork/performance/activity that is rooted in some form of social practice. One version should aim to develop a consensus around an issue or situation; the other should seek to promote a discordant or unresolved discourse around the same issue.
Commuting into Community
opens a conversation on the legacy of activisms in the burgeoning fields of socially engaged art and social practice. Similarly it serves as a point of departure for a critical reflection on the most pressing issues raised by the work of social practitioners within the arts: artists’ visions versus participants’ expectations; long-term commitment with collaborating communities and its demands on the artist; treading the fine line between empowering or fetishizing disenfranchised individuals and groups; and the cooptation of the “radical” for aesthetic purposes, among others. This seminar evolved out of a of panel I launched at El Museo del Barrio in 2014, part of “Playing with Fire: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions,” an exhibition that I curated for this organization: http://www.elmuseo.org/playing-with-fire/ A second chapter of this panel will take place in 2015 at the Grand Army Plaza Library in Brooklyn. Assignment example: Develop a “sketch” for a socially cooperative action that takes into consideration the needs, desires, and expectations of your very own community as opposed to those of a distant one. You are encouraged to be as local as possible. Pay close attention to issues of race, class and gender informing the day to day of the place you call home and those who share it with you. Render your idea in the medium of your choice.
This research and studio workshop takes Bertolt Brecht’s alienation effect—in short, the making strange of something such as a character in a play in order to empower the spectator to respond with greater critical awareness—as both a course of study and a point of departure for creative and conceptual experimentation. We will explore the place of art and culture within society and politics through Brecht’s own writings and productions as well as through the reflections of his contemporaries Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. A whole host of additional past and contemporary radical figures will guide our inquiry: Pina Bausch, Isaac Julien, Yvonne Rainer, Jean-Luc Godard and J.P. Gorin, Harun Farocki, General Idea, Pussy Riot, James Benning, Charlie Chaplin, Kurt Weill, and Lotte Lenya. Retracing Brecht’s footprints in Berlin, we will visit sites and meet with representatives from such integral entities as the Brecht House and the Berliner Ensemble. Throughout the week participants will realize a series of art experiments culminating in a collaborative multimedia performance. Assignment examples: 1. Find a site or scene in the Berlin environs that captivates you (deciding on your own how far you wish to range from the TI locale) and spend some time studying its particulars. “Sketch” what you observe through your preferred mode, albeit drawing; writing a list, outline, or narrative account; audiovisual recording; or what have you. Once your initial reactions are delineated, explore and discover ways to look anew at your chosen site or scene with the aim to spark a lively dialog between yourself as observer and the observed. Techniques of Distance: In small groups conceive, develop and rehearse a brief performance on a topic of choice—whether within a fictional or nonfictional realm or an interplay of the two. Once you have your initial framework, imagine three techniques for creating a more critical spectator. Incorporate these distancing tools into your production and stage the entirety for the workshop. Note that you are free to work with the medium or combination thereof of choice.
Toolbox for the public realm
The workshop intend to discuss change, and the changing possibilities for Art production in public space. Trough visiting different sites of public art projects in the city of Berlin the participants of the workshop will be making a communicationary toolbox on representational art practice in the public realm.