Announcing Fall 2017

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | August 29, 2017

Jim Trainor, still from The Pink Egg (2017). Courtesy of the artist.

We’re excited to announce the lineup for Conversations at the Edge’s Fall 2017 season!

Check out the full season details here.

AES+F, still from The Feast of Trimalchio, 2010. Image courtesy of the artists.

Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder. Image courtesy of the artists.

Alexandra Gerbaulet, still from SCHICHT (Shift), 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.

Ana Mendieta, still from Butterfly, 1975. © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, L.L.C. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.

Sondra Perry, still from Lineage for a Multiple-Monitor Workstation: Number One, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.

Coco Fusco, still from La confesión (2015). Image courtesy of the artist.

CATE Fall 2017 Season

Posted by | Amy Beste | Posted on | August 24, 2017

Ana Mendieta, still from Butterfly, 1975. © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, L.L.C. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.

Conversations at the Edge’s fall 2017 season kicks off October 12!

Highlights include the live-action feature The Pink Egg by animator Jim Trainor; a new film performance by Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder, and sound artist Brian Case; new work by German filmmaker Alex Gerbaulet, a selection of newly restored films by Ana Mendieta, a performance by multidisciplinary artist Sondra Perry, recent work by interdisciplinary artist and writer Coco Fusco and a program exploring contemporary 3D simulations, curated by Rachel Clarke, Claudia Hart, and Pat Reynolds. Stay tuned for full schedule details!

On VALIE EXPORT

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | April 20, 2017

We wrap up the Spring 2017 season this week with the work of Austrian performance and multi-media artist, VALIE EXPORT.

Born Waltraud Lehner, the artist rejected her family and ex-husband’s name in 1967, adopting the nom de guerre, VALIE EXPORT, from a popular brand of cigarettes. VALIE EXPORT’s work spans the realms of video, performance, cinema, installation, and interaction, expanding on a complex feminist critique of the social and political body, fusing the visceral and conceptual.

To accompany the screening of VALIE EXPORT’s work, we welcome some thoughts from School of the Art Institute of Chicago professor Mechtild Widrich. Widrich teaches art history, criticism, and theory and has written extensively on VALIE EXPORT in her book Performative Monuments: The Rematerialization of Public Art (Manchester University, Press, 2014.) which is excerpted below.

VALIE EXPORT, Visual Text: Finger Poem, 1973. Courtesy Sixpack Film.

It is 1968; political tensions run high, riots and social protest erupt in cities around the world. Women fight against discrimination and for equal pay. ‘There is a war between the ones who say there is a war and the ones who say that there isn’t’, as Leonard Cohen put it in retrospect. Just then Austrian artist VALIE EXPORT steps on the Vienna art scene, a city whose Nazi past overshadowed any countercultural social ferment. The only woman among the founding members of the avant-garde Austrian Filmmakers Cooperative Film group, EXPORT takes a new surname from her favorite cigarette brand, capitalizes the whole, and fittingly stages actions with reference to the image of woman in advertising and Hollywood film.

Tap and Touch Cinema, 1968, is a “real chick flick”, she claims: standing in public with a wearable theatre stage framing her naked breasts, she invites passers-by to visit the cinema with their hands while an assistant times the transaction. Touch replaces the voyeuristic gaze, while those acting become objects of the gaze of those who watch.

A porous border between performance and photography, and between theatre and sex, is characteristic of the artist’s media-critical approach, for example in her photographic performance Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969) which was re-performed by Marina Abramovic at the Guggenheim Museum in 2005, but EXPORT is also the director of some of the most daring feminist films of the 1970s and ‘80s. Thinking about presence and mediation, body and object allowed EXPORT to expand her performances into media installations, photographic experiments with the environment, and even into memorials to commemorate the Holocaust.

VALIE EXPORT, Adjunct Dislocations (still), 1973. Courtesy of VALIE EXPORT.

“It is said that, in 1969, VALIE EXPORT went into a cinema in Munich, wearing jeans with a triangular cut out aimed to reveal the pubic area. Once inside the auditorium, she walked slowly through the rows, with her ‘cunt and [the audience’s] nose on the same level’.  The intention of this ‘action’, the word EXPORT herself favours, was to confront the voyeuristic male moviegoer with a ‘real’ female body, instead of the mediated one that could be consumed clandestinely—thus anticipating and inverting Laura Mulvey’s famous 1975 feminist manifesto ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ by several years. ‘People in the back of the cinema got up and fled the situation, because they were afraid I would come up to them as well’, EXPORT stated in a recent interview, thereby confirming that the titular ‘panic’ had in fact taken place and stressing the presence of the real woman as pivotal to the audience reaction.” – Excerpt from Performative Monuments

April 20 – VALIE EXPORT

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | April 14, 2017

Due to unforeseen circumstances, VALIE EXPORT will not be able to join us as previously announced. Curator and Professor Bruce Jenkins will introduce the screening with an in-depth overview of the artist’s career. 

VALIE EXPORT, Adjunct Dislocations (still), 1973. Courtesy of VALIE EXPORT.

Among the most important artists of her generation, VALIE EXPORT has created a provocative and groundbreaking body of work that spans film, performance, and installation and interrogates many of the sociopolitical issues central to modern life—gender, surveillance, information, and political power. Rejecting her family and ex-husband’s name in 1967, she adopted her nom de guerre from a popular brand of cigarettes. The nature of this act has characterized much of her work, from the radical Tapp und Tastkino (Touch and Tap Cinema) (1968) in which she used the physicality of her body to confront social and media chauvinism to the analytical film Adjunct Dislocations (1973) which breaks down space and time to offer new possibilities for sensual representation of the world.

1968—2009, Austria/Germany, multiple formats, ca 75 min + discussion

VALIE EXPORT is a filmmaker and performance artist. She received a degree in textile design from the Technical School for Textile Industry in Vienna in 1964 and began her career expanding on the Viennese Actionist project with a complex feminist critique of the social and political body, fusing the visceral and conceptual. Her works are in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Reina Sofia, Madrid; MoMA, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and have been exhibited around the world in museums, art spaces, and media festivals including the Venice Biennale; documenta, Kassel; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Shanghai Art Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seoul; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Ars Electronica Center, Linz; and the Cannes, Montréal, Vancouver, San Francisco, Locarno, Hong Kong, Sydney, and New York Film Festivals. She has taught at the Academy of Visual Arts, Munich; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; the San Francisco Art Institute; and the Kunsthochschule für Median in Cologne. She currently lives and works in Vienna.

On Wael Shawky

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | April 13, 2017

We are excited to screen Cabaret Crusades, Egyptian artist Wael Shawky’s three-part re-staging of the medieval upheaval between the Muslim and Christian worlds.

Born in Alexandria in 1971, Wael Shawky makes work that tackles notions of national, religious and artistic identity through film, performance and storytelling.

This week, we welcome School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduate student Sama Waly, whose essay reflects on how artists like Wael Shawky helped influence the development of the contemporary art in Egypt. 

Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala, 2015, HD Film, color, sound, English subtitles. © Wael Shawky; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

I first met Wael Shawky in Alexandria in the summer of 2012, volunteering for The Cairo Seminar: The Seminar. Organized by Sarah Rifky — a dOCUMENTA13 ambassador that year — the seminar was an ambitious event featuring the scholars, artists, curators and philosophers Yasmine El Rashidi, Julie Mehretu, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Anjalika Sagar from the Otolith Group, and Anna Boghiguian, to name a few. It was meant to foster dialogue between Kassel and Alexandria following a trip that brought ten students from MASS Alexandria, an independent study program founded by Shawky and Rifky, to help install the exhibition in Kassel.

 

I’ve come to know Shawky’s work both as an artist and organizer. His work informs my personal exploration of the historic place of the artist (i.e. ‘al muthaqqaf’) within geopolitical narratives that dominate and define the Arab and Mediterranean regions. A place here could be understood as a mode of organization. I am interested in the ways in which institutions—and particularly those that experiment with the flexibility of the notion of an institution—organize internally.

Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades I: The Horror Show File, 2010, HD video, color, sound, English Subtitles, 31mins 49 seconds. © Wael Shawky; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

During the Seminar, I spoke with students from MASS Alexandria, many of whom felt that Shawky’s program was a necessary alternative to the small number of state-funded and outdated art academies in Alexandria. MASS caters to a generation that came of age in the nineties and oughts, after Egypt had gone through significant social and political changes over the span of several decades.

To draw a simple sketch, this generation benefitted from the financial stability created by earlier generations who had made their living abroad in the oil-enriched gulf countries like Saudi Arabia (where Shawky spent many childhood years). Those who returned to Egypt became the backbone of an industry that totally transformed the sociopolitical milieu in major urban centers from a socialist Nasserist model to an American-backed open economy.

MASS Alexandria students participate in a Stone Tapes Workshop by Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Jens Maier-Rothe.

MASS Alexandria students plan an exhibition with guidance from guest curator Noura Al Khasawneh

As Shawky mentions in a recent lecture, their return also contributed to the rise of a Wahhabi Islamic mentality in the seventies, that transformed social relations among Egyptians. Within this historical backdrop, Shawky’s institutional model, like others of his generation, sought to fill some of the gaps left open by the new Egyptian neoliberal vision in relation to cultural affairs. A lack of state funding for the arts from the seventies onwards opened space for foreign funding, which arguably contributed to the birth of an “independent art scene” in downtown Cairo, in the late nineties.

MASS Alexandria, and projects such as CILAS, the Imaginary School Program at Beirut, Kurassat Al Cinema at Cimathèque, to name a few of the institutional projects that have come to exist in Egypt over the past few years, challenge traditional educational models through a democratic dissemination of knowledge despite the perils that cities such as Cairo and Alexandria present. These institutions spawn an intergenerational exchange of knowledge.

Since those late summer nights I spent assisting the dOCUMENTA13 team in Alexandria, I have come to see Shawky’s work as fostering important conversations both within Egypt and the world at large about history and society, while also facilitating and inspiring the next generations of Egyptian artists.

Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo, 2012, HD video, color, sound, English Subtitles, 60 mins. © Wael Shawky; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo, 2012, HD video, color, sound, English Subtitles, 60 mins. © Wael Shawky; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

April 13 – Wael Shawky: Cabaret Crusades

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | April 7, 2017

Wael Shawky, still from Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala, 2015. © Wael Shawky; Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

The rich and provocative work of Egyptian artist Wael Shawky uses film and performance to explore the complexities of national, religious, and artistic identity. With the three-part Cabaret Crusades, he restages the medieval upheaval between Muslim and Christian worlds with a cast of exquisitely crafted marionettes and score derived from Shia lamentation criers and traditional Bahraini pearl fishing songs. Inspired by French-Lebanese author Amin Maalouf’s The Crusades Through Arab Eyes and based on historical accounts, Shawky meditates on religious doctrine while highlighting the secular motivations of the Crusades’ European and Arab fighters. The result is a work of major significance, one that blends film, theater, literature, history, and music, while also reflecting on the social and political landscape of the world today. In classical Arabic with English subtitles.

Shawky introduces and discusses the first two parts of the trilogy, Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show Files (2010) and Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo (2012) at 6:00 p.m. and introduces the third, Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets of Karbala (2015) at 8:15 p.m.

Presented in collaboration with SAIC’s Visiting Artists Program, which presents an artist talk by Wael Shawky on Wednesday, April 12. See www.saic.edu/vap for details.

6:00 p.m.

Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show Files
Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo

The first two episodes of Wael Shawky’s epic trilogy begins with Pope Urban II’s call to establish Christian rule throughout the Holy Land in 1095 and ends just prior to the opening battles of the Second Crusade. Featuring antique wooden marionettes from the Lupi collection in Turin and contemporary ceramic marionettes produced in collaboration with puppeteers and ceramists from Italy and France. Shawky introduces the program and participates in a post-screening discussion. In classical Arabic with English subtitles.

2010—12, Egypt/Italy/France, HD video, ca 90 min + discussion

Wael Shawky in person

8:15 p.m. 

Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets of Karbala

The concluding episode of Wael Shawky’s trilogy combines the fifth-century Battle of Karbala—the origin of the schism between Shiite and Sunni Muslims—with events of the Second and Third Crusades, concluding with the destruction of Constantinople by Venetian Crusaders in 1204. The wars’ atrocities are heightened by hand-blown Murano glass marionettes in the shape of half-human, half-animal beings. Shawky introduces the program. In classical Arabic with English subtitles.

2015, Italy/Egypt, HD video, 120 min

Wael Shawky in person

Wael Shawky frames contemporary culture through the lens of historical tradition and vice versa. In recent works, he has staged epic recreations of the medieval clashes between Muslims and Christians in his trilogy Cabaret Crusades (2010—15) and worked with child actors to recount poetic myths, paying homage, rather than mere lip service, to the important narratives of yesteryear in Al Araba Al Madfuna (2012—16). Recent solo exhibitions include Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Fondazione Merz, Turin; Lisson Gallery Milan; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Fondazione Merz, Zürich; MATHAF, Doha; MoMA PS1, New York; K20 Düsseldorf; Serpentine Galleries, London; KW Contemporary Art Institute, Berlin; Nottingham Contemporary; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Delfina Foundation, London; and Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto. He has participated in the 14th Istanbul Biennial; Sharjah Biennial 11; documenta 13; 9th Gwangju Biennale; SITE Santa Fe Biennial; 9th Istanbul Biennial, and the 50th Venice Biennale. Recent awards include the inaugural Mario Merz Prize; Award for Filmic Oeuvre created by Louis Vuitton and Kino der Kunst; Abraaj Capital Art Prize; Schering Foundation Art Award; as well as the International Commissioning Grant and an award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. In 2010, Shawky founded the educational space MASS Alexandria. He currently lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt.

On Melika Bass

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | April 5, 2017

Melika Bass, still from The Latest Sun is Sinking Fast, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.

This week, we are excited to present Devotional Animals, a screening of recent and evolving work by Chicago filmmaker (and SAIC faculty) Melika Bass. Taking an expansive and episodic approach to her films, Bass composes abstract narratives that unfold slowly to explore complicated characters, relationships, and themes.

To accompany the program, we are excerpting an essay by Karsten Lund on Bass’s ongoing film project, The Latest Sun is Sinking Fast, written on the occasion of its exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center in the spring of 2015.


The Latest Sun is Sinking Fast

Karsten Lund

In four short films, projected simultaneously in the exhibition space, Melika Bass offers four portraits of sorts. Each film centers on a single character during an extended contemplative moment: a man sits by himself in the passenger seat of his car, listening to recordings of a sermon. Another man works in his wood shop and then writes a homily of his own, speaking it aloud. In a third film, a young woman cleans herself in a church bathroom before singing a hymn at the front of an empty sanctuary. This same young woman appears in the last enigmatic film, too, crouching under a bush and washing her hands at the riverside.

Not simply portraits, these films, more precisely, are invitations to quietly observe these three people when they are unguarded and alone. Perhaps it would be better to call the films character studies instead, with the close attention that implies. Nobody gets to observe someone else in this kind of state: unaware, introspective, left entirely to one’s thoughts and habituated gestures. At least not in private, and not for long. Perhaps prompted by the characters’ own apparent religious beliefs and the ecclesiastical settings of the films, one might even go so far as to say that only God gets to observe moments like these. The medium of film here gives the viewer a kind of divine power—all-seeing but unseen by the subject. In this case the vantage point isn’t high overhead, looking down from the heavens, as one might expect; no, it is close, intimate, as if standing nearby.

Download the complete essay here.

April 6 – Melika Bass: Devotional Animals

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | April 5, 2017

Melika Bass, still from Creature Companions, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.

Richly atmospheric, the films and installations of Chicago-based artist Melika Bass (MFA 2007) are populated by elusive figures whose enigmatic behavior suggest dark and troubling lives just beyond the screen. Working with a recurring group of performers, some of whom reappear as the same character in multiple films, Bass has developed an expansive approach to narrative: stories arc, abstract, and twist through different projects, revealing and complicating characters, relationships, and themes. She presents a selection of work from two recent and evolving projects, including Creature Companion, which features Selma Banich and Penelope Hearne engaged in a mysterious and sensual pas de deux inspired by the teachings of radical psychotherapist Wilhelm Reich. Bass also introduces a new episode in her ongoing project The Latest Sun is Sinking Fast, revisiting three isolated characters (Sarah Stambaugh, Bryan Saner, and Matthew Goulish) whose solitary habits slowly entwine.

2015-2017, USA, digital file, ca 60 min + discussion

Melika Bass in person

Melika Bass is a filmmaker and installation artist. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2011); Comfort Station, Chicago (2012); Iceberg Projects, Chicago (2013); and the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago (2015). International screenings and exhibitions include BFI London Film Festival; Kino der Kunst, Munich; Torino Film Festival; CPH Dox Film Festival, Copenhagen. Other screenings include the Ann Arbor Film Festival; the Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York; and Anthology Film Archives, New York. She is a recipient of an Artadia Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival’s Kodak/Filmcraft Award, an Experimental Film Prize from the Athens International Film Festival, and two Media Arts Fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council. Bass was one of a dozen international filmmakers commissioned by Icelandic band Sigur Ros to create an original film for their Valtari Mystery Film Experiment.  She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at SAIC.

On Hyphen-Labs

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | March 29, 2017

This week, we are thrilled to present NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, the latest project by Hyphen-Labs, an international collective of women artists, designers, engineers, game-builders, and writers known for works that merge art, technology, and science. 

In this interview with SAIC graduate student Mev Luna, the collective shares their thoughts on Afrofuturism, virtual reality, ritual, and other concepts related to their project and overall practice. 

Hyphen-Labs, NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, ongoing. Image courtesy the artists.

Mev Luna: Your latest project is titled, NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism. Afrofuturism is a term that is heralded in our contemporary moment, but can be traced all the way back to the 1970s, the root with Sun Ra’s film Space is the Place (1974). There are a lot of current manifestations of Afrofuturism in art, including the work of sound, video and installation artist Kamau Patton, who’s faculty here at SAIC; UK based conceptual artist Sonya Dyer and her collaborative project And Beyond Institute for Future Research; and the work of artist Otobong Nkanga, as discussed by scholar Denise Ferreira deSilva in e-flux journal.

How do you trace your lineage within Afrofuturism? And what aspects of the aesthetic are you drawn to?

Hyphen-Labs: We contextualize this project within the lineage of Black women’s literature, especially poetry and magical realism, Black art history and philosophy, and non-colonial scientific exploration. The themes, symbolism, language, and coded messages draw most heavily from Mother Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due, Colson Whitehead, Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes. From an artistic perspective Arthur Jafa and Chris Ofili were informative to our work, as well as emerging artists we encountered on Instagram. So not specifically Afrofuturism as it manifests as a categorical and theoretical framework but people of color creating work that places us firmly within the context of futurity while subverting the white “validating” gaze. The idea of performing research in public spaces also resonates with the projects so thank you for the introduction to deSilva’s work.

ML: I’ve been thinking a lot about future and how it has been invoked in discourse around the marginal body, both in Afrofuturism–as claiming a black future to be called into a present in which black lives are precarious, and Black Lives Matter has been an important invocation–and in queer theory.

Similarly, in the opening of his book, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009, NYU Press), the late José Esteban Muñoz wrote that “The future is queerness’s domain. Queerness is a structuring and educated mode of desiring that allows us to see and feel beyond the quagmire of the present. The here and now is a prison house. We must strive, in the face of the here and now’s totalizing rendering of reality, to think and feel a then and there.”

So I am curious, what does future mean to you? And what does it’s invocation do for us in the present–when so many marginalized people in serious state of precarity, and #nofutureness?

HL: We think of the future more in the realm of quantum physics. The future moves along a continuum of infinite possibilities and because of this, speculations about the future most often tend to reflect the dominant narratives of the current society positing the ideas. In quantum theory, looking at something changes its state thus re-rendering it. We’re looking at conversations being had about the future–especially in the digital landscape–and wondering where are the folks of color are. Speculative design is highlighting driverless cars, but we have yet to see a case study featuring a black or brown perspective. We have artificial intelligence reflecting the bias of the developers programming them, and it’s mostly not people of color so what you have is the erasure of histories and mis-categorization of black and brown bodies.

The problem is the future is rarely rendered by communities of color at the level of infrastructure and implementation. Where are the black and brown architects, engineers, programmers, mathematicians, quantum theorists, aeronautical engineers, chemists, roboticist, speculative biologists, neuroscientists, immunologists etc talking about the future on a global platform? Nope, it’s Elon Musk, Ray Kurzweil, Palmer Lucky, Mark Zuckerberg etc so current futurity is just repeating the past and present. The possibility of us starting from square one in the struggle for social justice is real unless we’re demanding our “spot at the table and bringing a chair” with us.

Hyphen-Labs, NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, ongoing. Image courtesy the artists.

ML: Muñoz’s use of the word rendering reality makes me think about the medium of 3D rendering, which is also the medium of NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism. The virtual reality and augmented reality artist Claudia Hart situates 3D rendering as a combination of photography and sculpture. The interface of the software, be it Maya or other softwares, is a liminal space between the body and the screen. It’s post photography–and considering the vast ability to download 3D models from the internet or to scan ANYTHING and import it into 3D space–it is also a very postmodern medium.

Where did the collective’s interest emerge in working in this medium? And what does 3D rendering allow for in your project that other mediums do not?

HL: We chose the 3D medium because it is what we know and it is a space that evolves very rapidly. Trained as architects and engineers, our designs are constrained by this world’s physical systems, existing infrastructures, and material properties.  In 3D, theses constraints drop away and we are able to express alternative pasts, presents and futures.

ML: 3D renderings are used more and more in commercial design, and given that Hyphen-Labs is a design firm as well as artistic endeavor, are you interested in this medium because of the aesthetic slickness it offers which is so readily found in contemporary design?

HL: Yes. As architects and engineers, 3D modeling, prototyping and digital fabrication have always been part of our work experience and we use 3D rendering to prototype what ifs… VR is an interesting medium because it fits the story we want to tell. Allowing audience to be enveloped in the materiality of our world and walk away having experienced many “feelings”.

Hyphen-Labs, NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, ongoing. Image courtesy the artists.

ML: It seems as though the Beauty Salon is both a design implementation and a ritual. Not only a way to address the contentious issue of how the mainstream treats black hair, from Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair (2016) to Phoebe Robinson’s book You Can’t Touch My Hair (2016, Penguin Random House), but also the black ritual of hair braiding. Do you see this work as ritual?

HL: This work is ritual at its core. We hear from black women who have done the experience that it felt familiar and safe. In this time where the black body is endangered, where black and brown women are being abducted a few miles from our nation’s capital and no one is talking about it, we wanted to build a space of ritual, self-realization, and reflection. Black hair holds our ase and our philosophy.

March 30 – Hyphen-Labs NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | March 17, 2017

Hyphen-Labs, NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, ongoing. Image courtesy the artists.

Hyphen-Labs is an international collective of women artists, designers, engineers, game-builders, and writers known for works that merge art, technology, and science. Their latest project, the multi-platform NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism uses video, virtual reality, and medical imaging to explore Black women’s contributions to science while raising issues of identity and perception. Set in a future “neurocosmetology lab,” where Black women pioneer brain modulation and cognitive enhancement by embedding electrodes into extensions and braiding techniques, the piece reimagines technologies of beauty as media for scientific and social experimentation. Hyphen-Labs presents and discusses the project, while inviting viewers to help produce new images and avatars of Black women to reprogram our digital and physical realities.

Presented in collaboration with Black Cinema House.

2017, USA, multiple formats, ca 60 min + discussion

Hyphen-Labs members Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ashley Baccus-Clark, Ece Tankal, Nitzan Bartov in person

Carmen Aguilar y Wedge is a Cuban-Mexican-American engineer, artist, and researcher. In 2014, she cofounded Hyphen-Labs, an international team of women with backgrounds in art, design, engineering, science, and architecture who synthesize art and technology to create meaningful experiences. Emphasizing experimentation and alternative education, the team finds creative solutions and applications to complex problems using new media, emerging technology, robotics, and computation.

Ashley Baccus-Clark is a molecular and cellular biologist, and multidisciplinary artist who uses new media and storytelling to explore themes of deep learning, cognition, memory, trauma, and systems of belief.

Ece Tankal is an architect, moving-image maker, and multidisciplinary designer from Istanbul, living in Barcelona. She is one of the cofounders of Hyphen-Labs and operates at the intersection of art and human interaction to craft experiences that go beyond visual perception, performing tangible outcomes.

Nitzan Bartov is an architect, game designer and artist based in Brooklyn and Tel Aviv. She is a co-founder of n-Dimensional game studio and a recent member of Hyphen-Labs collective, where she explores mixed realities in an artistic context. Reflecting the movements between media, her work is a mashup of architecture, spatial storytelling, and pop culture.

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