The Tomorrow's Archives workshop series was conceived collectively in an ad hoc Southland Institute course -- "what is programming?" -- formed in the midst of Covid-19, and in response to an invitation to contribute programming to the Recent Pasts exhibition. Participants included Kate Brown, Adam Feldmeth, Chloe Ginnegar, Christina Niazian, and Joe Potts.
Recent Pasts is organized by Aurora Tang, independent curator in collaboration with Love's Remedies (ArtCenter DTLA Residency Project 2020), the Southland Institute, and ArtCenter DTLA. Recent Pasts is supported in part by ArtCenter's Exhibitions and the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
TOMORROW'S ARCHIVES | FREE PUBLIC WORKSHOP
A Book is a Flat File is a Butterfly
with Chang Yuchen
Friday, December 4, 2020, 3-4pm (PST)
Artists' books are a heavy business- both figuratively and conceptually. In her 7 years working around artists' books, artist Chang Yuchen has worn her wrists out carrying boxes and boxes of books. Combining conversation and hands-on exercises, this lecture-workshop will guide participants through a contemplation on the heavy elements associated with bookmaking (the archive, the administration, the inventory) as well as lighter aspects such as dream, memory and imagination.
Chang Yuchen is an artist based in New York. She works in an interdisciplinary manner -- writing as weaving, drawing as translation, clothing as portable theater, commerce as everyday revolution (see Use Value). By constantly entering and exiting each medium, she strolls against the category of things, the labor division among people. Yuchen was an artist in residence at MASS MoCA (North Adams), Offshore (Sabah), MAD Museum (New York), Bananafish Books (Shanghai) and Textile Art Center (Brooklyn). She has shown/performed her works at UCCA Dune, Taikwun Contemporary, Abrons Art Center, Para Site, Salt Projects, Assembly Room and etc. Yuchen teaches through Center for Book Arts, Printed Matter, Asia Art Archive in America, CUE Art Foundation and more.
Fall 2020 sliding scale workshops and film seminar are offered for a suggested tuition of $200 apiece, with a sliding scale available of $50-$200 per workshop. Proceeds from these sliding-scale workshops and seminar go towards facilitator compensation and covering the costs that make these and future programs possible.
The Southland Institute is committed to accessible and inclusive education. If you would like to take part in any of these programs, but cost is an issue, and/or if any other accommodations are needed, please send us an email and we will do our best to accommodate.
Saturday, December 5 and
Saturday, December 12, 2020
An asterisk gives us more. It adds layers of information to a primary text. It encodes expletives, repairs mistakes, and inserts personal voice. It is an additive gesture. In this Southland Institute workshop, we will co-author and distribute a group publication that amplifies the potential of this glyph.
Laura Coombs is a graphic designer and creative director in New York -- currently Senior Designer at New Museum and Lecturer at Princeton.
Mindy Seu is a New York-based designer who currently teaches at Rutgers and Yale.
Collage Thinking, Collage Doing
with Maternal Fantasies // Isabell Spengler and Maicyra Leão
Sunday, December 6, 10am-12:30pm (PST)
Based on creative methods used by the art collective Maternal Fantasies, the workshop proposes a broader sense of translation between thinking/discourse and practice/performative visibility. Using as a reference and starting point representative texts in the field of art focusing on domesticity and isolation as subjects, the participants will be asked to "digest" the provided materials in connection to their own recent experiences. Building on the personal experiences and individual voices expressed, the second part of the workshop addresses the notion of collage in terms of a collective action. Rotational authorship is explored as a way to reverberate, line up and layer written content. In turn, performative exercises - within online video conference and screen sharing possibilities - allow rendering the processed discourse in an audiovisual form of collage, bestowing a fantastical visibility on it.
Maternal Fantasies is an evolving and interdisciplinary group of international artists and cultural producers based in Berlin, Germany. We share our research on motherhood, care work and its representation in the arts to reflect through autobiographic material within our group. We seek to shape the discourse of motherhood through our artistic working process and to enhance the visibility of contemporary feminist positions addressing motherhood(s) in the arts. Working since 2018 on collaborative projects, we have developed our own repertoire of methods - using performative games, writing sessions, rotational authorship/direction/hosting of events, coming up with various sets of rules for our different projects in photography, performance, installations, workshops and film/video.
Isabell Spengler (Berlin) is an artist working in the field of Expanded Cinema. Her films are elaborate audio-visual compositions, branching out and connecting various forms of experimental and queer film and performance practice. Since 2006 Isabell Spengler has created a series of conceptual films and installations, analyzing and mediating the construction of imaginary worlds in dialogues with choreographers, musicians, colleagues, friends and her parents. She was a funding member of the performance group Ex Machinis, the film collective HMI, and is currently part of the feminist art collective Maternal Fantasies. Her award winning works have been presented worldwide at festivals and exhibitions since 1998, including solo exhibitions in Berlin, Toronto, Los Angeles (2017) and Tel Aviv. She has been teaching at various art colleges and universities in Germany and North-America, most notably at the Berlin University of the Arts, where she taught experimental film from 2004 to 2014 as a lecturer and a guest professor. From 1998 to 2004 she lived in Los Angeles, where she completed her studies with an MFA in Film/Video from CalArts.
Maicyra Leão e Silva is Professor at Theater Department of Federal University of Sergipe, Brazil currently on a sabbatical in Berlin. She holds a PhD in Performing Arts and a Masters in Contemporary Art, working interdisciplinary between theater, performance art and photography. Her practice-based research explores performance art in public spaces and collaborative methodologies in convivial situations. Within her collective and solo works, she has led socially engaged projects, as well as experimental artistic configurations, which have been awarded four grants by the Brazilian National Arts Foundation, and were performed along Europe and Latin America. As a scholar, she published a number of articles in academic journals, especially in Brazilian context. She recently completed a postdoctoral project at Freie Universitä t Berlin on motherhood and art.
"I read used books and find sentences underlined by others, and scavenge through endless piles of photos in thrift stores. I find it easier to be an outsider to the leftovers of others. I build the story behind it, and imagine the full life through a couple of signs. I think about others like me, also looking for missing parts. Maybe I am holding their missing pieces of the story, holding them in my context of imagination … When approaching old materials, there is always the ambivalence of what to do with them, what to hold on to, how and where to store them, what are the rules and laws we can work by to know how to handle the ephemera of a life." --Hager Cygler
Drawn from her book set made of found books and photographs, Faded but Not Forgotten, negotiates the delicate, trace remnants of strangers’ pasts. This workshop led by Hagar Cygler in collaboration with Christina Niazian is an invitation to engage book making as a life practice with an emphasis on the process of exploring the common variables one faces when assembling a book: instinct, archives, decisions, sequence, and binding. This workshop will give participants the opportunity to engage in a conversation about bookbinding techniques and the role they can play to convey an interwoven concept. Various styles will be discussed including how to bind a one page book.
Hagar Cygler is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design (BFA, 2006) and the California Institute of the Arts (MFA, 2017). Cygler had solo shows at Pracownia Portretu, Lodz, Poland (2019), Kav 16 gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel (2018), Nolobaz gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel (2018), AJU gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2017). She published 2 artist books: ‘Hana’ (2014) and ‘Faded but not Forgotten’ (2017).
Cygler works in the larger context of archives and collections, focusing on the classification and reorganization of material and information. Her focus is on personal and historical memory, and by connecting photographs with personal and anonymous objects, she explores the act of collecting and its role within the archive as cultural memory.
Cygler has assisted artists and curators in Israel and abroad in research, teaching, and management of private archives: she was the main researcher at the Batsheva dance company archive (2012-2015) and currently manages the video archive and The Public art and Early Media archive at the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon (2018-ongoing).
If we consider the Internet as an environment -- a digital space where limits are imposed upon access just as in physical environments -- that reflects the society we inhabit, we come to realize discriminatory principles are embedded in the digital space through racist, sexist, and ableist ideologies and exclusionary algorithms. As this disparity unfolds in digital space, there is a shared responsibility to intervene in these systems of exclusion and to build a more equitable web of care. Divest from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Learn about alternative social networks that are open source, free, and non-oppressive. This is a participatory workshop for beginners without prior experience of coding. Participants will learn about emergent strategies to resist the colonization of the Internet.
Taeyoon Choi is an artist, educator, and activist based in New York and Seoul. His art practice involves performance, electronics, drawing, and installations that often form the basis for storytelling in public spaces. His projects have been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He co-founded the School for Poetic Computation, where he continues to organize sessions and teach classes.
What proximities does montage hold to the cobbled stonestreet? Both lay a veritable groundwork for treaded confluence. Each provides from an abutted expanse the dislodgeable fragments of projected provocation.
When embedded underfoot, these stones integrate into a surface network of civic infrastructure: cut in semi-uniform measure, each laid adjacent to the next, rounded by transit, socialized by time. In hand, one's unearthed status carries greater dimension and weight, its displacement cast as a projectile, cutting through the air -- each becoming in-itself, an autonomy of means, arising from the multitude. So too with the images we cast on the move?
Sergei Eisenstein's images of collision in contra-distinction to Lev Kuleshov's 'brick by brick' methodology. Harun Farocki's editing table realpolitik of simultaneous picture-in-picture movements and colleague Hartmut Bitomsky's handheld shuffle of stills. Arthur Jafa's velocity compilations laying bare what inequity has wrought, what bell hooks has called an exemplar of "the decolonized gaze." Has a de-centering of this cinematic lineage -- from screen, to monitor, to screen -- founded on a poetics of industrial assembly and the con-sequencing of shots become the at-hand material of a publicly accessible dialectic of resistance within reach today? To what extent are tweets, grams, snaps and tik toks the new grounds hurtled into the fray, rupturing the quo while a pile of interpretations in meaning mount?
Montage serves as a utility, foundational to moving image praxis. Has a dismantling of its historicized position as a staid technique been underway through a peoples' media-tion via corporatized technologies? To what extent is a reprioritizing of this politico-aesthetic strategy to induce affect from projected excerpts now the stuff lobbed via mobile phones, mobilizing unsettled states in wake?
What do we jettison when we project that which provides us traction?
One trajectory to be negotiated is the lineage of Georges-Eugene Haussmann's authoritarian-devised beautification of 19th Century Paris, the logic of which, in part, aimed to suppress future uprisings in post-Revolutionary France -- A subdued, early privatization of public space. In May, 1968, the streets Haussmann designed became the very material of provocation -- cobbles become handy as agents of collision. This same year, french filmmakers Agnes Varda and Jean-Luc Godard independently directed attention to the work of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. In Oakland, California, Varda gives party members a platform to speak towards their steadfast resolve while local police hold Huey P. Newton captive, aiming to break the cohesion of their political demands through the rupture of his image. In London, Godard records party members occupying a salvage yard, tossing rifles down the line as exercise and reading aloud from revolutionary texts; meanwhile, the Rolling Stones are profiled in-studio, struggling to hit their notes in a return to appropriation Blues that marked their earlier ascension.
Half a century later, while at times a continued use value is relayed in roads elsewhere, the clearance of such laid grounds from major urban centers is underway. An instance of capitalizing upon these dislodged remnants as trinket souvenirs -- The image searches of our time.
This 7-week seminar will involve an ongoing discussion which actively considers examples both historical and actual. Gatherings will occur on Zoom. Weekly syllabus contents will be shared with the group in advance of each meeting. Participants are encouraged to keep an active log of any examples they encounter in their own searches towards a collective publication. Please arrive promptly to class meetings having read, viewed, and given preliminary consideration to all accordant materials.
Adam Feldmeth is currently program director of the Southland Institute. His ongoing practice involves being in conversation with cultural workers at a human scale.
Website as Community Garden:
seeding content management systems
with Neil Doshi and Joe Potts
Saturday, November 21, 2020, 10am-4pm PST
A community garden interrupts and re-frames the built environment (embracing an unused plot, a collection of containers, a former parking lot). It cycles at multiple frequencies: yearly, seasonally, daily.
Like the plants growing in a garden, content can be bottom-up. Gathering content requires curiosity, rather than expertise. Sometimes it's messy, hard to control. Other times it fails to take hold, it withers and dies. In all cases, a garden requires tending.
While one may select the particular plot they wish to tend, the contents of the surrounding plots happen by circumstance, and one has to make do and improvise.
This workshop will look at using a website CMS called Kirby, with a view towards creating a framework (a box, some soil) for a variety of different content (seeds) gathered by participants in advance (or that can be provided) to be planted, to take root, to live, and hopefully thrive within a common space.
Neil Doshi is a designer living and working near Joshua Tree, California. In exploring the idea of an 'expanded practice' -- his work explores how graphic design can not only inhabit conventional forms and formats, but can also point to the built environment, alternative modes of production and distribution, and performative actions.
Joe Potts is the founding director of the Southland Institute, and is an associate professor and assistant chair of the Communication Arts and Graduate Graphic Design programs at Otis College of Art and Design.
Saturday, November 14, 11am-2pm (PST) via zoom email for meeting info
Please join a stone's throw next Saturday, November 14, 11am-2pm (PST) for the third discussion, "Noir c'est noir: Race and Film Noir, " in our fall 2020 session with prompt and resource materials from Marisa J. Futernick (below). Anyone, anywhere interested in joining this discussion is welcome.
Please note, this discussion entails viewing a feature length film prior to remote gathering on Nov. 14.
"As much as I love noir, and find it exotically compelling, it is nevertheless often utterly false in its visions of the poor, of the non-white in particular. It is essentially a mythos about white male panic—the white knight in a cesspool of urban decay; about desire turned into a slot machine. Despite its origins as social realism in Hammett, the hard-boiled story cannot help but operate, very fundamentally, as white males building a social imaginary. The booster myths (sunshine, climate, Protestant Eden) generate an emptiness that leads to violence and despair, in the form of urban fables. The crime on dark streets stands in for the fears about foreigners, jobs, speculation, and cheap hype. It pits the white, usually Protestant, shamus against a world that is utterly transient, as if no poor communities exist except as a hangout for crooks and addicts. What results is a pose really; it distracts the memory away from community life as it existed inside the city. It is the dark side of tourism, a roller-coaster ride through 'mean' streets (often poor neighborhoods)." - Norman M. Klein, The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (1997/2008)
Literally translated as "black film," film noir generally refers to a genre of Hollywood cinema, primarily from the 1940s through the early 1950s, shot in deeply shadowed black-and-white and marked by a dark atmosphere of menace, cynicism, and fatalism. There is much debate as to what actually constitutes a noir -- is it the content of the film, or its visual or storytelling style? -- but noirs are commonly stylish yet gritty, with a narrative centered on crime and sex in a sleazy urban setting.
The focus of this prompt is Odds Against Tomorrow, a feature film from 1959 (considered late for a noir), starring Jamaican-American actor/singer/songwriter/activist Harry Belafonte, and produced by Har-Bel Productions, a company founded by Belafonte.
What can this genre tell us about American white male anxiety, especially in the context of our current social and political moment?
TOMORROW'S ARCHIVES | FREE PUBLIC WORKSHOP
Alt-text as Poetry
with Shannon Finnegan
Friday, Nov. 13, 3-5pm (PST)
Alt-text is an essential part of web accessibility, making visual content accessible through short textual descriptions for blind and low-vision people who use screen reading software to access digital content. Alt-text is often overlooked altogether or understood through the lens of compliance, as an unwelcome burden to be met with minimum effort. How can we instead approach alt-text thoughtfully and creatively, while still prioritizing alt-text as an accessibility practice? In this workshop, led by Shannon Finnegan and developed in collaboration with Bojana Coklyat, we will reframe alt-text as a type of poetry and practice writing it together. We will look at examples of poetic and creative approaches to alt-text, then do several writing exercises designed to focus on issues that often come up in alt-text, including attention to language and word economy, alt-text as translation, structuring and prioritizing, subjectivity, identity, and representation.
Shannon Finnegan is a multidisciplinary artist making work about disability culture and accessibility. They have done projects with Friends of the High Line, The Invisible Dog, and the Wassaic Project. They have spoken at the Brooklyn Museum, the Queens Museum, School for Poetic Computation, The 8th Floor, and The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. In 2018, they received a Wynn Newhouse Award and participated in Art Beyond Sight's Art + Disability Residency. In 2019, they were a resident at Eyebeam.
The workshop will take place on Zoom with CART by Total Captions. The workshop uses a slide presentation, and all content from the presentation is read aloud and described. We'll do some exercises that involve participants describing images. The exercises involve writing 2-3 sentences in 4-5 minutes, but participants don't need to do the writing in order to participate in the discussion. All workshop materials can be emailed ahead of time upon request by emailing studio [at] shannonfinnegan [dot] com. If you have any access questions or requests, email joe [at] southlandinstitute [dot] org.
Surroundings to Scale with Maria Lisogorskaya from Assemble
Saturday, October 24 9:30-11:30PST and
Saturday, October 31, 2020, 9:30-1:30pmPST
An online workshop exploring our built environments through home-made scale models and collages. Over two consecutive Saturdays, we will use what's at hand to create representations of the spaces and landscapes that surround us; analysing where we are -- and imagining where we can be.
Maria Lisogorskaya is one of the founding directors of Assemble studio, and practices between the scales of immediate hands-on material prototyping, architecture and urban strategy. Assemble is a London based multi-disciplinary collective working across architecture, design and art.
On September 27, 2020, the anonymous group behind prominent Instagram account @changethemuseum called for "a public boycott of museums across the United States" during the month of October. This was met with seemingly as much criticism as praise, with many suggesting that more museum employees would be laid off amidst a continued shortage in revenue. A common argument is that institutions must be instead changed from the inside, but is this possible considering "institutional critique" has become widely acceptable within the arts?
On September 26, 1955, anarchist group Lettrist International (LI) proposed a series of "solutions to the various urbanistic problems" in the city of Paris. Among them was an assertion that "museums should be abolished and their masterpieces distributed to bars". The ephemera of LI and their later iteration, the Situationist International, have since been collected, exhibited, and defined by major museums.
In 1935, Walter Benjamin wrote,
Fascism sees its salvation in giving [the] masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves. The masses have a right to change property relations; Fascism seeks to give them an expression while preserving property. The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life.
LI's politics have been aestheticized by arts institutions, stripped of function and displayed as a carcass called "art". Fascism allows for the expression of protest whilst rendering that expression powerless. If Fascism preserves itself by giving people freedom of expression, how do we effectively combat the aestheticization of politics?
Do museums protect or challenge authoritarian power? Does institutional critique create effective change? Should we protest museums?
Some moments to consider:
In 1976, performance artist Ulay stole Spitzweg's Der Arme Poet (1839) from Berlin's National Gallery, reportedly Hitler's favorite painting. It was recovered, and Ulay was later caught and jailed.
In 2019, activist group Decolonize This Place demanded a boycott of the Whitney Biennial over the presence of Safariland CEO Warren Kanders as the museum's vice-chairman. Artist Michael Rakowitz opted out of participating in the Biennial, the collective Forensic Architecture participated but exhibited a video critical of Kanders, and several artists later requested the removal of their work from the Biennial. Kanders eventually resigned.
In 1793, the Musee du Louvre first opened in the midst of the French Revolution in response to iconoclasm, or the destruction of statues and other artworks. It was specifically founded to preserve the royal art collection and other objects considered to be of national heritage, supposedly stripping them of their association with the monarchy.
"Beauty, when it is not a promise of happiness, must be destroyed."
--Lettrist International, 1955
A STONE'S THROW
making no sense
Saturday, September 26, 11am-2pm (PDT) via zoom email for meeting info
Please join us Saturday, July 25, 10am-1pm (Pacific Daylight Time) for the first discussion in the Fall 2020 session of a stone's throw: making no sense, with a prompt introduced by Andy Koo. Anyone, anywhere interested in joining the discussion, send an email to stonesoup [at] southlandinstitute [dot] org for links to materials for consideration and meeting login info.
A malaphor is a blending of the words malapropism and metaphor. Malaphors tend to be incoherent and often arise in rhetorical situations by accident, a sort of verbal typo. This particular slip of the tongue may make you chuckle if you notice one, but malaphors also point to a plethora of abstract phrases embedded in language that also happen to get tangled at times.
Sayings, like idioms and aphorisms, contain active cultural histories that continually oscillate between normalization and deterioration. With the language of images at hand, politicians often tailor and personalize their speech to connect to a demographic. In the early 20th century, Dada poets produced works engaging with nonsense by decontextualizing and reforming language in as many ways as they could. As authoritarianism was on rise and propaganda saturated the social consciousness, these artists used language as a creative tool to reject the status quo.
Looking at Rudolf Stingel's Untitled installation at the 2003 Venice Biennale as well as Chris Seidel's Poem of the Masses, we can observe the public marking by way of images, symbols, and text that produce a field of signs. Both chaotic projects have varying degrees of comprehension depending on where and how much one is viewing.
Seeing language as a process, how do both the public and the individual influence the larger shifts in semantics in today's technologically mediated communications?
Saturday, August 8, 10am-1pm (PDT) via zoom email for meeting info
Please join us Saturday, August 8, 10am-1pm (Pacific Daylight Time) for the final discussion in the current summer series of a stone's throw, A Room with a View, with prompt from Adam Feldmeth. Anyone, anywhere interested in joining the discussion, send an email to stonesoup [at] southlandinstitute [dot] org for links to materials for consideration and meeting login info.
Approaching early June, as civil rights protests mounted nationwide, many commercial districts in major U.S. cities began boarding up their storefronts, signaling a prioritization in the preservation of property over the enticements of commerce and the outward-facing optimism of an eventual re-opening.
Entering July, an online initiative, conceived by a couple longing to travel while sheltered-in-place, invited anyone, anywhere to frame, record, and share an uninterrupted outward view from within a contributor's current residence, calling it WindowSwap. As an exercise, this collective endeavor of inviting strangers in, so as to look out, coalesces house swapping with slow T.V. -- A query of where the quotidian meets the picturesque in a single shot.
As of July 31, the federal CARES Act expired and with it the safeguard on evictions, placing an estimated 23 million U.S. household renters into further speculative crises, picturing themselves soon homeless unless new legislation from the top is conferred in discussions in which they cannot take part.
This summer session of a stone's throw concludes in consideration of this trio of views: a public blocked from brick and mortar aggregate consumption of (non)essential goods, to individuals seeking virtual respite, gazing out of distant windows by peering into a personal screen with the mutual ability to add their own in-kind to this house of glass amalgam, to the impending turmoil for American citizens, en masse, no longer having a clear division to look into and out from.
Politics of Space: A continually privatizing art market and its effects on public-facing art
Saturday, July 25, 10am-1pm (PDT) via zoom email for meeting info
Please join us Saturday, July 25, 10am-1pm (Pacific Daylight Time) for the fourth discussion in the current summer series of a stone's throw: Politics of Space: A continually privatizing art market and its effects on public-facing art with prompt from Sandra Peters. Anyone, anywhere interested in joining the discussion, send an email to stonesoup [at] southlandinstitute [dot] org for links to materials for consideration and meeting login info.
As case studies for an open discussion, Zwirner and Hauser and Wirth demonstrate the contemporary mega-gallery construct and the influence it has on the art scene, at-large. These organizations have stretched the original framework of what an art gallery does with both developing variant strategies while moving in the same direction. "Mega" does not only refer to the amassing of cavernous display rooms. These expanding organizations have taken over fields and duties previously tied to museum work; e.g. serving as caretakers of artists' estates, more directly establishing that their artists secure a place in the dominant historical narrative of art (Hauser and Wirth founded a research center and Zwirner maintains a publishing house producing 25 volumes annually), creating architectural campuses which combine art and lifestyle, and most recently granting proprietary, virtual space to less financially stable galleries. Both search constantly for possibilities to expand their power. One effect is that they hollow out what was before, work shared by many and a platform that had a variety of participants; now many of these exist only in dependency of these mega-galleries, if at all.
Which road(s) can we take; which can we build? More and more, public spaces are disappearing -- they become semi-public spaces or privatized 'public' spaces. This is occurring in so to speak public, cultural contexts in Germany -- the Kunstvereine or Kunsthallen, traditionally public-serving exhibition platforms, are increasingly funneled content from for-profit galleries. How do these two developments relate to each other?
How can artists who are not represented by a gallery and face this very strong and dominant system connect and still develop an infrastructure that serves for their dialogue while at the same time reaching a public that might be interested in being audience to profit-averse approaches?
How is this dominant structure influencing the feelings, the thinking, and the behavior of the people? The idea of including lifestyle into these cultural market places and to suggest this takes care of the well-being of the human, such as what Hauser and Wirth is doing in LA and elsewhere, is decidedly a complicated proposition.
Considering Virtual Exhibitions and Arts Platforms; Architecture, Ideology, and Future-fetish Economies
Saturday, July 11, 11am-2pm via zoom email for meeting info
Please join us for the third discussion in the current summer session of a stone's throw, Saturday, July 11, 11am-2pm (Pacific Daylight Time) where we will be considering virtual exhibitions and arts platforms; architecture, ideology, and future-fetish economies with prompt and expansive source materials gathered by Eron Rauch. Anyone, anywhere interested in joining the discussion, send an email to stonesoup [at] southlandinstitute [dot] org for links to materials for consideration and meeting login info.
The ongoing quarantine has prompted far-reaching questions about the nature and viability of physical spaces and their relation to online media. Some of these proclamations are apocalyptic, others utopic; some speak the language of self-help finance and others read like a wavy "Keep [x] Weird!" bumper sticker. In this convening of a stone's throw, I want to use the long-running attempts to "virtualize" art gallery architecture as a prompt to investigate the use, misuse, history, myths, hype, potential, dreams, and (why not?) practical concerns of the digital spaces, virtual reality, and online platforms.
Sunday, June 28, 11am-2pm via zoom email for meeting info
Please join us for the second discussion in our summer session of a stone's throw, this Sunday, June 28, 11:00am - 2pm (Pacific Daylight Time). Anyone, anywhere interested in joining the discussion, send an email to stonesoup [at] southlandinstitute [dot] org for links to materials for consideration and meeting login info.
Resistance Made Visible: Black Lives Matter Protest Signs, Murals and Defaced Confederate Monuments
In a rich tradition of graphics, signs, banners, images, and happenings the most recent Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd have shown up in an explosive variety of visual languages, mediums, scales, and formats. A significant aspect of this movement's diverse tipping point has been the wide ranging socio-economic, racial, and class hierarchy origins for these forms and messages. Catalyzed by grassroots Black-led organizers we have seen interventions from independent artists, hordes of global protestors, city departments, mass and social media, and even corporate marketing departments of the world's largest corporations.
The variety of media, formats, and levels of finish range wildly. Of particular interest to us is the juxtaposition between street murals and the defaced Confederate monuments, primarily across the Southern United States. Take for instance the yellow street painted Black Lives Matter Mural commissioned in Washington D.C. by Mayor Muriel Bowser and executed by city workers verses the activist defaced monument to Robert E Lee in Richmond, VA marked up in an ad hoc combination of spray paint and light projection. These two approaches span a range of structures and systems that straddle many dichotomies:
2d / 3d / 4d space
different levels of economic means in materiality (e.g. cost of paint vs. cost of bronze)
text / figuration
memorial / monument
horizontality / verticality
citizen made / municipality sanctioned / statecraft issued
Saturday, June 13, 11am-2pm via zoom email for meeting info
The prompt for our first discussion comes from Amit Runchal who has generously created a living document of consequential materials beginning with a video lecture from Professor Robin Kelley expanding Cedric Robinson's thesis on racial capitalism.
Considering "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" by Shoshanna Zuboff
Sunday, May 31, 11am-2pm via zoom email for meeting info
As the time we spend online increases, as platforms rush to fill--and create--new needs, seemingly every website one visits, every app one installs, demands agreeing in a single click to a lengthy "privacy" (aka surveillance) policy, a binding set of contractual terms that nearly no one reads. In accordance with these agreements, by what methods, and to what end, do these digital conveniences and functional necessities render our behaviors as information for a "secondary text" to which we are not granted access?
Join us for a discussion prompted by Shoshanna Zuboff's 'The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power,' in which she poses the question(s) (among many others): "Who knows? Who decides? Who decides who decides?"
This is an invitation to read the book to discuss, but for those interested in joining the discussion for whom reading the entire book is unfeasible, many of her articles, essays, and interviews offer pared down versions of some of her ideas:
Tuesday, May 26, 7pm CET (Vienna)/ 10am PDT (Los Angeles) streamed here
Adam Feldmeth, Program Director of the Southland Institute, as part of the lecture series Collective Learning / Collective Care, hosted by die Angewandte Wien (University of Applied Arts Vienna), will share a current draft of the text, collectively authored with Joe Potts, "Working With What's (T)here, Proposing What Isn't: Some Pedagogies of the Southland Institute," a living document of an ongoing conversation approaching pedagogy. This audio / video version of the text will be live-streamed and auto-documented on youtube with the other events in the Collective Learning / Collective Care series. The text version can currently be accessed here, and more information about the series can be found at http://www.dieangewandte.at/collective_learning-collective_care
The Collective Learning / Collective Care lecture series initiated by Jenni Tischer at the Institute of Arts and Society, die Angewandte Wien, responds to our current mode of social distancing and distance learning in the light of a broader socio-political context regarding the value of Care Work and the realm of collective experience.
"Although we as lecturers are physically separated from our students, our task is to integrate everybody into the dialogue and to adapt our teaching to the situation in order to address the crisis-prone nature of our lives and also to (finally) recognize it as a state that has always been here. The Southland Institute in Los Angeles stands for critical, durational, and typographic post-studio practices, approaching collective learning that makes use of what is already there. Artist and program director of the Southland Institute, Adam Feldmeth, recently co-authored a list of pedagogies including, A Pedagogy of Working with What‘s (T)here. “In working with what‘s there, we practice resourcefulness, we engage a productive constraint, we examine the conditions that are given and determine what might be done with them to change an existing situation to a better one."
The full Collective Learning / Collective Care series includes:
(choreograph, performer, Berlin)
Tuesday, 19. May 7pm
(artist and program director of the Southland Institute, Los Angeles)
Tuesday, 26. May 7pm
Saturday, May 16, 11am-2pm via zoom email for meeting info
Please join a stone's throw this Saturday, May 16, 11am - 2pm (PDT) with materials for discussion gathered by Tara Bigdeli.
These materials hope to stir discussion surrounding the widespread and cross-disciplinary turn to affect (or, "affective turn") since the mid-1990's, as an object of inquiry whose central focus is on embodied and sensory experiences.
Massumi (1995) defines affect as "unqualified intensity," and distinguishes it sharply from emotion, which he describes as both a "subjective content" and "sociolinguistic fixing" of experience. In this way, we can think of affects as simultaneously social and physical; a force that is ontologically prior to the sociolinguistic, pre-subjective, and which operates beyond the circumscription of social meaning.
What might be the historical situations for the impressively wide turn toward affect as an object of inquiry?-- and in which ways might attunement to affective-states-of-things (both on the level of the everyday/individual and the collective) serve as a metric to gauge political/social momentum/possibilities?
How can we use "structures of feelings" (Cvetkovich/ Williams) as a social and cultural discourse to forge new models of how affective life can serve as a foundation for public culture?
Berlant asks: How might we keep the event of affect open to maintaining the multiplicity of traditions, trajectories, and critical tactics? Is spanning all traditions important to the ways we think about addressing future problems?
Affect vs/alongside/in tandem moods, feelings, emotion - what are the stakes of synthesizing these different ways of talking to/ about our states of the sensorium?
Considering "Misfits: A Feminist Materialist Disability Concept"
Saturday, May 2, 11am-2pm via zoom
We are finding it difficult,
difficult to say something clearly, something that is fitting of the moment, of the many moments as they change like the wind.
We watch as illusions, old edifices fall, with equal measures of thrill and fear, sorrow and joy, relief and anxiety, which is to say we are confused.
We are confused about what our place in the world now is. And what it can or should be.
So we are learning to be vulnerable, to accept ourselves as misfits. At once we are reminded that humans too are 'nature', and included still in its turns and violence. But also, we are learning just how excluded we are from the social and the normal, which is to say the narrow world we arrogantly made. A world that did not have enough care, biodiversity, health or thriving.
We are finding it difficult, but not without precedence, afterall haven't we been practicing world-making for years.
Weather or Not, World or Not continues to ask where the body or bodies end and the climate or planet begins, knowing now that both are mutable.
We ask, how do we rebuild the world and the human in ways that are more fitting? More vulnerable while also being actionable? And more careful together? How to sustain the planet and its different life forms across scales and intersections?
Radio Earth Hold studies the possibilities and pitfalls of international solidarity through the sonic.
Weather or Not, World or Not is a mutation of the above.
Paul Soulellis: urgentcraft
presented in collaboration with the Communication Arts and Graduate Graphic Design departments at Otis College of Art and Design
Monday, April 27, 2020 at 12pm via zoom
URGENTCRAFT is a set of principles that works to resist oppression-based design ideologies, especially in art and design education. URGENTCRAFT isn't a manifesto, but rather a constellation of tactics -- a series of incomplete observations. A note to self. A reminder that we can use art and design to loosen hegemonic power.
Paul Soulellis is an artist and educator based in Providence, RI. His practice includes teaching, writing, and experimental publishing, with a focus on queer methodologies and network culture. He is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the Rhode Island School of Design, and Founder/Director of Queer.Archive.Work, a non-profit community reading room, publishing studio, and project space.
Paul is also the founder of Library of the Printed Web, a physical archive devoted to web-to-print artists’ books, zines, and printout matter, now housed at MoMA Library in NYC.
A STONE'S THROW:
Considering "Tongues Untied" by Marlon Riggs
Saturday, April 18, 11am-2pm via zoom
Tongues Untied, Marlon Riggs (requires Kanopy login often free with educational email addresses and public library cards. You can access a free temporary digital library card if you live in LA County. It can take 48 hours to get the card back to you via email). Tongues Untied also can be rented on Vimeo for $2.99 if you need it ASAP.
optional readings, panel discussions and critiques of the film:
Blackness, Gayness, Representation: Marlon Riggs Unpacks It All in His Films By Wesley Morris (3 pages heavily illustrated and linked)
On Marlon Riggs: The Artist and His Influence By Rhea Combs (3 pages)
Teaching Blackness: Marlon Riggs's Place in Black (Gay) History
By E. Patrick Johnson
LIVE: Marlon RIggs Retrospective @ Schomburg Center
A live discussion about the work of visionary filmmaker and race and LGBT activist Marlon Riggs. With a live panel discussion between Cornelius Moore, Rhea L. Combs, and Al Cunningham. (1 hr watch)
MARLON RIGGS CRITICAL RESOURCE PAGE
I’m particularly interested in his radical response through art in tandem with activism that defies genre. He and his collaborators make this work in the middle of an epidemic and it is broadcast on Public Television. Riggs' creation of art responds to and also elevates the circumstances of the conditions of making art during an epidemic.
Presented for consideration by Silas Munro
A STONE'S THROW:
Considering "Touch Sanitation Performance" from Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Saturday, May 2, 11am-2pm via zoom
Our first discussion will be prompted by consideration of "Touch Sanitation Performance" from Mierle Laderman Ukeles, which she realized over an 11 month period, July 24, 1979 - June 26, 1980. After being invited to be the first ever artist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation in 1978, a title she retains to this day, her first significant step to better familiarize herself with the scope of this staggering sanitation network -- in the midst of internal workers' strikes, in a municipality on the brink of bankruptcy, and among a public with little to no regard for sanitation workers -- was to track down and greet each respective worker on-the-job in all fifty-nine districts of Greater New York, some 8,500 men, with a handshake and "Thank you for keeping New York City alive!"
In these last weeks, I have been thinking a great deal about this earnest act of directly acknowledging the humanity of individuals laboring on the frontline of circumstances that affect everyone. This basic gesture of affirmation seems particularly resonant in this time in which a friendly acknowledgment of another in public is to take a further step away from their vicinity.
In 1969, Laderman Ukeles wrote a proposal for a hypothetical museum exhibition that she alternatively labeled as a manifesto regarding acts of maintenance as art. Among a number of ideas articulated, she commences by introducing a distinction between "the Death Instinct" and "the Life Instinct", approaches at odds with each other that both inform what becomes art.
In 1996, Tom Finkelpearl interviewed Laderman Ukeles for his forthcoming book "Dialogues in Public Art" (MIT Press, 2001) where she cogently reflects upon the precedents of her experiences working from within and with the public sector to advance the public's regard for it.
To what extents do lettering, language, color, and signage create and/or capture culture and community? When these vernaculars are reflected into permanence, collected and dispersed, what happens to the facets they initially gathered?
Join us on Saturday, March 7 at David Kordansky to discuss the current show of Lauren Halsey's work.
Suggested parking in the Mesa Parking Structure at 4004 Mesa Rd. Irvine, CA 92617.
Please note, UC Irvine's parking fees range from $10-15 per vehicle, depending on Bren Center events taking place.
Driving directions can be found here.
For carpooling to this event, send an email with your name and contact info for coordinating.
Then, This: Revival Type in the Contemporary Era
a type design workshop with Jaimey Shapey
Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26, 1-4pm. Ruberta Ave. Glendale, CA
Revival type has named itself in the cultural zeitgeist of today. Clifton, Founders Grotesk, Maelstrom, GT Eesti, are just a few examples of popular faces, all a form of revival, remix,or anthology. Just because a typeface was designed in the 18th century doesn't mean it doesn't have a workable place in the 21st century. It can, but it is up to the designer to justify its place as no longer a historical artifact, and as a living piece of design. A work that has a rich historical ancestry, but with the ability to stand up to new formats and technology, is a whole and developed idea.
The objective of the workshop is to explore the concept of typographic revivals as they exist in a digital and contemporary context. Using old specimens/books (provided), attendees will be walked through the decision making process when doing a revival. Picking
a typeface sample from an old text, they will be required to draw/revive an 8+ letter word containing an n or an o, as these are the control characters type designers start with.
Questions to be examined include:
How does a designer translate printed material to a digital format?
What defines a revival, who has proposed definitions for revivals?
Why is a revival different from a facsimile?
Who owns a revival?
Additionally, the workshop will cover beginning technical aspects of the Glyphs software, including:
Setting up documents and file organization.
Drawing paths (with basic interpolation in mind).
Compositing (diacritics or ligatures).
Workshop attendees will need to bring their own Apple computer with a Glyphs license,
as most type design softwares don't support a PC interface. Specimens/various texts will
be provided and attendees will be able to choose one, or are allowed to bring their own
if they already have one in mind. By the end of the workshop, attendees will have a basic
Typographic drawing principles.
What it means to "revive," a typeface.
The differing features between type made in the digital era vs. a pre-digital era.
Glyphs user knowledge.
Where to start when beginning a type design based project, whether that be a wordmark, logotype, or full typeface.
In an expansive body of work over the past three decades, Charles Gaines has made perpetual inquiries into systems of language, music, notation, symbols, power, and social injustice.
As a supplement to this exhibition -- Gaines's first with Hauser and Wirth -- and in a nod to the pedagogical dimension of his practice, over the last few months Gaines has been delivering a series of 10 lectures on Thursday afternoons from 5-6pm called A Library of Ideas "on the tenets of aesthetics and critical theory in art, with the lectures recorded and played on loop throughout the course of the exhibition." (Three of these lectures, on December 12, 17, and 19 have yet to occur and are open to the public with reservation).
How do the forms of the work, the exhibition, the library, the public lecture, the classroom, critique, and even our own discussion, complement and contradict each other? Among the palm trees, what becomes public, for how long, and for whom?
Julie Cho and Erin Segal: On care, vulnerability, generosity, and publishing practice
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 7pm at the Women's Center for Creative Work (WCCW)
2425 Glover Place, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Thick Press is a collaboration between a social worker, Erin Segal, and a graphic designer, Julie Cho, who organize their publishing practice (in content and in form) around care work and the work of care. How do care work-related concepts (relationality, dialogic pedagogy, and slowness) inform our design process and our dissemination practice? In the context of late capitalism, how does our approach engender a more generous graphic design practice? How do we move away from conventional models of authorship and identity into spaces of vulnerability, openness, and collaboration? In those spaces, what does collaboration look like? These are some of the questions that Julie and Erin address as they perform a transcribed, edited conversation about their publishing practice.
NOTE: DATE and LOCATION CHANGED
Sunday, November 24 at 5pm at the Women's Center for Creative Work (WCCW)
2425 Glover Place, Los Angeles, CA 90031
co-presented with Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA)
Collins' six part experimental documentary Out of Play looks at overlaps between media and militarization in Southern California. Each episode focuses on one person situated at the intersection between image making and war making. Collins interviews a combat videographer, a role player living in character for months on a military base, an actor interpreting transcripts provided by the head of redactions for the US Army, and the Army's public affairs liaison to Hollywood.
In this talk Collins will share some of this new work, speak about how the she is implicated as a maker of moving images, and explore ways the entertainment industry works to fill in gaps left by the US military's redactions.
Abigail Raphael Collins works with video, installation and photography. Her interdisciplinary projects builds on documentary and experimental moving image practices to reconsider relationships between media and systemic violence through a queer feminist lens. She received her MFA from UCLA in 2015 and her BFA from Cooper Union in 2009. Recent exhibitions have been at the Pasadena Armory, Marathon Screenings, Angels Gate Cultural Center, PØST, Torrance Art Museum, USC Station Gallery, and UCLA. She is the recipient of the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, UCIRA grant, and a former resident at Shandanken and Seoul Art Space Geumcheon. She is the upcoming Emerging Curator at LACE for an exhibition on silence and protest. She currently teaches at CalArts and Pepperdine University
B L U E W A V E L u t z B a c h e r is the final large-scale multimedia installation of Bacher's forty-year career, produced in the seven month period prior to her death in May, 2019.
Moments after learning how to refer to another we learn that this is a pseudonym, not them yet them, so long as we attribute. Possessively non-possessive. Non-possessively present. Does this carry to the material output they cultivated? Not theirs while ours, so long as we consider?
We suggest parking in the Mesa Parking Structure at 4004 Mesa Rd. Irvine, CA 92617.
Please note, UC Irvine's parking fees range from $10-15 per vehicle, depending on Bren Center events taking place.
Plan B: Spirit of the Bauhaus is an exhibition inspired by the historical spectre of the Bauhaus on the occasion of its one hundredth anniversary. It features work produced by ArtCenter College of Design Study Away students working between Berlin and Los Angeles.
In the year of the Bauhaus' 100th anniversary, what are the pedagogical residues that linger? What avenues remain unexplored, and which are ready to be retired? For the better part of the 21st century, some contemporary educators have advocated for moving beyond what's been described as a dated framework, some notable examples include "Towards a Critical Faculty" (2006), and recently, the touring workshop "It's Time to Throw the Bauhaus Under the Bus" (2019). This year in particular has seen a number of exhibits and initiatives set aside some of these analyses for a celebratory centennial stance. Siting the discussion within an exhibition made by students responding to the Bauhaus, 100 years after its founding, from within one of its descendent institutions, these questions are among many others to be explored.
Lauren Williams: The Co-Constitutive Nature of Neoliberalism, Design, and Racism
Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7pm at the Women's Center for Creative Work (WCCW)
2425 Glover Place, Los Angeles, CA 90031
From the introduction: "An oft-repeated design adage -- derivative of the Bauhausian "less is more" -- harps that good design, when done well, should become invisible (Spool 2009). US constructs of race -- all in service of maintaining a particular composition of whiteness -- have been so well designed that their existence is presumed to be fact and their operations and consequences are rendered invisible, insidious, ubiquitous, and relentlessly adaptive. Neoliberalism forms an ideological backdrop and indispensable tool in the development of mainstream commercial design, social design, and the construction of racism, especially as it manufactures a haze of post-racial delusions. Both race and neoliberalism have been designed to deliberately produce certain consequences and conceal their operations. To refer to race and neoliberalism as designed is not to imply that they are static artifacts; rather, it calls on the iterative procedural quality of design and acknowledges that once designed objects are placed into the world they become the subject of use, redesign, and innovation by many authors many times over.
This essay explores the origins of neoliberalism, racism, and design, and benchmarks the confluence of their histories in the United States in the 1960s, a decade which reconfigured and drew these systems even closer together over the following four decades. These shifts preceded a rapid move toward neoliberal de-politicization and privatization; they paved the way for post-raciality (the notion that racism is extinct); and set up the advent of Design Thinking and the primacy of empathy, its operative element."
Lauren Williams is a visiting instructor at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit who has also taught at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. She is a designer, researcher, and educator who works with visual and interactive media to understand, critique, and reimagine the ways in which social and economic systems distribute and exercise power. Her work seeks to expose and unsettle power and often prioritizes engaging people through design in service of imagining and manifesting a more equitable present and future.
Acid Free II
November 1-3, 2019 11-7 at Blum and Poe
2727 La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
For Acid Free II, the Southland Institute contributed its modular furniture to various areas of the fair to provide seating and reading areas for fair-goers. In addition to booth B13, benches were placed in the 2nd floor stairwell and vestibule between the upstairs portion of the fair and 'The Den,' where various programming happened throughout the weekend.
Typography workshop with Nicole Killian: moveable/mobile, new/no bookends
Friday, October 25, 2019 6:30-9:30pm at the Women's Center for Creative Work (WCCW)
2425 Glover Place, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Free and open to the public but space is limited, so RSVP is required. To reserve your space, please send us an email with your name and contact information.
This workshop will be surrounding moveable/mobile messages using our digital archives as a way to manipulate and build language. The images we hoard, the pictures we take, our screenshot receipts and phone notes -- our quotidian space has shifted to the desktop, the heavy phone we keep in our pocket.
We carry them on our back like a turtle with its shell. Through this workshop, we will examine the pixels we hoard as a way to create new contexts, new images, new language. By taking the elements outside of their original context can we imagine them as building blocks that are always becoming? Can the things we love be constantly bound and reimagined at the same time?
The goal of the workshop is to shapeshift.
Nicole Killian's work uses graphic design, publishing, video, objects and installation to investigate how the structures of the internet, mobile messaging, and shared online platforms affect contemporary interaction and shape cultural identity from a queer perspective. They are interested in the repetition, looping, and dissemination of content. They think about catnip and bird toys, scratching and the depths (or voids) of the desktop folder.
Nicole is currently the co-director of the Design, Visual Communications MFA and Assistant Professor in the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University. They appreciate a good karaoke performance, are co-creator of annual publication ISSUES with Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, and recently served as guest editor for the Walker Art Center's Soundboard and organized How Will We Queer Design Education without Compromise?
DISCUSSIONS IN EXHIBITIONS:
Selections from the Hammer Contemporary Collection and the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts.
What does it mean to be a guest in another's remembrances of domestic space constituting an aesthetically charged life? This Saturday, Discussions in Exhibitions enters belonging, which draws from the writings of bell hooks in her collection of essays, "Belonging: A Culture of Place" (2009), organized by Erin Christovale, associate curator, with Vanessa Arizmendi, curatorial assistant.
Typography Workshop with Masato Nakada: Becoming Water /
A Few Simple Cuts Will Let You Build a Container
Sunday, October 13, 2019 1-5pm
This workshop introduces the potential play and curiosity of web typography and layouts. By learning the basics of HTML and CSS markups and how the two components inform each other, participants will quickly gain coding confidence to pour water (content) into a make-shift container (basic to complex, dynamic layouts). The end result of this workshop is to construct dynamic, typographic web posters.
-No Coding Experience Required
-Bring Your Laptop
-Sign to Codepen.io
Workshop is free and open to the public but space is limited, so RSVP is required. To reserve your space, please send us an email with your name and contact information.
Masato Nakada co-runs a graphic design practice called the co-runs a Graphic Design practice called The Happening Studio with Karen To Nakada in Los Angeles. He has lectured and led workshops on web development, typography, and chance operations at Otis College of Art and Design, CalArts, and Temple University Tokyo.
Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at 7pm at the Hoffmitz-Milken Center for Typography (HMCT)
950 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, California 91105
The Fall 2019 Southland Institute Public Events Series begins with "Forever New" a talk by Laura Coombs, presented in partnership with HMCT. Coombs is the graphic designer at the New Museum, the only museum in Manhattan dedicated entirely to contemporary art. A beacon of progress, its mission is aimed at "confronting the present," being a "catalyst for broad dialogue," and ever-seeking "New Art, New Ideas." Situated in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, the museum is on the precipice of doubling its architectural footprint and exhibition space. Simultaneously, the institution's workforce recently voted to unionize, and is currently negotiating for more equity, more security, less hierarchy, and the power to be heard. Design and typography reflect this diverse ecosystem as visual evidence. This lecture will detail a design practice within the progressive cultural domain of downtown New York. It will be a look into a diverse publication, print, and type design practice--weaving within it a look at a growing institution, and a discussion of how design functions within this layered ecosystem and renders visible power, equity, relationships, and community.
Laura Coombs is a graphic designer in New York specializing in communication design, visual identities, publications, and type design within the cultural domain. Currently the Senior Designer at the New Museum, she also teaches at Princeton and designs books with GSAPP's publishing imprint, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City. She works with artists, curators, architects, and writers on a variety of cultural projects, usually several at once. As an educator, she has been a guest critic or lectured at the Yale School of Art, Cooper Union, Pratt, Parsons, GSAPP, and Werkplaats Typografie. Her work has been awarded the Toby Devan Lewis Prize for excellence in art, the 2018 Brno Biennial, and the AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers best book of 2018. Her work has been published by magazines including Computer Arts, Art in America, Interview, and with Phaidon publishers. Originally from Texas, Laura received an MFA in graphic design from the Yale School of Art and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.
Otis MFA GD Art Book Fair
Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 2019 at Otis College of Art and Design
9045 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045
Revisiting Charles Jencks' Daydream Houses of Los Angeles
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, 7:30pm
In the 1970s, architectural historian and cultural theorist Charles Jencks began photographing the exaggerated houses that he encountered driving around Los Angeles, including in West Hollywood. At a time when residential architecture in America was becoming increasingly standardized, he called attention to these fantasy houses that had been modified or built to exude personal character and variation.
Daydream Houses of Los Angeles, published by Rizzoli in 1978, includes Jencks' snapshots of about 60 of these expressive and excessive houses, paired with witty captions and oftentimes an address, so readers could embark on their own house tours.
In this illustrated presentation, a collaboration with the Southland Institute, Aurora Tang will discuss her ongoing rephotography project revisiting Daydream Houses of Los Angeles, considering the informal photograph, the enthusiast, the tour, the changing appearance of our city's residential neighborhoods, and the significance of Jencks' book today, over 40 years after its release.
Aurora Tang is a curator and researcher based in Los Angeles. Since 2009 she has been a program manager at the Center for Land Use Interpretation. From 2011-2015 she was managing director of High Desert Test Sites. She has taught at Otis College of Art and Design, and is a founding board member of Common Field.
Discussions in Exhibitions:
Maryam Jafri: I Drank the Kool-Aid But I Didn't Inhale
Maryam Jafri: I Drank the Kool-Aid But I Didn't Inhale, Product Recall: An Index of Innovation (2014-15) tracks the failed, the faltered, and the forgotten of American consumerism's yesteryear gambits of branded and boxed ambition. These reacquisitions, through a reckoning of pointed display, now critically incite a concomitant call and response of the whats, the hows, and the whys of this curious lot while accompanying provenance lay bare procedural narratives of the whens, the wheres, and the who's to aid in our discursive corroboration.
The Architecture of the Unremarkable
Friday, May 24, 2019 at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, 7:30pm
The Architecture of the Unremarkable is a study of the contradictory ways in which space is constituted by the reciprocal materialization of the law. It aims to question how the spatialization of legal loopholes, as the infinite generator of interpretive arguments, may be used to destabilize the governed structure and resist institutionalization. The lecture focuses on Emamifar's collaboration with WORKNOT!, a collective of artists and architects dedicated to the representation of life and work of today's cognitarians. Their project, MOSHA (Framing The Common) centers on the study of the shared space in modern apartment buildings in Iran and the legal regulation of such common spaces.
Niloufar Emamifar is an artist currently living and working in Los Angeles. She received her BFA in Interior Architecture from Soore School of Architecture, Tehran, Iran and her MFA in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine, CA. She has participated in exhibitions at SculptureCenter, Essex Street Gallery, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition, Venice Biennale of Architecture and Human Resources Los Angeles. Her research and practice explores the interrelations between social and physical space in order to ask questions regarding urban interstices, the territorialisation of the city and lawscape.
All the Trees and I was Still Bowling Alone
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, 7:30pm
Drawing on her training in architecture and planning to explore the themes of home, citizenship, and identity exchange that she presents in her work, Dina Abdulkarim discusses the visual and cultural influences that have shaped her appreciation of patterns and the institution of their collective meaning. She describes how, through distinct architecture and specific interiors, the use of patterns, materials and textures form the shared social aesthetics of the very personal space of the home. She also speaks about how the experience of living and studying city planning and urban design in the U.S. altered her concept of home and added a new set of patterns and meanings to it. In her large-scale paintings, Abdulkarim overlaps different geometries of arabesque motifs and aerial views of suburban communities and different materials to represent the cultural, spiritual, and everyday realities of the places that represent home, which go beyond the simple distinction of the East and the West, are complex, organic, and constantly at influx.
Dina Abdulkarim is a Middle Eastern-born, American artist. She received her training in architecture, urban design, and planning. She then attended CalArts where she completed her MFA in 2015. In addition to running her studio in Pasadena, Dina is a faculty of urban and regional planning at Cal Poly University, Pomona.
Discussions in Exhibitions:
Michael Rakowitz: Dispute Between the Tamarisk and the Date Palm
The Tamarisk opened his mouth and spoke. He addressed the Date Palm: "My body ...... the bodies of the gods. (The reference is to statues of tamarisk wood.) You grow your fruits but someone places them before me like a maid approaching her mistress. You do not provide the measuring vessels. You are ...... minor crops, but I ....... Your attendants ...... before me for you." In his anger the Date Palm answered him. He addressed his brother the Tamarisk: "You say: "If people build daises for me and beautify them too, they certainly do not swear by the gods before clay (?)." -- You may be the body of the gods in their shrines and people may name with a good name the daises of the gods, but it is silver that can pride itself as the overlay of the gods. ......, describe your beauty!" -The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
Non-Terminal Education and Post-Linear Curricula: Rethinking Structures of Higher Education in (Graphic) Design
a conversation with Adam Feldmeth, Jessica Wexler, Joe Potts, Lauren Williams, Masood Kamandy, Nicole Killian, Ramon Tejada, and Yasmin Khan-Gibson
April 12, 2019 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, part of Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair 2019 Classroom programming.
Traditional structures and hierarchies by which design educators have framed and understood culture and the academy are of diminishing relevance in an evolving cultural context characterized by rapid evolution, simultaneity, erosion of expertise and disciplinarity, and spiraling debt. As other disciplines develop new models to describe and prescribe the evolution of their practices, how can design educators (and administrators) articulate new structures that frame our understanding of our practices and the contexts in which they unfold? Exploring and proposing alternate structures for higher education, with attention to the connections between curricular, pedagogical, and economic concerns, Workshop Project and the Southland Institute have been examining different ways that interwebbed institutions create networked landscapes of pedagogical heterodoxy, to be navigated over the course of a lifelong education. Presented by The Southland Institute and Workshop Project.
Bethlehem No More
April 5, 2019 at Los Angeles Contermporary Archive (LACA), Ground floor courtyard.
Two days before the November 2016 election, David Weldzius drove to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to restage Walker Evans's photographs taken there in November 1935. From Evans' perspective of the giant blast furnaces from atop St. Michael's Cemetery, Weldzius could not locate the Sands Casino Resort, an $800 million project built on Bethlehem Steel's former oar yard in 2007. Over the course of the next several months, Weldzius would return to Bethlehem regularly. His research and photography were soon published into an essay, "Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Four Meditations on the Old and New Spirits of Capitalism" by XTRA in 2018. Borrowing his lecture title from a Luis Rodriguez poem which underscores the consequences of Bethlehem Steel's closure in South Los Angeles, Weldzius intends to synthesize the narratives of steel production in the Rust Belt and the American Southwest.
co-sponsored by X-TRA.
Discussions in Exhibitions:
How to Take / Make Good Pictures, in Zoe Leonard: Survey
Sunday, March 17 at 2pm at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Included in the survey of Zoe Leonard's works is an arrangement which has variously been credited in title as "How To Take Good Pictures" and "How To Make Good Pictures" in the different iterations during its ongoing presentation under conditions of display. This example, consisting of a consecutive row of book stacks of varying heights, draws from a "How to-" guide first published by Kodak in 1911 with continued publication annually throughout the 20th century.
The arrangement orients a number of probable inquiries not limited to: the use value of a photography manual over successive decades in print; the evolution of cover design over the better part of a century; the implicit and explicit circumstances of brand-sponsored advertisement as the center of something categorically instructional; and most curiously the subtle yet significant shift between the action of making and that of taking when it comes to photographic production which is reflected in the decision to replace the former with the latter somewhere down the line.
Rather than give attention to the broader exhibition, this event is particular in the concerted attention it gives to a specific example.
Discussions in Exhibitions:
Wang Xu: Garden of Seasons
Saturday, March 9 at 12:30pm at the Vincent Price Art Museum and Cascades Park, Monterey Park, CA
Discussions in Exhibitions opens a discussion on the day the exhibition Wang Xu: Garden of Seasons closes. The contents and levels of negotiation cited here--municipal, sculptural, iconographical, locational and temporal--encourage sifting through the dynamics of a project simultaneously static and non-static, unrealized and re-conceived, negatively in-situ and ostensibly displaced from multiple sites.
This discussion will begin at "Cascades Park" (also known as "Heritage Falls Park") 1.5 miles north of the museum on Atlantic Blvd at 12:30pm followed by the brief commute down the road to reconvene at the museum exhibit around 1pm.
Discussions in Exhibitions:
I Wish to Communicate with You: Corita Kent and Matt Keegan
Saturday, February 23 at 3:00pm at Potts, 2130 Valley Blvd. Alhambra, CA 91803
Discussions in Exhibitions convenes within I Wish to Communicate with You: Corita Kent & Matt Keegan for a communal consideration of the aesthetic ABC's of communication brought on by this call and response unfolding around the architectural edges of shared space.
From the press release:
Corita Kent (1912 - 1986) was an educator, nun, activist, and artist working primarily in serigraphy. She produced her International Signal Code Alphabet series during the summer of 1968 in Cape Cod, while on sabbatical from teaching at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. In the same year, Sister Corita would decide to leave the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the religious order she had entered more than three decades before, for a secular life. Based on the International Code of Signals, the system of maritime signal flags used to communicate between ships, Corita overlaid imagery and letterforms from eighteenth-century illustration and antiquarian books atop the twenty-six flag designs -- corresponding to A-Z -- creating intricate, polychromatic compositions. Incorporating passages from sources such as Leonard Cohen, Winnie the Pooh, and the Book of Revelation, and brimming with homophones and varieties of word play, Corita's take on the alphabet illustrates the artist's idiosyncratic relationship to language and her interest in mass communication and popular ideals.
Matt Keegan (b. 1976) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. His varied artistic output often explores the possibilities of language as form. Created in response to Corita's signal code alphabet, Keegan's Cutouts (c is for Corita) is a series of twenty-six paper cut-outs that playfully tease out the aesthetic dimensions of linguistic signs and systems. Folding and cutting sheets of silkscreened paper into abstract geometric permutations, the works evoke Rorschach-like shapes and interpretations.
Bowes Line, Glassworks, and Making the Tyne Documentaries. A selection of films by Amber collective.
presented by the Southland Institute and Fiona Connor
Ruberta Avenue, Glendale, CA
A screening of three films by Amber, a film and photography collective that came together in the UK in 1968, moving to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne the following year with a commitment to documenting cultural, political and economic changes in the region. Films shown were digital copies of Bowes Line (1975), Glassworks (1977), and Making the Tyne Documentaries (2007).
Discussions in Exhibitions:
Adrian Piper: Concepts and Intuitions, 1965-2016
Saturday, December 15 at 11am at the Hammer Museum
Discussions in Exhibitions meets within "Adrian Piper: Concepts and Intuitions, 1965-2016" to broaden the potential for reflexive dialogue occurring throughout the rooms of the exhibition in negotiating the space between our varied concepts and intuitions of it as a public.
In addition to the robust educational programming that has accompanied this retrospective in the way of symposium, panel discussion, numerous artist-led interpretative talks, and curatorial walkthroughs, Saturday, December 15 affords an occasion to hear Adrian through listening to each other.
Looking, Past and Through: Paul R. Williams, West Hollywood, and the Spotless Mirror
December 13, 2018 at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture
Photographer Janna Ireland, in collaboration with the Southland Institute, discussed intersections of photography, architecture, motherhood, race, domesticity, portraiture, class, and documentation in four bodies of work about Greater Los Angeles.
Ireland's interest in architecture began with West Hollywood (2012), a series of black and white photographs capturing pockets of stillness and isolation amidst the buzz of the city. Two years ago, Ireland began researching and photographing the buildings of Paul R. Williams, the legendary Angeleno architect who, over the course of a 50-year career, designed more than 2000 buildings. These photographs, part of an ongoing project, were exhibited last winter at Woodbury University’s Hollywood gallery in There Is Only One Paul R. Williams, curated by Andrea Dietz and Audrey Landreth and organized by the Julius Shulman Institute.
In The Spotless Mirror, and her most recent body of work, Milk and Honey, Ireland explores gendered spaces, domesticity, isolation, black identity, and the performance of femininity in a house in the San Fernando Valley. The photographs embody an intermingling of reality and fantasy, place and image, interior and exterior.
Janna Ireland was born in Philadelphia, but has chosen Los Angeles as her home. She holds an MFA the from UCLA Department of Art and a BFA from the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU. She currently teaches photography at Pasadena City College. Ireland is the 2013 recipient of the Snider Prize, presented by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago. In 2018/Earlier this year, she was named a Cultural Trailblazer by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, and in group exhibitions across the United States and internationally. She has been published in Aperture, Art Papers, Vice, and The Los Angeles Times.
Discussions in Exhibitions:
Cf. Cameron Rowland / John Knight
Sunday, November 25 at 2pm at MOCA Grand Avenue (upper plaza and exterior stairwell landing)
A publicly motivated occasion to gather between Cameron Rowland's "2015 MOCA Real Estate Acquisition" (2018) and John Knight's "The Artist's Museum: MMX, a work in situ, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), October 2010" (2010) to comparatively discuss these two works as respective examples of interrogative response to invitations from this institution. Each utilizes nuanced signage located adjacent and external to the main entrance raising manifold inquests in the process. The discussion, facilitated by Adam Feldmeth, is independent of internal museum programming.
Rowland's addendum to the donors plaque, an exterior inclusion to his current show D37, is installed on the mid-landing of the staircase leading to the lower plaza and lobby while Knight's engraved contribution to the 2010 group exhibition, The Artist's Museum, and since then an acquisition of the permanent collection, continues to adorn the granite-clad column immediately across from the street-level ticket office.
A pamphlet accompanying D37 is available as a pdf on the MOCA website here.
W.E.B. DuBois's Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America
Friday, June 8, 2018 at Los Angeles Contermporary Archive (LACA)
W. E. B. Du Bois was a prolific author, renowned sociologist, fierce civil rights advocate, co-founder of the NAACP, and a historian of black lives. He was also a pioneer of data visualization. Working with ink, gouache, graphite, and photographic prints, Du Bois and his student and alumni collaborators at Atlanta University generated crisp, dynamic, and modern graphics as a form of infographic activism. 63 brightly colored broadsheets were exhibited in Paris and made 20 years before the founding of the Bauhaus. These visualizations offer a prototype of design practices now vital in our contemporary world—of design for social innovation, data visualization in service to social justice, and the decolonization of pedagogy.
Munro's design work and writings have been published in many forms at home and abroad. As an educator, he focuses on expanded design studies. He has been a critic and lecturer at many internationally ranked art and design programs including CalArts, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), NC State, RISD, and the Yale School of Art. Munro serves as Assistant Professor in Communication Arts and MFA in Graphic Design at Otis College of Art and Design, and Advisor and Chair Emeritus in the MFA Program in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).