Paulina Sierra

I was in a bilingual school since I was seven. I remember reciting the vocabulary aloud: “cat- gato-cat-cat-cat” in a classroom full of kids that kept, like me, looking at a flashcard.

The first thing I found intriguing was how one word symbolized a drawing and next how that drawing represented the same thing in two different places that did not share the same language.

For years, my upbringing was based on European and North American culture. We purged snails in my kitchen to cook them with herbs, I was probably the only Mexican listening to Nikki Costa, and for years I begged my mother to tint my hair “yellow” because I wanted to be like Olivia Newton-John.

When I look back at my first interactions with the English language, I regard them as funny and tender. Once I asked a waiter in a restaurant where the machineguns1 were. He stared at me with blank eyes for a few minutes, and managed to point me towards the small arcade room by the end of the hall.

Still, the most vivid memories were the ones that came from being lost in translation in my own country. When I think of Mexico, there is a sense of depth and intoxication, of warm blood and bursting fruit. Just as I have recollections of misunderstandings from the U.S. and Europe, I can recall specific moments in which not language but cultural barriers have kept me outside my country. In these moments I was left wondering about my own identity; indigenous was the alter otherness that I had mistakingly conceived as sameness.

A negative aspect of assimilation is that it can keep things from being noticed because they have been given as a fact. Reappropriation comes in place as the antithesis of Appropriation to unearth these details. It is set in motion by questioning “stable” structures of predetermined mechanisms and thoughts.

1Maquinitas is the slang word for arcade game in Spanish. While it does not mean “machinegun,” I had created a hybrid of arcade games that were machines with guns.
Eye I & Eye Us

Edek Sher

So, you could enter the delineated space where beauty comes from. The ubiquitous place from which beauty enters our lives outside of Walgreens, enters our homes and our cars and the shelves in our bathrooms. Or, you could take a few steps forward, and then turn left, and present yourself with more illusions of choice.

LA LA LA

Elizabeth Skadden

What value lies in the death of a medium or the change of a space?

I am not the first to explore an idea, but rather the last to make sure that the idea is no longer valid. My work resurrects dying mediums and forgotten spaces in the form of installations, films, and GPS projects. This interest has compelled me to explore abandoned buildings, all formats of movie film, large format cameras, and the empty corner lot. These spaces and mediums are only here for a little while longer, so I make art with them to preserve them, even though I know this effort is ultimately futile.

The first-hand works of the Greek poetess Sappho are largely destroyed. Yet citations in other ancient writers, often made to illustrate their own points, have kept her works in the modern spotlight. Likewise, my work rescues a scrap of a dead medium by engaging it amid the digital noise of the present. Society no longer sees these spaces or mediums as important, and leaves them behind for me to catch.

When you are using abandoned spaces and dead mediums, no one tries to define their use; you are free, and the materials are yours for the taking.

Collapsing New Buildings

Bill Seaman

Perhaps the most difficult question for the graduates (and ourselves) is how do we go beyond what we know? This is actually a matter of personal courage.

I have used my own methods to help guide students through this very process. I must also admit that this set of processes continues to foster my own growth and learning. I often do my own research related to the student’s inquiry to keep well-informed about new development in the field. The exploration of such generative processes in the service of creative production is a lifelong concern. Working with top students is a deeply fulfilling way to live, continue to learn and study multiple fields.

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

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

Lisa Iaboni

Digital images are unique because they are transient.

Their meanings will change over time and in space. As digital images start to represent more of the world around us, I am excited to continue to work with what Hito Steyerl refers to as the “poor” image.

The decade long transformation of image production from analog to completely digital methods is a radical shift not only in photographic media, but in communication and meaning. “Photo gold” doesn’t always have to be found: it can be created.

I am not entirely giving up on taking my own pictures. I will get back to it at a some point. But for now, it seems like every time I look through my camera’s viewfinder there is someone in my composition taking a photo.

Finding Photo Gold

Rocio Delaloye

Then you started to add more an emoji, a Youtube video, or a link to start a conversation. All of those seemed more powerful than just saying ‘I like you’. We used to live in this fantasy on computer screens. Our emotions were measured in likes, comments, and swift replies. “Don’t call, just text.” “We haven’t been dating long enough to start talking on the phone,” you would say.

EFFECTIVE DOSE: CREATING PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO INVISIBLE NETWORKS

Samuel Galison

1)
april fools

spring is like
nothing like
thunder like
inhaling

air itself
is slender
honestly
contagious

the surface
of daybreak
of an act
not yet formed

on the grass
edges of
breathtaking
ignorance

2)
“This page intentionally left blank.” — GRE practice test

I can’t help it: I love moments in which someone, somewhere, with the best of intentions, decides to explain the obvious.

3)
There’s magic in motion just barely visible. Even cats know it: a foot moving under a blanket is far more enticing prey than either foot or blanket alone (though mine is apparently too smart for that – she’ll just go under the blanket and attack the source directly). That’s the pleasure of mystery: the sight of tendons moving under the back of your hand as you clench your fist hints at a hidden structure and logic beneath the surface. Complex emotional stories lie in the tension and bulk of muscles, leaving visible traces in the stretch and twist of the skin above.

FOR A MOMENT

Jason Huff

Jack of All Trades, Master of Nothing

I am part of a generation of artists whose skill set has changed because of digital technology, whose presence in the everyday has increased over the past decade and deeply influences my artistic practice.

Now my artistic research, production, and documentation of work exist primarily on the Internet, to be shared with global communities and collectives of artists. To paraphrase the words of the seminal media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the Internet has recently become an extension of the artist. We are in the age when the most common skill of the artist is the ability to click a mouse or a keyboard.

The arbiters of this new condition are the Internet Aware Artists, which have grown from a deskilled few to a re-skilled many. Their work exists, online and offline in a multitude of forms, within the sea of cultural production affected by the Internet. “Post-Internet” has emerged as a title for this new condition, but it is perhaps a misleading name.

A specific chronology has produced the conditions of the Internet Aware Artist, while at the same time a new economic framework has bloomed from the seeds of the 20th century art world. It is Neo-Capitalism, Post-Fordism, and even more aptly named, “the creative economy.” By tracing parallel developments of social and production networks on the Internet, we can examine, in detail, what events have created the Internet Aware Artist and the implications of the globally networked economy in which he or she exists.

2011_Huff_TECH_INCRIT_Dia3

 

Are We Not Drawn Onward To A New Era