Katerie Gladdys, jj higgins & Jeremy Mikolajczak
As past and current residents of Florida, our experience of the pervasiveness of oranges and their signifiers reveals disconnects between tasty beverage, billboard luring tourists, commercial groves, suburban landscaping plants, and abandoned groves festooned with land developer’s signs promising retirees a better life. We employ the structure of the orangerie, a greenhouse built by well-to-do 18th century Europeans, as a laboratory for discussing the “nature” of orange juice, questioning the authenticity of its material substance and our received notion of the origin/process of this ubiquitous American morning ritual. Employing relational art strategies as a portals to civic engagement, Agent Orangerie explores our collective unexamined relationship towards orange juice, inviting people to play with the materiality of what constitutes commercial orange juice as a metaphor for the dislocation between our received notion of an agriculture based on place and season rather than protocols and processes of factory farming.
The Artist’s Role in creating New Economies of Distribution
Charlene Désir, Katerie Gladdys, jj higgins & Jeremy Mikolajczak, Pam Hall, and Ju-Pong Lin
The artists and cultural producers in this session all challenge the dominant paradigm of “economics” as a system based on market values. They imagine economies organized around principles of relationship, community, and local knowledge. One looks at what happens when distribution, or “sites of encounter,” shift out of the white cube to community halls or Canadian fish processing plants. Another imagines art as a form of economy for rebuilding Haiti, merging the roles of teacher, healer, investor. A third group questions accepted food systems such as the one that distributes the iconic breakfast beverage, orange juice. Together they will open a space for dialogue about how we bring work into encounter with others and how we sustain practices that are not ‘for sale.”
Attention As Art
City Meditation Crew worker
City Meditation Crew(CMC), a fictitious city department charged with inspiring people to pay attention to their surroundings, one moment at a time, has held public meditations upon such sites of contention as New York’s Gandhi Memorial in Union Square, the Japanese-American Internment path in Bainbridge Island, WA, and the adjacent toxic waste site. CMC will offer a series of walking meditations threaded throughout the conference, open to attendees and community members, to perform the conference itself from a meditative point of view.
Breaking Dominant Narratives
Rebecca Keller, Owen Driggs, and Daniel Peltz, moderated by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
The panelists will present a provocative range of strategies that disrupt dominant narratives to challenge the status quo. In addition to presenting their work, the artists seek to dialogue with participants to melt, poke, hammer, and tickle conventional paradigms to explore a constellation of new possibilities for art making.
Collective and Activist Art Practices: Intervention or Engagement?
Beehive Design Collective, Big Car Collective, and Dara Greenwald with Denisse Andrade, Sarah Kanouse & Sarah Ross
Since the early twentieth century, art that aspires to political relevance has long been mired in a stalemate between open-ended ‘criticality’ and topically-specific ‘activism.’ However, artists who work directly and collaboratively with non-art audiences have developed practices that enact rather than describe social engagement. This roundtable brings together practitioners to present, discuss, and reflect on their methods of public engagement.
Eaarth/Peace Oratorio, an evolutionary ecology of science, sound, movement, and art: Choral composition and set design
Cameron Davis & Sam Guarnaccia
Eaarth Peace Oratorio is a major choral piece by composer Sam Guarnaccia with video stage set by visual artist Cameron Davis. Their piece aims to carry the viewer/listener through a trajectory of responses corresponding to what they see as the invitation of living in our current transformational times. They will share an excerpt of this in-progress work whose title (borrowed with permission from Bill McKibben’s Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet) reveals the interdependence of ecological integrity and well being; a crisis that enlists our most ultimate concerns (Paul Tillich, theologian) and capacities.
Eco-Art: A Radical Lens to Galvanize Consciousness and Action
Timothy Collins & Reiko Goto, Jackie Brookner and Susan Leibovitz Steinman, moderated by Ruth Wallen, Adrian Ivakhiv, respondent
As ecological artists we recognize the gravity of the ecological crisis. We are working to promulgate ethics, reveal and enhance relationships and pose innovations that contribute to the healing, renewal and long-term vitality of the ecosystems of the planet. Panelists will share one project or on-going investigation that is indicative of their approach to ecoart. Together we will explore where the opportunities are for catalyzing a paradigm shift to a life sustaining, ecological culture.
Final Roundtable: Making, Meaning and Context: A Radical Reconsideration of Art’s Work
Ping Chong, Timothy Collins & Reiko Goto, Janeil Engelstad and Danielle Boutet, moderated by Pam Hall
Participants in this final session of the festival/forum will reflect on how the event engaged the essential questions posed by the festival. They contextualize our conversations within the wider movement of artists all over the world who are working outside of dominant narratives, including those used in constructing this conference. Panelists pose new questions to extend the dialogue begun here into our work and daily lives. How has art’s work evolved aesthetically? If we could trade the freedoms of modernist practice, for new metaphysical purpose would we do so? How might art be taught if it were focused upon daily lives, diverse ecosystems, and the expansive realm of development of human social imagination rather than the development of individual imagination?
First and Last. The Field of Distribution
Alex Young with Mary Mattingly, Max Goldfarb, Jordan Dalton, Paul Lloyd Sargent, Sam Sebren and Liz Flyntz
First and Last. The Field of Distribution brings together a collection of art practitioners who address methods of dissemination of both material resource and culture through a variety of media and tactics. As a panel, the presenters will frame their discussion around the interstices of the distribution of information and resource and subsequent related hierarchies. The presenters will address concerns of inter/national and regional/local transmission, supply and disposal chains, resource exhaustion, sustainable culture, consumption, and reuse. Through this exchange, we seek to redefine artistic practice as it corresponds to the necessity and teleology inherent in seeking adequate alternative approaches to addressing material(ism) and distribution.
Love Letters is a suite of performative video letters reflecting on the desire for home, the politics of homemaking and housecleaning, and the ecology of the home. The first letter, Dirt is Beautiful, examines cultural associations with dirt and the kinds of objects or conditions that arouse feelings of disgust. The second letter, called Home Work is a meditation on the gender politics of work, particularly the relationship between housework and work outside the home. Some of the questions posed include: Where do you work? How is your work at home different than work outside the home? Who works at home in your household? What is the work of your dreams? The artist invites participants to explore the potential for performative presence to imagine new ways of merging art and activism.
Karin Bolender, Eben Kirksey & Deanna Pindell
The Multispecies Salon—an art event/exhibit that has appeared in San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York City—has tapped art to address a series of interrelated questions: Which species flourish, and which fail, when natural and cultural worlds intermingle and collide? What happens when the bodies of organisms, and even entire ecosystems, are brought into schemes of biotechnology and dreams of biocapitalism? And finally, in the aftermath of disaster–in blasted landscapes that have been transformed by multiple catastrophes–what are the possibilities of biocultural hope? At the Multispecies Picnic, we will engage organisms that are not just good to think with (as Lévi-Strauss had it), or more instrumentally, good to eat (as Marvin Harris countered), but also entities, and agents, that are good to live with (as Donna Haraway maintains). Come join us at mealtime – the most common daily form of intimacy with other animal, plant, and microscopic creatures – as we chew on our own roles, as both eaters and eaten, within ecosystems.
Pedagogies of Social Change: New Models of Teaching, Learning and Knowing
Anne Beffel, Wendy Coburn & Johanna Householder and Lynne Constantine & Suzanne Scott, moderated by Laiwan
A roundtable conversation that aims to host the exploration of burning pedagogical issues, experiments and innovations with interdisciplinary creativity in conventional and alternative learning environments.
• What crucial questions do we currently face?
• How do we engage and embody transformative learning approaches that can shift relational, mediated, performative and collective consciousness through strategies that acknowledge cultural democracy, social justice, and anti-oppression strategies?
• How do our practices ripple out and help create a socially engaged citizenry?
Come help build our collective embodied thinking and practices.
PING CHONG: All Islands Connect Under Water (Keynote Presentation)
Ping Chong will lead a discussion of the evolution of his theatre work in relationship to changes in contemporary arts and culture over the past 40 years, with a focus on intersections between arts practice and social justice issues. A question and answer period follows a slide/video presentation that shows his visually astonishing and socially compelling body of work, ranging from object and puppet theater to large-scale multidisciplinary projects to community-based programs.
Problematizing the Artist in Community Art… or… Ownership/Ethics/Aesthetics of the Artist in Community
Lara Lepionka & Stevens Brosnihan, Katt Lissard, and Cynthia Rubin, moderated by Beth Nixon
Join us in a meaty discussion about the role(s) of the artist in community. Drawing from a wide variety of experiences, we will chew upon questions that arise at the intersections of our artistic practices and community relationships. Casting aside the myth of the lone artist-hero we seek to expand the definitions of artistic collaboration and ownership, examining the ways we frame our work in different political and social contexts and questioning the artist’s role in society.
We peel apart layers of insider/outsider that are endemic to community partnerships, reflecting on ethics, aesthetics, and the challenges of collaborative meaning-making. We ask what happens at the intersection between community outsiders and insiders? Can there be “real” collaboration between outsiders and insiders? What are boundaries that we must respect when are creating new work in partnership with communities who are the object and/or subject of our project? How do cultural assumptions of knowledge impact what we all do? How can artist collectives, and those working collaboratively with communities, offer alternative definitions of copyright, and share resources and best practices?
Rick Benjamin and Peter Hocking
Our inquiry into the practice of queer(ing) ecology(ies) begins with Mortimer-Sandilands’ idea of grieving the unseen and steps toward our efforts to live holistically in cultures too often attuned only to sunshine. This state of constant, low-level “grief,” in our experience, is related to our awkward relationship to cultural categories, such as family, masculinity, fatherhood, and individuality, as well as to our efforts to disintegrate these categories and create new, affirming ecologies as strategies for our own survival. In counterpoint, we’ll explore ecological backdrops that, visibly and invisibly, inform how we understand ourselves as people and as integrated parts of a planetary ecological system. Through a micro-performance and colloquial conversation we will invite participants in this workshop to explore the necessity of crafting narratives/experiences that radically disorient systems of cultural thinking that aim to categorize human beings / ecologies in ways counter to our experience of them.
A radical reconsideration of interdisciplinary art
Jackie Hayes and Danielle Boutet
What is the potential of interdisciplinary art beyond the commonly held understanding that it’s the creation of works that draw from multiple disciplinary traditions? How is it more than the collection and application of those traditions? What lies in the potential of an interdisciplinary art practice? Boutet as founder, and Hayes as current program director of the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program at Goddard College, share in the recognition that an interdisciplinary art practice is located outside disciplinary boundaries altogether.
Refusal to Submit: restoring subjective reality through acts of embodiment
Stacy Dawson Stearns
This is a workshop for those who wish physically inhabit their personal ideals.
Suppression is an instrument of oppression. When the corporeal self is forced to suppress impulses and expressive actions, one’s ability to share subjective experience is severely limited. Scholars and artists engage with this issue regularly within the context of their work, but how do we combat the negative trend of somatic silencing in the moments of our daily lives?
Stacy Dawson Stearns brings embodiment tools from her physical art practice to the interdisciplinary art and scholarship community in order to offer useful tools for living and communication. Participants will enjoy a supported exploratory environment in which to conduct guided personal somatic research. Showing/sharing of exploration will be an option, but no one will be asked to ‘perform’ their work unless they wish to do so.
This work has applications within the arts, consciousness/identity studies, health care, and in enhancing the visibility of under-represented cultures/communities.
Triage Fannypack is a one-woman investigation of time, emergency, and scarcity. Triage is the process of determining priority for who (or what) gets care based on the severity of need. Those who are “first responders” to a disaster scene are often equipped with a fanny pack containing different colored tags with which to mark the wounded according to the level of care needed.Those most marked as “most urgent” receive care first, prioritized in time by those categorizing them. In this 25 minute clown performance, Ruth Nibbons, MFA explores both the adaptability of this system to other aspects of her life (her refrigerator, her Saturday evening, environmental crisis, etc.) as well as the potential failures of this system to take into consideration what is beneath the surface and perhaps beyond the scope of her graphs, charts and categories.
What Our Distance Produces: On the Value of Doubling Description
Kenneth Bailey, Judith Leemann, and Najma Nazy’at
In this performative lecture and experiential workshop, we draw on our own history of making parallel inquiries as artists and social justice activists working within the Boston-based Design Studio for Social Intervention. We have come to deeply value the generative potential of gaps, distances, indirect approaches, and impossible translations. In this workshop we plan to share those activities and forms of inquiry that have effectively produced new forms of knowing for groups we’ve worked with, including analogical mapping, gestural performance, and object-based explanations.