New MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Jamie Figueroa speaking on Individual Identity as Portal to Collective/The Emergence of an Authentic Voice. Photos: Goddard College
Indigenous Presence at MFAIA Residency
The September MFAIA residency in Port Townsend featured a strong Indigenous presence and opened the new Indigenous and Decolonial Art (IDA) concentration to current students. Next semester the IDA concentration will be officially launched and open to all incoming students.
We are thrilled to welcome Jamie Figueroa (Taíno) to the faculty of the MFAIA. Jamie is Boricua by way of Ohio, and long time resident of northern New Mexico. She explores identity, familial relationships, place, culture, and ancestry. A two-time graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, (BFA and MFA in Creative Writing), she publishes across genres including fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Her collaborative community work facilitates an engagement with underrepresented voices and highlights intergenerational, multi-racial & multi-ethnic, gender & sexuality difference, and equality. Currently, in addition to advising in the MFAIA program, Jamie facilitates modern myth making for personal and collective restoration and healing.
Jamie joined Indigenous scholar, Judy Dow (Abenaki and French Canadian) and MFAIA Program Director JuPong Lin for a roundtable discussion, “What is Ceremony, Here and There?” that was guided by the following questions:
- What is ceremony?
- What are the relationships between ceremony, the sacred, and contemporary art practice?
- Under what conditions can ceremony, as art, be appropriately enacted in public?
- How can Indigenous and non-Indigenous people learn together respectfully and with mutual understanding about the complex questions of cultural appropriation, and the ways that cultural hybridity has and can bring about significant positive changes?
The residency was also graced with the return of Cease Wyss (Skwxwu7mesh / Sto:lo / Metis / Hawaiian / Swiss) and Anne Riley (Cree and Dene). Cease participated in a series of Herbal Intermissions intended to support wellness and self-care through plant medicine and Anne supported the logistics of the residency and the guest artists.
We are pleased to announce that Cease Wyss is the first member of the Circle of Advisors for the IDA initiatives, including “Indigeneity, Sovereignty and Decolonization: An Interdisciplinary Art Roundtable Gathering,” the one-day event for which we received FENI funding.
Canadian Art Magazine features Deanna Bowen in the studio. Full article here.
MFAIA-VT Welcomes new Faculty Advisor, Deanna Bowen
We are also very pleased to welcome new Faculty Advisor Deanna Bowen, who joins the MFAIA-VT faculty for the fall semester.
Deanna makes use of a repertoire of artistic gestures in order to define the Black body and trace its presence and movement in place and time. In recent years, her work has involved rigorous examination of her family lineage and their connections to the Black Prairie pioneers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Creek Negroes (Black Indians) and All-Black towns of Oklahoma, the extended Kentucky / Kansas Exoduster migrations, and the Ku Klux Klan. Her broader artistic / educational practice examines history, historical writing and the ways in which artistic and technological advancements impact individual and collective authorship.
Her oral history video sum of the parts: what can be named was presented at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and her recently commissioned 45-minute road movie We Are From Nicodemus was presented in the Royal Ontario Museum of Art’s exhibition The Family Camera. She just opened her solo exhibition The Long Doorway at Mercer Union, a centre for Contemporary Art, and she is thrilled to be part of the group exhibition Carry Forward, which just opened at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery. Her collaborative project Won’t Back Down (with Black Lives Matter Toronto) was just showcased at Nuit Blanche Toronto at the end of September. She will be performing sum of the parts: what can be named live (for the first time ever) this December in the group exhibition In the Shadow of the Individual at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
Recent writings and art works have been published in Canadian Art, Transition Magazine, and Towards an African-Canadian Art History: Art, Memory, and Resistance. Deanna received a Canada Council New Chapter and Ontario Arts Council Media Arts production grant this year, after having receiving a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2014 William H. Johnson Prize.
Seitu Jones Receives 2017 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award
The McKnight Foundation has selected visual artist and recently retired MFAIA Faculty Advisor Seitu Jones to receive the 2017 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award. The annual honor, now marking its 20th year, provides $50,000 cash to an individual Minnesota artist who has made a significant contribution to the state’s cultural life.
“With grand-scale designs that have been built into the foundation of Minneapolis’s Nicollet Mall and St. Paul’s Green Line transit system, Seitu Jones’ artistic vision has become an indelible part of Minnesota’s cultural landscape,” said Kate Wolford, president of McKnight.
Over the course of a wide-ranging career in painting, sculpture, theater arts, public works, and environmental design, Seitu Jones has demonstrated what’s possible when an artist with a hopeful vision and a generous spirit sets down deep roots in his community. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this award, it’s especially exciting to be honoring an artist like Seitu, who has contributed so much to our sense of place here in Minnesota.
Born in north Minneapolis in 1951, Seitu Jones was deeply influenced by the Black Arts Movement and its central belief that artists have an obligation to leave their communities “more beautiful than they found it.” In his five-decade career, Jones served as the first-ever artist-in-residence in the City of Minneapolis, transported audiences with set designs as an original company member of Penumbra Theatre and other stages, and recently set the table for a diverse cast of 2,000 guests at CREATE: The Community Table, half-mile-long public art installation designed to spark conversation about access to healthy food.
The McKnight Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists who have chosen to make their lives and careers in Minnesota, thereby making our state a more culturally rich place. Although they have the talent and the opportunity to pursue their work elsewhere these artists have chosen to stay — and by staying, they have made a difference. They have founded and strengthened arts organizations, inspired younger artists, and attracted audiences and patrons. Best of all, they have made wonderful, thought-provoking art. The goal of McKnight’s arts funding is to support working artists who create and contribute to vibrant communities. The program is grounded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive.
Archival photo of the original site of Casino; Ernestine Hayes with Storme Webber; and photograph of Storme as a child from the exhibition Casino: A Palimpsest at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. Photos courtesy of Storme Webber
Storme Webber’s Casino: A Palimpsest Series of Events
The Frye Art Museum is proud to present Casino: A Palimpsest, the first solo museum exhibition of Seattle-based performance artist, poet and alumna Storme Webber (MFAIA-WA ’14). Through family photographs, archival records, and poetry, Webber unearths a personal history of one of the oldest gay bars on the West Coast, the Casino. As with a palimpsest, on which writing that has been erased remains visible under new script, the historical documents in this exhibition reveal some of the many histories that lie beneath Seattle’s streets. Runs from August 5 to October 29, 2017.
Artist’s Talk: Storme Webber at Evergreen State College
Fall Quarter 2017 — Storme Webber, interdisciplinary artist, writer
Wednesday, 10/4 from 11:30-1pm in Recital Hall, COM Building
The Evergreen Art Lecture Series presents a broad range of interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art issues by artists, writers, activists and scholars. The emphasis is to introduce the way in which a variety of practices undertake fields of inquiry in the arts. The series provides a lively forum for the exchange of ideas between the speakers, students, faculty and the public. The series will take place in the Experimental Theater at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Most of the talks take place on every other Wednesday, on even weeks, during the quarter from 11:30-1:00 pm and are free and open to the public.
Writer, interdisciplinary artist, educator, and curator, Storme Webber was born and raised in Seattle where she attended Lakeside School. She has performed and toured her work internationally, and consistently foregrounds the work of other marginalized artists, most recently founding Voices Rising: LGBTQ of Color Arts & Culture in Seattle. Her poetry collections include Diaspora and Blues Divine. She has been featured in numerous anthologies, including Black Women and Writing: The Migration of Subject, International Queer Indigenous Voices, and The Popular Front of Contemporary Poetry, and in the documentaries Venus Boyz, What’s Right with Gays These Days, and Living Two Spirit. Webber received the 2015 James W. Ray Venture Project Award, which is funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation through the Frye Art Museum | Artist Trust Consortium. The award supports and advances the creative work of outstanding artists living and working in Washington State and culminates in her current exhibition, Casino: A Palimpsest, at the Frye Art Museum.
Casino: A Palimpsest | A Conversation with Storme Webber + Miranda Belarde-Lewis
Storme and curator Miranda Belarde-Lewis engaged in a public conversation about the exhibition on Thursday, September 14, 2017.
Valorizing Our Beloveds Workshop Series
Storme invited the community to participate in a three-part workshop facilitating a process of creative remembrance as social and personal history. Participants brought in family photographs to use as a mechanism for considering evidence and imaginings, facts and fiction, and above all to reflect upon the spirits of those who made a way so that we could stand.
Uncollectable Treasures Performance with Storme Webber and Ernestine Hayes
On September 28, 2017 at the Frye Museum Auditorium, Storme and acclaimed author and scholar Ernestine Hayes performed a new collaborative work, combining spoken word, and song. Together they shared urban, Alaskan Native mixed-blood stories from the place of poetry, spirit, and the sacred land, woven together with the jazz shadings that illuminate journeys and wanderlust.
2017 Alaska State Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes was born and raised in Juneau when Alaska was still a territory. When she was fifteen years old, she and her mother moved to California, where she spent twenty-five long years. When she turned forty, she resolved to go home or die with her thoughts facing north. It took her eight months to get from San Francisco to Ketchikan. She finally made it back home two years later. After returning home, she enrolled at the University of Alaska, eventually receiving an MFA in creative writing and literary arts. She now teaches at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. Hayes belongs to the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Eagle side of the Lingit nation. She has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
- Links to reviews of Casino: A Palimpsest:
Frye show strikes balance between family history, social commentary
- Literary Event of the Week: Casino: A Palimpsest
- Seattle’s LGBTQ history that isn’t white, middle class men
- Recommended by The Stranger
- Indigenize the Gallery
Partnership with Soak on the Sound (Port Townsend, WA) Leads to the Second Iteration of Instructions for Being Water: A Performance Score
MFAIA Program Director JuPong Lin and MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Devora Neumark, PhD, along with 10 members of the MFAIA-WA community, enacted the Instructions for Being Water performance score (co-authored by JuPong and Devora, in collaboration with former MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Seitu Jones) in the community salt-water tub at Soak on the Sound. MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Sharon Siskin documented the event by drawing in real time, while current MFAIA-WA student Tamara Wallace photographed the contact between water and flesh. The score is available here.
Soak on the Sound seeks to serve as a well of rejuvenation and connection for the community of Port Townsend and those who visit us here in paradise… Soak offers salt water soaking in Private as well as Community tubs and a Finnish Sauna for relaxing and detoxing. The back deck is wonderful for sipping cold ciders or Kumbucha while you luxuriate around the beautiful foot soak.
Stump 1, Pigment Print. Photo by David Sokal
Exhibition of Stump 1
In addition to being exhibited at the Manifest Gallery, Stump 1, by Alumnus David Sokal (MFAIA-WA ‘14) was also accepted into the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition annual juried show (Juror: Alison Hokanson, Curator of European Paintings at the Met). The work will appear in print next year in International Photography Annual 6.
2016 Voice and Speech Review Forum Article of the Year Award
Alumna Shannon Holmes (MFAIA-WA ’13) has won an award for her first published article – the 2016 Voice and Speech Review Forum Article of the Year Award: Autoethnography and Voicework: Autobiographical Narrative and Self-Reflection as a Means Towards Free Vocal Expression. The Voice and Speech Review (VSR) is VASTA‘s (Voice and Speech Trainers Association) scholarly journal. It is edited by VASTA members, and published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis.
Unpacking Race: A 5-Part Workshop Series
For five Tuesday nights in Philadelphia this fall alumnus Morgan Andrews (MFAIA-VT ‘16) and collaborator Hariprasad Kowtha re-open their popular series on race and interrupting racism to the public. Participants will excavate this topic through exercises, discussions, and techniques from the Theatre of the Oppressed, plus read, watch, listen to and do things on the days between sessions. The aim of this workshop series is to unlearn systemic racism, to heal from racial privilege and oppression, and to offer starting points for structural and personal change.
To date, Morgan and Hariprasad have run the Unpacking Race curriculum for Widener University, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, Circle of Hope, at the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, as well as several times as a public workshop in Philadelphia. Runs from November 7 to December 5, 2017. For more info visit: Theatre of the Oppressed Philadelphia.
Movement Research Weekend in NYC: The Asylum Project
MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Petra Kuppers, PhD and collaborator/partner Stephanie Heit will be conducting workshops at Movement Research, NYC, with performance at Judson Church. “Let’s explore our embodied selves and our political labor through movement, writing, meditation and social sculpture. Delight our senses to create sanctuary in (disability) activist struggles. Find movements that push boundaries and translate into everyday life, create and share resources for art/life practices that can sustain ourselves and our communities. In our daily scores, we will reach for joy, ceremony, and edge, beyond the studio and into the street. Open exploration, experimental access: we find out together what works for those who assemble.”
October 7-8 SAT SUN 11am-4pm Movement Research @Abrons Arts Center G05
October 9 MON 3-6pm & 8pm (Performance) Movement Research @Judson Church
Image graphics designed by Melissa Gill
Shelter In Place
Alumna Louise Halsey (MFAIA-VT ’07) is in a group exhibition by a collective of women artists in Arkansas who are known as “Culture Shock” working with concept of creating a tent. Runs from September 11 to October 27, 2017.
Building a Container Home
Alumnus Mark O’Maley (MFAIA-VT ’13) has moved back to Vermont (where he’s teaching part time at Marlboro College) and is bring his work around the idea of “home” from his G2 & G3 semesters with Faculty Advisors Kira Obolensky and Pete Hocking to life. Mark bought land in Wilmington, VT and started building his 680sq foot house out of shipping containers this past August. Since purchasing the land in July, O’Maley has installed a 200’ driveway, and just finished the foundation piers for the house itself. Next step is the containers arrival and a 75-ton crane to put them in place. Mark plans on moving into his new home in the fall of 2018. It’s for sure the largest installation project he’s ever undertaken – both totally exciting and terrifying at the same time. Documentation of the process is online at: www.802containerhouse.weebly.com
Sleeping Weazel presents 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show
Current MFAIA-VT student Adara Meyers’ multimedia theatre company, Sleeping Weazel presents 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show, conceived and written by James Scruggs and directed by Mark Rayment.
3/Fifths’ turns minstrelsy inside out and upside down in a blend of song, dance, video, and storytelling, at turns hilarious and terrifying, and sometimes both at the same time. Freshly inspired by Scruggs’ original 3/Fifths critically acclaimed NYC premiere, this lean, mean theatrical machine features three high-voltage actors slyly performing this country’s racist history and ongoing need for dialogue and change.
November 3–5 and 9–11, 2017
Nicholas Martin Hall at the Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
This production has been made possible, in part, by support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Boston Cultural Council, and is the recipient of development and equipment support from 3LD Art & Technology Center.
Lineage Undone at the Eastside Queer Stories Festival
Lineage Undone, written by alumna librecht baker (MFAIA-WA ’12), is one of 11 one-act plays included in Q Youth Foundation’s Eastside Queer Stories Festival. The Festival happens in East Los Angeles at The Aerial House and runs for one weekend only.Lineage Undone is an interdisciplinary play incorporating poetry, dance, and a Guinea, West Africa rhythm. Runs October 13, 14, and 15, 2017.
Kirsten Brandt’s adaptation of The Open Door premieres at Wicked Lit
Unbound Productions’ Executive Director Jonathan Josephson, Artistic Director Paul Millet, and Producing Artistic Director Jeff G. Rack have announced the details for Wicked Lit 2017, the company’s 9th annual immersive theatre event, which will for the 8th year, take place at Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery in Altadena, CA. The production will feature world premiere adaptations of Ambrose Bierce’s The Damned Thing, adapted by Jeff G. Rack (The Monkey’s Paw, The Unnamable), directed by Sebastian Munoz (Force of Nature Productions); Thoth’s Labyrinth, adapted by Jonathan Josephson (Anansi and the Demons, Humana Festival), Directed by Darin Anthony (The Grove of Rashomon, Moving Arts); and Margaret Oliphant’s The Open Door, adapted by current MFAIA-WA student Kirsten Brandt (The Snow Queen, Berzerkergäng), Directed by Paul Millet (Holmes, Sherlock and The Consulting Detective; Smoke and Mirrors). The frame for Wicked Lit 2017: Liliom, by Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm (O’Neill Finalist), Directed by James Castle Stevens (From Beyond enhanced staged reading in 2015, Glendale Center Theatre). Runs from Sept. 29 to Nov. 11, 2017.Image graphic designed by Liz Hack
Ollom Art 2017 Gala
The Ollom Art 2017 Gala is an evening filled with art from around the US and includes food, wine, refreshments and a live dance party with DJ Boni D from Austin, TX in honor of Paula Mason. Art from many diverse mediums and products will be for sale. This year’s program features several alumnae and students from Goddard Collage including: Cecilia Bucca, Lynne Scott Constantine and Suzanne Scott Constantine, Regan Halas, Jeannette Hardie, Neena Massey, Lindsay Metcalf, Galen Passen and alumnus John Ollom’s (MFAIA-VT ’14) new work Compositions #1. Works from Christopher Burris, Camille Paccaly, Byron Utley and Stone Zhu will also be presented. Ollom Art invites guests to be creative in their attire and to celebrate diversity in art.
To purchase tickets ($50 if purchased by November 1 and $60 thereafter) and more information: www.OllomArt.com. Donations accepted from people who are unable to attend. On November 11, 2017, at 5:30 -10:30 PM, Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10018.
Support Prehistoric Body Theatre’s Kickstarter Campaign
Alumnus Ari Rudenko (MFAIA-WA ’16) has a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for his next project. Dance-theater is perhaps humanity’s oldest medium for telling the epic stories of our ancestors. Prehistoric Body Theater takes that tradition one step further, by teaming up with leading paleontologists to tell the ultimate epic: a 500+ million year long evolutionary odyssey of sex, violence, extinction, and survival, expressed with the raw reality of the human body in motion. And now, for the first time, Prehistoric Body Theater will be bringing this dance experience to the screen, through an innovative video and photography project directed by Ari Rudenko, in collaboration with an ensemble of top Indonesian contemporary dancers, based on the feature production Ghosts of Hell Creek.
Ghosts of Hell Creek tells the tale of the final days of Acheroraptor: the last of the magnificently feathered, hyper carnivorous raptor dinosaurs, during the apocalyptic mass extinction in the wake of the asteroid which hit the earth 66 million years ago. Ghosts of Hell Creek then tells the tale of a curious creature named Purgatorius, the first known primate: our most ancient ancestor who miraculously survived the mass extinction.
Prehistoric Body Theater is collaborating with the Burke Museum in Seattle, WA to create this project, with oversight from leading paleontologists Dr. Greg Wilson (Burke Museum) and Dr. Dave Evans (Royal Ontario Museum). These paleontologists specialize in the final extinction of the dinosaurs, and the evolutionary changes that transpired after the asteroid impact.
Prehistoric Body Theater artistic director Ari Rudenko, who is originally from Seattle, has been based in Indonesia since 2012. The unique prehistoric animal dance movements used in this video and the stage productions are based on techniques drawn from Indonesian dance. Ari believes that by working with Indonesian dancers, this project can “inspire a groundbreaking global bridge between cultures and traditions.”
This film will be both an artistic work on its own right, and will also be a building block towards bringing the stage production of Ghosts of Hell Creek on tour to the US in 2019, with the ensemble of Indonesian dancers.
Donate to Ari’s Kickstarter Campaign
Bodies are Infinite Dance Classes
Alumna Stacy Dawson Stearns (MFAIA-WA ’12) has curated The Bodies are Infinite Monday Morning Class dance series to offer diverse physical experiences encouraging growth, exploration, and healing to all bodyminds! Stacy has invited a group of diverse artists to share practices with participants to enhance and nourish their dancing bodyminds and heal/reclaim/explore the embodiment of courage and love in times of struggle.
Every Monday from Oct 2-Dec 12, 2017 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, 15$-20$sliding scale
at Pieter PASD, 420 West Avenue 33 Unit #10, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Pieter is accessible via the Metro Gold Line off the Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park stop. Entrance to studio is on the curved street corner at the red bench.
First in the Bodies Are Infinite series: Gregory Barnett: Moving through Hysterics
Oct 2, 9, and 16, 2017 — We will view our limbs as powerful tools capable of opening roads and fighting the good fights. We will consider emotional overwhelm an untapped power well. We will obsess on the intricacies of both our physical anatomies and emotional logics. We will understand choreography as a series of promises. We may high kick. We will think and we will move.
Gregory Barnett creates signs, altars, and dances and believes he is better for it. His choreography works with duration, repetition, and mimetic movement in an effort to pinpoint the juncture between lineage (memory) and prayer (desire) where potential alchemic growth is at its most potent, with the belief that whatever is created in the microcosm of a body or space floods into a larger macrocosm, for better or worse. Visit the Facebook event page.
Interdisciplinary Collaboration with UBC Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS)
MFAIA-WA Faculty Advisor Laiwan is developing a public art project, working in collaboration with the Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) directed studies students at the University of British Columbia led by Dr. Tara Ivanochko, Director of Environmental Science. Laiwan will be researching interdisciplinary approaches and opportunities to bridge the arts and sciences with the EOAS starting September 2017 until May 2018. More information to come soon.
As one of the largest and most diverse Earth science departments in the world, UBC’s Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) is an international leader in both research and teaching innovation. EOAS researchers together with undergraduate and graduate students investigate processes happening at Earth’s surface, within its interior, atmosphere, and ocean, as well as processes happening on other terrestrial planets. EOAS instructors utilize cutting-edge, evidence-based pedagogy in the classroom, spearheading the University-wide initiative to improve undergraduate science education. The department’s main outreach hub, the Pacific Museum of Earth, showcases EOAS’s commitment to engage and educate the public on a myriad of Earth science phenomena.
MFAIA Alumni Return to visit as Guest Artists to the MFAIA-WA F17 Residency
Three of our guest artists this September residency were alumni, giving current students an opportunity to witness how our graduates are moving their work, begun in the MFAIA program, out into the world in imaginative ways — Hannah Pearl Walcott, K-Haw Hart (aka Karin Bolender) and Neel Murgai:
Hannah Pearl Walcott (MFAIA-WA ’16) identifies her central practice as Plantáge, which she defines as the integration of visual art and plant medicine. Currently Hannah Pearl is working on an ongoing series of mixed media collages depicting feminine personifications of plants as well as entering her third and final year at Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkeley, CA, where she is receiving a clinical herbalist certificate. Hannah Pearl writes, “Nature knows how to heal itself. How can making art with and about nature invoke this process of self-healing in the artist and, in turn, promote healing in others? My creative identity lies in the union of visual art and herbalism In my practice, making plant medicine is an art, and making visual art is medicine.” Hannah Pearl hosted a series of Herbal Intermissions and a Self-care Salon, revealing a wonderful model of supporting community life during residencies.
K-Haw Hart (AKA Karin Bolender) (MFAIA-VT ’07) is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, teacher and scholar whose barnyard, and backroad-based, ecological performance practice negotiates between human language and other embodied ways of knowing and becoming. Based in Western Oregon, she is an international postgraduate research scholar in Multispecies Art Practice in the Environmental Humanities program at University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
K-Haw offered two workshops related to her current work. The Bureau of Multispecies Matterings offered a kind of “office” space (kin to Joseph Beuys’ 1972 Office of Information for the Organization of Direct Democracy at Documenta 5), dedicated to sharing conversations and resources for thinking through multispecies implosion histories and speculative configurations. K-Haw opened the space for exploration into local naturalcultural ecologies and hidden histories, while practicing and sharing tactics of multispecies ethnography and other strategies for cultivating new “response-ability” in art practices. Welcome to the Secretome invited us to explore a radical extension of hospitality to some of our oldest, most vital, and least-recognized friends: ancient microbial allies who live in our midst, essential but unseen, unappreciated or scorned. In what is known as the “Old Friends Hypothesis,” Graham Rook et al. suggest that certain microbes coevolved in alliances among (pre)domestic species, thriving in the guts, muzzles, muddy roots, and skin-folds of ancient multispecies herds. This site-specific workshop builds on a model developed by K-Haw Hart (aka Karin Bolender) along with Associates of the Rural Alchemy Workshop (R.A.W.) farm in Philomath, OR. (The original workshop featured fellow alumna Emily Stone (MFAIA-WA ’08), on September 7, 2017 and with support from OSU’s Microbiology Department.) In Fort Worden, K-Haw led a collective experiment: we will trace in/visible livelinesses through bodies (seen and unseen) and flowing waters, grasses, and rhizomes, each seeking what we need and desire by following a mysterious “treasure map” drawn by microscopic Bacillus and others, cultured from untold m/other tongues.
Neel Murgai guided the MFAIA-WA community in workshops of overtone singing which included explorations in the vacated military bunkers at Fort Worden, with a highlight of his solo concert Spherical Music. Photos: Goddard College
Alumnus Neel Murgai (MFAIA-VT ’10) is a multi-instrumental performer, composer and teacher from New York City. His life long journey into the depth and beauty of sitar and Indian classical music began with Ravindra Goswami in Banaras, 23 years ago. For the past 16 years Neel has studied with his guru and mentor, Pundit Krishna Bhatt. His interest in music began at a young age with trombone and guitar. He has studied overtone singing with the Buriyat performance group Uragsha and Harmonic Choir member, Timothy Hill. Western composition, Neel studied with Edgar Grana. While dedicated to Indian classical music, Neel is also interested in creating an original music that is rooted in his many influences and studies. The Neel Murgai Ensemble is a product of many years of thought about the ideal instrumentation to advance his compositions.
Neel’s concert, “Spherical Music”, brought in a terrific audience from the Port Townsend region. He also generously shared his practice of overtone singing in a series of workshops, one of which took place within the bunkers at Fort Worden and also hosted an interdisciplinary arts jam session.
Link to Neel’s project The Brooklyn Raga Massive