Performance Space 122 & BOMB Magazine present four in-depth, interdisciplinary conversations between a COIL ’13 artist and a “non-performance” luminary. SPAN endeavors to reinsert performance into the cultural, economic, and environmental debates coursing through contemporary society, from which it is too often excluded.
12:00 PM Art & Ethics
Tea Tupajic, Petra Zanki with Florian Malzachar and Joel Whitney
12:00 PM Place & Identity
Emily Johnson with Jack Tchen
12:00 PM Algorithms, Art and Consequences
Annie Dorsen with Kevin Slavin
12:00 PM “Real Time” vs “Performed Time”
Brian Rogers with Pau Atela
Light refreshments will be served.
Extended dialogue beyond the conversation is encouraged online through twitter: @PS122 #SPAN #COIL13
Major support for SPAN is provided by the Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation.
Tea Tupajic (check diacritics), Petra Zanki, artists from Croatia have been creating theatre, dance and performance that questions how art should or must function in relationship to social and political responsibility, ethics and the vexed intersection point between ideas of ‘art’ vs ‘culture’. Through his work at Steirischer Herbst (and now as incoming Artistic Director of the Impulse Festival), FLorian Malzacher has become a key curatorial voice in Europe. Most recently he created the Truth is Concrete program in Graz – a week-long marathon about political strategies in art, and artistic strategies in politics – inspired by various protest movements around the world in recent years. He is an outspoken voice on the questions artistic practice (for artists, curators, institutions) must deal with in a contemporary society. Joel Whitney co-founded a remarkable online magazine Guernica whose written work on national and global politics and arts has recently appeared in The New York Times, Salon, The Daily Beast, and World Policy Journal. His reporting on the U.S. role in Burma has appeared in The New Republic and The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. Other work appears in New York Magazine, Courrier International in France, The San Francisco Chronicle Books, NPR and The Village Voice.
Cultural Diplomacy. Soft Power. Social Impact. Ethics and Responsibility. Quoting the Truth Is Concrete description – “What is to be done?Can art help solve problems that politics and society themselves have ignored for so long? Should art be a social or political tool, can it be useful? And why should artists know what to do when nobody else does?”
As institutions we face a funding, audience and political climate that demands from us measurable social impact, benefit that historically was perceived to be something for which artistic and cultural activity was somehow exempt. Artistic ‘quality’ is measured in new ways, and is being deployed in new ways. Work is curated and created within a global system but delivered to very local audiences – can this continue? Business as usual for audiences, artists and those who support them both is no longer an option. THis conversation will examine these problems with key participants in this global dialogue currently occurring.
Wednesday, January 16th – 12pm
Place and Identity
Emily Johnson with Jack Tchen
Emily Johnson’s is an artist whose work considers and asks its audience to examine big ideas. Home, place, history. Names. Identity and memory. Here and now she brings a work that was created with multiple regions and communities across the US, but began as a question around her historic and contemporary identity as a Minneapolis based, Alaskan descended Yup’ik native american. Jack Tchen has become one of the US’s leading thinkers in how we consider contemporary cultural identity. He works on understanding the multiple presents, pasts, the futures of New York City, identity formations, trans-local cross-cultural communications, archives, epistemologies and decolonizing Eurocentric ideas, theories, and practices.
Questions of culture and ethnicity have bubbled to the surface of US national identity politics for decades. Here an artist at the cutting edge of her field but working from a place of deep history engages with a theorist of ephemeral, daily cultural change. Immigration, migration, connection to land, home. What is an American identity if it is permeable, in constant cultural flux – while also a signifier of profound connection to a history, location and resource. They both ask: Can America reckon with a past we, the people are “innocent” of?
Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen
Jack Tchen is a historian, curator, teacher, dumpster diver, and cultural activist. Professor Tchen is the founding director of the A/P/A (Asian/Pacific /American) Studies Program and Institute at New York University, NYU. He co-founded the Museum of Chinese in America in 1979-80 where he continues to serve as senior historian. In 1991, he was awarded the Charles S. Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities (renamed The National Medal of Humanities). He is author of the award-winning books New York before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 and Genthe’s Photographs of San Francisco’s Old Chinatown, 1895-1905. And he was a principle investigator of “Asian Americas and Pacific Islanders Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight” with The College Board (2008). Most recently, he co-curated MOCA’s core exhibition: “With a single step: stories in the making of America” in a new space designed by Maya Lin. Jack is now working on three projects: First, a critical archival study of images, excerpts and essays on the history and contemporary impact of “Yellow Peril” paranoia and xenophobia (Verso, 2013). He’s the senior historian for the upcoming New-York Historical Society 2014 travelling exhibit on the impact of Chinese Exclusion Laws (1882-1968) on America, grappling with the paradox of a nation innocent of its own past. And, his next book: The Chinese Question: Answered and Unresolved will be published when the NYHS exhibit opens.
Thursday, January 17th – 12pm
Algorithms, Art and Consequences
Annie Dorsen with Kevin Slavin
Computational algorithms increasingly shape how we live. Our behaviors and communications generate mountains of data which algorithms use to make critical decisions about our political, economic and social relations, often without our knowledge. As Kevin Slavin has demonstrated, this transformation isn’t just taking place in cyberspace; it is reconfiguring the material reality of our daily lives, the objects we use, and the physical landscapes in which we live.
The theoretical and artistic consequences of this new era of “big data” are just beginning to be explored. Annie Dorsen’s recent work uses algorithms to create theatre, talk philosophy, scramble narrative and even interpret Shakespeare. She challenges some of our most basic assumptions about live performance, about the connection between language and consciousness, and about what it means to be a human in a digital world.
Kevin Slavin is a pioneer in the comprehension of the impact of math and its algorithmic consequence in our behaviour. He is a successful entrepreneur, thinker, teacher in this field and fundamentally understands how this new mathematics shapes our environments – or the ‘physics of culture.’
As an entrepreneur, Kevin has successfully navigated and integrated the areas of gaming, new media, technology, and design. As Co-founder of Area/Code in 2005, Kevin was a pioneer in rethinking game design and development around new technologies (like GPS) and new platforms (like Facebook). Area/Code worked to develop next-generation game experiences not only for major consumer product groups like Nokia, Nike and Puma but for media giants such as MTV, Discovery Channel, CBS and Disney. Their Facebook game Parking Wars, commissioned by A&E Television to promote its show of the same name, served over 1 billion pages in 2008. The company was acquired by Zynga in 2011, becoming Zynga New York.
Friday, January 18th – 12pm
“Real Time” vs “Performed Time”
Brian Rogers with Pau Atela
Media/performance artist Brian Rogers and mathematician Pau Atela discuss the idea of “real time” vs “performed time” in relation to Rogers’s COIL performance Hot Box, and the ways in which participation in immersive performance situations can coax, alter, and perhaps obliterate our collective experience of the passage of time.
Pau Atela earned his Ph.D. from Boston University. Atela grew up in Mexico and earned a Licenciatura en Matemáticas at the University of Barcelona.
He spent 1989–91 as an instructor at the University of Colorado in Boulder and a sabbatical in the spring of 1995 at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at the University of California at Berkeley.
Professor Atela’s interests include: dynamical systems, Hamiltonian mechanics, chaos, computer visualization in mathematics andphyllotaxis.
Brian Rogers is a director, video artist, co-founder and artistic director of The Chocolate Factory Theater. Since 1997, Brian has conceived and/or directed numerous large scale theatrical performances at The Chocolate Factory and elsewhere including the Bessie-nominated Selective Memory (2010/11) redevelop (death valley) (2009), 2 Husbands (2007), and Gun Play (2006). His newest performance work Hot Box will premiere in September 2012 as part of FIAF’s Crossing the Line festival; and he will show new video work at Ventana 244 Gallery in November 2012. In addition to his own work, Brian curates The Chocolate Factory’s Visiting Artist Program (now in its 7th year) which supports the work of more than 100 theater, dance, music and multimedia artists each year. As a video and performance artist, Brian has collaborated with numerous dance and theater artists including Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty (the horror the horror, Movement Research Festival 2010, Abrons Arts Center 2011), Aynsley Vandenbroucke (Danspace Project, March 2011) Tara O’Con (Danspace Project, January 2009), Jillian Sweeney (September 2009), and the Movement Research Spring 2008 Festival (24x4x4). Recent video works include The Borden Avenue Bridge Project, presented at NY Designs in May 2008. He is a graduate of Bennington College.