Search Results for 'jessica higgins' ↓

The Otherwise Art Festival
Exit Festival spring 2012
MAC (Maisons des Arts de Créteil), France
March 8-18, 2012

Bernie Lubell, Left: ‘Aphasiogram/Making a point of Inflection’. Right:
‘Fur’s Facebox’


by Angie Eng

Sensory perception and audience participation were reoccurring themes in this year’s Exit art festival in Créteil France on March 8th-18th, 2012. Exit is one of the first spring contemporary art festivals I’m sure to not miss in or around Paris.

Left: Place Salvador Allende, Créteil. Right: Left Fronters at Bastille, March 2012 photo by Stuart Krusee

Exit’s welcome mat, Place Salvador Allende already gives MAC Creteil (Maison des Arts et de la Culture/ House of Arts and Culture) an advantage over most art centers.  Sitting beside a lake and at the far end of a Vasarely swirling marbled XXX-large plaza it is surrounded by futuristic buildings designed by architect, Pierre Dufau in the 1960’s.  In a category with Oscar Niemeyer, at Allende square, which also includes city hall, we imagine to be in former communist Eastern Europe. The 6th largest populated area of metropolitan Paris, Créteil has consistently been politically far left since Mitterand.  Also note, in 1823 a tramline was built from Créteil directly to place de Bastille once the prison/chateau taken down by the people in 1789 and presently the most frequented place to spot a protest.

Once you traverse the immense, empty square save for the four skateboarders, a surprise awaits.  Unpredictability is what I like most of this festival that focuses on hybrid and new media art and performance. Such risk-taking (a rarity in proximity of institutionalized Paris and its deep-rooted tradition) can be hit or miss.  This year’s exhibition veered less toward innovation as witnessed in past shows and closer to an accessible whimsy with one foot in today and one in yesterday.

Artistic Director, Didier Fusiller has a knack for organizing diverse contemporary art for an inclusive audience. This is a rare occurrence in the age of the digital art festival geared for academics, scientists, researchers and the educated art elite. How many urban contemporary art institutions receive a public that equally represents their diverse demographics? Stress is made on the Republic’s motto of egalité. The MAC team has managed to find a solution to engage/welcome a public, which resembles a Benetton portrait over the group shot Vanity Fair cover.

This year, Exit festival took a break from the algorithmic, sensor-based, DIY, 3D interactive installation/net art scene. Discovery is much less exciting the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time around. Thus, MAC’s artistic head curator, Charles Carcopino, similar to their Berlin counterpart- Transmediale, threw a curveball in 2012 by mixing the digital with analogue, new with nostalgia. Its good to break your own rules once in a while.

Left: Diane Landry, ‘Chevalier de la resignation infinie’
Right: Bernie Lubell, ‘Aphasiogram/Making a point of Inflection’

For the exhibition, ‘play’ replaced the trendy term ‘interactivity’. Bernie Lubell’s mechanized pine wood contraptions visualized our information processing as a cooperative experience. In ‘Aphasiogram/Making a point of inflection’ a participant circled from a list of words to define ‘heaven’.  Around the corner an attached machine created a visual map of the words you selected.  Your train of thought and the personalized definition of heaven resulted in your ‘path’ around the corner. A poetic hit!

Pierre-Laurent Cassièreùs ‘Schizophone’ Center: Wim Janssen, Static  
Right: Zylvinas Kempina ‘White Noise’

Some projects focused on the hyper sensory, such as: Pierre-Laurent Cassièreùs ‘Schizophone’ or his ‘Vent Tendu’ and even Diane Landry’s plastic bottle filled with sand installation, ‘Chevalier de la Resignation Infinie’.  Like eating oysters, which gives the pleasure of a dip in the ocean, Landry’s audio effect felt like a walk on an empty autumn beach. If you enjoy listening to the nostalgic sounds of the film projector, Zylvinas Kempinas’ ‘White Noise’ allowed one to reminisce of the pre-digital recording age with a running videotape wall.

Left: Ryota Kuwakubo, ‘The Tenth Sentiment’  
Right: Verdensteatret’s ‘And all the Questionmarks started…’

Optical wow was also a leitmotiv. Wim Janssen visualized light waves with a polarization filter.  If you wondered what it felt like to be inside a pixel or if your vision has morphed into your screen, Janssen described such a sentiment in ‘Static’.  Ryota Kuwakubo’s poetic shadow puppet installation transported us back to child development where simplicity and the micro fascinate. A toy train with a bright high beam threw light and dramatic shadow from quotidian object: salad spinner, screws and rolls of duct tape.  It challenged the high tech interactive installation driven by computers and hours of custom code (absent in this year’s fest). However, one should be careful not to over-indulge in child humor that may fit the tourist plaza rather than the museum. Nicky Assmann’s giant soap bubble mural or Zimoun’s motorized ping-pong balls attached to cardboard boxes could be much better placed in a street festival.

In the center of the space and also one of the highlights of the festival sat or rather constantly transformed a performance and kinetic video installation by Verdensteatret. Looking down one fell into the crack between Brothers Quay and Jean Tinguely. Somber, mysterious giant pigeons and ominous storm clouds paralleled bizarre sound-movement synchronization reminiscent of a Richard Foreman play. Performers interacted like machine with machine. At times they steered dangling wires, microscopes and bicycle gears and then methodically they walked away to leave the mechanized to drive us through a surreal happening.

As Festival Exit wound down to a close in mid March, 100000 supporters of the Left Front met down the invisible tramline from Créteil to Bastille. To the southwest, art lovers decided to lighten up like a Hollywood derision from the seriousness of the current grim political and economic climate neck deep in crisis. Like a Fred Astaire tap dance that begins and opens a film, MAC Exit welcomed and left us with Facebox.  A 3D joke on social networking allowed one participant to see another through an emptied-out computer monitor where one could also physically poke their friend with a stick. ;)

Alley rally up: Feed the world, Band Aid, Occupy Wall Street, another Bastille manifestation, the art festival, etc. Lighten up and unite, it’s the end of the world only according to the Mayan calendar. Let’s think otherwise, the way Exit comments on hybrid new media art of today.

Festival EXIT (
Témoin de la création contemporaine, la Maison des Arts et 
de la Culture de Créteil est un lieu de production et de diffusion 
pluridisciplinaire et généraliste. Elle présente largement 
les oeuvres de référence, soutient et favorise les formes exploratoires 
en art, particulièrement les collaborations artistiques 
hybrides. À ce titre, à Créteil, une troisième salle, le Satellite, 
permet d’accompagner de jeunes artistes dans leur travail 
d’exploration sur des formes artistiques largement diffusées 
lors du festival EXIT.

Angie Eng ( is a media artist who works in video, installation and time-based performance.  Her work has been performed and exhibited at established venues such as, Whitney Museum at Philip Morris, Lincoln Center Video Festival, The Kitchen, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Roulette Intermedium , Bronx Museum, Artists Space, Art in General , Anthology Film Archives, Experimental Intermedia and Cité de la Musique. Her videos have been included in digital art festivals in local and international venues in Cuba, France, Greece, Japan, Holland, Germany, Former Yugoslavia and Canada. For her multimedia and new media projects she has received grants and commissions : New Radio and Performing Arts, Harvestworks, Art In General, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Alternative Museum, and Experimental TV Center Finishing Funds and Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She has worked with composers, dancers, theatre, sound and video artists including: Ron Anderson (Molecules), Rhys Chatham, Audrey Chen, Luke DuBois, Vincent Epplay, Yuko Fujiyama, Jon Giles, Andy Grayton, Sofi Hémon, Jason Kao Hwang, Simon Hostettler, Jessica Higgins, Hoppy Kamiyama, Zach Layton, Okkyung Lee, David Linton, Jarryd Lowder, Shoko Nagai, Matthew Ostrowski, Jean Jacques Palix, Zeena Parkins, Ludovic Poulet, Rémi Préchac, Liminal Projects, Kyoko Kitamura, David Linton, Thierry Madiot, Geoff Matters, Ikue Mori, Pauline Oliveros, Jane Scarpantoni, Peter Scherer, Kevin Shea (Talibam), David Simms (Jesus Lizards), Jim Staley, Satoshi Takeishi, Yumiko Tanaka,Keiko Uenishi, Elisabeth Valletti, Vire Volte Theatre, Nancy Meli Walker and David Weinstein. She is also a European correspondent for AOA (Artist Organized Art) to support a critical dialogue between artists, art practice and dissemination via public events. She lives between New York City and Paris.


#permalink posted by Erika Knerr: 3/30/12 12:20:32 PM

Jessica Higgins & Denis Luzuriaga
Intermedia Television, Holyoke Massachusetts

From a full page advertisement in newsprint, depicting the Holyoke studio space
and some of the artists involved with LAB, the experimental
performance gathering behind SWITCH


by Joshua Selman

An interview with the Creative Director, Jessica Higgins and Producer, Denis Luzuriaga, of SWITCH,  a new art for television project being syndicated throughout Massachusetts. The discussion examines global participation in a local media market:

Joshua Selman: Are you returning to public television as a resource for artists?

Jessica Higgins: Yes, it’s a form of art making. On switch I’m trying to bring intermedia together with all the different modalities. Definitely influenced from the event score and intermedia to just allow an open, experimental place. I would say many people doing the performances there have taken the event score and the happening into the twenty first century using technology, producing video art, photography, painting, dance, poetry, conceptual sound, music…

A 7 minute documentary clip on making SWITCH in Holyoke Massachusetts.
interviews with Jessica Higgins and Denis Luzuriaga
discuss global participation in a local media market.

Video: Artist Organized Art

Joshua Selman: Do you think television is to video as cinema is to film? How is the viewing experience unique to the form? Is Holyoke a public television kind of city?

Denis Luzuriaga: Holyoke doesn’t have a public access channel so it would be great if we could show SWITCH in Holyoke as well, which is where it was created. The viewing experience is different just by the mere knowledge that there’s a chance that someone’s watching the exact same programming at the exact same second. When we do our once a month gathering in the studio to produce the show that we call SWITCH we definitely benefit from being a group and we work off of each other’s energy. There is a very strong collaborative feeling. Everybody gains inspiration from what other people are doing. To document it properly I have to put myself in the mindset of being an audience member.

Jessica Higgins: What’s interesting to me is the element of surprise. To see what happens. It doesn’t always work, but most of the time it hopefully does. I mean I think of so many artists who have been pushed out of their spaces. There’s like this whole air space that’s now becoming available it’s got a lot of potential for artists to do work and put it out there. The production is just a wonderful tool that artists are using.

Joshua Selman: Since you make these episodes for public television, but you also release them on a web channel ( are you encouraging global participation in a local media event? I heard you have also done intercontinental video chat sessions for local shows?

Denis Luzuriaga: Starting with your local public access television station is the way to go. People tend to overlook more traditional outlets such as public access and jump immediately to Youtube or Vimeo, but it’s a little difficult to try to present material that is relevant to your community in a forum that is designed for billions of people to have access to. The phrase think globally act locally would be very much apropos.

Joshua Selman: I know, Jessica, that you performed with Elaine Summers’ intermedia dance company at Lincoln Center and at Anthology Film Archives. The performances on SWITCH have a bit of a painterly quality as works on video, how did that aesthetic develop?

Jessica Higgins: Switch was such a natural unfolding. I mean we got together and basically experimented with creative ideas and many of the small Fluxus pieces that I grew up doing in the Fluxus Festivals that happened at the Anthology Film Archives and the Judson Church, doing very experimental, improvisational dance in Lincoln Center..

Denis Luzuriaga: Aside from doing the live performances once a month I paint here occasionally. This building is probably at least 150 years old. This space here originally apparently use to be a grocery store. Often during the performances we do, which we call lab we have video projections going on and so the performers may be performing in front of the video projections some people like to have the projection on them.

Joshua Selman: When I go to youtube the interaction is what I would term “webby.” But with, public television, the webby experience is replaced by a different type of focus. In a way the web experience is lonelier. One person focusing on an interface, it lacks the camaraderie of living space. I like to imagine ancient Greek theater with everyone texting and searching for stuff, passing links, commenting on boards and leaving ratings… but, of course, on stone, wood or parchment and by calling out.

Jessica Higgins: Artists being in everyone’s living room. You could switch on the television and have artists doing a short performance piece and have something that’s refreshing and different. I would love to see intermedia and Nam June Paik’s vision of having art in everyday life.. being able to turn on the television and see a short performance piece refresh people’s everyday life in a way that’s special and mysterious and experimental.

Joshua Selman: Denis, do you also have a background in experimental art and television?

Denis Luzuriaga: I used to live in New Jersey and in New Jersey I had a group. We were kind of experimental. We would show up on rehearsal nights, but we didn’t really rehearse because there was nothing to rehearse. We would all show up with outlandish instruments that were prepared or just in whichever way they were modified with effects and we would always try to out do each other with just craziness. So that’s kind of continued up here since I’ve moved up here to Western Massachusetts, we’re in Holyoke right now.

Denis Luzuriaga: The kind of work I do that pays my bills is in the advertising industry. And it is specifically pre production artwork. They call it also storyboards and comps and animatics. When I started out doing it, it was all done by hand marker illustrations on paper and then that slowly transitioned to all digital. It’s still drawn by hand, but it’s drawn on, in this case, a tablet that also doubles as a monitor.

Joshua Selman: What else would you say are aims or goals of making SWITCH?

Jessica Higgins: My father’s intermedia ideas and theories, which he struggled so hard to put out there, I think there was a reason that this culture wanted that.

Denis Luzuriaga: We would love for artists from other parts of the country and artists from all parts of the world not only to collaborate online with SWITCH but also to come to LAB, to come right here to Holyoke and get involved. We want to make connections with other people who have similar sensibilities.

Jessica Higgins: We decided we were going to do this LAB, which became SWITCH down in Holyoke.

Denis Luzuriaga: I mean take a look down this canal here, there are just some beautiful, beautiful scenes. It would lend itself very well to location shooting be it film or still photography or even just subject material for painters or photographers.

Joshua Selman: LAB is your actual performance laboratory? How is it different from SWITCH?

Jessica Higgins: LAB is more of this place that is so wide open that really anything can happen. But when you deal with switch which is something that’s broadcasted you are dealing with a few very loose constraints such a time. I mean we have a 30 minute segment that we need to perform these pieces in, and we want everyone to get a chance to do their piece. Of course this isn’t written in stone and sometimes if vintage Fluxus artists have come along or we’ve had a few guest artists to SWITCH that are very well known and structures vary a little bit in that case.

Joshua Selman: Holyoke is a very unique place to be doing this isn’t it?

Denis Luzuriaga: When I moved up here I didn’t really know much about this area. I didn’t know about Holyoke at all. Physically it’s a very interesting city. There’s a new building that’s being built here in Holyoke and they call it this High Performance Computing Center. It’s going to house some of the most powerful computers in the world. One of the reasons they’re building a center here in Holyoke is because of the fact that the electricity that’s available to them is green electricity. It’s all hydro-electric. It’s just one block in that direction.

Joshua Selman: Jessica, your father, Dick Higgins, was not only a founder of Fluxus, but he coined the term intermedia as it applies to contemporary art. You also worked with Elaine Summers who is considered preeminent for intermedia as applied to dance and movement. Are you working with your those theories at LAB?

Jessica Higgins: Yes I’m trying to bring together an open space to experiment with intermedia.

Joshua Selman: How does Holyoke measure up as an enclave?

Denis Luzuriaga: Holyoke is definitely the most exciting environment, that people could come to, to collaborate in projects. For example, there’s Bring Your Own Restaurant that happens here in Holyoke. People show up here on the canals and they bring tables and tablecloths and linens and real plates and some people even dress up and of course there’s no money exchanged and that is another community driven event as an outdoor restaurant. The people who attend are artists, they’re business people, they’re politicians. That is an artist organized event.

Joshua Selman: Who thought of going back to television in the age of the streaming media server?

Jessica Higgins: When I saw Denis working it reminded me that Nam June wanted to put intermedia on TV in everyone’s living room. It was a natural leap to ask Denis to put LAB on TV as a show called SWITCH.
Public television episodes of SWITCH are available on demand​groups/​switchtvextra
Extra SWITCH content only available online

Jessica Higgins, Creative Director of SWITCH: American artist, lives and works in New York and Massachusetts. Formative dance studies at Juilliard and Joffrey. Daughter of Fluxus Founders Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles. She has direct experiential knowledge of Fluxus, having early formation in that culture by way of the original members and by participation in historic Fluxus events. She is a regular correspondent for Artist Organized Art and the Creative Director of ‘Switch’ a local access television series of performance and intermedia out of Western Massachusetts. Her works and performances have exhibited in numerous countries.

Denis Luzuriaga, Producer of SWITCH: visual artist working in Western Massachusetts. He combines video, painting, and sound in what can be termed “sense-scapes.” His latest work “Temporis” is a two channel video and sculptural installation. Temporis is installed in a 150 year old mill building along the Connecticut River. Denis exhibits his work in galleries, exhibition spaces, and works with outsider artists performing irreverent versions of yester-year avant-garde such as Kurt Schwitters’ “Ursonata” electrified.

Nam June Paik: A seminal pioneer of video art, closely associated with Fluxus and intermedia, during the New Year’s Day celebration on January 1, 1984, he aired Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, a live link between WNET New York, Centre Pompidou Paris, and South Korea. With the participation of John Cage, Salvador Dalí, Laurie Anderson, Joseph Beuys, Merce Cunningham, Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, George Plimpton, and other artists, Paik showed that George Orwell’s Big Brother hadn’t arrived. In 1974 Nam June Paik used the term “super highway” in application to telecommunications, which gave rise to the opinion that he may have been the author of the phrase “Information Superhighway”. “The building of new electronic super highways will become an even huger enterprise. Assuming we connect New York with Los Angeles by means of an electronic telecommunication network that operates in strong transmission ranges, as well as with continental satellites, wave guides, bundled coaxial cable, and later also via laser beam fiber optics: the expenditure would be about the same as for a Moon landing, except that the benefits in term of by-products would be greater.”

Dick Higgins: A composer, poet, printer, and early Fluxus artist. Higgins was raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. His daughter, Hannah Higgins is the author of Fluxus Experience, an authoritative volume about the Fluxus movement. Her twin sister, Jessica Higgins, a New York based intermedia artist closely associated with seminal curator Lance Fung, late Fluxus gallerist Emily Harvey and The Artists Museum’s and Construction In Process, performed and collaborated as a youth in original Fluxus related events. Dick Higgins coined the word intermedia to describe his artistic activities, defining it in a 1965 essay by the same name, published in the first number of the Something Else Newsletter. His most notable contributions include Danger Music scores and the Intermedia concept to describe the ineffable inter-disciplinary activities that became prevalent in the 1960s. He was an early and ardent proponent and user of computers as a tool for art making, dating back to the mid 1960s, when Alison Knowles and he created the first computer generated literary textes.

Elaine Summers: A founding member of the workshop-group that would form the Judson Dance Theater and significantly contributed to the interaction of film and dance, as well as the expansion of dance into other related disciplines, such as visual art, film, and theater. She furthermore fostered the expansion of performing dance in new, often outdoor locations. Her movement approach Kinetic Awareness offers a comprehensive perspective on human movement and dance. Summers worked intensively with film and its inclusion in live performance. Her learning of filmmaking and her experiments at Judson finally led to her own intermedia presentation Fantastic Gardens in 1964. In 1971 the Elaine Summers Dance & Film Company premiered Energy Changes. The piece went into full premiere in 1973 at the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, including an early use of video showing dancers located in other parts of the garden, in collaboration with Davidson Gigliotti, composers Philipp Corner and Carman Moore, recorded on video by Nam June Paik.

LAB: A monthly gathering in Holyoke, Massachusetts or alternative locations where experiments with action and intermedia are shared by a local community of artists with guests from around the world. The LAB sessions are used as the basis for the creation of the show SWITCH.

Holyoke is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States, on the banks of the Connecticut River. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city was named after Elizur Holyoke, who explored the area in 1660. One of the first planned industrial communities, Holyoke bears the nickname “Paper City”

Bring Your Own Restaurant (BYOR): Do it yourself fine dining on the streets of Holyoke. A plein air potluck held every other Friday, 7pm start, rain or shine and from Spring until late Fall. All are welcome. If you would like to join us, bring a dish of something edible to share, your own plate, chair, utensils, etc. and we will enjoy the lovely view in downtown Holyoke with good company. Bringing your own table is recommended, but if you are solo there is always space at someone else’s table. We will have a couple of chairs on hand for those without access to cars. We would like this to be a trash-free event, so please do not bring disposable plates or other items that will end up in the landfill! Dress to impress or dress to de-stress. No reservations


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 9/28/11 11:51:19 AM

Mrs. Michelle Obama for the President’s
Committee On The Arts And The Humanities

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the importance of poetry and self-expression  as she hosts a White House Poetry Workshop.
First Lady Michelle Obama
speaks about the importance of poetry and self-expression
as she hosts a White House Poetry Workshop with students and poets like
Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Kenny Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, and Aimee Mann

by artist/correspodent: Jessica Higgins

Once inside the White House, I sat in a small room shaped like a kidney, many heavy guys with lots of equipment sitting at a small table. There was talk of tending their lawns. I was in there for a couple of hours, many of them brought lunch. Since I didn’t know the routine I ended up at a vending machine. They turned out to be nice fellows, one guy from Fox News offered me his soup. I ended up sort of interviewing him about the Press Industry. He gave an overview of his life style, kids in high school living outside of DC coming in when he gets a call from Fox News. A nice down to earth guy with what seemed to be a conventional lifestyle. We were considered a Press Pool and when called we stepped out into the heat. All the Press guys carried heavy equipment, I tagged along with mine, having also met a woman from a non-profit organization covering education, observing our preference for palm sized cameras we exchanged cards.

I represented myself as Myself, an Artist covering a White House event for Artist Organized Art, me being a specialist in trying to do the best I could in that mysterious way I simply trust. No pretending I was one of them, a hard nosed reporter, yet I distinctly pressed many questions inside the ‘Kidney Room.’

Jessica Higgins covers The White House Poetry Workshop
The Press Pool waits outside at the White House. Artist Organized Art sends
Jessica Higgins
to cover the White House Poetry Work Shop

Originally someone else was chosen for this assignment, because Alison Knowles, was invited to participate in The Poetry Workshop and Evening Performances. Then, I got a sudden alert that Artist Organized Art would send me in as Press to cover the workshop. Great! But I had 45 minutes to pack and catch a train. Not fair! If, you’re covering First Lady Michelle Obama’s Poetry Workshop At the White House, in the State Room. I also needed to supply what are known as “vitals” (Social Security Number, Name, Address, Date Of Birth and so forth) to the White House for security clearance. There was a moment of pressure as the decision to participate was turning on a dime, while I “packed” without knowing if I would clear security upon arriving in Washington D.C. and presenting myself at the White House. Standing outside with The Press waiting to be admitted was beyond exhilaration, to put it mildly. After some jostling, I was waived in by the invisible hand of power and found myself inside the White House in the role of journalist.

Jessica Higgins covers the White House Poetry Workshop
The Press Pool waits outside at the White House. Artist Organized Art sends
Jessica Higgins
to cover the White House Poetry Work Shop

Though the audience was aware there were cameras behind the rope, we ourselves were as equipment, with a sense of separation from the seated, comfortable participants.

As the poetry workshop unfolded into something really special Alison Knowles looked at the audience pointing over their heads and wiping her eyes, saying . . .’ and my daughter made it in.’ I wondered if, for one day at the White House, the poets were calling the shots. As I was scribbling away and trying to take pictures time stood still and it felt like every audience member turned and acknowledged us in the Press Pool. I nodded quietly smiling. Yet, there was meaning in pointing out another Artist organizing in the Press Pool and the daughter of one of the Artists on the panel. Anywhere in the world, even at the White House, if an Artist is exhibiting, or performing, presenting something, it’s always more meaningful if other Artists are in the audience. I realized my presence as an Artist and as someone personally connected to one of the exhibiting artists validated the event in a unique way.

Eight hours or more on Amtrak (artist in coach on value ticket) then slow waiting at the gates of the White House – the crowds were both impressive and in need of guidance from those magical workers who let you know where to go next, otherwise too chaotic. The identical ride back on the train went faster because I wrote steadily.

Organizing artists voices, giving diverse artists the chance to expose their percent of mind share while meeting other creative and alternative beings in the context of such a project, makes for an important social and public resource. It allows for artists themselves to work as organizers of a venue for cultural education. The mission of Artist Organized Art, to support artist organized media, events and cultural education, was my poetic license in the context of a very sequential choreography by the White House. I asked Joshua Selman of Artist Organized Art to say something about this for the article:

“Poetry gives us a break in the expected order of things. The inclusion of artist organizers as witnesses to cultural education at the White House makes for an especially poetic moment with the inclusion of an intermedia between journalism, art-making and organizing. It harmonizes with the results Intermedia artists enjoy entering expected art categories with unexpected results. That Mrs. Obama has arranged such a chord is astonishing and hugely encouraging to young people.” (Joshua Selman)

Opening remarks were by Elizabeth Alexander, Melody Barnes, Tiesha Hines and Mrs. Obama. The invited poets included: Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles and Amiee Mann.

Tiesha Hines, Poet and Artist Organizer, at the White House
Tiesha Hines, President of the Ballou Senior High School Poetry Club, is a young Poet
and Artist Organizer known for her positive attitude and support of other Poets

Melody Barnes and Tiesha Hines stated the statistics and annecdotes showing improved grades and innovation abilities among students exposed to The Arts. Ms. Hines praised the First Lady for her extraordinary work in recognizing and supporting The Arts as critical to Education. Mrs. Obama followed, in stately presence, wearing a sequined floral skirt and looking strong and beautiful. Her message quickly matched  her appearance providing profound recognition of, and empowerment to, the next generation of young students. Mrs. Obama defined her role in the issue and stated that she wanted all the invited young students from The Ballou Senior High School, present at the workshop, and the invited Artists to make themselves at home at the White House. To get comfortable. This benefited the overall workshop as the audience settled into deep attention and inquiry. The State Room was filled with teens and established poets ready to share their experience, technique and knowledge with budding poets.

White House Poetry Workshop, Reinvesting in Arts Education
An eager crowd of invited young people follow the Poetry Workshop at the White House,
a project of the President’s Committee On The Arts And The Humanities:
Reinvesting in Arts Education, Michelle Obama, Honorary Chair

“So we’re going to do this big, fancy poetry reading this evening, and that’s all fun, and we’re going to hear some stuff. It’s going to be good. But this is the real reason, this workshop today, this is why we do it, because we’ve flown you guys here from all over the country because we want you to be a part of this conversation, sitting here in the State Room of the White House of the United States of America, because you’re just that important, right? You’re just that important. And this is the best part of the day, every time we do these. It’s today. So thank you for being here.” (Mrs. Obama)

With a huge portrait of Abraham Lincoln hanging on the wall behind the podium, Mrs. Obama spoke of many key elements to the importance of The Arts in Education. How important it is to simply recognize the role The Arts play in education for young people. She touched on how art-making helps in finding new solutions, developing gifts and establishing communities. She mentioned how she had loved creative writing in school. Making pictures with words, how it allowed her to express things that she was going through that went beyond the words she was writing.

“And even if you don’t grow up to be a professional poet, I promise that what you learn through reading and writing poetry will stay with you throughout your life. It will spark your imagination and broaden your horizons and even help your performance in the classroom… That’s why it is so critically important that we integrate the arts into schools. It is a must. It’s critically important that we continue to encourage after-school programs and engage community partners to help young people like all of you develop your gifts and to fulfill your potential. This is not an option. This is a must… For so many young people this will be the air they breathe, the reason they keep going to do the right thing. That’s what you’ll all be doing today here with these brilliant poets and artists. This is a true gift to you all to be in this room with these people…” (Mrs. Obama)

The guest poets ranged from the literary to the experimental. Each one offering access to their unique experience of how they found their approach. Read and recite as much poetry as possible or type out the words of an existing poem to warm the digits. Use information technology. Cut and paste, and a variety of psychological and process oriented techniques, approaches and visions.

“I want you to ask lots of questions and listen carefully. Do not be afraid. Don’t let the cameras or the lights intimidate you. We’re just here. I just happen to be the First Lady…” (Mrs. Obama)

As an Artist covering this art-making study at the White House my own involvement adds a spin since currently many artists organize the activity and support the voice of fellow artists in their broader community in order to enrich it. I was honored to be invited as an Artist-Organizer embedded in The Press for something I agree the world is crying for during a period of unparalleled corporatism and a general threat to the extraordinary uniqueness we all have. Everyone should attempt a moment of art each day, even if it is just a few words, a line of a poem, or prayer that hooks us into creative mind in and around us. That our planet may find solutions to challenges which demand thinking outside the box. The brave move is to speak our own creative, because it may also give others permission to do the same. Such was the imperative streaming from the White House itself as I counted Mrs. Obama among the poets of Situation.

Rita Dove and Billy Collins at the White House Poetry Workshop
Elizabeth Alexander, Rita Dove, Billy Collins (left to right) the White House Poetry Workshop

The diverse panel gave the Poetry Workshop a beautiful edge in a format which invited two poets at a time onto the stage; Rita Dove and Billy Collins began. Rita Dove asked in what way poetry moves us, how important is it to make poetry our own and offered that she uses draft work to get the words just right. She claimed inspiration from the renowned children’s book titled, Harold And The Purple Crayon, saying you have to follow your own purple path. Billie Collins, pointed out that the mission of ‘finding your own voice’ can be a bit daunting, overwhelming. He went on to say that sometimes deep introspection or finding a mystifying authenticity doesn’t work. He approached writing by loosening this kind of pressure, proposing we read as much poetry as we can get our hands on. Suggestions such as finding the poems of which we are jealous and creating our own versions, a willingness to write some bad poetry until it grows into something we like, also works. Rita Dove described playing with poetry, having fun with language to the point where we’re more interested in the poetry than in our own persona.

One of the young poets asked “at what point did you stop searching for your voice?” Billie Collins explained that the way to originality is through imitation, implying that through imitation we move into our own voice. Rita Dove described teaching through play with language in a game she offers her students in which a series of wild cards contain instructions, such as at the first sign of the moon, sit and write a haiku, questioning the need for heavy handed teaching rather than lending our process of development itself a more poetic contour.

Kenneth Goldsmith and Alison Knowles followed as the next poets to face the audience. Being familiar with the work of both artists I knew this would be the experimental portion of the panel.

Kenneth Goldsmith & Alison Knowles at the White House Poetry Workshop
Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles (left to right) the White House Poetry Workshop

Kenneth Goldsmith encouraged us to literally re-type a chosen work verbatim to understand it more fully, to leverage word processing and the information superhighway. He suggested we take poetic license and re-work existing material into new material, claiming there is no reason for writer’s block when we can go to the computer and process something new out of an ocean of pre-existing texts.

Alison Knowles offered the idea that we share whatever we write with another person, whether the work is good or bad. She described starting out as a mediocre painter because she wasn’t getting the meaningful feedback she needed from her friends, feedback which later guided her to become a different kind of artist and poet and she pointed out that including people and sharing the art is important in creating community. Lifting a signature handmade flax drum filled with beans, she refers to as a “bean turner,” the sound of rain echoed her words. In her world, poetry crosses into objects, sound or performance. By the end of the workshop Aimee Mann added that as a songwriter she enjoyed working with language plus music and understanding how powerful they become as they intertwine.

The Poetry Workshop at the White House left many of us pondering the diverse methods and experiences each poet brought to the description of their ways of art-making, yet the finest poetry came from Mrs. Obama who summed up the essence of how these diverse approaches benefit our communities when she asked a special question, regarding what poetry is really all about, to the young poets sharing the day at the White House.

Alison Knowles reads The House Of Dust at the White House
Alison Knowles reads The House Of Dust at the White House Evening Of Poetry

“You got this experience to be here, right? So you are fortunate. You are blessed. So the question after this is what are you going to do to pass it on? What are you going to do to give this gift back? Because, not everybody could fit in this room.” (Mrs. Obama)

Alison Knowles streaming live from the White House Evening Of Poetry
Alison Knowles reading The House Of Dust streaming live on the White House
internet channel reaches young people where they live (

Reinvesting in Arts Education – Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools: The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) announces the release of its landmark report Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools. The culmination of 18 months of research, meetings with stakeholders, and site visits all over the country, this report represents an in-depth review of the current condition of arts education, including an update of the current research base about arts education outcomes, and an analysis of the challenges and opportunities in the field that have emerged over the past decade. It also includes a set of recommendations to federal, state and local policymakers. A summary of the report is here.

Tiesha Hines: born in Washington, DC. She is a senior at Ballou Senior High School where she is the president of the poetry club and a member of a variety of extra curricular activities. Tiesha started writing poetry at age 7 for her friends, family and church members of Matthews Memorial Baptist Church. Her favorite style of writing is m.c. style. She was inspired to write by her sister and a few famous poets. Tiesha plans to go to Fortis College and Trinity University to study criminal justice and will continue to do poetry on the side.

Elizabeth Alexander: is an accomplished poet, essayist, and playwright. She began teaching English at the University of Chicago in 1991 and has risen to chair the African American Studies department at Yale University, where she currently works. Her writing has been published in The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The Village Voice, and The Washington Post and her play, Diva Studies, was performed at the Yale School of Drama and garnered a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship. Alexander has released several volumes of poetry, most notably American Sublime in 2005 which was one of the three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize that year. Additionally, she became the fourth poet ever to speak at a Presidential Inauguration in 2009 when she recited her poem “Praise Song for the Day,” written for the occasion.

Billy Collins: author of nine collection of poetry, including most recently Horoscopes for the Dead. He is also the editor of three anthologies: Poetry 180: A Turning Back Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Bird Poems. He is a Distnguished Professor at Lehman College, City University of New York, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollings College. He served as New York State Poet (2004-2005) and United States Poet Laureat (2001-2003).

Rita Dove: Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia and former U.S. Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, is the author of nine collections of poetry, including Thomas and Beulah, winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, and, most recently, Sonata Mulattica. Her publications include short stories, a novel, and the drama The Darker Face of the Earth, which was produced at the Kennedy Center and London’s Royal National Theatre. Ms. Dove has received numerous honors, among them the NAACP Great American Artist Award, The Heinz Award, the National Humanities Medal, the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service, and the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal. In 1993 she was featured poet at President Clinton’s first state dinner. A Chubb Fellow at Yale University and the recipient of 22 honorary doctorates, Dove is also chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a former senator of Phi Beta Kappa.

Kenneth Goldsmith’s writing has been called “some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry” by Publishers Weekly. Goldsmith is the author of ten books of poetry, the founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb, and the editor of I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews. A documentary on his work, Sucking on Words, premiered at the British Library in 2007. He teaches writing at The University of Pennsylvania and held the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow Professorship in American Studies at Princeton University 2010. His book of essays, Uncreative Writing, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Alison Knowles: American visual artist known for her soundworks, installation, performances and publications, and as a founding member of Fluxus. In 1967, Knowles produced what is considered to be the first computerized poem The House of Dust in collaboration with composer James Tenney. In the 1960s, Knowles composed the Notations book of experimental composition with John Cage, and Coeurs Volants, a print with Marcel Duchamp. Her acclaimed exhibits and performances include two walk-in book installations “The Big Book” and “The Book of Bean.” In 2008, she performed three Event Scores at the Tate Modern in London, and in 2009 she exhibited and performed in The 3rd Mind” American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989 at the Guggenheim Museum. She was appointed guest professor at Documenta X in Kassel, Germany, and in 2009 was an artist-in-residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. An edition of The House Of Dust is due to publish this Fall.

Aimee Mann: In the 1980’s formed the post –new wave pop group ‘Til Tuesday, and went on to establish herself as a distinguished singer-songwriter. She has received multiple Grammy nominations, one Grammy award and released seven critically acclaimed solo albums, including the soundtrack for the film Magnolia, which garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Song in 2000. She has gone on to record soundtracks for several other films and has released widely praised solo albums including Bachelor No. 2, Lost in Space, and One More Drifter in the Snow.

Michelle Obama: née Robinson, the wife of President Barack Obama, was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She is a lawyer and was a University of Chicago Hospital vice-president. She is the First Lady of the United States and Honorary Chair, the President’s Committee On The Arts And Humanities. The Student White House Poetry Workshop is a part of the initiative Reinvesting in Arts Education.

Melody Barnes is the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Joshua Selman serves as President of 501(c)3 Artist Organized Art, Inc.

Jessica Higgins: American artist, lives and works in New York and Massachusetts. Formative dance studies at Juilliard and Joffrey. Daughter of Fluxus Founders Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles. She has direct experiential knowledge of Fluxus, having early formation in that culture by way of the original members and by participation in historic Fluxus events. She is a regular correspondent for Artist Organized Art and the Creative Director of ‘Switch’ a local access television series of performance and intermedia out of Western Massachusetts. Her works and performances have exhibited in numerous countries.

Mrs. Michelle Obama for the President’s
Elizabeth Alexander, Rita Dove, Billy Collins (left to right) the White House Poetry Workshop


#permalink posted by Jessica Higgins: 5/12/11 09:00:57 AM

Rhys Chatham & Angie Eng
At The Kitchen, NYC

Guitar Trio At Flywheel, Easthampton MA


Angie Eng & Rhys Chatham
Angie Eng and Rhys Chatham: Echodes is an audio visual performance with noise guitar
by minimal composer Rhys Chatham and experimental video artist, Angie Eng
October 15 and 16, 2010 at The Kitchen, New York City


By Jessica Higgins

From her time in the early 1990’s as an organizer and driving creative voice behind The Poool, known for performances in New York City’s Knitting Factory, Roulette, Clocktower Gallery, Postmasters Gallery, Artists Space, internationally in Tokyo and culminating in performances at diverse venues such as CBGB’s, The Kitchen, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rutgers University, Angie Eng’s multi-media works have contained a curiosity of symbols, processes and intermixed layers flowing between conceptual and aesthetic combinations that have finally caught my full attention.

Left: CBGB’s, a club at 315 Bowery, NYC became a forum for The Ramones, Misfits,
Television, the Patti Smith Group, Mink DeVille, The Dead Boys, The Dictators,
The Fleshtones, The Voidoids, The Cramps, Blondie, The Shirts, and Talking Heads
Right: The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC)
is a multi-venue arts center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York

After seeing her recent performance with Rhys Chatham at The Kitchen, I’ve been convinced of her original seriousness regarding her position as a feminist media artist in a manly media world leaning towards artists like Matthew Barney, Gary Hill, Bill Viola or Nam Jun Paik. Since the outset Angie has seen herself as a beneficiary of feminist media pioneers such as Joan Jonas, Steina Vasulka, Laurie Anderson, Charlotte Moorman and others, …take Mary Lucier. Also, though we only worked together more recently, Angie has been a personal friend who I met through strong links well over a decade ago.

Angie Eng at The Kitchen 2010
Angie Eng peforming Echodes with Rhys Chatham
at The Kitchen, October 15, 2010, New York City

In 2007, I had the pleasure of working with Angie on her project at EyeBeam in Chelsea, a few blocks from The Kitchen. Eyebeam is an organization focusing on supporting research & development, production, education and public programs for artists, hackers, designers, engineers, graffiti artists, creative technologists and the general public. Because Angie also has a deep background in pedagogy, art therapy and social work, Eyebeam saw fit to Grant her a teaching program. Her project extended intervening public and private spaces to young people disinterested in school, giving them a chance to structure works for the streets. It also introduced the youth to pre-existing models of event based art, such as those by Fluxus Artists of the early 60’s and 70’s, as this is a specialty, this was mainly where I came in.

Angie Eng + Rhys Chatham 2010 NYC
Rhys Chatham (trumpet) performs Echodes at The Kitchen, Oct. 15, 2010, New York City

In 2008, having survived Tompkins Square Riots, 9/11, the local plutocracy, mono-industry, mass migration to Williamsburg and other recent NYC annoyances, Angie bailed and became an ex-pat with a move to Paris, a city, which by comparison is devoted to the legacy of its communities, selling her furniture on the street and preparing herself with French classes. I was sorry to see this wonderful artist leave, but realized many artists were migrating during this time. I hoped I’d see more of Angie’s work down the line, or maybe in Europe one day, but for now it was our loss.

Angie Eng, Eyebeam, NYC
UAPD Street Eat, by Angie Eng collaborating with NYC artist, Jessica Higgins and students
Vietnamese artist, Rich Streitmatter-Tran led RMIT University students in Ho Chi Minh City
The groups conducted actions on themes related to private behavior in public space and
the filters prompted by mobile technologies and their impact on privacy in public urban sites

So it was to my pleasant surprise when I heard from Angie that she would return from Paris to New York’s’ premier performance space, The Kitchen, performing a major media work with none other than a founding curator of The Kitchen and an archetype of Downtown New York, Rhys Chatham. By leaving the city, miraculously Angie was now collaborating at its core.

Rhys Chatham - Guitar Trio (G3) part 2 (finale) - Brooklyn
Photo: Vintage Rhys Chatam, Video: Guitar Trio Performed with Thurston Moore,
Lee Renaldo, David Daniell, Kim Gordon, Colin Langenus, Alan Licht, Robert Longo,
Byron Westbrook, Adam Wills, Electric Guitars – Ernst Brooks III, Electric Bass
Jonathan Kane, Drums, Recorded live Jan-27, 2007. Taken from “Guitar Trio Is My Life!”

Briefly, Rhys Chatham began his musical career as a piano tuner for La Monte Young and harpsichord tuner for Glenn Gould. He studied with Morton Subotnick and was a member of Young’s group, The Theater of Eternal Music, during the early 70’s. He also played with Tony Conrad in The Dream Syndicate. In 1971 Rhys became the first music director at The Kitchen. He produced concerts of Maryanne Amacher, Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, Fred Frith, Robert Fripp, Arto Lindsay and John Lurie, and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth later played in his ensemble. He also worked closely with Robert Longo and Joseph Nechvatal.

Angie Eng, Rhys Chatham, The Kitchen, NYC 2010
Angie Eng peforming Echodes with Rhys Chatham
at The Kitchen, October 15, 2010, New York City

Rhys Chatham’s serious music brought in influences by The Ramones in a wider sensibility known as No Wave. The sensibility emerged in 1978 along with one of his most famous works, Guitar Trio, performed around downtown Manhattan with an ensemble that included Glenn Branca and Nina Canal. Band of Susans began their careers in his ensembles and later performed a cover of “Guitar Trio.” In 1983 he began performing with the trumpet and his more recent works explore improvisatory amplified and circuit bending trumpet solos to which we were amply treated at The Kitchen.

Rhys Chatham Paris + NYC 2010
Rhys Chatham (trumpet) rehearsing Echodes at The Kitchen, October 15, 2010, New York City

The oddest coincidence took place a week before Angie’s appearance. I was out and about on a Saturday night in Easthampton Massachusetts with Erika Knerr who runs New Observations Magazine. We went over to Flywheel, “the” collective experimental performance venue of Western Mass. At Flywheel, Erika ran into an ex-neighbor from Greenpoint Brooklyn, none other than Thomas Lail of soundBarn & Albany Sonic Arts Collective, who had moved to Troy N.Y., home of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and EMPAC. Tom said he had moved up there to teach experimental music and that he was in Easthampton to perform, of all works, Guitar Trio by Rhys Chatham. The ensemble was going on in about 20 minutes.

The Kitchen NYC + Flywheel Easthampton MA
Left: The Kitchen Today (1985-Present) The Kitchen moved uptown to 512 West 19th Street
to begin the spring 1986 season and subsequetly purchased the space in 1987
Right: Flywheel, a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aims to build community and give
artists of all types the opportunity to craft, practice, and perform their work
located at historic Old Town Hall, Easthampton MA

I decided to stay to hear them and it turned out that Tom was also attending Rhys Chatham and Angie Eng at The Kitchen in NYC the next weekend. It was a very rich evening at Flywheel, not only was Guitar Trio a great performance of a vintage No Wave work by The G3 Ensemble with Thomas Lail, Tara Fracalossi, Patrick Weklar, Matt Ernst, Holland Hopson, Ray Hare, guitars; Eric Hardiman, bass and Matt Weston, drums, but it was complete with the original projections for music by Robert Longo. Opening for this, we were treated to a rare performance by Christoph Heemann of his impressive ear-movie-esque performance in drones, musique concrete and surrealist sound. I wondered what Angie would be bringing to The Kitchen, next week, with her own work in projected media for sound, music and a performance by Rhys Chatham himself.

Albany Sonic Arts Collective (ASAC) + SoundBarn 10.9.10 FLYWHEEL EASTHAMPTON, MA
performing Guitar Trio, by Rhys Chatham, Musical Direction by Thomas Lail

Guitar Trio is a challenging piece using high amplitude to push the envelope of what one can endure sonically, of where hearing becomes tactile and of how we can literally be pierced by sound waves. It seemed very appropriate at Flywheel, as a venue in Massachusetts, because it has the energy of some of the most important raw early venues such as those I associated with Angie’s early years in The Poool and probably the early years for Rhys Chatham as well. Now at The Kitchen, which itself has gone from being a raw venue (it was literally the kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center when it started) to the polished upscale venue it is today, I am wondering about the evolution of No Wave and Downtown culture surviving and growing in Chelsea.

Angie Eng Rhys Chatham Echodes at The Kitchen
Angie Eng peforming Echodes with Rhys Chatham
at The Kitchen, October 15, 2010, New York City

Finally, later that week at The Kitchen in New York City, I attended the evening of music by Rhys Chatham with performed visuals by Angie Eng. Personally, I found that Angie’s work had gone far beyond anything I had seen her do before and certainly beyond her work with The Poool. I could also see more immersive and purposeful use of symbols and concept in the work, which achieved a stunning quality while remaining thought provoking, going all the way and beyond as picture for today’s music by Rhys Chatham. Would it have worked for Guitar Trio, probably Angie would have done something else and I would love to see that, but Robert Longo’s imagery is still very riveting and fits Guitar Trio like a tailored business suit. However, the new approach that Rhys Chatham is taking, involving more artists, syndicating his works and going beyond his own hit recipes, made for an evening with plenty of edge to it. For me it was a rare and surprising week filled with the music of an artist who has quietly been organizing conditions of art making for many years and making a permanent impression doing so. At the end of the concert I was quite stunned and found it difficult to prepare myself to go.

Echodes Demo by Angie Eng
An early version of Echodes: Rhys Chatham and Angie Eng, Paris 2009

The Kitchen today has modernized and has a polished appeal associated with the times. It still offers a valuable slice of our postmodern culture. I remember the old Kitchen when it was in SoHo. In those days I was a youngster, lucky to be stomping around the place. The Fluxus concerts held there resembled a chaotic whirl, but I still see the black bowler hats of Olivetti and a floor covered in foam pillows up front for a crowded space.

Rhys Chatham began his musical career as a piano tuner for avant-garde pioneer La Monte Young as well as harpsichord tuner for Gustav Leonhard, Rosalyn Turek and Glenn Gould. He soon studied under electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick and minimalist icon La Monte Young and was a member of Young’s group, The Theater of Eternal Music, during the early seventies; Chatham also played with Tony Conrad in an early version of Conrad’s group, The Dream Syndicate. In 1971, while still in his teens, Chatham became the first music director at the experimental art space The Kitchen in lower Manhattan. His early works, such as Two Gongs (1971) owed a significant debt to Young and other minimalists. His concert productions included experimenters Maryanne Amacher, Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, and early alternative rockers such as Fred Frith, Robert Fripp, Arto Lindsay, and John Lurie. He has worked closely with visual artist/musician Robert Longo, particularly in the 1980s, and on an experimental opera called XS: The Opera Opus (1984-6) with the visual artist Joseph Nechvatal. Compositions from the late 1970s and early 1980s By 1977, Chatham’s music was heavily influenced by punk rock, having seen an early Ramones concert. He was particularly intrigued by and influential upon the group of artists music critics would label No Wave in 1978. That year, he began performing Guitar Trio around downtown Manhattan with an ensemble that included Glenn Branca, as well as Nina Canal of Ut. During this period, he wrote several works for large guitar ensembles, including Drastic Classicism, a collaboration with dancer Karole Armitage. Drastic Classicism was first released in 1982 on the compilation New Music from Antarctica, put together by Kit Fitzgerald, John Sanborn and Peter Laurence Gordon. It was also included on the 1987 album that also included his 1982 composition Die Donnergötter (German for “The Thundergods”). Members of the New York City noise rock band Band of Susans began their careers in Chatham’s ensembles; they later performed a cover of Chatham’s “Guitar Trio” on their 1991 album, The Word And The Flesh. (This parallels the way that members of fellow NYC noise rockers Sonic Youth began their careers in Branca’s ensembles; Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth did play with Chatham as well.) Chatham began playing trumpet in 1983, and his more recent works explore improvisatory trumpet solos; these are performed by Chatham himself, employing much of the same amplification and effects that he acquired with the guitar, over synthesized dance rhythms by the composer Martin Wheeler. His 1990s recordings in this style saw release on Ninja Tune Records as the compilation Neon.

Angie Eng is a media artist who works in video, installation and time-based performance. Eng was born in 1969 in San Francisco California. She was trained as a painter (UC Santa Barbara) in the post-classical tradition. She moved to New York City in 1993 and felt disconnected with the painting medium and soon discovered time based arts. During this time she became involved in the downtown electronic arts scene where she experimented with video sculptures, installation and with live video. (SoundLab, Fakeshop, Unity Gain,Pseudo Projects, PS 1 Clocktower Gallery) She collaborated on numerous video performance projects, including The Poool a live video performance group she co-founded and co-directed with Nancy Meli Walker and Benton Bainbridge in 1996-1999. She currently has a few video/music performance collaborations with Rhys Chatham (Echodes), Pascal Battus (Tremorrag) and a new women’s guitar video band (in the works!) Her work has been performed and exhibited at established venues such as, Whitney Museum at Philip Morris, Lincoln Center Video Festival, The Kitchen, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Roulette Intermedium , Bronx Museum, Artists Space, Art in General and Experimental Intermedia. Her videos have been included in digital art festivals in local and international venues in Cuba, France, Greece, Japan, Holland, Germany, Former Yugoslavia and Canada. She has received grants and commissions: New Radio and Performing Arts, Harvestworks, Art In General, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Alternative Museum, and Experimental TV Center Finishing Funds. She has worked with composers, dancers, theatre, sound and video artists including: Ron Anderson, Rhys Chatham, Vincent Epplay, Yuko Fujiyama, Jon Giles, Andy Grayton, Jason Kao Hwang, Simon Hostettler, Jessica Higgins, Hoppy Kamiyama, Gabriel Latessa, Zach Layton, Okkyung Lee, Jarryd Lowder, Matthew Ostrowski, Jean Jacques Palix, Zeena Parkins, Ludovic Poulet, Liminal Projects, Kyoko Kitamura, David Linton, Thierry Madiot, Geoff Matters, Ikue Mori, Pauline Oliveros, Jane Scarpantoni, Peter Scherer, Jim Staley, Satoshi Takeshi, Yumiko Tanaka,Keiko Uenishi, Elisabeth Valletti, Vire Volte Theatre, Nancy Meli Walker and David Weinstein. She is also a European correspondent for AOA (Artist Organized Art) to support a critical dialogue between artists, art practice and dissemination via public events. She lives and works in New York and Paris.

Thomas Lail, Associate Professor of Art at Hudson Valley Community College is a visual artist and musician. He has exhibited drawings, collages and installations at: ArtCologne, Germany; Galeria Jan Koniarka, Trnava, Slovakia; now&then, London, U.K.; Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn and numerous locations in the Capital District. He has been an artist in residence at NO.W.HERE studios in London, UK and has performed music with Lukomski/Majer/Lail and solo in New York City and the Capital District.

The Poool: Striving to form an all female video performance group, Nancy Meli Walker approached Angie Eng in the summer of 1995. Days later, a phone call from Benton Bainbridge who Meli Walker collaborated with in 77 Hz (a live video ensemble) prompted them to eliminate the sex criteria and start The Poool. Their first gig was the day after Benton escaped San Francisco and they “jammed” at Sound Lab, Chinatown. During the time The Poool was formerly known as The Pool with 2 o’s they performed at The Knitting Factory, Roulette, The Clocktower Gallery, Postmasters Gallery and Artists Space. As The Poool with 3 o’s, they went international to Tokyo, Japan as well as performing at local venues: The Kitchen, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rutgers University.

soundBarn is the experimental music duet of Thomas Lail and Patrick Weklar.

The soundBarn is a project of artist/musician Thomas Lail and artist/gallerist Tara Fracalossi and is located on what was once Heald Orchards in Valatie, New York.

Albany Sonic Arts Collective is a grassroots organization located in and around Albany, NY dedicated to building a thriving community of listeners and performers of music that exists outside of traditional boundaries with a special emphasis on forms that stress freedom and exploration of new ideas.

The Kitchen: Looking for a way to present their work to a public audience, Steina and Woody Vasulka rented the kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center (1971-1973,) in the former Broadway Central Hotel. The Vasulka’s, with help from Andy Mannik, opened The Kitchen as a presentation space for video artists on June 15, 1971. Later that year, the Vasulka’s added music to their programming and named Rhys Chatham the first music director. The Kitchen continued their eclectic programming at the Mercer Arts Center until the summer of 1973 when they began planning to move to 59 Wooster Street. In August 1973 the building that housed the Mercer Arts Center collapsed, making this decision final. The Kitchen moves to SoHo (1973-1986) The 1973-1974 season started in The Kitchen’s new location at the corner of Wooster and Broome streets in the former LoGiudice Gallery Building. During its time on 59 Wooster Street The Kitchen emerged as New York’s premiere avant-garde and experimental arts center. In addition to a performance space, a gallery and video viewing room were established at this location. The Kitchen Today (1985-Present) The Kitchen moved uptown to 512 West 19th Street to begin the spring 1986 season and subsequetly purchased the space in 1987.

Flywheel, a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aims to build community and give artists of all types the opportunity to craft, practice, and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and information should be equally accessible and affordable to all people. In the spring of 1998, Cindy Bow and Helen Harrison founded Valley Arts and Music Alliance (VAMA), a grassroots collective in which artists would help each other produce free, all- ages shows that reflected the their own creative visions rather than the values of the music industry establishment. VAMA attracted like-minded people, most of whom were already doing similar things in their own homes, church and dorm basements, record stores, VFW halls, and any other place they could find. Together the group produced over two-dozen shows through December of 1998, when a friend and supporter found a permanent space in Easthampton – a long-vacant cabinet store owned by a local doctor. As word of the space spread, more people joined, and Flywheel was born. Our doors opened in March of 1999. Since then, the unique expressions of countless artists continue to transform the space from day to day. In 2007, we decided to leave our home of 8 years at 2 Holyoke St. and relocate to Easthampton’s historic Old Town Hall. Over the years, some old friends have moved on while new ones have joined us, but the vision remains the same.

EMPAC: The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) is a multi-venue arts center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, which opened on October 3, 2008. The director of EMPAC is Johannes Goebel. He was previously the director of the Institute for Music and Acoustics, which he founded at the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany. EMPAC’s curators are Helene Lesterlin (Dance), Kathleen Forde (Visual Arts), and Micah Silver (Music and Sound Art). The building is named after Curtis Priem, co-founder of NVIDIA and graduate of the RPI Class of 1982, who donated $40 million to the Institute in 2004.

Jessica Higgins is an American artist, who lives and works in New York and Massachusetts. Formative dance studies at Juilliard and Joffrey. Daughter of Fluxus Founders Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles. She has direct experiential knowledge of Fluxus, having early formation in that culture by way of the original members and by participation in historic Fluxus events. B.A. from Suny, New York. Attended Art Students League and Parsons School of Design. “My work is primarily conceptual intermedia using action, dance, installation and visuals.”


#permalink posted by Jessica Higgins: 11/12/10 04:10:55 AM

Nuit Blanche, Toronto, 2010
Reunion 2010 @ Reyerson Theatre

A prepared  chessboard positioned under a film and rigged with
electronic sensors to project  play-by-play live interaction on the screen itself.
photo: Jessica Higgins

Jessica Higgins
Alison Knowles

“Nuit Blanche was originally conceived in Paris, France in 2002, in an attempt to bring contemporary art to the masses in public spaces. Now universally translated as ‘Sleepless Night’, Nuit Blanche brings more than a million people to the streets of Paris every year. In 2005, Paris organizers contacted the City of Toronto’s Special Events office with an invitation to join the ranks of approximately six other European cities producing similar all-night events. The international success of Nuit Blanche continues to build each year and has expanded its reach beyond Paris to Brussels, Rome, Bucharest, Riga, Madrid, La Valette, Portugal, Tokyo, Montreal and Leeds – each offering its own version of the all-night art extravaganza.”

Takako Saito’s chess game.
32 glasses of different wines each representing a chess piece.
photo: Jessica Higgins

The organizers of our all-nighter in Zone B at the Ryerson Theatre were very good to us, arranging limousines, planes, hotels, tours and gala evenings. Our all night event, Reunion 2010, joined in the 5th Annual, which, this year, took place in Toronto on October 2nd, from 6:57 PM until sunrise. Reunion was one of many events that took place in different zones of Toronto, but this one had its unique twist. “Reunion with Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and Teeny Duchamp had previously been done at Toronto’s Ryerson Theatre, Gerrard St. East, in 1968. This year was to be a site-specific comment on the original for the Nuit Blanche 2010 nocturnal marathon.

David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, wove flute, violin and electronic sounds
to accompany every move of a chess game.
photo: Jessica Higgins

Toronto was the first North American city to fully replicate the Paris model, and has inspired similar celebrations throughout North America, including San Francisco, New York, Miami and Chicago.

However, using adaptation rather than replication, Reunion 2010, the all night event at the Ryerson Theatre, re-framed the classic film of Duchamp and Cage playing chess, with real time encounters viewed on a huge screen by the Ryerson Theatre audience. Prepared  chessboards were positioned under the film and rigged with electronic sensors to project  play-by-play live interaction on the screen itself. The art historical genre was bent into participation cinema, blending  the paradigms  high-art meets turn-based-strategy with paradigms normally associated with pop, such as from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to the utilitarian, like extreme fat burning videos, audience participations included actions, invectives and frequent prize fight chants such as “take it with the queen!”

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2010
Takako Saito
and Larry List sit on an on stage couch watching
the participation cinema of interactive electronic chess.

photo: Jessica Higgins

It was unusual to structure a return to experimental art in the context of a 12-hour city-wide event with a mandate to make contemporary art accessible to large audiences. While the festival inspires dialogue and engages the public to examine its significance and impact on public space, Reunion 2010 required an installed base of connoisseurs, and, with little surprise, Toronto did not let us down. Along a certain curatorial tradition, Nuit Blanche is both a “high art” event and a free populous event that encourages celebration and community engagement. Though usually in forms more easily assimilated by today’s metro-tourist.

By contrast to the “free concert of contemporary music” two long-standing composers who had worked with John Cage, namely David Behrman and Gordon Mumma, wove flute, violin and electronic sounds to accompany every move of a chess game. Without the game dynamics there were few contours to shape the event.  However, even this became predictable, therefore chess masters, one from the U.S. and the other from Canada, paused in their game for the passionate intervention of Malcolm Goldstein sounding his iconoclastic violin (nearly in half) for more than an hour.

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2010
William Anastasia
and Dove Bradshaw, Reunion 2010 at the Ryerson Theatre re-framed the
classic film of Marcel Duchamp and John Cage playing chess,
with real time encounters viewed on a huge screen.
photo: Jessica Higgins

Other intervening performances included ours, of “Loose Pages”.  This performance features different types of handmade paper positioned on the body for sounding by each motion. The garment by Alison Knowles, made entirely out of paper, is in seven parts corresponding to leaves “torn from the pages of…” going from hat to slippers to leg covers and wings as arms.  Artist, Jessica Higgins, is dressed by Fluxus Founder Alison Knowles in the paper garment and becomes a living sculpture, dancing slowly on a low platform under a floodlight. She is sounded and guided by Alison Knowles. Because of the real relationship between Mother and Daughter which exists when we two artists meet to perform the work, our presence touches on very primary aspects of cultural adaptation, such as dressing rituals between mothers and daughters in ancient and contemporary societies.

Takako Saito brings art into everday life using a wearable chess set.
photo: Jessica Higgins

Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has wholeheartedly embraced principals of art into everyday life, though the reverse was still at its best in Takako Saito’s process work as chess game. Her approach was to cross euro-centric categories of sophistication by activating 32 glasses of different wines each representing a chess piece. This work was performed by high end pro-chess masters, who found temptation a new opponent as the game wore on. Alternatively, William Anastasi and Dove Bradshaw’s game design used hors d’ouevres as chess pieces. The edible artifacts were consumed as the game proceeded.

Jessica Higgins
performing Loose Pages with Alison Knowles

photo: Jessica Higgins

The ambitious, if somewhat iconoclastic, red-eye art-shift was successfully curated by Sarah Robayo Sheridan who arranged the grand proscenium stage into a gracious interplay of events over a long night.  As energy flowed from infinite supply, David Behrman wrapped things up with a long Cage performance that began at 5:30 am, leaving all of us sleepless.

Jessica Higgins/Alison Knowles

Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has wholeheartedly embraced principals of art into everyday life, though the reverse was still at its best in Takako Saito’s process


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 10/04/10 10:18:51 PM

NEW WORKS • NEW VIEWS • NEW MINDS: Stage One: KATYLAND live at Artist Organized Art Benefit Launch
by Jessica Higgins and Erika Knerr photography: Denis Luzuriaga
Participating artists: Aimee Xenou, Alicia Renadette, Andy Laties, Andrew Greto, Ann Lewis, Barbara Neulinger, Beth Lawrence, Carl Caivano, Christin Couture, Christine Tarantino, Christopher Blair, Dave Gloman, Dean Nimmer, John Landino, Denis Luzuriaga, Dwight Pogue, Erika Knerr, Fletcher Smith, Jessica Higgins, John Romanski, Joshua Selman, Kathleen Trestka, Katie Richardson, Katy Schneider, Laurie Goddard, Maggie Nowinski, Matt Anderson, Matt Anderson, Nancy Natale, Ninette Rothmüller, Pablo Yglesias, Rosa Guerra, Sarah Valeri, Sue Katz, Susannah Auferoth, Tracey Physioc Brockett, William Hosie, Luzuriaga video includes Ursonate Urchestra
February 20th was an auspicious date for the arts community! That Saturday night, was the first of three parties to benefit Artist Organized Art in which A.O.A. threw a community outreach event, arts network builder, exhibition, performance…did I forget to say fundraiser?
Northampton’s Katy Schneider, a guitarist, singer, songwriter and painter, accompanied by Julie Starr and Caitlin Bosco on back up vocals, Jason Smith on drums and Bruce Mandaro on guitar and mandolin. Also see Katy’s work at
The event featured large projected images by local artists of the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts and hard and soft indie music by Katyland along with some great cover songs, a regional progressive music favorite.
Denis Luzuriaga, a painter and video artist, compiled the projected images: in the dead of winter the crowd was treated to a colorful array of visual artworks, documents and pleasantly dated black and white photos of beach scenes.
le=”text-align: justify;”>The overall effect; “a swirling sound stretched out on the night with projections of art interfacing the viewers” Jessica Higgins
Each element of the event reflected a key component of the AOA mission to support creative independence in the form of self-supporting and self-generating exhibitions through artist organized media, events and cultural education.
The festivities took place at Eastworks a converted warehouse on the river at 116 Pleasant Street in Easthampton. Artists of all kinds and their allies came from neighboring towns as well as the studio and residential community of Eastworks, a loft building community founded by Will Bundy.
The social and experimental quality of the event recalled important artist communities associated with the avant-garde: Black Mountain College during the 1940s and 1950s, the Village and SoHo in the 1960s and 1970s, and California in the 1970s and 1980s. Why not Massachusetts as an internet hub brought together by AOA in the 2010s?
The event represents a significant group effort organized by artists: Susannah Auferoth, Jessica Higgins, Erika Knerr (also representing New Observations, the seminal New York arts magazine that was recently acquired by AOA), Denis Luzuriaga and Joshua Selman. Artist Organized Art is working to improve the quality of life through community culture.
The event isn’t over yet. If you were there and have pictures of the event, send them in to be a part of the record! If the event sounds like fun and you’re bummed you missed it, keep your eyes out for more. AOA is ever eventful.
The success of A.O.A. comes from community support (cultural, logistical and financial), which means everyone is invited to be apart of it, enriching our world by organizing its culture as artists. Benefit parties for Stage Two and Stage Three will be forthcoming.
Hannah Higgins a Professor of Art History at University Illinois, in Chicago working in DC this year at the Phillips Collection comments on the Artist Organized Art Facebook page: “Fan-freakin’-tastic! I want one in DC!” (
If you’d like to contribute to Artist Organized Art visit: Or print out the form below and mail it to us with your kind donation.


#permalink posted by Erika Knerr: 3/10/10 08:16:00 PM

San Francisco Tenderloin, October 17, 2009
Curated by Lance M Fung

City of San Francisco, streets of The Tenderloin

by Joshua Selman
photo: Bay Area Event Photography

As a participating artist in the Wonderland Exhibition, I’m asking myself why a large scale contemporary art exhibit opening in The Tenderloin in San Francisco and curated by one of today’s most respected and publicized curators, Lance Fung, is titled, of all possible titles, “WONDERLAND?” The Tenderloin is a neighborhood marginalized to the point of reputation. Yet surprisingly, the title “Wonderland” correctly identifies and responds to a hidden cultural dilemma facing any group of artists approaching this historic community.

City of San Francisco, streets of The Tenderloin

Our cultural institutions often rejuvenate themselves at the expense of the disempowered. The avant garde often exploits fringe neighborhoods, brokering between corporate and vernacular cultures. This opens the door to gentrification. Yet, we find ourselves sympathetic to the impact of local material conditions. In The Tenderloin these include homelessness, joblessness, illiteracy, crime, disease and epidemics such as AIDS, hunger, poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism, lack of health care and environmental decay. In short, the untidy social effects of the “advancement” we call globalization. Locals are explained away.

Site of Wonderland Neighborhood Association (WNA)
“Block Party” event, October 17th, 11 – 5 pm

Wonderland seems to take on a particular challenge, namely how to take local culture seriously when the dominant culture precludes difference, cultural, racial and sexual as an insidious evil. The challenge for Wonderland is to be locally inclusive and to negate the attraction/repulsion process of the global art market. Using the title “Wonderland” the dominant strategies, such as exploiting minority artists by insisting they source local street violence as their unique selling point or that they themselves signify misery remarketed, are surprisingly countered.

“Fear Head” by Roman Cesario and Mitsu Overstreet
Wonderland Exhibition in The Tenderloin, City of San Francisco

The Wonderland Exhibition also speaks to the need to reform dominant culture institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art or Lincoln Center, to artist spaces and organizations based in ethnic communities that alone address a lack of multiculturalism and tolerance. A lack which has grown since Ronald Reagan left the office of Governor of California to become President of the USA and allowed a twenty year surge of neo-conservative intolerance, which in the past eight years has become extreme in the dominant culture. Wonderland is an attempt to signal the way back to a positive progressive footing, to organize beyond the survival tactics of the past twenty years and to pick up where others left off before the heterogeneous world was cast in gray.

A resident follows the exhbition “Wonderland”
in The Tenderloin, City of San Francisco

Instinctively, the artists, organizers and partners of Wonderland Exhibition, all volunteers, follow early signs of change in the air. They are taking to the streets of The Tenderloin, to engage local community, to make work which is a synthesis by artist and community. The opportunity is to finally truly turn outward, to engage with the larger society, to work with social creativity and invent new forms of organizations that suit ongoing needs of creative synthesis. They are picking up where we left off before the blight of the NEA led to the cancerous growth of the commercial gallery and auction houses. The exhibition is to push the boundaries of local culture as far as it can.

Perhaps it’s time for Wonderland. The growing weight of the nation’s social problems were paid for by independent local communities, while the nation’s prosperity accrued to the establishment arts and the military. As artists, we’ve played along with a prestige game and lost. We’ve been robbed of our social imagination, served as an inoculation against awareness and have done the hard work of self censorship to the point of obscurity. Count the projects left unproduced, the low birth rate of institutions and a general lack of experimentation as the cost of the Reagan/Bush/Helmes/Bush era. This shadow over what was once our cultural community chills us even now. But, the Wonderland Exhibition funnels volunteerism with multiculturalism allowing artists back into local community culture.

in performance: Night At The Blackhawk
Wonderland Exhibition in The Tenderloin, City of San Francisco

Wonderland celebrates the recent gains made at the NEA with a new attitude, an attempt to live, work and make art in a flamboyant and joyful Tenderloin community. During the twenty year neo-conservative era, the NEA used the Chair’s veto to publicize censorship. Neo-conservatives condemned the Endowment for its attention to public impact, social need, tolerance, experimentation and a support of “public service” concepts. By contrast Wonderland celebrates the evolution of new and existing organizations, such as the Wonderland Neighborhood Association, as necessary to a fuller cultural life. The volunteer Exhibition remains nimble rather than being bogged down attracting funders.

Wonderland Symposium, with Lance Fung at the Warfield Theater, Oct 18, 2 – 4 pm
Wonderland Exhibition in The Tenderloin, City of San Francisco

Artists have an unusual potential to exercise social imagination. From Fluxus of the 1960’s to The International Artists Museum and its connection to the Solidarity Movement of 1980’s Poland, the Artists Space movement in the USA from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, the ability of artists to impact and innovate the organization structure itself has been remarkable. Wonderland celebrates a return to this type of artist collaboration in the structure of organization and is turning away from an era where the drive of existing corporations to perpetuate themselves has choked off all creative options.

Visitors at the “Block Party” event by WNA
Site of Wonderland Neighborhood Association (WNA)
October 17th, 11 – 5 pm

The project is coming out of the closet creatively, socially and culturally. In the past eight years a majority of Americans were forced to give up their own liberties even if they were willing to risk allowing those liberties to others described as terrorists, dangerous people of color, people with aids, homosexuals, illegal aliens, foreigners, feminists, community organizers and those criminals, the artists. Disempowered communities have found themselves profiled and marginalized, excluded, undercounted, prosecuted, silenced, bashed, spied on, controlled, unemployed, underemployed, defunded, put out of business and run out of town by a growing corporate elite. Yet, Wonderland’s agility lets it by-pass corporatism’s attack on community content and public funding using volunteerism and public service.

Visitors at the “Block Party” event by WNA
Site of Wonderland Neighborhood Association (WNA)
October 17th, 11 – 5 pm

Despite an era of intolerance, racism, greed, religious fundamentalism, homophobia, rabid patriotism and media based brain washing we are picking up where we left off. Wonderland is a signal from the Tenderloin community to the established art world to return to supporting difficult and challenging art and to enlarge art audiences and art concerns by engaging wider publics through their collaboration. Ahead of the curve, the exhibition calls out directly to multicultural reality.

Thomas Kosbau interaction for “Stake”
Wonderland Exhibition in The Tenderloin, City of San Francisco
Photo: Wonderland Exhibition

As artists we know we have to earn public recognition of our significance. Communities are still untrusting of what we do. The stigma that artists are fooling the public persists. For a change, this effort includes transparency, sharing power and information with The Tenderloin community.

Visitors at the “Block Party” event by WNA
Site of Wonderland Neighborhood Association (WNA)
October 17th, 11 – 5 pm

Wonderland is happening at a time of great chaos inside our corporations. As our infrastructure sustains shock after shock, many corporations, such as banks, insurance companies, governments and educational institutions are manipulating facts, ignoring inquiries, blaming, scandalizing and creating the false impression that things are fine while hoping they don’t get worse. For this reason the artists have chosen a new path of reliance and affiliation based on volunteerism, truthfulness about capacity and relevance to the Tenderloin community. We know we will be doing without the resources available to established art institutions, what is amazing is how much we’ve been able to do without those resources and how little compromise we’ve had to make to cultural conservatism because of it.

Chris Burch, Niki Shapiro, and Lance Fung at Boeddeker Park
Site of Wonderland Neighborhood Association (WNA)
“Block Party” event, October 17th, 11 – 5 pm

It is not the support that makes art and art making itself is not a business. This opportunity is for nurturing young artists and for engaging works that champion those who have been discounted in their communities: the culturally diverse, feminists, gay men and lesbians, the disabled, the upstarts and those with ideas that challenge the social fabric. We simply must put an end to the corporate ice age in the art of our communities. It’s an experiment that asks the public to revalidate the relationship between creativity and social change.

Lars Chellberg interaction for “Stake”
Wonderland Exhibition in The Tenderloin, City of San Francisco
Photo: Wonderland Exhibition

I’ve known Lance Fung for a long time. As a curator Lance is dedicated to ideas and ideals far outside the mainstream, possibly dangerous to the well being of the institution and possibly to the artist community as a whole. While the NEA was backing away from its once strong commitment to challenging work, Lance crossed sides from commercial dealing to the non-profit world of art out of a need to put experimentation ahead of survival. It is interesting that with Wonderland he has proceeded with a nearly wholesale disengagement from support funding in an effort to rekindle a call to social change at the earliest moment possible.

Layman Lee interaction for “Stake”
Wonderland Exhibition in The Tenderloin, City of San Francisco
Photo: Wonderland Exhibition

One of the benefits we hope to achieve is a mechanism to keep community support of art close to its makers of art. Because Wonderland’s projects vary specifically by the community served, by the type of art presented and by the in-kind/volunteerism pledged, they are not as easily spotted as say a “museum” or “theater,” but perhaps their impact will be far greater.

Joshua Selman, Participating artist, Wonderland 2009

Participating Artists at the “Block Party” event by WNA
Site of Wonderland Neighborhood Association (WNA)
October 17th, 11 – 5 pm

The exhibition is free and open to the public from October 17th, with a symposium on the 18th, and will close November 15th.

The exhibition Wonderland is a large, multi-sited event born of, and responding to the rich diversities of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The tenor of this project is truly unique, and will call upon the collaborative efforts of the neighborhood’s residents, city organizations like the North of Market Community Benefit District the exhibition’s sponsor, and a large number of cutting edge artist teams from the Bay Area and around the world. As in his previous internationally recognized projects, the exhibition’s curator, Lance Fung is dedicated to the ideas of collaboration, community and social engagement as a means of bringing the highest level of contemporary art to audiences from all walks of life.

Participating Artists: Per Åhlund, Barry Beach, Ken Beasley, Alex Beckman, Brian Bixby, Charles Blackwell, Alex Braubach, Britteny, Christopher Burch (WNA,) Roman Cesario, Lars Chelberg, Colby Claycomb, Sydney Cooper, Rick Darnell, Jaine Dickens, Christian Kurt Ebert, Jonathan Fung, Kaif Ghaznvi, Geoffrey Grier, Doug Hall, Melkorka Helgadottir, Malak Helmy, Jessica Higgins (WNA,) Noritoshi Hirakawa, Monika Jones, Mathias Josefson, Erika Knerr (WNA,) Thomas Kosbau, Layman Lee, Mark Lee, Agustin Fernandez Mallo, Lauren Marsden, Jeff Marshall, Mike Maurillo, Lynne McCabe, Andrew McClintock, John K Melvin (Project Director), Regina Miranda, Ranu Mukherjee, Patricia Niedermeier, Erik Otto, Mitsu Overstreet, Kara Pajewski, Txutxo Perez, George Pfau, Leif Percifield, Christophe Piallat, Rex Resa, Brandon Robinson, John Roloff, Kit Rosenberg, Jeff Roysdan, Jorge Satorre, Niki Savage, Joshua Selman (WNA,) Stix, Owen Takabayashi, Kristin Timken, Brandon T Truscott, Thomas Watkiss, Wilton Woods, Izumi Yokoyama, Steven Zettler, and others…


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 11/01/09 08:14:00 PM

Previous Entries  Next Entries

Get More Involved: Donate Now | Announcements | Subscribe | About Us | Contact Us