Laura Swanson

Laura: …Some people like to say—when we have to read texts from a specific historical context— “we’re over that,” “the civil rights movement is over,” these kinds of things are over. What would you say to people that say, “this is old news”?

Greg: Well, whoever’s saying, “this is old news” are probably people who haven’t experienced what he’s experienced. I mean, it resonated with you. You’re a young person. So it doesn’t matter if the words are two hundred years old, or fifty years old, or whatever. You know what I mean? If they resonate with you, and they help you crystallize your feelings or get a perspective on your experiences…

Laura: No. I want you to not talk about this as if this is only personal to me. Because that is the criticism that I get about my work all the time—is that it’s totally personal. It is partially about my life, but I don’t think that you can really say that. I mean, of course I like Fanon. A lot of people like Fanon. A lot of my teachers in undergrad like Fanon. Huey Newton of the Black Panthers likes Fanon. A lot of people like Fanon. So, when we talk about the current state of racism, a stupid thing that people say is “Slavery is over. Colonization is over.”

Greg: But it’s not. It’s not.

Laura: Can you talk about that? What is an awareness that you have? People who say, “Fanon is irrelevant because it’s old.” What do you say to that?

Greg: I just think that people are not aware of the slaveries that exist today. The oppression of people…it’s all over the world. We even have it in our own country. But it’s more subtle. It’s not carved in stone anymore, but we still have colonized people in this country…but there’s very blatant slavery and subjugation going on of peoples in other parts of the world.

A Call to Arms

Yu-Cheng Hsu

The body is an agent between our perception and thought and the world that surrounds us.

This continuous state of bodily perception constitutes our continuous experience of living in the world and informs the significance of the individual subjectivity. In “Theater of Interflow Architecture,” Bill Seaman suggests an interaction model among our body, thought and multi-fields of spatial flows. He imagines the body as a sensual recipient that intermingles with a larger set of architectural flows and triggers that might augment our thinking and perception.

We take our place in nature and society through the living experience of the body. Spiritually, however, we often long for an independence of our body from the confinement of physical surroundings. The body as living experience is insufficient to satisfy us, so we always carry within us another body which is trying to break out of the former. The desire to achieve liberation from the captivity of the concentric circles of house, village and environment is the ubiquitous preoccupation of persons who have become aware of the new era.

Now and There - A Tangible Weather Channel

Samuel Galison

To me, truth is more state than object; more like a verb than a noun. It’s a thing subtle but painfully obvious, like a rock in the sand, exposed just enough to stub your toe on. It’s that little extra breath that lives on the top of a yawn, or the crack of that one stuck vertebra at the base of your spine. It’s a fleeting, euphoric alignment of things that a moment ago had nothing to do with each other. Truth hides behind different names – inspiration, discovery, proof, revelation, awareness, but always it has the same ephemeral weight, the lighthearted sincerity of fresh snow. My friend Richard says you can’t search for inspiration, you can only practice, keep the creative muscles limber, and be ready for it when it arrives.

FOR A MOMENT

Benjamin Kennedy

Exchange Values

ARTIST:
Hello and welcome to my critique. I have made a sculpture, “Exchange Values,” which I will be presenting today for our discussion. But before we begin, I’d like to introduce you to Anthony, who is a nationally certified massage therapist—and now, he will read a prepared statement.

(massage therapist introduces the critique)

MASSAGE THERAPIST:
Welcome to the final critique of the day. Before we begin this process, I’d like to introduce myself and say a little bit about why I am here. My name is Anthony and I am a nationally certified massage therapist. I graduated from the Muscular Therapy Institute, completing a 900 hour intensive program and have had over 6 years of experience in professional massage. I offer Swedish, deep tissue work, sports massage, hot stone, and cranio-sacral therapy. During my free time, I am also an artist, like most of you. I primarily work with paint and canvas. Benjamin asked me to participate in this situation today by providing cranio-sacral massage to whoever is speaking in the space at a given moment.

(laughter)

In light of this information, I kindly ask you to allow me ample time to get around the room to whoever is going to speak next. Basically what I’m going to do is move behind you and gently massage you. Before speaking, please indicate you wish to do so by raising your hand and I will get around to you. For those of you who don’t know, cranio-sacral massage is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the cranio-sacral system. It’s a very gentle approach which helps realign your spine and neurotransmitters at the same time.

(laughter)

This form of massage deals with the bones of the head, spinal column, sacrum and the underlying structures. It employs a very light touch and uses specifically designed techniques to release restrictions and compression in these areas. Ok? So, please take a few minutes and we’ll begin the critique.

(gallery door opens and critics/students walk in)
(5 minutes lapse)

ARTIST:
I would like you all to feel free to comment on the massage therapist who is present with us today but I want to say that I have nothing to say of the massage therapist other than the gesture is not an artwork, and it only exists as one of the many affective presences in the gallery during the ritual of critique today.

CRITIC #1:
I have a question. In a commercial gallery setting, is the massage therapist always there?

(massage therapist approaches Critic #1 and provides massage: laughter)

If so, my first experience is that the work rubs me the right way.

(laughter)

This is very interesting…I’m wondering if there are any topics that lead the massage therapist to other parts of the body?

(laughter)

STUDENT #1:
I see this event as competing with this sculptural work. And so, for me…the initial…

(massage therapist approaches her and provides massage)

(laughter)

…event is a work in itself and I’m not sure how to read it in relation to the sculpture or the video piece. As I look around, I realize that very few people are paying attention to the sculpture and the video. The relationship between the installation and the massage event is confusing to me.

CRITIC #1:
But what a relationship!

STUDENT #2:
Perhaps the massage is a clue to understanding…

(massage therapist approaches Student #2 and provides massage—Student #2 turns to the massage therapist)

Please get away from me.

(laughter)

(a few critics sit in Director’s Chair with the word “Pervert” embroidered on it, at different times)

No, I’m only teasing. As I was saying, maybe the massage I’m receiving is a clue to understanding the relationship between the different objects in the room. I’m curious about the boxing glove on the plunger. For instance, I wouldn’t imagine a boxer cleaning a toilet while he’s wearing his fighting glove. And then there’s a bust sitting at the head of the table, and the table has some strange, glossed over finish. The title of the installation is “Exchange Values” and there’s money dropping from the hand of the subject in the video. All the while I’m getting a free massage…I’m definitely happy.

Benjamin Kennedy: Exchange Values Benjamin Kennedy: Exchange Values

Jane Long

Subjective Object

This collection of ideas isn’t “about science” or biotechnology or bio art as a cursory formal judgment would have you believe. It’s about wading into surface understandings of depths, trying to chase after this elusive sweet thing called subjectivity and the futility of trying to name the feeling of constantly having the rug being pulled from beneath your feet; of not being able to stop forming associations and recognizing patterns.

I am creating a brain itch that can be hilarious, absurd, and quietly uncomfortable, and can sometimes reveal our surface understandings of something.

Mark Cetilia

Technology is not only changing the world around us but the ways in which we relate to our surroundings. My goal is to create physical environments that use technology to give viewers the ability to directly engage with aspects of their surroundings that would otherwise be hidden from their perception. I am interested in utilizing projected sound and video to elicit physiological responses, as well as finding ways to use the body itself as an instrument for learning. It is important to me that the experiences of those who enter my installations are capable of being defined on an individual basis. Rather than creating work that is didactic or overtly politicized, I strive to create contemplative environments that allow for exploration and discovery. My work ultimately lies in the creation of physical spaces that allow access to experiences outside of human perception via tangible, physiological responses to projected sound and light.

EFFECTIVE DOSE: CREATING PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO INVISIBLE NETWORKS

Laura Alesci

TLC

Laura Alesci: TLC

The cyborg subject, a hybridization of “the human and the machine,” has the potential to create a new contract between two elements. Like a cyborg subject, my project TLC involves the joining of two agents. One agent, a class of molecules known as capsaicinoids, is the active chemical agent of pepper spray.

The parent compound in this group is capsaicin A, which chili peppers naturally produce. The second agent, CS, is a non-naturally occurring molecule, and the active component of tear gas. Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton first synthesized CS gas at Middlebury College in 1928; the title of the compound refers to the chemists’ surnames.

For my research with TLC, I worked with a chemist at Brown University to study the chemical properties of the two agents. Soon after, I learned the basic process of using lab equipment to run reactions and test for products. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is used to monitor and visualize reactions. The name TLC comes from the plates that are used for these tests. The plates indicate if the reaction has occurred and if the product is useful.

In TLC, I continued to investigate the institutional or­dering of protection and security to control crowds and individuals. I researched the chemical properties of tear gas and pepper spray because both are agents of security used to divide and control individuals.

 

 

 

Jeanne Jo

I use the computer as a tool that is explored in relation to a nexus of artistic practices.

In particular, my work embodies elements of sculpture, performance, video art, photography, and abstracted needlecraft. My embrace of the computer as a critical tool in the process of art making is, in part, a result of witnessing the explosion of information and technological advances that occurred with the Internet. I make sense of the rapid advance of technology through both digital and analog processes.

The history of computing is linked to the art of weaving. Charles Babbage, an English mathematician and engineer, used the Jacquard Loom as a model to develop the first programmable computer, collaborating with Ada Lovelace as its first programmer.

Yarn work carries associations of domesticity and the comforts of home. Online, “home” is relocated into an abstract, nonphysical concept. Internet browsers have “Homepages,” which resemble foyers or entryways. Dialogue happens in specialized “Chatrooms,” which mimic the exchange of information found in sewing circles. Remnants of the computer’s historical ties to weaving exist in the very structures of the Internet.

Flying Machines

Liat Berdugo

I ask what the boundary is between machine and non-machine; I ask what devices can and cannot do in the physical world. I find cracks in the seemingly flawless veneers of digital objects and technology as a whole, and I pry these cracks open, revealing where cords tangle, where devices break, and where machines leave us waiting endlessly for things to load. I find delight in these momentary messes.

Sleight of Hand

Evelyn Eastmond

Blob Painting

I’m getting sick of just drawing the blobs and am really excited to try to draw one on a large canvas and finally get back to painting. I start preparing one of my canvases with a color that I like; a yellow mixture. I layer it a few times, and then a few more times, until I get a yellow wash I really like.

Then, intuitively, I decide to take a picture of the large yellow canvas and load it on my iPad. Once it’s on my iPad, I draw practice blobs over that picture just like the ones I did on paper. I do this over and over, and in different colors, to get a color and shape that feels right. I finally do, a large pink blob, and I set off to translate it to the canvas.

The process is fun. Once I start translating the image, I realize that I can use the iPad to help me make sure I get the outline of the shape exactly like I want it. Since it now has become an exercise in execution, and the large size takes more of my energy, I finally start needing mental painting breaks. I play SpellTower obsessively in between painting sections of the pink blob. This trust in my shape, in my colors, and in slowing down in my process is all feeling great.

Evelyn Eastmond: Blob Painting