October 2015 was a very busy month for MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts-Washington Faculty Advisor Seitu Jones. On October 9th & 10th he moderated a panel on food justice and spoke about his work at Harvard’s Black In Design conference. From October 12th through the 16th he was artist in residence for the Athens Arts Commission’s Public Art Planning process, where on October 13th he discussed his work as a visual artist who creates large-scale public artworks — spanning from his time as Minneapolis’ first artist in residence, to the staging of Create: The Community Meal, which took place a year ago in St. Paul and was produced by Public Art Saint Paul.
And on October 27th he led a food tour and was on a panel at the Urban Resiliency at Policy Link’s Equity Summit conference where PolicyLink and local advocates hosted an up close look at the key components of the Los Angeles food system. Co-sponsored by the LA Food Policy Council, the mobile workshop focused on exciting efforts transforming Los Angeles into a “good food” region with a food system that is fair, healthy, affordable, and sustainable.
Maurice Carlton’s first community garden encountered by Seitu Jones, 1978: “The Mother Love sign was the first piece by the late artist (1909-1985) that I saw. It graced the corner of Selby-Dale for years.” Photo: Mike Hazard
American Art: It’s Complicated
Minnesota Museum of American Art: Project Space
November 5, 2015 through January 3, 2016
Seitu Jones, along with Oskar Ly, Maria Cristina Tavera, and Dyani White Hawk Polk, was invited to join Minnesota Museum of American Art’s Executive Director Kristin Makholm to curate an exhibition that considers the complex question of “what is American art?” American Art: It’s Complicated will present over 30 works from the MMAA’s collection, national galleries, and local public and private collections that question the definition of “American art” as related to nationality, identity, and geography. Seitu Jones presents a capsule show of work on loan from the Minnesota Historical Society by sculptor Maurice Carlton. Carlton was known for rummaging through the trashcans and dumpsters of the old Rondo neighbourhood looking for found objects to transform into work that served as political commentary and African diaspora.
“If there is anybody I want to give some credit to outside of my family,” Seitu says in Growing Home: Stories of Ethnic Gardening by Susan Davis Price, “it’s Maurice Carlton. He was a community gardener before anybody called it that. He carved out these little vacant lots and transformed them into gardens. The biggest one was at Selby-Dale. He always wore red, black, and green, which we in the sixties thought we invented as Black Liberation colors. Come to find out, those were the official colors of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) of the 1920s. So Maurice was a part of that.”
Search Maurice’s pieces collected by the Minnesota Historical Society
On Seitu’s work at Frogtown
Read Article October 6, the 5-Acre Urban Farm dedicated in Frogtown
For the Publication: Growing Home: Stories of Ethnic Gardening by Susan Davis Price
First Official Stage Reading: Fall of the House of Snow
Free and open to the public
On November 21, 2015, award-winning playwright and current MFAIA-VT student, Patricia R. Corbett’s first play, Fall of the House of Snow was performed at the Richmond Triangle Theater. Patricia won a Maryland State Council Individual Artist Award in Playwriting for this work in 2007. Fall of the House of Snow tells the story of a makeup artist, boxer, writer, seamstress and street-wise transgender woman who perform as the hottest ‘House’ on the gay club circuit and features a ghost that haunts the house and who acts as a guide and protector. The play has been in development for nine years and has two main objectives: to stimulate generative discussions about the impact of HIV/AIDS, homophobia, religion and being black on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the community and to honour the real House of Snow and the 30 years of professional performances they have brought to the gay performance community as the oldest surviving black drag house in the state of VA. Patricia is in her third semester in the MFAIA program working on her practicum in collaboration with Richmond Triangle Players.
RAW Assmilk Soap at the Dome of Visions in Copenhagen
November 6-8, 2015
Alumna Karin Bolender’s (MFAIA-VT ’07) RAW Assmilk Soap and Gut Sounds Lullaby appeared alongside works by Kathy High, Natalie Jerimijenko, Eduardo Kac, Donna Haraway, and other artists in a show called Transspecies, which was curated by the Laboratory for Ecology and Aesthetics.
Gale Jackson in The Journal of Black Studies
MFAIA-VT Faculty Advisor Gale Jackson’s article, “Rosy, Possum, Morning Star: African American Women’s Work and Play Songs,” an excerpt from her forthcoming book Put Your Hands on Your Hips and Act Like a Woman: Song, Dance, Black History and Poetics in Performance has been published in the current issue of The Journal of Black Studies and is accessible, via their publications portal, in the online edition. Available for download here.
Ioana Jucan’s The Brilliance of this Moment
Sleeping Weazel’s online cyber art gallery recently unveiled a new exhibition featuring interdisciplinary performance-maker Ioana Jucan’s video The Brilliance of this Moment, her accompanying poetic text, and an interview by current MFAIA-VT student Adara Meyers.
Living Stages Forum Theatre Convergence on Housing and Social Justice
Current MFAIA-WA student Tamara Lynne facilitated the creation of three new interactive forum plays by Portland-based community groups and will co-joker (co-facilitate) these performances in partnership with community participants from OPAL/Bus Riders Unite, Right 2 Survive, and Root Shock as part of the Living Stages Forum Theatre Convergence. This is a three-day Portland-based festival of interactive forum theatre about housing, gentrification and social justice. Audience spect-actors will be invited to step onto the stage during the forum theatre events to offer ideas about what actions can be taken to make sure Portland is safe and liveable for all! Tamara, who is founder and creative director of Living Stages, recently completed an artist residency with City of Portland at Bud Clark Commons, documented in this “Theatre for Real Life” video.
Misha Penton Releases New Music-Dance Video
Alumna Misha Penton (MFAIA-WA ’13) recently released the new music-dance video, which she directed and performed in. The Captured Goddess was composed by Dominick DiOrio working with the turn-of-the-century American poet Amy Lowell’s poem of the same name. The Captured Goddess is shot on location: from Houston’s Memorial Drive wildflowers to the blazing flares and glowing smoke plumes of the Gulf Coast city’s industrial dystopian ship channel. The seven-minute mini-opera illuminates contemporary urban life and our ever-pressing forward, ever-changing world. The production includes Misha Penton (soprano); Meredith Harris (viola); Kyle Evans (piano); Toni Valle (dancer and choreographer); and Raul Casares (Director of Photography). See The Captured Goddess on Vimeo.
VJM Theater, New Brunswick, NJ
November 18 through 22, 2015
Alumnus Mark O’Maley (MFAIA-VT ’13) was the Lighting Designer for DancePlus at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Performances included works by MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient Kyle Abraham, Bessie Award winners Camille A. Brown & Jessica Lang, and Nicholas Bruder of Sleep No More.
New Composer has Sax Appeal
Beach Suite, a musical narrative for tenor saxophone, violin and piano by alumna Laura Ball (MFAIA-WA ’12) has been selected for performance at the 2016 International Saxophone Symposium in Washington, DC, which will be hosted by the United States Navy Band. Ball will be featured on piano and will also co-lecture with colleague and saxophonist Jonathan Kammer on pioneering new developments in the field of creative concertizing based on the interdisciplinary-collaborative model used in the UNED!TED and HELLO, SAXOPHONE! concert series.
Performing Arts Technology Master Class: Andrea Parkins
Earl V. Moore Building – Music Technology Lab
The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
On November 13, 2015, MFAIA-VT Faculty Advisor Andrea Parkins conducted a master class at the University of Michigan as a sound artist, composer, and electroacoustic improviser who engages with interactive electronics as compositional/performance process and who explores strategies related to Fluxus’ ordered, ephemeral activities. Supported by the Sally Fleming Master Class Fund, SMTD Department of Performance Art Technology, and the U-M Center for the Education of Women Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund.
Resonance Concert: Andrea Parkins
Earl V. Moore Building – McIntosh Theatre
The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Also in November, Andrea Parkins performed at the Women in Performance Art Technology: Resonance Concert, an annual event that celebrates the compositional works of those who identify as women in the electroacoustic music and digital media community. The event also featured the music of Fidelia Lam, Issac Levine, Björk, Paige Goetz, Rebecca Fisher, Kat Steih, Lena Sutter, and the Digital Music Ensemble.
Anjali Austin at the Arthur Mitchell Project Symposium
Alumna Anjali Austin (MFAIA-WA ’15) participated in a panel at the Arthur Mitchell Project Symposium (October 26-27, 2015) in conjunction with Columbia University’s acquired archives of Arthur Mitchell, the first African American Principal Dancer in a major US ballet company. Sixty years ago, Arthur Mitchell danced into history by becoming the first African American dancer with the New York City Ballet (NYCB). He blazed a path for many dancers of color including Misty Copeland, who became the first African American woman named as Principal Dancer for the American Ballet Theater in 2015. During the symposium, performers, writers and scholars discussed Arthur Mitchell’s impact in the dance world. Panellists included: Anjali Austin, Lynn Garafola, and Sarah L. Kaufman, Virginia Johnson. The moderator was Brent Hayes Edwards. There was also the screening of a film chronicling Mr. Mitchell’s life and career, a conversation with Mr. Mitchell and reflections from his former NYCB colleagues.
Dance, Film, Art and Scholarship
Alumna Cara Hagan (MFAIA-WA ’12) performed her newest dance and literary work, Ritual of 100 Tiny Circles at the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art and at Appalachian State University in October 2015. The work was made possible through a 2015 NC Choreographer’s Fellowship. On November 14th, 2015, Cara premiered her new short dance film, Without Boundaries, commissioned by the NC Dance Festival. Cara has a chapter entitled, “The Feminist Body Reimagined in Two Dimensions: An Exploration of the Intersections Between Dance Film and Contemporary Feminism,” in the forthcoming anthology, Dance’s Duet with the Camera: Motion Pictures. Finally, Cara was awarded a 2015 Sustainability in the Arts Grant from Appalachian State University, to produce the University’s first ever Symposium for Creative Social Stewardship. The Symposium will take place in April 2016.
Cara Hagan’s research proposal, “Exploring the Effects of Cultural Reassignment in Dance,” has been funded through the University Research Council of Appalachian State University, and she will be able to move forward with this project for the summer and fall.
Misty Sol. Photo Courtesy the Artist.
Misty Sol Selected to Turn Parking Meters into Art on 52nd Street
Alumna Misty Sol (MFAIA-VT ‘11) is one of seven artists chosen by the Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation (TEC-CDC) to turn parking meters into murals along the 52nd Street commercial corridor in West Philadelphia. Designed to engage community members and businesses in the revitalization efforts taking place along this key corridor, the place-making project represents a creative solution to addressing blight in the form of aging parking meters. Other artists include: Nile Livingston, Monna T. Morton, David Proch, Isa Richardson, Amy Lynne Scheidegger, Brian Taylor (B Nothin), and Terrance Woolford. On October 2nd the Urban Art Gallery (Philadelphia) hosted a ‘Meet the Artist’ reception.
Ryan Conarro Leads the DEVISINGHUB
LaMaMa’s Great Jones Studios, 47 Great Jones Street, NYC
November 2 to December 10 (no meetings Nov 26th & 30th): 6:30-9:30 pm
Alumnus Ryan Conarro (MFAIA-WA ’15) is in residence at Ping Chong + Company in New York through TCG’s Leadership One-on-One Program. At PC+C, he’s created and is facilitating the DEVISINGHUB. The DEVISINGHUB is a 5-week, 10-session workshop space for dynamic collaboration in which interdisciplinary artists, thinkers, and activists develop new works in progress; explore the contemporary landscape of devised performance practice; and articulate processes for making new work. Participants include current MFAIA-WA student Deanna Meek, who’s continuing the development of her solo performance in the HUB, incorporating opera, visual media, and personal stories.
Pam Hall launches Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge
The Faculty of Arts, Office of Public Engagement and the Centre for Newfoundland Studies recently launched former faculty advisor Pam Hall’s publication Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge, CHAPTER II: FOGO AND CHANGE ISLANDS at the Queen Elizabeth Library, Main Campus of Memorial University.
War of the Worlds comes to Philly
Current MFAIA-VT student Adrienne Mackey’s company Swim Pony Performing Arts, in conjunction with Drexel University’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio, received a $356,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation to begin research and development on a new theater and game project based on War of the Worlds. Aliens will begin an invasion of the city of Philadelphia in this mobile app and live theater hybrid experience. Mackey will use her experience in site-based original theater to help audiences follow a narrative plot through the streets and across cyberspace. Her team will begin work this spring and the project is set to premiere on Halloween of 2017.
Storme Webber at 3rd annual ‘Mo-Wave! Art Exhibition
Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar, Seattle, WA
With live performances by Mal DeFleur and alumna Storme Webber (MFAIA-WA ’15), the ‘Mo-Wave!’s 2015 Art Exhibition was rooted in themes explored by our “City of Empaths”. It was orchestrated to herald a graphic and sensual call to action inspired by the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter, Transgender Activism and the use of social media in the pursuit of social justice. The November 2015 exhibition featured work by: Andrew Lamb Schultz; C. Davida Ingram; Free Witch Quarterly; Grant Rehnberg; Joey Veltkamp; Leigh Riibe; Liana Kegley; Lynda Sherman; Mario Lemafa; Rafa Esparza; Rio Abundez; Tara Thomas; Topher McCulloch; Storme Webber, and with DJ Ozma Otacava. Review: Empathy and Disturbance by Natasha Marin
Lan Thao Lam at the Spring Watching Pavilion Group Exhibit. Photo Courtesy of Void Gallery
Spring Watching Pavilion Group Exhibit, Ireland
Old City Factory, Patrick St. Londonderry, Derry
Lin + Lam (Lana Lin and MFAIA-VT Faculty Advisor H. Lan Thao Lam) participated in Spring Watching Pavilion (October 3-November 14, 2015), the first major exhibition of contemporary Vietnamese art in Ireland. 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the ‘Fall of Saigon’ and the end of the Vietnam War. Other artists include: Art Labor Collective, Dinh Q. Lê, The Propeller Group, Lin+Lam, Ngoc Nau, Linh Phuong Nguyen, Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai, Nguyễn Trinh Thi, Tran Minh Duc. Curated by Orla Ryan, Spring Watching Pavilion exhibits the work of 14 artists who mostly work in lens-based media and participatory/socially-engaged practices reflecting on the richness and complexity of contemporary Vietnamese life. The title of this exhibition is taken from a poem of the same name by the 19th century Vietnamese poet Hồ Xuân Hương.
Citizens of Tomorrow: LIN + LAM at Bryn Mawr College
On November 9th, artist team Lin + Lam discussed their projects and working methodologies of the past dozen years. Their projects have addressed the dissemination and attrition of cultures and languages through post colonialism and globalization, the historical and contemporary conditions of refugees and displaced persons, and the paradoxical anonymity and surveillance of undocumented migrants. The artist team is attentive to the materiality of history as it is manifested through sites, documents, and psychic residues. Their lecture posed questions about the life and death of archives, and what it means to queer the archive.
Since 2001, Lin + Lam have produced projects in multiple media that brings together their backgrounds in architecture, photography, sculpture, installation, writing and time-based media. Inspired by a particular site, historical incident, or political issue, they collect research in the form of interviews, archival materials, and found objects. Their work has been exhibited at international venues and they have received numerous awards. Lam received her MFA from CalArts. Lin received her MFA from Bard College and PhD from New York University. Both have been participants in the Whitney Independent Study program. H. Lan Thao Lam is currently an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Parsons. Lin is Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies, the New School.
The Spinning Wheel
Residency: December 15, 2015 – January 29, 2016 Gallery Exhibition: January 8 – 29, 2016 | Free Exhibition Opening Reception January 8, 2016 | 6-8PM | World Premiere
Performances: January 8, 9 & 15, 16, 2016 | 8PM | $15 Adv/$18 Door 647 Fulton Street (Enter on Rockwell Place) Brooklyn, NY 11217
The Spinning Wheel, conceived by hip hop theater artist and alumnus Baba Israel (MFAIA-VT ’08) with UK based director Leo Kay and musician alumnus Yako 440 Prodis (MFAIA-VT ’09), is a multimedia performance and interactive gallery exhibition that engages with the archive of Baba Israel’s late father and Living Theater alum steve ben israel. The Spinning Wheel exhibition features original posters, poetry and photography by steve ben israel, prints by renowned political activist and artist Eric Drooker, original stencil work and collage by Yako 440, and original posters and photographic prints from steve ben israel’s time with the Living Theatre in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibit also features an interactive installation created by Richard Ramchurn in the form of a recreation of steve ben israel’s audience, which allows visitors to take a more intimate journey through the archive material used in the creation of The Spinning Wheel performance piece.
Climate, Art, and Popular Culture
“A Yinyang, Ecocritical Fabulation of Doctor Who” by MFAIA Program Director JuPong Lin will be included in a forthcoming publication An Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices, edited by Jeanine Canty. This book is a small, edited collection of essays by 15 multicultural women who are doing work that crosses the boundaries of ecological and social healing. The women are prominent academics, writers and leaders spanning Native American, indigenous, Asian, African, Latina, Jewish and multiracial backgrounds. The contributors express a myriad of ways that the relationship between the ecological and social have brought new understanding to their experiences and work in the world. Moreover by working with these edges of awareness, the contributors identify new forms of teaching, leading, and healing. The book is rooted in academic theory as well as personal and professional experience, and highlights emerging models and insights.
JuPong Lin is also amongst the core artists of Wicked Questions: A Global Conversation on Climate and Change project. The website was launched on November 30 during the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change. The collective invites all to add your voices by finding your wicked question, answering a wicked question through participatory video, or hosting a wicked event. #wickedqs
Master Class at Moving Communities Conference in Dunedin, Aotearoa/New Zealand
MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Petra Kuppers gave a master class in multisensory participatory performance as the opening of Moving Communities, which also served as a celebration of the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance. Petra was the inaugural Fellow, 10 years ago, and had created work with local hospice patients, cancer survivors, and with former residents of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest asylum, Seacliff.
Arts-based Research Sharing and Disability Culture Methods: Different Ways of Knowing
Petra Kuppers collaborated with Beth Currans and Stephanie Heit on an essay about Disability Culture symposia and arts-based ways of knowing. The essay, in RiDE: Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, is accessible for free online.
Weaving Our Sisters’ Voices
Alumna Suzanne Ostersmith (MFAIA-WA ’14) directed and choreographed the original work Weaving Our Sisters’ Voices for Gonzaga University in October. Through a contemporary/social justice lens, it explores lesser-known stories of women mentioned in Scripture. Conceived by interdisciplinary artist Suzanne Ostersmith, this collaboration developed with writer Linda Schearing (Religious Studies Department), Robert Spittal, (Music Department), Courtney Smith (Scenic Design), and Leslie Stamoolis (Costume Design from the Theatre and Dance Department).
Three Productions Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Recent productions directed by alumna Megan Sandberg-Zakian (MFAIA-VT ’11) include Holy Laughter a new play by Catherine Trieschmann, which played from October 29 – November 22, 2015 at the WAM Theatre, Pittsfield, MA; It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play adapted by Joe Landry, playing from November 25 – December 20, 2015, at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, MA; and The Convert by Danai Gurira that will play January 28 – February 28, 2016 at the Underground Railway Theater, Cambridge, MA: “If you take a lion from its mother and make it to play among people does it start to think it is now a person? One day it will look at its reflection and become a lion again and it will tear those people to pieces who made it forget who it is.”
CONES, A Solo Show About Vampires, Vision Loss, and Ice Cream
The Rotunda, Philadelphia, PA
December 6, 2015 at 8PM
The public is invited to a special live (recorded) showing of CONES in which a blindfolded boy spills secrets about bright lights, bad cartoons, wearing capes and learning how to be a vampire. When a team of eye doctors, gym coaches, powerful sorcerers and potential mates try to pry his eyes open, what will he see? The answer may be in the ice cream. CONES, designed and performed by current MFAIA-VT student Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews and directed by co-creator Mason Rosenthal, premiered at the 2015 SoLow Festival. This special showing will be recorded on video in preparation for future touring. The show is free with your RSVP, and lasts one hour. There will be ice cream and a talkback following the performance. Find more at www.themediums.org/cones
Danielle Abrams: On Education and Black Mountain College
Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Thursday, December 3,215 at 7:00 pm
Boston-based artist and MFAIA former faculty advisor Danielle Abrams presents a new, historically driven, 20-minute performance that explores themes on progressive education and racial integration as experienced at Black Mountain College. Following the performance, Steve Seidel, Harvard University’s Arts in Education program director and a former Boston Public Schools teacher, moderates a conversation with the artist. ICA Forums are part a new series of discussions on social, cultural, and political topics raised by work on view at the ICA. Costumes and set design by Alex Borovski. Danielle Abrams teaches performance at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
FREE tickets are required and will be made available two hours prior to the start of the program; limit two tickets per person.
The site of Laiwan’s next commission — the large video screens at Robson and Granville Streets in downtown Vancouver, Canada. The image here shows the 2014 City of Vancouver commission Making Circles: The Chilkat Dancing Blanket by Emilie Crewe with hands of master weaver Donna Cranmer with images of the 100 year old Anislaga Chilkat Blanket that was recently returned to Alert Bay, Canada, from Europe. Image courtesy City of Vancouver Public Art Registry
Coastal City Commission, City of Vancouver Public Art
MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Laiwan has been commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art program to develop a new video work to be located at the large LED video screens at Robson and Granville Streets in the heart of downtown. A detailed Concept Proposal will be submitted by December 17th and when approved the video shoot and post-production begin. Once finalized, the work will be installed and launched in May 2016, with continuous screening in-between regular advertising. “Coastal City” is the theme of the 2015-2017 commissions awarded to 15 artists working with various sites in Vancouver.