READING JOURNAL / WORKSHOP NOTES: The Translocal Neighbourhood with Michael Bowdidge

Reading: Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta(2011) Translocal Geographies – Spaces, Places, Connections
. . .
\chapter 1 – introduction : translocal geographies
real and imagined
            boundaries and territories
translocality
             as mode of human agency and mobility
                             across nations, regions, cities, neighbourhoods,
                                              buildings
and bodies
. . .

\chapter 5 – translocal geographies of london: belonging and ‘otherness’ among polish migrants after 2004 (peter & gabrielle)

i can relate to the feeling of “otherness” and longing for a sense of belonging in far away places… it’s a basic human need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance when i lived abroad in 1984/85 local residents of an area have expressed resentment towards me . . . . .
\theory of the dérive
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READINGS
Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta(2011) Translocal Geographies – Spaces, Places, Connections Guy Debord (1956 ) Theory of the Dérive (Excerpt, 3 pages) Doreen Massey (2004) Part Five – A relational politics of the spatial Grant Kester (2000) Dialogical Aesthetics: A Critical Framework For Littoral Art Rachelle Viader Knowles (2017) A Translocal Approach to Dialogue Based Art  : : : : WORKSHOP NOTES : : : : At last! I finally get to take a course with Michael Bowdidge! I’m thrilled. I have heard lots of praise and admiration for MB and friends have really loved his workshops, his sense of play, spontaneity and chance – all some of my favorite invisible things as well! So here we go… : : : : SYMPOEISIS WORKSHOP DETAILS : : : : 3-day workshop The Translocal Neighbourhood with Michael Bowdidge As an institution we have constantly sought to understand and occupy spaces of liminality and in-betweenness, always responding to what we find and where we are in a spirit of optimism and openness. Given the enormous changes that the events of the last few months have brought, it now seems both urgent and necessary that we bring our creativity to bear upon one of the biggest questions that we now face as a species: How can we be together when we are apart? We do not confront this conundrum alone – thankfully there are artists and theorists who paved our way along this difficult path, whose thoughts and actions we can now experiment with and re-evaluate with a view to shining some light upon the darkness. The key idea here is the notion of translocality, which  can be understood “as an expression of “simultaneous situatedness across different locales” and “connectedness to a variety of other locales” (Brickell and Datta, 2011: 4), no matter the proximity” (Knowles, 2016: 4).  We will explore this notion in discussions and collaborative creative exercises over the course of several days, in order to survey, map and understand our translocal neighbourhood. Artists and theorists whose work we will examine include: Rachelle Viader Knowles, Jorge Luis Borges, Grant Kester, Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta, Arjun Appandurai, Ewa Wojtowicz, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, Guy Debord, and Suzanne Lacy and Linda Pruess. This is a field that has been extensively theorised, but the implications of these theories have been explored in practice less often than might be supposed. This workshop attempts to re-address this imbalance in in an urgent and timely manner. Michael Bowdidge (PhD) is an artist who works with found objects, images and sound. He received his undergraduate degree in Fine Art from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1989, and completed his doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh in 2012. Michael works in a variety of educational contexts, which include academic and community settings. All of these activities enrich his teaching practice, and by extension, his creative output – as, for him, these two areas of endeavour are fundamentally intertwined.

SYLLABUS

“Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.” Jorge Luis Borges As an institution we have constantly sought to understand and occupy spaces of liminality and in-betweenness, always responding to what we find and where we are in a spirit of optimism and openness. Given the enormous changes that the events of the last few months have brought, it now seems both urgent and necessary that we bring our creativity to bear upon one of the biggest questions that we now face as a species: How can we be together when we are apart? We do not confront this conundrum alone – thankfully there are artists and theorists who paved our way along this difficult path, whose thoughts and actions we can now experiment with and re-evaluate with a view to shining some light upon the darkness. The key idea here is the notion of translocality, which  can be understood “as an expression of “simultaneous situatedness across different locales” and “connectedness to a variety of other locales” (Brickell and Datta, 2011: 4), no matter the proximity” (Knowles, 2016: 4).  We will explore this notion in discussions and collaborative creative exercises over the course of several days, in order to survey, map and understand our translocal neighbourhood. Artists and theorists whose work we will examine include: Rachelle Viader Knowles, Jorge Luis Borges, Grant Kester, Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta, Arjun Appandurai, Ewa Wojtowicz, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, Guy Debord, and Suzanne Lacy and Linda Pruess. This is a field that has been extensively theorised, but the implications of these theories have been explored in practice less often than might be supposed. This workshop attempts to re-address this imbalance in in an urgent and timely manner. Goals To explore the use of non-medium specific creative strategies in relation to the notion of the translocal, and in particular the register of the translocal neighbourhood (after Brickell and Datta, 2011). To achieve a general understanding of the many ways in which the notion of translocality has been brought into fruitful and productive dialogue with creative practice, and the current possibilities for further exploration of this nexus of praxes. To explore the relevance and utility of the notion of translocality as means of establishing meaningful connections across geographically distributed communities Day 1: The Translocal Neighbourhood #1 – Mapping Schedule Course introduction: course aims, course ethos and protocols (10 minutes) Short exercise #1: A Round Robin #1 (20 minutes) Class presentation and discussion of readings (1 hour) Long exercise/individual exploration #1: The Dérive (2 hours+) Undertake a derive within the neighbourhood that you live in, capture your movement and thought during this process with images/sound/video/drawing/whatever medium seems appropriate to you. Add your images/files to the shared Google Drive account. Class debriefing and sharing of materials gathered (1 hour) Please bring to class A digital image of something in your neighbourhood that captures something important about it for you. Please read for today Chapter 1 – Introduction: Translocal Geographies in Translocal Geographies by Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta (18 pages, PDF) Theory of the Dérive (Excerpt) – Guy Debord (3 pages, PDF) . . . . . . . Day 2: The Translocal Neighbourhood #2 – Connecting Schedule Short exercise #2: A Round Robin #2 (20 minutes) Class presentation and discussion of readings (1 hour) Long exercise/exploration #2: Making Connections (2 hours+) Working either individually, in pairs or in a larger group, begin to work on bringing together/juxtaposing/combining the materials that we gathered yesterday during our Dérives to create new images/sounds/artworks that speak to our shared commonalities and differences. This may occur by finding ways to allow these traces of other neighbourhoods to manifest in your own neighbourhood, and then recapturing that manifestation, or by bringing these materials into other forms of dialogue.  Again, share your results into the project Google Drive when you are done. Class debriefing and sharing of the day’s work (1 hour) Please read for today (Please note that I’ve divided up the readings amongst you as follows, to ‘spread the load’ a little 🙂 Gabrielle & Peter:  Translocal Geographies, Chapter 5 – Translocal Geographies of London: Belonging and ‘Otherness’ among Polish Migrants after 2004, Ayona Datta (19 pages, PDF supplied in Day one’s readings) Rudi & Sarah Jane: Translocal Geographies, Chapter 6 – ‘You wouldn’t know what’s in there would you?’ Homeliness and ‘Foreign’ Signs in Ashfield, Sydney, Amanda Wise (16 pages, PDF supplied in Day one’s readings) Sheila & Syowia: Translocal Geographies, Chapter 7 – Ways Out of Crisis in Buenos Aires: Translocal Landscapes and the Activation of Mobile Resources, Ryan Centner (18 pages, PDF supplied in Day one’s readings) Please bring to class 20 individual words that each capture something about your neighbourhood for you. Please list them alphabetically on a piece of paper . . . . . . Day 3: The Translocal Neighbourhood #3 – BUILDing Short exercise #3: A Round Robin #3 (20 minutes) Class presentation/discussion(1 hour) Long exercise/exploration #3: The Map is The Territory (2 hours+) Schedule Working either individually, in pairs or in a larger group, we’ll work together to find a final form for our map of our translocal neighbourhood, stitching together and interweaving the various fragments and entanglements that we have worked on over the past couple of days Class debriefing and sharing of the day’s work with guest Rachelle Viader Knowles (tbc)( (1 hour) Please read for today Doreen Massey (2004) Part Five – A relational politics of the spatial in For Space (18 pages, PDF ) – – – – – – –
Readings Excerpted chapters as indicated above from: Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta(2011) Translocal Geographies – Spaces, Places, Connections (PDF supplied) GS: Ch. 1 & Ch. 5 All of the following: Guy Debord (1956 ) Theory of the Dérive (Excerpt, 3 pages, PDF supplied) Doreen Massey (2004) Part Five – A relational politics of the spatial in For Space (18 pages, PDF supplied) Suggested additional readings Grant Kester (2000) Dialogical Aesthetics: A Critical Framework For Littoral Art (available at http://www.variant.org.uk/9texts/KesterSupplement.html) Rachelle Viader Knowles (2017) A Translocal Approach to Dialogue Based Art (PDF) The rest of: Katherine Brickell and Ayona Datta(2011) Translocal Geographies – Spaces, Places, Connections (PDF supplied) Special equipment and other needs for your class Any portable equipment or items which you normally find useful in your practice.

READING JOURNAL / WORKSHOP NOTES: The Unambitious Stripper with Isabel Lewis

Male / Female Gaze

Outward / Inward Gaze

Object / Subject

Patriarchy / Equality

I’m pretty hyped to be looking forward to a workshop with Isabel Lewis. Her work resonates a great deal with my own practice, as it is about creating immersive occasions where the artist/performer is not on a stage but actually sharing space with the audience.

Hers is an environment that activates all the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and often taste. The experience of gathering – for her immersive occasions, creates a shared experience where a social bond is formed.

Moving within the space and among the participants – dancing/moving, singing, speaking – the energy and dynamics are shifted by what she brings to the space in the performance. Her gatherings are designed and choreographed with care and with love. All necessary for approaching peace.

Bringing the female gaze to cinema as Celine Sciamma did in her film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire offers a revolutionary way of looking at relationships as a more erotic sociability that is based on an authentic foundation of equality, care and harmony.

. . . . .

. . . . .

WORKSHOP SYLLABUS: ISABEL LEWIS

Unambitious Stripper with Isabel Lewis
Departing from feminist sociologist Roslyn Wallach Bologh’s notion of “erotic sociability” as a form of interhuman sociality and an alternative to relational modes of competition, conflict, and coercion, this workshop will focus on the tuning and heightening of the senses in order to facilitate a state of hyper-presence that will be the aid towards generative and affective forms of being and dancing together, with and for one another. The figure of an unambitious stripper serves as a guide to connecting with our inner worlds in order to become more radically receptive to our outer worlds.

“Unambitiousness” is central to this investigation. The outward-oriented gaze that typically reaches out to address and arrest the viewer is turned in on the self in this scenario. Within each of our immediate kinespheres, looking at the surfaces of our own skin, sending the gaze further inward through the epidermis and into our fleshy insides a dance will emerge that, firstly given to oneself, can be offered to the other. This workshop uses guided imaginative exercises combined with playful physicality to approach and reconnect with the human and nonhuman presences we share space with. In this workshop dance is a doing and undoing of oneself in relation to the other. We will move along a continuum of becoming an object of interest and desire and being drawn out as an interested and desiring subject.

We will talk about risk, support, safety, freedom, entanglement, surprises, multiplicity, complexity, the future…We will at times alternately watch and perform for one another. We will be generous and kind to ourselves and one another.

Course goals:
-Arriving at a general understanding of the central thesis of Bologh’s book “Love or Greatness” and her analysis of 20th century forms of sociability.

-Establishing a strong theoretical basis for ethical sociable interhuman relations using Bologh’s notion of “erotic sociability”

-Arriving at a reflected understanding of the structural elements of performance format that is the strip dance.

-Applying and working with an expanded notion of strip dancing that incorporates self-reflexivity and unambitiousness.

-Coming away from the class with the experience of having integrating the theoretical work into a bodily practice, feeling theory.

Required Readings:
Selected excerpts from Roslyn Wallach Bologh’s “Love and Greatness”.
Pages 213-219; 224-239 PDF Pages 300-327 PDF

Suggested Readings:
An interview that gives a sense of my artistic approach:https://tankmagazine.com/tank/2019/talks/isabel-lewis/

How to Disappear

Originally published on CityLab. Found today on Pocket.

How to Disappear

Jessica Leigh Hester 10-13 minutes


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It can be hard to evade the sight of wall-mounted cameras–but other smart cities technologies are almost undetectable. Photo by Jorge Silva/Reuters.

Even in the middle of major city, it’s possible to go off the grid. In 2016, the Atlantic profiled a family in Washington, D.C., that harvests their entire household energy from a single, 1-kilowatt solar panel on a patch of cement in their backyard. Insulated, light-blocking blinds keep upstairs bedrooms cool at the peak of summer; in winter, the family gets by with low-tech solutions, like curling up with hot water bottles. “It’s a bit like camping,” one family member said.

If extricating yourself from the electrical grid is, to some degree, a test of moxie and patience, extracting yourself from the web of urban surveillance technology strains the limits of both. If you live in a dense urban environment, you are being watched, in all kinds of ways. A graphic released by the Future of Privacy Forum highlights just how many sensors, CCTCV cameras, RFID readers, and other nodes of observation might be eying you as you maneuver around a city’s blocks. As cities race to fit themselves with smart technologies, it’s nearly impossible to know precisely how much data they’re accumulating, how it’s being stored, or what they’ll do with it.

“By and large, right now, it’s the Wild West, and the sheriff is also the bad guy, or could be,” says Albert Gidari, the director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.

The various nodes where sensors and other tech could detect your movements through the city. Photo from Future of Privacy Forum.

Smart technologies can ease traffic, carve out safer pedestrian passages, and analyze environmental factors such as water quality and air pollution. But, as my colleague Linda Poon points out, their adoption is also stirring up a legal maelstrom. Surveillance fears have been aroused in Oakland, California, Seattle, and Chicago, and the applications of laws protecting citizen privacy are murky. For instance: data that’s stored on a server indefinitely could potentially infringe on the “right to be forgotten” that’s protected in some European countries. But accountability and recourse can be slippery, because civilians can’t necessarily sue cities for violating privacy torts, explains Gidari.

What would it look like to leapfrog that murkiness by opting out entirely? Can a contemporary urbanite successfully skirt surveillance? I asked Gidari and Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to teach me how to disappear.

During the course of our conversations, Tien and Gidari each remind me, again and again, that this was a fool’s errand: You can’t truly hide from urban surveillance. In an email before our phone call, Tien points out that we’re not even aware of all the traces of ourselves that are out in the world. He likens our data trail—from parking meters, streetlight cameras, automatic license plate readers, and more—to a kind of binary DNA that we’re constantly sloughing. Trying to scrub these streams of data would be impossible.

Moreover, as the tools of surveillance have become more sophisticated, detecting them has become a harder task. “There was a time when you could spot cameras,” Tien says. Maybe a bodega would hang up a metal sign warning passersby that they were being recorded by a clunky, conspicuous device. “But now, they’re smaller, recessed, and don’t look like what you expect them to look like.”

Other cameras are in the sky. As Buzzfeed has reported, some federal surveillance technologies are mounted in sound-dampened planes and helicopters that cruise over cities, using augmented reality to overlay a grid that identifies targets at a granular level. “There are sensors everywhere,” Gidari says. “The public has no ability to even see where they are.”

The surest way to dodge surveillance is to not encounter it in the first place—but that’s not a simple ask. While various groups have tried to plot out routes that allow pedestrians to literally sidestep nodes of surveillance, they haven’t been especially successful. In 2013, two software developers released a beta version of an app called Surv, which aspired to be a crowdsourced guide to cameras mounted in cities around the world. The app would detect cameras within a 100-meter radius of the user’s phone, but it failed to meet its crowdfunding threshold on Kickstarter.

The most effective solutions are also the least practical ones. To defeat facial recognition software, “you would have to wear a mask or disguises,” Tien says. “That doesn’t really scale up for people.” Other strategies include makeup that screws with a camera’s ability to recognize the contours of a human face, or thwarting cameras by blinding them with infrared LED lights fastened to a hat or glasses, as researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics attempted in 2012. Those techniques are hardly subtle, though—in trying to trick the technology, you would stick out to the naked eye. And as biometrics continue to advance, cameras will likely be less dupable, too. There are also legal hiccups to consider: Drivers who don’t want city officials to know where they parked or when, Gidari says, would have to outwit license plate recognition tools by obscuring their license plate, such as with the noPhoto camera jammer, a new $399 device that fires a flash at red light cameras in an attempt to scramble a readable image. Obscuring license plates is already illegal in many cities and states, and others are chewing on new procedures.

LED glasses might not trick biometric cameras—but they will definitely attract the attention of folks on the street. Photo from National institute of Informatics.

In their book Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest, Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum, both professors at New York University, champion a strategy of “throwing some sand in the gears, kicking up dust and making some noise,” essentially relying on the melee of data jamming to “hide in a cloud of signals.” A number of apps, websites, and browser extensions attempt to aid users in this type of misdirection—say, for instance, by running in the background of your regular web activities, trying to cover your digital tracks by throwing surveillance off your scent.

For example: A site called Internet Noise searches for randomized phrases and opens five fresh tabs every ten seconds. (I left it running as I wrote this, and now my browser history includes pictures of badgers, an online mattress store, an NPR article about the Supreme Court, and a research paper about gene mutation in hamsters.) As a cloaking technique, it’s not a perfect veil, writes Emily Dreyfess in Wired: “It’s actually too random. It doesn’t linger on sites very long, nor does it revisit them. In other words, it doesn’t really look human, and smart-enough tracking algorithms likely know that.” The site is more of a protest over Congress rolling back a not-yet-implemented FCC regulation that would have stymied ISPs from selling users’ browsing history.

Still, Tien advocates a certain degree of self-protection. He views these measures as a kind of digital hygiene—the “equivalent of washing your hands when you go to the bathroom,” or getting a flu shot. But he stresses that they’re only a partial prophylactic: “Nothing that will make you immune from the problem.”

Other techniques include employing Tor—a network that tries to anonymize the source and destination of your web searches by routing traffic along a convoluted path—and Signal, which offers encrypted messaging and phone calls. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense toolkit also suggests particular tools and behaviors for specific scenarios. People participating in protests, the guide suggests, might consider stripping meta-data from photos, to make it harder to match them with identities and locations. But this isn’t a perfect solution, either, Tien says, because you can only control what you post. “If I take a picture and scrub the metadata, that’s one thing,” Tien says. “If my friend takes a picture of me, I can’t do anything about that.” The Intercept produced a video illustrating step-by-step instructions for phone security at a protest, from adding an access passcode to turning on encryption settings.

On a daily basis, Tien tells me, “I don’t think you or I can exercise much meaningful self-help against the kind of tracking we’ll be seeing in real-world physical space.” That’s fodder for a point he makes about a fundamental asymmetry in the information that’s available to the bodies that install the cameras and those who are surveilled by them. There are relatively few laws relating to the expectation of privacy in a public space. The officials and organizations that install sensors, cameras, and ever-more-sensitive devices, he says, “have much more money than you do, much more technology than you do, and they don’t have to tell you what they’re doing.”

Ultimately, Tien and Gidari both take a long view, arguing that the most payoff will come from pushing for more transparency about just what this technology is up to. Part and parcel of that, Tien says, is resisting the idea that data is inherently neutral. The whole messy, jumbled mass of it contains information that could have tangible consequences on people’s lives. Tien says citizens need to remind their elected officials what’s at stake with data—and in the process, maybe “dampen their enthusiasm” for the collection of it.

He points out that sanctuary cities could be a prime example. There, he says, some advocates of immigrant rights are realizing that data collected via municipal surveillance “might not be such a good thing when we’re interested in protecting immigrants and the federal government is interested in deporting them.”

The practical strategies for opting out—of becoming invisible to some of these modes of surveillance—are imperfect, to say the least. That’s not to say that data collection is inherently nefarious, Gidari says—as he wrote in a blog post for the CIS, “no one wants to live in a ‘dumb’ city.” But he says that opting out shouldn’t need to be the default: “I don’t think you should have been opted in in the first place.”

Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.

One of my favorite invisible things: Petrichor

I know it’s peculiar, but one of my all-time favorite invisible things is that scent that permeates the air just before rain falls. Today I learned that is called “Petrichor”. Another peculiar favorite of mine is wet pavement combined with diesel truck fumes because it reminds me of living in Rome. But that’s a different thing. To learn more about petrichor, read on.

Source: The Conversation.

Why You Can Smell Rain

Tim Logan 3-4 minutes


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Your nose knows what’s on the way. Photo by Lucy Chian / Unsplash, CC BY.

When those first fat drops of summer rain fall to the hot, dry ground, have you ever noticed a distinctive odor? I have childhood memories of family members who were farmers describing how they could always “smell rain” right before a storm.

Of course rain itself has no scent. But moments before a rain event, an “earthy” smell known as petrichor does permeate the air. People call it musky, fresh – generally pleasant.

This smell actually comes from the moistening of the ground. Australian scientists first documented the process of petrichor formation in 1964 and scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology further studied the mechanics of the process in the 2010s.

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Petrichor’s main ingredients are made by plants and bacteria that live in the ground. Photo by vovan / Shutterstock.com.

Petrichor is a combination of fragrant chemical compounds. Some are from oils made by plants. The main contributor to petrichor are actinobacteria. These tiny microorganisms can be found in rural and urban areas as well as in marine environments. They decompose dead or decaying organic matter into simple chemical compounds which can then become nutrients for developing plants and other organisms.

A byproduct of their activity is an organic compound called geosmin which contributes to the petrichor scent. Geosmin is a type of alcohol, like rubbing alcohol. Alcohol molecules tend to have a strong scent, but the complex chemical structure of geosmin makes it especially noticeable to people even at extremely low levels. Our noses can detect just a few parts of geosmin per trillion of air molecules.

During a prolonged period of dryness when it has not rained for several days, the decomposition activity rate of the actinobacteria slows down. Just before a rain event, the air becomes more humid and the ground begins to moisten. This process helps to speed up the activity of the actinobacteria and more geosmin is formed.

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Before you see it, do you smell it? Photo by elisa galceran garcia / Shutterstock.com.

When raindrops fall on the ground, especially porous surfaces such as loose soil or rough concrete, they will splatter and eject tiny particles called aerosols. The geosmin and other petrichor compounds that may be present on the ground or dissolved within the raindrop are released in aerosol form and carried by the wind to surrounding areas. If the rainfall is heavy enough, the petrichor scent can travel rapidly downwind and alert people that rain is soon on the way.

The scent eventually goes away after the storm has passed and the ground begins to dry. This leaves the actinobacteria lying in wait – ready to help us know when it might rain again.

Tim Logan is an Instructional Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University.

Process Notes on Creating Performative / Exhibition Experiences

My process for both performance and exhibition is always about responding to the space-time opportunities that present themselves. For this reason, I often have only inklings of what I’d like to present and how it might go – rather than a clear concrete design.

Typically, any plan that I come up with in advance is guided by the overall intention I have for a piece / experience, but is ultimately shaped by spontaneous impulses and intuition as I’m going along.

This is what happened recently, in Mexico City for example, when I unexpectedly started off a presentation with a glass apothecary jar that I had sitting on the table – opening it, listening to it, closing it, then passing it around the room asking each audience member to whisper the name of an invisible thing into the bottle.  I had no idea that I was going to start the presentation that way.

Once I step into the performative state, it seems I enter a new fluid space where anything can happen. I suppose you could say I improvise, although I don’t think of it as improvisation. It’s rather a dynamic flow space that inspires me to dance within the moment.

 

. . . . . . .

Ajamu Kojo: Black Wall Street Portraits

Invisible histories. Here’s another bit of American history I never heard anything about until now. It’s worth remembering history, in order to honor the lives lost and to do all that we can to prevent hate crimes from continuing today and in the future. None of us are free until we are all free, safe, loved & respected.
Peace,
Gabrielle

. . . . .

Published on Culture Type:

In a Series of Dignified Portraits, Ajamu Kojo Recalls the Racial Violence that Destroyed ‘Black Wall Street’ Nearly 100 Years Ago


Accessed Feb 26 2020.

NEARLY A CENTURY AGO, the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Okla., was destroyed. The thriving black business district known as Black Wall Street was besieged in 1921, from May 31 to June 1, by a white mob attacking residents and their homes and businesses. The massacre leveled 35 square blocks, killing countless people (reports range from 39 to 300) and leaving thousands homeless. Schools, theaters, a church, a library, doctor’s offices, law offices, shops, and restaurants were left in ruins.

An ongoing series of formal portraits by Ajamu Kojo‘s immortalizes the citizens of Greenwood. He envisions the individuals and families, entrepreneurs and professionals who formed the fabric of the African American community. He’s documented Sean and Lucy Mackey, progressives who worked in real estate, for example, and Mary Elizabeth Jones Parrish, an author who published an eyewitness account of the massacre in 1923.

The portraits are on view in “Black Wall Street: The Case for Reparations” at Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Brooklyn. Kojo is presenting seven works borne of rigorous research, a collapsing of time and disciplines.

Born in Little Rock, Ark., Kojo lives and works in Brooklyn. To make the paintings, he cast people who knew from his neighborhood—artists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs—and immersed his sitters in period environments. He designed the sets, selected the furniture, and chose the costumes. A scenic artist who works in film and television while maintaining a formal painting practice, he draws on his myriad experience and also connects the contemporary moment to one of the most violent racial incidents in U.S. history. The project is about uplifting memories, shared histories, and how reflections of the past echo in the present.

The project is about uplifting memories, shared histories, and how reflections of the past echo in the present.

For generations, the 1921 massacre was largely forgotten. Kojo first heard about it at Howard University, where he studied film and television production and theater arts. Years later, he learned more in a 2016 video, a first-hand account from Olivia Hooker (1915-2018). A professor of psychology, she was one of the first black women to join the U.S. Coast Guard and one of the last living residents of Greenwood.

Hooker was a member of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission. Established by the state of Oklahoma in 1997, the commission issued a report in 2001. A section detailed state and city culpability and called for reparations. The U.S. House of Representatives later described the report as “detailing for the first time the extent of the city and State government’s involvement in the riot and in the cover-up that followed and the total lack of remedy available in the courts at that time.”

The few survivors that remained when the report was issued and their many descendants have yet to see any reparations. More recently, mainstream awareness of the Tulsa Massacre has been triggered by the integration of the history in the foundational storyline of “Watchmen,” the HBO series starring Regina King. In addition, the incident is being incorporated in school curriculums. News accounts are increasing, tourism in Tulsa is up, and Black Wall Street 1921, a new podcast, was recently launched in anticipation of the 100-year anniversary of the massacre in 2021. While awareness of the massacre has grown, meaningful acknowledgement of its profound legacy of destruction is harder to come by.

Kojo is continuing his series of reimagined portraits and plans to identify new sitters soon for upcoming works. The paintings transport his friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to the early 20th century with soft, layered details that evidence elaborate interiors and also age the images and add characteristics of ruin. In stark contrast, opaque black paint drips down from the top of each canvas.

The exhibition description explains the meaning of this particular detail: “This is a nod to the crude oil that was a source of much of the capital that was the bedrock of the [Greenwood] community’s success. It is also a representation of the ominous events to come.” CT

Ajamu Kojo, “Black Wall Street: The Case for Reparations” is on view at Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Brooklyn, Feb. 8-22, 2020

TOP IMAGE: AJAMU KOJO, “Black Blood, No. 1: In the spirit of John, Loula & Joanna Williams family, Entrepreneurs,” 2017 (mischtechnik on linen, 72 x 96 inches). | © Ajamu Kojo

READ MORE In 2001, the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 issued a repot on the massacre


AJAMU KOJO, “Black Blood, No. 2: In the spirit of J.B. Stradford, Attorney,” 2017 (mischtechnik on linen, 48 x 36 inches). | © Ajamu Kojo, Courtesy Jenkins Johnson


Installation view of Ajamu Kojo, “Black Wall Street: The Case for Reparations,” Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Brooklyn (Feb. 8-22, 2020). | Courtesy Jenkins Johnson


AJAMU KOJO, “Black Blood, No.6: In the spirit of Sam & Lucy Mackey, Progressives; Real Estate,” 2017 (mischtechnik on linen canvas, 72 x 96 inches). | © Ajamu Kojo, Courtesy Jenkins Johnson


AJAMU KOJO, “Black Blood, No.3: In the spirit of Mary Elizabeth Jones Parrish, Published Author,” 2017 (mischtechnik on linen canvas, 48 x 36 inches). | © Ajamu Kojo, Courtesy Jenkins Johnson


Installation view of Ajamu Kojo, “Black Wall Street: The Case for Reparations,” Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Brooklyn (Feb. 8-22, 2020). | Courtesy Jenkins Johnson

 

 

HEAVEN / FALLEN MOON FALLEN STARS

Through a friend, I recently learned of this transdisciplinay performance. It resonates with the themes I’m addressing in my research, and I would dearly love to see it. I hope it goes on tour and makes it’s way to Jacob’s Pillow or New York…

Published on Moving Poets
https://movingpoets.org/charlotte/index.php/programs

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HEAVEN, February 27 – March 1, 2020 | Thu – Sat 8pm, Sun 7pmBooth Playhouse, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center | 130 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

TICKETS

A startling theatrical modern fairy tale roller coaster ride
– through conflict and chaos, courage and kindness.

Join Moving Poets 30+ performers, visual artists and musicians for the world premiere of HEAVEN.

Inspired by the poem FALLEN MOON FALLEN STARS by North Carolina’s award-winning poet Chuck Sullivan and the work of nationally & internationally acclaimed artists from Charlotte and beyond.

Told through contemporary dance, theater, music, film, video-mapping and visual arts, the story travels through realities and dreams of Maria-Helena, a detained immigrant child.

Separated from her parents and maneuvering an upside-down heaven in her holding cage, she learns that to be released she must find a “lamp besides the golden door.”

Supported by Mother Mary and the ghost of Maria-Helena’s murdered brother, she discovers it hidden under the treasures of a narcissistic Pinocchio.

To give up the lamp, Pinocchio must lose his treasures and become a real “Mensch” – with the help of the audience, whose own response and participation may change events in HEAVEN.

The world premiere stage production HEAVEN, creatively utilizes a vast range of voices that are distinct in their tones, timbres and rhythms and challenges misunderstandings that currently divide our communities. Many of our collaborating artists are foreign born Charlotteans (including Mexico, Colombia, Vietnam, Germany, Switzerland). In keeping with Moving Poets core mission, we work with a community of artists of different cultures, age groups and disciplines. Not only does the project highlights the challenges of migration and displacement but reflects, emphasizes and celebrates the culturally diverse, rich experiences and valuable contributions of natives and immigrants to our community.

The production is the culmination of four previous developmental stages of the larger evolving project We See Heaven Upside Down* (WSHUD). Informed by previous iterations, the international arts and outreach program utilizes the visual and performing art to create dialogue to promote empathy and understanding of migration, displacement and identity. Additionally the project examines how we share space with each other and how we are connected through our own family history.

Theatrically HEAVEN it is rooted in contemporary dance-theater with a sharp satirical edge and no fear of the absurd. Images can be startling and eerily beautiful, influences from Martha Graham to Pina Bausch to Samuel Becket may come to mind. Musically it ranges from acoustic melodically on traditional instruments through avantgarde experimental compositions with power tools and sound objects, to club music and hip-hop. While the story unfolds, the audience finds itself to become part of it, being challenged to engage and to, not unlike in an escape room, help find the key to a way out.

HEAVEN’s local, national and international artists come from North & South American, Native, African, Asian, Middle Eastern and European backgrounds and range in ages from 15 to 75. They include uniquely talented young performers as well as award winning and highly accomplished veterans, whose work is collected by major museums like the Smithsonian, who are inducted in to the Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame, received recognitions like a Grammy Nomination, the Sam Regan Award for lifetime achievement and who are current & former members of companies like Martha Graham Company, Sasha Waltz & Guests, The Grateful Dead and Life Dead & Riders69 ….

Visual Artists: Nico Amortegui (CO) | MyLoan Dinh (VN|US) | Michelle Gregory (US) | Rosalia Torres-Weiner (MX)

Performers: MyLoan Dinh (VN/US) | Perry Eastman (US)| Sara Eastman (US)| Katherine Goforth (US)
Cynthia Farbman Harris (US) | Mike Harris (UK/US) | Movement Migration Kim Jones & E.E. Balcos (US)
Chuck Sullivan (US) | Alyce Cristina Vallejo (US) | Rosalia Torres-Weiner (MX) | Nina Bischoff* (US) | Juan Castellanos* (US) | Sarah Clarke* (US) | Sabriyya Dean* (US) | Alex Griffith* (US) | Danielle Lieberman* (US) | Eric Stith* (US) | (* with kind support of Charlotte Ballet and Charlotte Ballet Academy)

Musicians: Tanja Bechtler (US/CH), cello | Tom Constanten (US), Keys | David Crowe (US), percussion | DAE-LEE (US), vocals| Mike Kenerley (US), drums | Milad Khawam (SYR), trumpet | Till Schmidt-Rimpler (DE), bass | Bob Teixeira (US), guitars | Joe Wilson (US), saxophone

Choreographers: Maya Gomez (DE/ES) | Kim Jones (US) | Till Schmidt-Rimpler (DE)

Music by: David Crowe (US) | Dae-Lee (US) | Joe Wilson (US) | Tom Constanten (US) with additional contributions by all musicians

Music director and composer: David Crowe (US)

Poet: Chuck Sullivan (US)

Writers: Chuck Sullivan (US) | Mike Harris (UK) | Katherine Goforth (US)

Film Maker: Dellair Youssef (SYR) | Projection/Video Mapping: Shawman (US) | Light Design: Wink Lighting (US) | Videos & sound effects: Moving Poets
Additional artists to be announced.

Artistic direction: MyLoan Dinh & Till Schmidt Rimpler

* We See Heaven Upside Down is an evolving dialog initiated in Berlin, Germany, in 2015 by artist MyLoanDinh – herself a former refugee of the Vietnam War. Moving Poets has since developed it into an international creative conversation. At the heart of the project lie inspiring stories expressed through contemporary arts.

It challenges misconceptions and prejudices that currently divide our communities by heeding a vast range of voices thereby forming connective tissue between a multiplicity of distinct experiences. In and through visual, performing and multi-disciplinary arts, the project seeks to spur and inspire moments of genuine empathy and understanding towards other individuals and their journeys.

In 2016 We See Heaven Upside Down had its first two public migrations at Moving Poets NOVILLA in Berlin, with support of the Department of Culture and Museums Berlin Treptow-Köpenick, the German Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth, the Program for Democracy Lives.

In 2017 the third migration was the Visual Arts headliner for Sensoria Art Festival 2017, Ross Galleries, Central Piedmont Community College. In 2018 it was awarded the ASC Cultural Vision Grant in Charlotte. It started its 4th migration in March 2018 and developed through numerous events and activities into a 6 week program in partnership with ElderGallery of Contemporary Art in May/June 2019.

To date it has had input from 65 artists, including established and emerging visual artists, acclaimed performers and musicians, distinguished poets and hundreds of students and citizens, local refugee agencies and Native American associations. More than 5,000 visitors have experienced the migrating exhibitions, attended performances and concerts and participated in outreach programs.

Moving Poets Charlotte are very grateful to be a recipient of the inaugural The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Celebrate Charlotte Arts Grant (info), the Arts & Science Council Cultural Vision Grant, a Reemprise Fund grant and a Blumenthal Performing Arts Center location sponsorship, all supporting the production of HEAVEN!

The Language of Being is Wordless

I just came across the work of Portuguese poet, Ana Hatherly who worked both visually and poetically, often crossing genres.

What prompted the discovery? It was an image included in the email signature of another creative academic from Portugal, Anabela Duarte, who organized the Invisible Republics conference that I participated in in 2017.

In her email signature, she included this:

“the reinvention of reading” (1975), by Ana Hatherly

Ana Hatherly

This led me to investigate her work further, and immediately, I was delighted and found kinship with another creative who is passionate about expression through both language and form.

Her work resonates with my own love for language, sensation, expression and form. And, remarkably, there are some visual similarities to her mark-making style that correlate to a series of “survival drawings” I did in the early 2000’s.

 

I find the way she plays with text-based visual work (as above) very compelling. And the flow of imagery and sensation portrayed in her poems.

Here are a couple that resonated:

SHORT UNFOLDING LITANY / MICRO-LADAINHA DESDOBRÁVEL*

O meu nome é JÁ
My name is NOW
Eu grito o resto do resto
I cry out the surplus
A ciência da perspicácia
The science of sagacity
O jardim passional da alma
The passionate inner-garden
A escolha da melhor parte
The choice pick
O meu nome é acção: ANA ANA
My name is deed: ME ME
Quando é que eu disse noli me tangere
When did I say don’t touch me
A linguagem do ser não são palavras
The language of being is wordless

*The translation of each line is an integral and inseparable part of the poem.

Unpublished poem by Portuguese poet Ana Hatherly found here: http://www.poemsfromtheportuguese.org/Ana_Hatherly

The poem below was also found here:
http://www.poemsfromtheportuguese.org/Ana_Hatherly

. . .

I’m thrilled to know of her work, and look forward to digging deeper!

THE POET’S TEARS

AS LÁGRIMAS DO POETA

One baroque poet said:
The words are
The eyes’ tongues
But what is a poem
If not
A telescope of desire
Focused by language?
The sinuous flight of the birds
The tall waves of the sea
The lull of the wind:
Everything
Everything fits into words
And the poet who sees
Weeps tears of ink
Um poeta barroco disse:
As palavras são
As línguas dos olhos
Mas o que é um poema
Senão
Um telescópio do desejo
Fixado pela língua?
O voo sinuoso das aves
As altas ondas do mar
A calmaria do vento:
Tudo
Tudo cabe dentro das palavras
E o poeta que vê
Chora lágrimas de tinta
© Translated by Ana Hudson, 2010
in O Pavão Negro, 2003

Invisible Made Audible: Percussion

From YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2-9WHpidJg

On the morning of 15th April, Paul Sonderegger stepped off the Chicago red-eye to meet Dame Evelyn Glennie at her home recording studio. Glennie, a Grammy award-winning percussionist and Sonderegger, a tech celebrity, were there to discuss “Big Data” and its surprising symmetries with the sonic world we inhabit, and yet ignore. The conversation ranged from little-known concepts of data shapes, to how as a young musician Dame Evelyn dealt with losing her hearing. This film captures the meeting of 2 legends; their conversation , understanding and subsequent composition.

Living Laboratory

From the Living Laboratory – Museum of Science, Boston

https://www.mos.org/living-laboratory/explore-our-research/invisible-entities

When do children understand that “invisible things” can affect objects?

  • Topic: Cognitive Development
  • Location: Discovery Center

Preschoolers understand that some objects have internal properties that produce predictable and observable effects on other objects. Yet, in their everyday lives, children also hear about things they cannot see (e.g., germs, air), but that have observable effects. In this study, we are interested in when and how young children come to understand the causal properties of such invisible things.

Young children are shown a special box that changes color when a researcher places either a small object or an “invisible substance” on the box. Children see how different objects and “substances” change the color of the box, and are asked to explain what caused the box color to change. The researcher also presents children with an object that appears to be another object (e.g., a candle that looks like a crayon) to help researchers determine whether children understand that an object can appear to be something different than what it is.

We predict that, by 3 years of age, children will understand, and be able to explain, that both objects and “invisible substances” cause the lights on the box to change color. We also predict that children who understand that appearances can be deceiving (e.g., a candle that looks like a crayon is still a candle) will also be more likely to understand that events may be caused by things they cannot see (e.g., germs, air).

This research will help us better understand when and how children come to understand causal relationships that involve things they cannot directly observe.

This research is conducted at the Museum of Science, Boston by the Paul Harris Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

    » Paul Harris Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Activities to Try in the Discovery Center

What’s in there?

Find the Air Table in the Physical Sciences Area of the Discovery Center. Place a pipe over one of the holes in the table so that air is flowing through. Place a ball on the pipe and show your child that the ball floats. Move the pipe so that it is no longer sitting over one of the holes. Place a ball on the pipe and show your child that the ball does not float anymore. Ask: “What happened? Can you make the ball float again?” Help your child move the pipe back and forth – can s/he figure out what is making the ball float?

Activities to Try at Home

Lights, Camera, Action!

Find a flashlight, sit with your child in a dimly lit room, and play a guessing game. Turn the flashlight off, but aim it toward a wall. Ask your child to go and put their hand on the wall at the place where they think the light spot will be when the light is turned on. Turn the flashlight on, and see how close your child’s guess was. Take turns pointing the flashlight, and guessing where the light spot will be.

After playing a few times, ask your child: “How can we tell where the spot will be? Is there any light between the flashlight and the spot on the wall?” Encourage your child to walk around to explore this question by looking at it from different angles. We can see light when we look directly at the source (the flashlight), or it bounces off of something (like a wall), but as the light moves through the air it seems to be invisible. From what angle can s/he see the light the best? Are there any places in the room from which s/he cannot see the light?

Social Belonging

When we open up to another person and are recognized for who we are, we feel seen.

The basic human need for social connection is why the invisibility prank is especially cruel. There’s nothing more terrifying than not mattering—disappearing—to the people around us.

From Character Lab’s CEO and Co-Founder, Angela Duckworth’s article:
https://www.characterlab.org/thought-of-the-week-would-you-rather

Would You Rather

How the right questions open doors to meaningful conversations.

September 23, 2018 | Social Belonging

 

Would you rather—

(a)   Be extremely lucky or
(b)   Be extremely smart

Good question, right? A question like this opens the door to a meaningful conversation.

Try it.

It’s hard not to learn something about the other person—and about yourself, too—with a would-you-rather question like this. You end up talking about your values and your insecurities. You end up sharing stories about what led you to become the person you are today.

Now consider a more superficial would-you-rather question:

Would you rather—

(a)   Drink Pepsi or
(b)   Drink Coke

This question also gets at your preferences. But it skims along the surface rather than delving more deeply into who you are and what you’re all about.

A recent series of experiments pitted these two types of would-you-rather questions against each other. In particular, researchers hypothesized that self-revealing questions, rather than superficial questions, would decrease anxiety and increase interest among strangers of different races.

They were right.

Not only did self-revealing would-you-rather questions do a better job of building psychological trust, they also improved performance in a group problem-solving task.

So, yes, it’s fine to chat about the weather. And it makes us feel a bit closer to another person to discover we share a birthday or a favorite sports team. But it is when conversation turns toward the self-revealing, and away from the superficial, that we find it most meaningful.

When we open up to another person and are recognized for who we are, we feel seen.

The basic human need for social connection is why the invisibility prank is especially cruel. There’s nothing more terrifying than not mattering—disappearing—to the people around us.  

This is why, I think, it’s substantive conversation, more so than small talk, that is reliably linked to happiness.

Would you rather—

(a)   Keep your conversations light or
(b)   Show people something of yourself

I know how I’d answer.

With grit and gratitude,
Angela

Invisible Things: Entitlement

Stuart Round’s comment on Reyma McCoy McDeid’s Facebook page about an article she posted called What The Fuck Is Wrong With Men?  really struck a chord for me.
I think Stuart uncovered the deeper issues underlying the American man’s propensity towards anger, aggression, and violence. I’m copying his comment (and the follow-up comments) here in order to think about and digest his assessment more fully.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Stuart Round There’s a gender component, a racial component, but also a cultural component to this, in my view. These things do happen in other countries, but nowhere near as regularly. It’s hard to pinpoint, and I can’t claim to have an answer, but as someone from a different culture (the UK) I often notice a strong vindictive streak in some people from the US. It seems to correlate more with right wing, authoritarian types, often from religious backgrounds. It’s like a love of killing. You must see it yourself all the time, like when the police shoot someone there’s a whole barrage of people saying “but he didn’t do what he was told”, as if that’s some kind of justification. Do as you’re told, or you deserve death.I hear this from women as well as men, even if it doesn’t spill over into mass killings perpetrated by women, there’s still an underlying issue that affects attitudes across the board. If someone commits a real crime, an horrific crime, there’s more of a clamour for vengeance than justice. People relishing the idea of prison rape as a punishment, people wishing they could themselves commit horrific acts against the criminal, seemingly oblivious to how similar this makes them to the person who they’re wanting to hurt. The difference, in their minds, is that they feel justified, as if being a criminal makes you fair game for them to unleash the beast inside themselves that’s just waiting for the moment to strike. They don’t seemingly even consider that the criminal, for whatever twisted reasons of their own, might have felt justified too, and that feeling justified therefore is not a good metric for murderous or vicious acts.

I had a discussion just the other week with a few people after that cop shot a black man who she (allegedly) thought was in her apartment, and killed him, in what turned out to be his own apartment. Several apparently “normal” people thought it was perfectly fine that if you walk into your house and find someone you don’t know sitting on your sofa, who you believe shouldn’t be there, to kill them. Why? Because you don’t know their intentions… and you shouldn’t have to wait to find out. Just shoot them.

To me, this looks like a psychosis. Be they incels, Nazis, cops, or just regular Joe’s walking down the street, there are millions, maybe tens of millions of people walking around with a bubbling anger inside of them, just waiting for a “justifiable” situation to happen so they can strike and take a life.

Could it be entitlement… I don’t know, I think it goes deeper than that. History teaches us that whenever people feel most superior they become capable of extreme cruelty. Certainly, the history of the US shows it is a country built on genocide, colonialism and slavery, justified at the time with the idea of white supremacy. Despite its recent resurgence, fewer people today espouse such views explicitly. Yet, American exceptionalism remains part of everyday discourse. The idea that, despite mountains of factual data to the contrary, the USA is the “best” country in the world, and that “God” made it so.

If the wealth (some portion of) the US enjoys is a blessing from God, rather than the result of years of neoliberal, neocolonialist exploitation and interference in the affairs of other nations, then it follows that those “less fortunate” are somehow deserving and to blame for their plight.

This pious indifference to the needs of other human beings creates compassionless, shallow and bigoted people. It’s the root of fascism, or at the very least it creates an environment in which fascism can flourish. Combine this with the rampant cult of individualism, which pours scorn on viewing humanity as a collective, a society, a community, and you have what seems to me to be the right conditions for this perfect storm of hatred and murder, which yes, finds its expression easiest in the minds of white men.

. . . . .

 

Katie Carey This should be a post on its own. I’ve been wracking my brain to put my finger on what makes us so uniquely murderous, and you’ve come closer than any article I’ve come across.
Stuart Round Thanks.
Debra Arnot Stuart Round, it should be noted that an overwhelming majority have a history of domestic violence.
Stuart Round Yes, indeed. I’ve seen those stats and that does speak to a certain sense of inadequacy and a predisposition to violence, misogyny and/or misanthropy. My point wasn’t to replace explanations already given, I agree with them, but to try to look at the issue in a wider context, as a cultural issue. There are men like that the world over, there are other countries with lax gun laws, yet the incidence of mass shootings is epidemic in the USA in particular. Gun control would clearly go a long way towards making these acts harder to commit, addressing toxic masculinity a step further… but what is it about US culture that creates both the desire to own weapons and to use them in these rampages of violence.

. . . . .

I followed up with this comment:

Stuart Round – Your assessment of the situation here in the US rings true to me and I am grateful to have come across it since it is something I’ve been struggling to identify for many years myself.
I think you’ve successfully uncovered the deeper issues that are unique to American men, particularly to those who have a proclivity towards anger, resentment, and violent acts of revenge (even if those acts are expressed verbally, but thankfully, not acted upon).
As I see it, one of the major problems for many non-immigrant people in the US, is a fundamental lack of connection to family, tradition, and our own forgotten cultural roots lost in the drive to pursue happiness and to create a government of, by, and for the people that we still call Democracy, even in its current abysmal state.
By prioritizing one’s individuality and personal success over cultivating shared values and strong community ties, the pain of disconnection takes its toll in countless ways, often resulting in hate and violence towards others.
I appreciate your point that in other societies where many of the same problems are present, there does not exist a similar epidemic of violence, even where lax gun laws exist.
Our efforts to uncover the deeper cultural differences are critical to solving the problem, and I agree, gun control would clearly go a long way towards making these acts harder to commit.
However, while there are far too many aggressive, self-righteous, angry people in the US who choose to live by principles of entitlement, there are also loads of US citizens who do not desire to own weapons or to use them in rampages of violence, but rather wish to put gun control in place, and find ways to build a country based on kindness and unity.
Again, I am grateful to have come across your words today. May I share your excellent comment/assessment with friends, colleagues and change-makers to discuss? It brings important observations to the table.
May your day be bright. GS

WALKIN’ WITH WORDXWORD AT THE MOUNT

I’m excited to be participating in this upcoming WordXWord event at The Mount with a short performance piece that responds to a sculpture called Institutional Tan. The photo of the work posted online immediately made me think of invisibility, mass incarceration, border patrol and caged children. I’m not yet sure what I will perform, but I sense it will be a powerful and cathartic experience ~ at least for me…

More thoughts, background, and reservation info below.

. . . . . . .

WALKIN’ WITH WORDXWORD AT THE MOUNT
26 AUGUST – SUNDAY  (TOURS: 3:00PM + 3:30PM)
LENOX, MA, USA
Short performance work incorporating/responding to sculpture in exhibition (2-5 minutes)

Responding to the work, Institutional Tan by James Meyer, an installation consisting of three prison cells located in the woodsy section of Edith Wharton’s country estate in Lenox Massachusetts, multimedia artist, Gabrielle Senza will present a short performance work that brings into focus issues of freedom, trust, betrayal, and regrets.

Walkin’ with WordXWord Tours start from the Stables at 3:00 and 3:30.
Sunday, 26 August 2018. Tours are free, but reservations are encouraged

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 3.23.42 PM

Although I chose this work to respond to based on the image posted online as part of the Open Call, upon researching the artist, his history, and the idea behind the work, my interest in working with this piece grew stronger since it turns out, it was made by the artist who worked as Jasper Johns’s studio assistant for 27 years and secretly sold several million dollars worth of Johns’s unfinished works.

In 2014 James Meyer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing 22 works by Jasper Johns. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Meyer sold 22 works for a total of roughly $6.5 million, and personally earned nearly $4 million”. He is now free and has returned to living with his family in rural Connecticut.

James Meyer wrote in his essay for the piece: “Institutional tan 3 therapy cells that are functioning and the viewer can use them – these cells were made for inmates that are in solitary confinement for life-they have no regular human interaction and their psychiatrists thought they would benefit form group therapy, these cages were made for them to have group therapy.”

My favorite segment in an article on Jasper Johns published in the Financial Times is Johns’s response to the inquiry about the betrayal by his longtime assistant as the basis for his body of works in the Regrets series

He is cagey about the new artworks’ connection to Meyer: “For me [the meaning] is within the picture. The word is in the picture. I think you’ll have to interpret that for yourself. It’s certainly in the painting, but so is the rest of the painting in the painting, and the image that’s in the ­painting. It’s not meant to be a sign of something not in the painting. Regrets belong to everybody, don’t they?”

I haven’t yet decided what type of performance art piece I will create for this event… but it’s likely to include some kind of spoken word / participatory installation elements… We’ll see…

Walkin’ with WordXWord Tours start from the Stables at 3:00 and 3:30.

Sunday, 26 August 2018. Tours are free, but reservations are encouraged

The SculptureNow exhibition will be at The Mount through Oct 31.

More on WordXWord here.

Upcoming Projects…

In an effort to summarize (and organize) the events I have coming up, I’m posting (and updating) my notes on each project here on my blog. This should make it easy for me to update and locate the details as they develop…

. . . . . . .

ZK/U MONDAY DINNER PRESENTATION
13 AUGUST 2018,  MONDAY
BERLIN, GERMANY
Short overview of my recent work/current projects

A/V projection in Residents’ Kitchen

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 11.53.10 AM

Last year was my first year at ZK/U. I came for one month but ended up staying for 3 months. I found myself able to engage with my art practice in really productive and inspiring ways here in Berlin, so when the possibility to stay longer presented itself, I decided to take it. By staying on at ZK/U, I had the opportunity to make some wonderful connections with residents and other art workers in the city, as well as to participate in a couple of Open Haus events here at ZK/U, including one that occurred during Berlin Art Week – which is when I officially launched the Invisibility Lab.

Here are pictures from the Invisibility Lab Launch during Berlin Art Week 2017

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.53.15 PM.pngThe Invisibility Lab is an international
creative research initiative launched in Berlin
in 2017. It functions as a mobile studio, stage,
gallery and research laboratory to investigate
cross-cultural similarities and differences
related to the phenomenon of invisibility.
Focused primarily on stories of feeling – or
wishing to be – invisible, the Invisibility Lab
conducts experimental interventions and
participatory public events independently,
online, and in partnership with organizations
around the world.

I also created a performance lecture that I presented at a conference in Lisbon last year, called 1,000 Invisible Things. It was an audio piece I recorded here at ZK/U based on the collection of 1,000 Invisible Things I’ve developed over the past couple of years. Here’s a short excerpt from the 20 minute piece.

You can find more information about these experiments and projects on the Invisibility Lab website

My main website – for a little background on the visual and performing arts aspects of my practice that started in the mid-eighties – Gabrielle Senza website

My more socially-engaged art practice started around 2001 and there are some images and descriptions here – Red Collaborative website

Currently focusing on developing one of these initiatives, Walk Unafraid into a mission-based business with a business partner in the US – and potentially representatives in other countries.

. . . . . . .

ZK/U AUGUST OPEN HOUSE
23 AUGUST 2018 – THURSDAY 7-10PM
BERLIN, GERMANY
Participatory installation of Invisibility Lab Archive project on the Landing

Invisibility Lab forms, pens, instructions & receptacle for completed forms on work table + 3 chairs on ZK/U Landing.

For the Open Haus, I’ll have a smaller, simpler installation than what is shown here.

2018 ZKU BERLIN GÜTERMARKT - CREDIT G SENZA_IMG_8844

Recent Invisibility Lab public installation at the ZK/U Gütermarkt #32, Berlin 5 August 2018.
Open Haus visitors are invited to share their experiences by filling out an Invisibility Lab Worksheet and to add something to the Archive of Invisible Things.

All data is collected anonymously and is intended to be woven into creative visual and performing works that aim to make visible the unseen aspects of life and the experiences we share.

. . . . . . .

WALKIN’ WITH WORDXWORD AT THE MOUNT
26 AUGUST – SUNDAY  (TOURS: 3:00PM + 3:30PM)
LENOX, MA, USA
Short performance work incorporating/responding to sculpture in exhibition (2-5 minutes)

Responding to the work, Institutional Tan by James Meyer, an installation consisting of three prison cells located in the woodsy section of Edith Wharton’s country estate in Lenox Massachusetts, multimedia artist, Gabrielle Senza will present a short performance work that brings into focus issues of freedom, trust, and betrayal.

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 3.23.42 PM

Although I chose this work to respond to based on the image posted online as part of the Open Call, upon researching the artist, his history, and the idea behind the work, my interest in working with this piece grew stronger since it turns out, it was made by the artist who worked as Jasper Johns’s studio assistant for 27 years and secretly sold several million dollars worth of Johns’s unfinished works.

In 2014 James Meyer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing 22 works by Jasper Johns. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Meyer sold 22 works for a total of roughly $6.5 million, and personally earned nearly $4 million”. He is now free and has returned to living with his family in rural Connecticut.

James Meyer wrote in his essay for the piece: “Institutional tan 3 therapy cells that are functioning and the viewer can use them – these cells were made for inmates that are in solitary confinement for life-they have no regular human interaction and their psychiatrists thought they would benefit form group therapy, these cages were made for them to have group therapy.”

My favorite segment in an article on Jasper Johns published in the Financial Times is Johns’s response to the inquiry about the betrayal by his longtime assistant as the basis for his body of works in the Regrets series

He is cagey about the new artworks’ connection to Meyer: “For me [the meaning] is within the picture. The word is in the picture. I think you’ll have to interpret that for yourself. It’s certainly in the painting, but so is the rest of the painting in the painting, and the image that’s in the ­painting. It’s not meant to be a sign of something not in the painting. Regrets belong to everybody, don’t they?”

I haven’t yet decided what type of performance art piece I will create for this event… but it’s likely to include some kind of spoken word / participatory installation elements… We’ll see…

Walkin’ with WordXWord Tours start from the Stables at 3:00 and 3:30.

Sunday, 26 August 2018. Tours are free, but reservations are encouraged

The SculptureNow exhibition will be at The Mount through Oct 31.

More on WordXWord here.

. . . . . . .

FOR FREEDOMS ~ 50 STATES INITIATIVE / WALK UNAFRAID COLLABORATION
1 OCTOBER –  15 NOVEMBER 2018
FUEL COFFEE SHOP, GREAT BARRINGTON, MA
Art Exhibition + Community Civic Action

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 12.06.40 PM

Walk Unafraid at Fuel Bistro Great Barrington
presents
IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION

Date of Activation / Opening Reception:
Monday (Indigenous People’s Day) 8 October, 4-7pm

Location: Fuel Bistro Great Barrington
293 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230

Exhibition Dates: 1 October – 15 November, 2018

WALK UNAFRAID will present IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION, a public art exhibition featuring artwork by Guatemalan-born artist, Clemente Sajquiy alongside an installation of immigrant-made lawn signs that address questions of freedom, trust, community and social justice.

As part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative (the largest art collaboration in US history) Walk Unafraid’s IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION exhibition aims to amplify the voices of immigrants and people of color in the Berkshires, to acknowledge and commit to changing the systems of oppression and marginalization that continue to exist both socially and politically today, and to celebrate the many ways they contribute to enriching our communities.

We chose a non-art-centric public gathering space where everyone is welcome, so that all people can view the art exhibition and the community-made For Freedoms Yard Signs. Fuel Bistro in Great Barrington, MA serves as a vibrant social hub for patrons of all nationalities, genders, abilities, and identities.

Walk Unafraid is a mission-based artist-run initiative committed to empowering individuals and communities to create social change through shared stories, active listening, and peaceful action.

IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION is free and open to the public from October 1 through November 15, 2018.

 

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: freedom, trust, immigration, community

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @WeWalkUnafraid, #WeWalkUnafraid

WEBSITE: WalkUnafraid.org

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@walkunafraid.org
413.717.0031

 

. . . . . . .

FUNDING ARTS PANEL ~ LACKAWANNA ARTS COUNCIL
15 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA
Panelist on Funding for Artists

I’ll be one of three panelists to discuss arts funding. I will discuss a few of the alternative methods I’ve used to support my art practice over my thirty year career as an artist, including one of the most rewarding ones I’m currently using, which is developing relationships with art patrons who support my overall art practice rather than simply purchasing or commissioning artwork.

This image is here mainly so that I have a graphic place holder for this event, but also to show another artist’s breakdown of income from multiple sources.

GwennSeemelArtPieChart

Gwenn Seemel’s Income Pie Chart

. . . . . . .

SCRANTON FRINGE FESTIVAL / WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS INSTALLATION
22 – 30 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA
Walk Unafraid participatory installation in downtown storefront

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 12.44.44 PMwalk unafraid tape horizontal

 

Walk Unafraid at Scranton Fringe Festival
presents
WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS

Date of Activation / Opening Reception:
??

Location: ??

Exhibition Dates: ??

WALK UNAFRAID will present WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS, a public art exhibition featuring an installation of Walk Unafraid barricade tape by artists Gabrielle Senza and Tonyehn Verkitus that incorporates empowering statements on equality, identity, inclusion, and freedom contributed by members of the community and Fringe Festival visitors.

As part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative (the largest art collaboration in US history) WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS exhibition aims to amplify the voices of [immigrants and people of color in Lackawanna County], to acknowledge and commit to changing the systems of oppression and marginalization that continue to exist both socially and politically today, and to celebrate the many ways they contribute to enriching our communities.

Walk Unafraid is a mission-based artist-run initiative committed to empowering individuals and communities to create social change through shared stories, active listening, and peaceful action.

WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS is free and open to the public from ?? to ??, 2018.

 

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: freedom, trust, identity, empowerment, community

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @WeWalkUnafraid, #WeWalkUnafraid

WEBSITE: WalkUnafraid.org

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@walkunafraid.org
413.717.0031

 

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

FOR FREEDOMS ~ 50 STATES INITIATIVE / MANOS UNIDAS COLLABORATION
22 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY – 12-9 PM
THE COMMONS PARK, PITTSFIELD, MA
Participatory Invisibility Lab events including a Walk Unafraid Town Hall Speak Out, Yard Sign-Making event, and Archive of Invisibility Lab project

Victory Picture

Elated advocates for the Great Barrington Trust Policy after it was successfully adopted at the Town Hall Meeting in 2017.

 

Harvest of Hope/Cosecha de Esperanza Multi Cultural Family Festival:

Collectivizing a Shared Community Story of Hope by Utilizing Creativity and Connection to Catalyze a Diverse Ecosystem of Community

INVISIBILITY LAB at Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
presents FOR FREEDOMS TOWN HALL: SOCIAL [in]VISIBILITY

Date & Time of Activation:
Saturday, 22 September 2018
3-5pm (to be confirmed)

Location: Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
The Common, 1st Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201

The international creative research initiative known as the Invisibility Lab, will host SOCIAL [in]VISIBILITY: An Open Mic Town Hall Experiment at the Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on Saturday, September 22, from 3-5pm.

Led by artist Gabrielle Senza, festival attendees are invited to gather together in a social setting to share their stories of social and political invisibility through spoken word and collaborative poetry. Starting with the phrase “I feel invisible when…” or “I wish I could be invisible when…” each participant will describe how the experience has impacted their personal sense of self and/or influenced their ability to enjoy freedom in the US today. Using a Round Robin open mic format, we will build a collaborative poem that makes visible the invisible, generates empathy for others, and fosters a sense of unity within the community.

The Invisibility Lab’s SOCIAL [in]VISIBILITY: An Open Mic Town Hall Experiment is part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative (the largest single art collaboration in US history) and is intended to spur civic engagement as we witness the undoings of human rights and social justice.

The Harvest of Hope Festival is a multifaceted, multicultural event that exhibits in its very process bridge-building across differences, diversities and commonalities. This is accomplished through an array of creative outpourings: visual, movement, theater arts, spoken and musical performance, and workshops.

The Invisibility Lab is an international creative research initiative launched in Berlin by transdisciplinary artist, Gabrielle Senza, in 2017. It functions as a mobile studio, stage, gallery and research laboratory to investigate cross-cultural similarities and differences related to the phenomenon of invisibility. Focused primarily on stories of feeling – or wishing to be – invisible, the Invisibility Lab conducts experimental interventions and participatory public events independently, online, and in partnership with organizations around the world.

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: visibility, invisibility, freedom, trust, immigration, community, women’s rights, social justice

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @InvisibilityLab #InvisibilityLab

WEBSITE: InvisibilityLab.com

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@invisibilitylab.com
413.717.0031

. . . . . .

Walk Unafraid at Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
presents FOR FREEDOMS LAWN SIGN ACTION

Date & Time of Activation:
Saturday, 22 September 2018
1-5pm

Location: Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
The Common, 1st Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Walk Unafraid will host a For Freedoms Lawn Sign Action at the multicultural Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival in Pittsfield Massachusetts on Saturday, September 22nd from 1-5pm.

Lead by artists Gabrielle Senza and Clemente Sajquiy, people of all ages are invited to participate in creating their own vision of freedom by filling in signs that say
• Freedom Of ____
• Freedom From _____
• Freedom For ______
• Freedom To______

These signs will be displayed at the festival (and later included in the IMMIGRANT MADE: ART & ACTION exhibition at Fuel Bistro Great Barrington October 1 – November 15 ~ as described in a separate listing).

The Harvest of Hope Festival is a multifaceted, multicultural event that exhibits in its very process bridge-building across differences, diversities and commonalities. This is accomplished through an array of creative outpourings: visual, movement, theater arts, spoken and musical performance, and workshops.

Walk Unafraid is a mission-based artist-run initiative committed to empowering individuals and communities to create social change through shared stories, active listening, and peaceful action.

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: freedom, trust, immigration, community

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @WeWalkUnafraid, #WeWalkUnafraid

WEBSITE: WalkUnafraid.org

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@walkunafraid.org
413.717.0031

 

We may also include the following in one of these events:

Sin Paredes Video Installation

Sin Paredes: Storia #1

Sin Paredes is a collaborative project created with the aim to give voice to the people who culturally and economically enrich our communities through their hard work, community engagement, and cultural contributions, yet who are not free to enjoy the same liberties as others because of their nationality, immigration status, gender, class, sexual orientation, or even just the color of their skin.

Recognizing our shared humanity in the stories told in this series inspires us to take action towards building a better, more inclusive community where everyone is valued for their diverse perspectives and cultural contributions.

 

 

. . . . . . .

FEVERISH WORLD SYMPOSIUM
20-22 OCTOBER 2018 – SATURDAY – SUNDAY
BURLINGTON, VERMONT, USA
Walk Unafraid Participatory Audio Installation

NAVIGATING & REROUTING MOCKUP

NAVIGATING AND REROUTING – OPEN CALL FOR AUDIO SUBMISSIONS

Using the history of the participatory ‘Walk Unafraid’ platform, and the artists’
combined experience in social movements and art, artists Gabrielle Senza and jen
berger come together to create an embodied experience of what prevents us from, and
pushes us towards walking unafraid . This installation is an immersive experience
within an 8’x8’x8’ tent. An audio recording, exploring relevant questions* will play on a
loop. Additionally, the tent will be constructed of a combination of barricade tape (see
attachments) and canvas that is primed and will provide a surface for participants to
answer some of these same questions in real time.

As socially engaged artists, part of our role is to create platforms for participation and
change; whereas politicians and policy makers rely on statistics to create change. Artists
use real life stories for meaningful impact. In an era where media is as much a part of
our days as eating and breathing, using an intimate platform, such as audio and
handwritten texts, can give participants an opportunity to contemplate some questions
that are on our minds.

Location depending, the audio will play from an mp3 audio player, and use a generator
or electricity that is run from the building near the tent. The audio will be amplified and
immersive. The audio will be collected by soliciting submissions from people responding
to the inherent questions* of this installation.

Thinking about how we continue to move forward to create social change,
we invite you to share your thoughts to the following questions
:

1. What roles should artists, activists, academicians, NGOs, corporations and
governments play at this critical moment to lessen the divides that fracture our
world today?

2. What does it take to ‘show up’ and be unafraid?

*after reading this excerpt from an interview with Naomi Klein
(https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=612162874)

. . . . . . .

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ART FESTIVAL – NYC
18 NOVEMBER 2018 – SUNDAY 1PM
NEW YORK, NY, USA
Multidisciplinary visual theater performance on invisibility with Karen Cellini

 

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Photo credit: Gabrielle Senza

QUILL HOUSE – an immersive sonic visual theater performance that explores invisible truths, the unseen realms of experience, and the founding of self in a world fraught with injustice.

QUILL HOUSE is an immersive sonic visual theater experience that explores invisible truths, the unseen realms of experience, and the founding of self. Through movement, sound, and ethereal elements, multidisciplinary artists Karen Cellini and Gabrielle Senza present a layered collage of visual and sonic experiences that delve into the subconscious realities and conscious fictions of the psycho-emotional realms of existence in a world fraught with injustice.

Co-written and produced by Karen Cellini and Gabrielle Senza.

Bios:

Karen Cellini is a live performance collage artist experimenting with text, sound, and media in the vibrational, psychological and emotional landscape through singing, writing, music, and activism. Her play, The Good Mother: making the invisible, visible was written with an incarcerated heroin addict giving voice to victims of violence and addiction. She starred in Dynasty and later co-produced Doctor Zhivago on Broadway, the iconic Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, among other plays and film projects. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and was Writing for Performance Candidate mentored by Carl Hancock Rux at CalArts.

 
Gabrielle Senza exhibits, lectures, and performs internationally. Her socially engaged art initiatives, including Walk Unafraid, Seeing Red, and The Collaborative Scroll have toured through cities in the US and Europe and earned her awards from Transart Institute for Creative Research, the Puffin Foundation, Assets for Artists, and MASS MoCA among others. Gabrielle is a returning Fellow at ZK/U Berlin – The Center for Art & Urbanistics where she first launched Invisibility Lab in 2017, a participatory multi-cultural creative research project that investigates the phenomenon of invisibility and aspects of the unseen.

 

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View of Wild Project theater space, New York.

 

. . . . . . .

FUTURE PLANS FOR BERLIN

There are several projects I’d like to work on at ZK/U in the future. Next year I’d like to offer a series of writing workshops for migrants in Berlin, that offer an opportunity to go more deeply into sharing their stories of feeling and/or wishing to be invisible in a safe, supportive environment where participants can feel both seen and heard. In addition, I have two video/performance projects that I’d like to work on: one that involves the arched cellar space, the other focuses on the silent ballet of Behala at night.

Read, Reflect, Experiment

Experiment: The third and final bucket is rapid experimentation. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison became leading inventors and thinkers because of their experiments. We have Gmail because Google allowed employees to experiment with new ideas.

The reason experiments are so useful is because you have facts, not assumptions. Experiments show you what’s working. You can learn from your mistakes and obtain feedback from others. Best of all, experimentation isn’t that time-consuming. Most of the time, you’re testing through the same activities you’d perform without testing.

 

The 5-Hour Rule Used by Bill Gates, Jack Ma and Elon Musk

The most successful people on the planet are also the people likeliest to devote an hour a day to reading and learning.

You just walked in the door from an exhausting day at work. You’re hungry and spent, just wanting to catch your breath for a minute. You grab something to eat and then veg out in front of the TV. Next thing you know, you’ve just binge-watched five episodes of “Jessica Jones.”

While that’s OK occasionally — we all need ways to decompress and shut down — this isn’t a healthy habit. That’s why the most successful people in the world spend their free time learning.

It’s not exactly breaking news. During his five-year study of more than 200 self-made millionaires, Thomas Corley found that they don’t watch TV. Instead, an impressive 86 percent claimed they read — but not just for fun. What’s more, 63 percent indicated they listened to audiobooks during their morning commute.

Productivity expert Choncé Maddox writes, “It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to read two or more books per month.” As such, she suggests everyone “read blogs, news sites, fiction and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge.” If you’re frequently on the go, listen to audiobooks or podcasts.

Maybe you’re thinking: Who has the time to sit down and actually read? Between work and family, it’s almost impossible to find free time. As an entrepreneur and a father, I can relate — but only to an extent. After all, if Barack Obama could fit in time to read while in the White House, what excuse do you have? He even credits books to surviving his presidency.

President Obama is far from the only leader to credit his success to reading. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Jack Ma are all voracious readers. As Gates told The New York Times, reading “is one of the chief ways that I learn, and has been since I was a kid.”

So how do they find the time to read daily? They adhere to the five-hour rule.

Related: How to Make a 5-Hour Workday Work for You

Breaking down the five-hour rule.

The five-hour rule was coined by Michael Simmons, founder of Empact. The concept is wonderfully simple: No matter how busy successful people are, they always “set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that can be classified as deliberate practice or learning.”

Simmons traces this phenomenon back to Ben Franklin. “Throughout Ben Franklin’s adult life, he consistently invested roughly an hour a day in deliberate learning. I call this Franklin’s five-hour rule: one hour a day on every weekday,” Simmons wrote.

 

For Franklin, his learning time consisted of waking up early to read and write. He established personal goals and tracked his results. In the spirit of today’s book clubs, he created a club for “like-minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.” He also experimented with his new information and asked reflective questions every morning and evening.

 

The three buckets of the five-hour rule.

Today’s successful leaders have embraced Franklin’s five-hour rule by breaking the rule into three buckets.

Read: Self-made millionaires including Mark Cuban and Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, read between one and three hours daily. Elon Musk learned how to build rockets, which lead to SpaceX, by reading. Besides expanding your knowledge, Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, says that “reading can give you a good head start; this is often what your peers cannot obtain. Compared to others, readers are more likely to know other industries’ strategies and tactics.”

Even if you can’t commit to an hour or more of reading every day, start with 20 to 30 minutes. I always have a book with me so when I’m waiting for a meeting to start or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, I can read instead of waste time on my smartphone. You could also try audiobooks during your daily commute or when exercising.

Related: How Do Your Reading Habits Compare to Elon Musk’s, Mark Zuckberg’s and Warren Buffett’s?

Reflect: Other times, the five-hour rule includes reflecting and thinking. This could be just staring at the wall or jotting down your thoughts. Jack Dorsey and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner are well-known thinkers, while entrepreneur Sara Blakely is a longtime journaler.

Focusing on the past gives you a chance to learn from mistakes you’ve made, as well as assess what you did correctly. As a result, you’ll be better suited to achieve your goals and improve your life. The University of Texas also found that mental rest and reflection improves learning.

Need help getting started? Schedule reflection time in your planner. I’ve found blocking out 15 to 20 minutes after lunch is ideal because I’m coming out of that post-lunch slump. But start small: Allocate five or 10 minutes per day, and then work your way up so you’re not overwhelmed.

Know the questions you want to ask. Stick with just two or three questions focused on that specific day. For example, if you attended a conference, ask, “What were the key takeaways?” and “How can I apply this to my business?”

Experiment: The third and final bucket is rapid experimentation. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison became leading inventors and thinkers because of their experiments. We have Gmail because Google allowed employees to experiment with new ideas.

The reason experiments are so useful is because you have facts, not assumptions. Experiments show you what’s working. You can learn from your mistakes and obtain feedback from others. Best of all, experimentation isn’t that time-consuming. Most of the time, you’re testing through the same activities you’d perform without testing.

Jack Ma even recommends applying the knowledge you’ve learned to a real-life scenario. For example, after reading a book about collaboration and teamwork, you could take on new volunteer work to put that knowledge to use.

When you make learning a habit, you’ll be more successful and productive in life. By investing in a reading habit, you can ensure you’re growing yourself — and your company — every day.

Antidisciplinary?

I just came across this article from the MIT Media Lab that talks about the meaning of “antidisciplinary” – a word I’d never heard…

LabPhoto.png

One of the first words that I learned when I joined the Media Lab was “antidisciplinary.” It was listed an a requirement in an ad seeking applicants for a new faculty position. Interdisciplinary work is when people from different disciplines work together. An antidisciplinary project isn’t a sum of a bunch of disciplines but something entirely new – the word defies easy definition. But what it means to me is someone or something that doesn’t fit within traditional academic discipline­­­-a field of study with its own particular words, frameworks, and methods. Most academics are judged by how many times they have published in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals. Peer review usually consists of the influential members of your field reviewing your work and deciding whether it is important and unique. This architecture often leads to a dynamic where researchers focus more on impressing a small number of experts in their own field than on taking the high risk of an unconventional approach. This dynamic reinforces the cliché of academics-learning more and more about less and less. It causes a hyper-specialization where people in different areas have a very difficult time collaborating-or even communicating-with people in different fields. For me, antidisciplinary research is akin to mathematician Stanislaw Ulam’s famous observation that the study of non-linear physics is like the study of “non-elephant animals.” Antidisciplinary is all about the non-elephant animals.

The Media Lab focuses on “uniqueness, impact and magic.” What our students and faculty do should be unique. We shouldn’t be doing something that someone else is doing. If someone else starts doing it, we should stop. Everything we do should have impact. Lastly, things should induce us to be passionate and should go beyond incremental thinking. “Magic” means that we take on projects that inspire us. In the Lifelong Kindergarten group, researchers often describe the “Four Ps of Creative Learning” as Projects, Peers, Passion and Play. Play is extremely important for creative learning. There is a great deal of research showing that rewards and pressure can motivate people to “produce,” but creative learning and thinking requires the “space” that play creates. Pressure and rewards can often diminish that space, and thus, squash creative thinking.

The kind of scholars we are looking for at the Media Lab are people who don’t fit in any existing discipline either because they are between–or simply beyond–disciplines. I often say that if you can do what you want to do in any other lab or department, you should go do it there. Only come to the Media Lab if there is nowhere else where you could do what you want to do. We are the home of the misfits-the antidisciplinarians.

When I think about the “space” that we’ve created, I like to think about a huge piece of paper that represents “all science.” The disciplines are little black dots on this paper. The massive amounts of white space between the dots represent antidisciplinary space. Many people would like to play in this white space, but there is very little funding for this, and it’s even harder to get a tenured positions without some sort of disciplinary anchor in one of the black dots.

As we engage in tackling harder and harder problems that require many fields and perspectives, the separation of disciplines appears to be causing more and more damage. The complex system that is the human body has become impossibly multi-disciplinary. We should really be working on “One Science,” but instead we are a mosaic of different disciplines sometimes not even recognizing when we are looking at the same problem because our language is so different and microscopes are set so differently.

The Center for Extreme Bionics at the Media Lab–led by Hugh Herr, Ed Boyden, Joe Jacobson, and Bob Langer–utilizes everything from mechanical engineering to synthetic biology to neuroscience in its quest to eliminate a variety of disabilities. This disparate collection of disciplines would never fit in any traditional department or lab.

Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte famously coined a twist on the academic dictum that faculty must “publish or perish.” Media Lab faculty, he said, must “demo or die.” I have made a modification- “Deploy or die.” I’d like all of the Lab’s faculty and students thinking about how their work ultimately deploys in the world, and if they can deploy it themselves, even better.

I think this philosophy of working together on big projects will help bring researchers together across disciplines – creating a single science instead of fragmented disciplines. We will still need disciplines, but I think that it’s time we focus on a higher mission and the changes needed in academia and research funding to allow more people to work in the wide-open white space between disciplines – the antidisciplinary space.

Update: One of our faculty members pointed out that disciplines are more like broad swaths and that a lot of the most cited papers are the ones in the disruptive “antidisciplinary” spaces.

Is Water Invisible?

One of the conversations that sticks with me most from my quest to compile a collection of one thousand invisible things was on the topic of water.

The person I was conversing with declared water to be invisible. I, personally, didn’t see it that way – because I can see water in a pool and in a glass, or spreading out to a distant horizon in the ocean and lapping up onto the beach at my feet. Though the substance is usually clear, water is something I can see, feel, taste, smell and hear. It is also measurable and containable. So for me, it did not meet the eligibility requirements for my collection. But for the person looking into her glass of water at the restaurant that day, it was an unquestionable truth that water is invisible.

An article that I came across online this morning, brought me back to that discussion. It expresses to some degree, my thoughts on the nature of water and how we perceive things. The article is added below in it’s entirety. It was published on Nautilus.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Is water invisible?

. . . . .

Facts So Romantic

Why Water Is Weird

One day, frustrated after many hours of meditation and practice, Bruce Lee, still a teenager, went sailing. His martial arts teacher, Yip Man, had been instructing Lee in the art of detachment, a key facet of gung fu. Lee couldn’t let go. “On the sea I thought of all my past training and got mad at myself and punched the water!” he later wrote. “Right then—at that moment—a thought suddenly struck me; was not this water the very essence of gung fu? I struck it but it did not suffer hurt. I then tried to grasp a handful of it but this proved impossible. This water, the softest substance in the world, which could be contained in the smallest jar, only seemed weak. In reality, it could penetrate the hardest substance in the world. That was it! I wanted to be like the nature of water.”

For Lee, the budding martial artist, water embodied an ideal of lithe and effortless strength. He learned this from ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and updated it, adding, “When heated to the state of steam it is invisible but has enough power to split the earth itself.” It’s striking that water can illustrate and elucidate a martial arts philosophy while also being, to this day, the “least understood material on Earth,” as researchers reported recently.

Water can appear to be “fine-tuned” for life.

In their study published last month, Hajime Tanaka, John Russo, and Kenji Akahane—all researchers in the Department of Fundamental Engineering at the University of Tokyo, in Japan—tried to tease apart what makes water unique among liquids. It’s got anomalous properties, like expanding when cooled below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which explains why lakes freeze downward, from top to bottom, rather than up. Normally frozen solids are more dense than their liquid equivalents, which would mean that frozen chunks would fall to the bottom of a lake instead of staying on top. Water also becomes less viscous compared to other liquids when compressed, and has an uncanny level of surface tension, allowing beings light enough, like insects, to walk or stand atop it. Since it’s these distinctive features among others that power our climate and ecosystems, water can appear to be “fine-tuned” for life.

The researchers, with the benefit of supercomputers, were able to tweak and untune a computational model of water, making it behave like other liquids. “With this procedure,” Russo said, “we have found that what makes water behave anomalously is the presence of a particular arrangement of the water’s molecules, such as the tetrahedral arrangement, where a water molecule is hydrogen-bonded to four molecules located on the vertices of a tetrahedron,” a shape of four triangular planes. “Four of such tetrahedral arrangements can organize themselves in such a way that they share a common water molecule at the center without overlapping,” Russo said. As a result, when water freezes, it creates an open structure, mostly empty space and less dense than the disordered structure of liquid water, which is why water props ice up. Both highly ordered and disordered tetrahedral arrangements give water its “peculiar properties.” The paper’s title spells this out: “Water-like anomalies as a function of tetrahedrality.”

Nautilus asked Richard Saykally, a chemist at U.C. Berkeley, why these peculiarities make the liquid so ripe for scams and fanciful speculations. The ancient Greeks thought water was one of the four “essential” elements, the others being earth, air, and fire. Homeopathy, which purports to cure illness using small doses of disease-causing substances dissolved in water, evolved out of this, Saykally said. But there are more modern magical claims about so-called “structured” or “hexagonal” water. Some “wellness” practitioners claim humans age in part because we don’t replenish our stock of structured water. Depending on water’s structure, they say, it can penetrate your cell walls more effectively and has all kinds of health benefits.

“There’s no scientific basis to that at all,” Saykally said. “You can’t make structured water. Doesn’t make any sense because the hydrogen bond in water lives for a few picoseconds—10-12 seconds—and these hydrogen bond structures of water are rearranging very rapidly so you don’t have water clusters existing as isolated entities in water despite a lot of these claims.”

The ancient Greeks may have been wrong about water being an essential element, but Saykally says it’s no coincidence that water is essential for life on Earth. “It’s something intrinsic about water in that the strong tetrahedral hydrogen bond network that water makes is a very flexible environment for chemical processes to happen,” he said. “It has the right properties to dissolve many ions; it has the right properties to cause what we call hydrophobic materials”—like proteins—“to fold up in special ways.”

Saykally has invented a new laser to study water clusters, with the ultimate goal of producing “the perfect model for water,” he said. “We want to combine all the information available from studies of water clusters with our terahertz laser spectroscopy—from quantum chemical calculations and from condensed phase measurements—and make a computer model of water that will answer any question you ask. That perfect water model is what we have been calling the universal first principles model of water.”

Watch Saykally, below, describe what he’d do with a supercomputer running a universal model of water.

You can enjoy the rest of our conversation with Saykally here, in which he says, among other things, whether another form of liquid water is possible.

Brian Gallagher is the editor of Facts So Romantic, the Nautilus blog. Follow him on Twitter @brianga11agher.

 

Fictocritical Maps?

I’m loving the work of Gerhard Marx.

It makes me think of what Rachel Epp Buller is doing with her fictocritical texts…

From his website:

https://gerhardmarx.co.za/

TRANSPARENT TERRITORY – In his dizzying new series of maps for groundlessness, Gerhard Marx continues his investigations into the formal and fictive possibilities of perspective. Rupturing the flat surface of the map, he removes the illusion of solid ground and replaces it with a hovering, vertigo-inducing sense of uncertainty. The shape and notion of ‘the frame’ recurs in several mise-en-abymesequences across the works. Stacked in recurring configurations, its rectangular form has been bent into a series of optical riddles or Escherian landscapes.

When Marx cuts into the map it is a kind of violation – an act of violence against the institutions and processes of global modernity through which the world was filtered to him. That violence is present in the energy of dispersion, ruination and collapse that ripples through the fragmented surfaces of these works. But the story does not end with deconstruction. Offsetting it is the meditative, embodied practice of reconstitution. In constructing his drawings from the ‘found lines’ of decommissioned and discarded maps, Marx displaces the scientific authority of cartography with the subjective impulse of calligraphy.

To some extent, his map drawings call to mind mounting tensions within South Africa in relation to the land – the pain of dispossession, rage due to the slow pace of redistribution, anxiety around the threat of violent land grabs – all bound up in a shifting network of inherited lines and limits that divide the land into territory, domain and jurisdiction. But the works in this series are not only constituted of South African maps. They are random amalgamations of fragments of Europe (many of the original maps referred to the First World War) and Africa, and in piecing them together he conflates space and historical time (some are recent maps, whereas some date back to the early 20th century) into what he thinks of as ‘migrant maps’.

Directly referencing the the kind of makeshift, hybridised vessels we’ve witnessed people resorting to in the current migration crises of Europe, several of the works in this series have a raft-like look about them – temporary, floating, drifting between land(s) and territories. Hovering against a plane of deep opaque blackness, Marx’s reconstructed rafts/crafts transmit a sense of disorientation that is simultaneously disquieting and liberating. There is that vertiginous sci-fi sense of being cut loose from the mother ship to float indefinitely through all space and time, but also an ecstatic sense of possibility in being released from the grip of inherited systems of knowledge, measurement, power and control. – Alexandra Dodd

 

 

INVISIBILITY LAB to Host Open Engagement 2018 – Dinner Conversation

Invisible Sustenance

May 12, 2018
7:00  –  8:30

In a fast-paced, interconnected world where people rarely have time for nurturing themselves or their relationships, the Invisibility Lab asks: What keeps you going? What sustains you through difficult times? What do you rely on for sustenance? Are these things measurable? Are they visible? And most importantly, are they sustainable? Founder and Chief Researcher, Gabrielle Senza will host a lively dinner conversation and participatory investigation into the phenomenon of invisible things.

2018  Dinner Conversation

Invisible Capital

Here’s a peak at a paper by Gretchen Sneegas on GradFoodStudies website:

“Sustenance Out of Refuse”: Detroit, Invisible Capital & the Search for Food Justice

Gretchen Sneegas

abstract | In recent years, Detroit has been largely portrayed by mass media as a site of desolation and desertion. The city’s citizens, however, have another story to tell. This paper examines the Detroit Food Justice Task Force (DFJTF), an organization designed to improve food security within the city. DFJTF seeks to empower native Detroiters by helping them to discover their own “invisible capital,” or existing resources hidden from view. Using qualitative discourse analysis to examine DFJTF’s website and social media content, this paper analyzes the overlapping categories of race, space, and capital as they intersect with food justice work in Detroit. This paper argues that DFJTF uses these categories to challenge mainstream, racialized depictions of Detroit as a barren landscape, instead describing the city as rich in invisible human and spatial capital.

Iowa Lakeside Lab Residency

This looks like a great place for working on Invisibility Lab research – especially the environmental/sound aspects of the unseen world and to develop more transdisciplinary projects… I can’t wait to spend some time exploring this site to see what the resident artists have focused on so far!

ABOUT

The Iowa Lakeside Laboratory Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program invites artists, musicians, composers, and performers of all genres to apply for a two to four week residency. Lakeside Lab is a biological field station and nature preserve located in the northwest region of Iowa. The residency program is offered with an eye towards Long Term Ecological Reflections, a national partnership between biological field stations that support thoughtful relationships between art and science.

The Artist-in-Residence program aims to create opportunities for collaboration, partnership, and reflection between artists, scientists, and community members. Artists are encouraged to use the area as their studio and to interact freely with scientists, field study courses, local residents, and visitors. A high priority of the program is exploring relationships between art and science. Preference is given to artists whose work engages with ecology, science, and natural history in unique and collaborative ways.

 

The application window is open each year from January 1 to March 1. Questions about the residency or the application process can be sent to Alex Braidwood, Director of the Artist-in-Residence program.

Mildred’s Lane

I think someone at Transart mentioned Mildred’s Lane to me last year, but I only now stumbled upon it do discover it is a project/site organized by J Morgan Puett (whose fashion/architectural installations in Manhattan in the early 90’s I absolutely ADORED!) and Mark Dion.

While it has a much more elaborate (and academic) program (not to mention an incredible homesteading site and world-famous artist-founders) than my Berkshire Art Kitchen project (2008 – 2010), it is similar in that both projects are about creating new modes of being in the world. We share a worldview (and workstyle) that focuses on how art, life, home, work, and food are interconnected – and where family, friends, and the public are woven into the fabric of that workstyle experience.

Mildred’s Lane seems like a cool place to check out… Here’s a bit from their website, Mildred’s Lane :

Workstyles and the Ethics of Comportment

The core of the practice and the educational philosophy at Mildred’s Lane is an attempt to collectively create new modes of being in the world — this idea incorporates questions of our relation to the environment, systems of labor, forms of dwelling, clothing apparatuses, and inventive domesticating;  all of which are form an ethics of comportment — and are embodied in workstyles. As a student at Mildred’s Lane, these issues will be negotiated daily through the rethinking of one’s collective involvements with food, shopping, making, styling, gaming, sleeping, reading, and thinking. Every research session will be an intensive reconsideration of workstyles — there will be visits to alternative farms, discussions around food and cooking, cleaning, and maintenance. The total space of the domestic will be part of the course of study — we will collectively work on experimenting with the full spectrum of our whole system of engagements.

““I dream of a new age of curiosity. We have the technical means for it; the desire is there; the things to be known are infinite; the people who can employ themselves at this task exist. Why do we suffer? From too little: from channels that are too narrow, skimpy, quasi-monopolistic, insufficient. There is no point in adopting a quasi- protectionist attitude, to prevent ‘bad’information from invading and suffocating the ‘good’. Rather, we must simply multiply the paths and the possibilities of comings and goings.”

— Michel Foucault from ‘The Masked Philosopher’

 

Graph Commons & Burak Arikan

Making data graphs accessible –  Amazing stuff!

From Artists in Laboratories Radio Series:

“…beautiful but also politically-revealing data mapping with Burak Arikan, a New York and Istanbul based artist working with complex networks. Burak runs social, economic, and political issues through an abstract machinery, which generates network maps and algorithmic interfaces and draws up predictions that render inherent power relationships visible, thus discussable. Arikan’s software, prints, installations, and performances have been featured in numerous exhibitions internationally. Arikan is the founder of Graph Commons, a platform dedicated to providing “network intelligence” for everyone.

 

Define American

How do you Define American?

“Migration was never about legality. It was always about who has the power to define borders and laws. And we must remember that laws don’t always equal justice.”

Jose Antonio Vargas
http://www.defineamerican.com

 

Apartheid was legal.
The Holocaust was legal.
Slavery was legal.
Colonialism was legal.
Legality is a matter of POWER, not justice.

Uta Barth – Photographer

I just came across Uta Barth‘s work and I’m incredibly smitten!

Her images are deeply poetic and imbued with the unfocused essence of what is, rather than fully representing something plainly visible… In ways that are similar to my own images – although much of her work is much more sophisticated – and perhaps, intentional (rather than accidental or intuitive like my photography)… Very inspiring!

Could I possibly…?

Branah

I’ve been thinking about invisible things a lot today… as well as this idea I have had floating around in my head for quite some time now – that people who are blind are, I suspect, actually able to see better than those of us with sight… Their heightened awareness and increased powers in their other senses (touch, sound, smell, taste and intuition) endow them with an ability to metaphorically see things better than we who are sighted might. I wonder sometimes, how they perceive/understand invisibility, and I would like to include people who are sense-impared in my research on invisibility. It would be especially intriguing to work with the unsighted to learn of their perceptions about the seen and unseen aspects of our world (which will differ based on whether an individual lost their sight over time or were blind at birth). What a privilege it would be to work with the blind on this project!

Recently, inspired by Kayoko’s braille studies, I started learning braille as well. When we went to MASS MoCA the day after Christmas, Kayoko was able to “read” the Braille wall plaques in the James Turrell Crater Room. It was very impressive!

I just found Branah.com – a useful braille translator site.
While I’m not anywhere near as far along in learning to read and write Braille as Kayoko, I did have fun playing around with translating some words on the site. These are all in first grade Braille.

. . . . . . .

truth           ⠞⠗⠥⠞⠓
religion      ⠗⠑⠇⠊⠛⠊⠕⠝
justice         ⠚⠥⠎⠞⠊⠉⠑
racism         ⠗⠁⠉⠊⠎⠍
courage       ⠉⠕⠥⠗⠁⠛⠑

. . . . . . . .

One sees clearly only with the heart,
what is essential is invisible to the eye.

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

⠠⠕⠝⠑⠀⠎⠑⠑⠎⠀⠉⠇⠑⠁⠗⠇⠽⠀⠕⠝⠇⠽⠀⠺⠊⠞⠓⠀⠞⠓⠑⠀⠓⠑⠁⠗⠞⠂
⠺⠓⠁⠞⠀⠊⠎⠀⠑⠎⠎⠑⠝⠞⠊⠁⠇⠀⠊⠎⠀⠊⠝⠧⠊⠎⠊⠃⠇⠑⠀⠞⠕⠀⠞⠓⠑⠀⠑⠽⠑⠲

⠀⠤⠀⠠⠁⠝⠞⠕⠊⠝⠑⠀⠙⠑⠀⠠⠎⠁⠊⠝⠞⠤⠠⠑⠭⠥⠏⠘⠌⠑⠗⠽

. . . . . . . .

 

Applying for Things – Rivet

A few great resources I’ve just learned about (that were formerly invisible – invisible, as in unknown to me):

RIVET – a site that gathers and consolidates all available grants, residencies, opportunities, etc. into one central location.

And their awesome breakdown of things to consider when applying for opportunities here

Thinking it would be cool to have them run a workshop at MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program… I’ll mention it to Blair.

In the meantime, there’s also Foundwork – for MFA students to post their work for curators and critics to check out.  (Transart Institute is listed in their dropdown menu of eligible MFA programs!)

And there’s the new DRIP – a subscription-based support platform for creatives  (aka a Patreon competitor) by Kickstarter… and Fat Lama for creatives to borrow and lend expensive equipment “Like airbnb for stuff!”!

If you hear of other useful resources, please let me know in the comments.

Cheers!

View at Medium.com

The Fox’s Secret

At last!
I found a translator’s breakdown of one of the most profound truths as expressed by the Fox in Saint-Exupery’s, The Little Prince.

Many thanks to the cjvlang.com site for posting what is, for me, a very satisfying breakdown of the many different translations into English of that beautiful nugget of truth in The Little Prince:

On ne voit bien quavec le coeur, l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

My favorite translation: “One sees clearly only with the heart, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Below is the full examination from the cjvlang website…

((By the way:  Translators are among my favorite invisible things.))

. . . . . . .

The Fox’s Secret:
On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur.
Translation into English

(English translations) ▶ Here is my secret. It is very simple ▼ One sees clearly only with the heart ▶ What is essential is invisible to the eyes

Here we look at how the sentence On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur, from Le Petit Prince (‘The Little Prince’), is translated into English.

What I want to do here is see how the English translations stick to or depart from the French, and whether or how these choices affect the meaning or tone of the fox’s statement. This involves looking at each particular element in turn.

All five English translations are a little different as each translator has made certain choices. The five English versions are:

Name of translator English version
Woods 1943 It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
Cuffe 1995 You can only see things clearly with your heart.
Testot-Ferry 1995 It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly.
Wakeman 1997 We only really see with our hearts.
Howard 2000 One sees clearly only with the heart.

Of the five versions, Howard’s is virtually a word-for-word translation from the French. The other translations vary in certain ways. Here we make a point-by-point comparison with the French and see where the translations vary. We will start with the basic Subject-Verb-Object sentence ‘One sees [things]’:

1. Basic Sentence

The basic underlying order and elements of the sentence are the same in English and French:

Subject Verb Object
on voit [les choses]
one sees [things]

Adding ‘with the heart’, there is still no difference from the French. Like French, English uses a prepositional phrase.

Subject
Verb
Object
Prepositional phrase
on voit [les choses] avec le cœur
one sees [things] with the heart

2. Omission of the object

English can omit the object of the verb in situations like this, and most of the translators follow the French in doing so. The result is a general statement like the French.

Subject Verb Object Prepositional phrase
on voit X avec le cœur
one sees X with the heart

There is, however, one exception: Cuffe uses the vague all-purpose noun ‘things’ as an object.

Subject Verb Object Prepositional phrase
on voit X avec le cœur
one sees things with the heart

This addition of a fairly meaningless object to the verb, just to fill in a ‘slot’ in the sentence, is a feature of spoken English. By using ‘things’ Cuffe’s fox speaks a language closer to everyday life. However, this is at the cost of losing the terseness of the original.

3. On

On allows the fox to make a statement of general validity because on is understood as applying to people in general.

The literal English equivalent of on is ‘one’, and three of the translators use it. However, English ‘one’ is somewhat different from French on. In French, on is frequently used, even in colloquial speech. The usage is equally broad, ranging from ‘people in general’ to ‘I’, ‘we’, and ‘you’.

By contrast, ‘one’ in English is less often used and has a rather formal, bookish feel. It is mostly used for statements about people in general, although like French it can also be used to mean ‘I’ or ‘you’. But using ‘one’ in any of these ways sounds much stuffier in English than in French.

So two of our translators find more natural ways of expressing the concept of on.

In colloquial English, ‘you’ is widely used to make a statement applying to ‘people in general’, and Cuffe makes use of this in his translation: ‘you can only see things clearly with your heart’ (notice that at the same time ‘the heart’ becomes ‘your heart’).

Subject Verb Object Prepositional phrase
on voit [les choses] avec le cœur
you see [things] with your heart

The disadvantage of ‘you’ is that it can sound ambiguous — it could sound like advice specifically tailored for the little prince rather than a statement of a general truth.

Wakeman adopts a different solution: he uses the pronoun ‘we’, which can similarly be used in making general statements. (This is inclusive ‘we’, which includes the listener, as opposed to exclusive ‘we’, which excludes the listener. English ‘we’ and French nous are used in both meanings.)

Subject Verb Object Prepositional phrase
on voit [les choses] avec le cœur
we see [things] with our hearts

4. The verb ‘sees / can see’

It’s possible to say ‘One only sees clearly’ — using the plain present verb ‘sees’ — in English. Indeed, Howard and Wakeman do so in their translations. The use of the verb in the plain present indicates an eternal or general truth, which matches the meaning of the French. (As is well known, French also uses the plain present for actions in progress, which in English are better expressed with the present progressive: je le regarde = ‘I am looking at him’.)

However, it’s generally more natural in English to say ‘One can only see clearly’. I’m not sure of the reason for this. Possibly the plain verb ‘sees’ sounds too formal to be used in normal conversation. So three of the translators transform voit into ‘can see’:

Subject Verb Object Prepositional phrase
on voit [les choses] avec le cœur
one can see [things] with the heart

While it may be more natural, adding ‘can’ does bring about a subtle change in nuance. ‘Sees clearly’ makes an objective statement about perception. ‘Can see clearly’ indicates an ability or capability to see, at the same time suggesting a subjective element of purpose, intention, or desire. For instance, ‘I don’t see it’ and ‘I can’t see it’ are not completely the same: ‘can’t’ might be used where there’s a need or desire (even an impatience) to see the object in question.

This means that seeing sounds like a conscious action with a purpose. The implication is something like: ‘If one wants to see clearly, then one can only do so with the heart’. This is subtly different from the French.

5. Voit bien

This is literally ‘sees well’. (The normal position of the adverb in English is different from French, although this is mostly irrelevant since the object is omitted in both the French original and most English translations. For simplicity, we will omit the object from further discussions.)

Subject Verb Adverb Object Adverb Prepositional phrase
on voit bien [les choses] avec le cœur
one can see [things] well with the heart

The adverb ‘well’ presents something of a problem here. It’s possible in English to use ‘well’ with a negative (‘I can’t see it very well’) or when qualified (‘I can see it pretty well’). But ‘to see well’ in a general statement (‘I can see well’) is not very idiomatic. Moreover, ‘see well’ doesn’t sit very comfortably with expressions of volition or purpose. It’s fine to say ‘I want to see clearly’ or ‘I want to see properly’, but ‘I want to see well’ is awkward, to say the least.

If ‘well’ is not suitable, what adverb can convey the correct nuance? This requires a subtle judgement about what the fox means.

  • Woods chose ‘rightly’, implying that using anything other than the heart will result in incorrect perception.
  • Three other three translators chose ‘clearly’, which implies that any other method will result in unclear perception.
  • Wakeman uses ‘really’. He also puts ‘really’ before the verb: ‘We only really see…’ This emphasises the adverb. ‘Really’ implies that not looking with our hearts will not result in true or complete perception.

6. Avec le cœur

Virtually the only expression in the sentence that raises no particular issues is, surprisingly, avec le cœur. This kind of abstract expression is often cited as an area where different languages and cultures perceive things quite differently. In fact, there’s a good match between English and French and nothing important appears to be lost in a direct and literal translation.

An English definition of ‘heart’ in the relevant sense goes as follows (from Webster’s):

The emotional or moral as distinguished from the intellectual nature;
one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations.

This fits in exactly with the concept of ‘seeing’ in an intuitive or emotional sense, which is what the French is trying to convey.

7. Ne … que (‘only’)

English uses ‘only’ to express the meaning of ne … que. Unlike ne … que, which is fixed in position, ‘only’ is relatively free to roam about the sentence. In spoken English, it usually goes immediately before the verb, with intonation highlighting the focus, ‘with the heart’:

Subject Verb Adverb Prepositional phrase
on ne voit bien qu’ avec le cœur
one only sees clearly with the heart (stressed)

As usual, Cuffe selects this more conversational style in his translation.

In written English, for greater clarity, it’s normal to try and place ‘only’ in front of the focus. This results in a clearer but somewhat more formal style. In line with his preference for what might be described as a ‘formal elegance’, this is the construction that Howard chooses:

Subject Verb Adverb Prepositional phrase
on ne voit bien qu’ avec le cœur
one sees clearly only with the heart

English does, however, present another option: highlight the focus by placing it at the start of the sentence. There are a couple of ways of doing this:

1. ‘Only with the heart does one see clearly’. (Note that this requires inversion — the dummy verb, ‘does’, is placed before ‘one’, the subject of the sentence.)

Focus Verb Subject Verb Adverb
Only with the heart does one see clearly

2. A second alternative is the so-called ‘cleft construction’: ‘It is only with the heart that one sees clearly’.

Focus Subject Verb Adverb
It is only with the heart that one sees clearly

Both Woods and Testot-Ferry resort to the cleft construction. This is a departure from the French in the way information is arranged. However, it’s hard to find fault with this departure. ‘It is only with the heart…’ is more natural in English than the equivalent cleft construction ce n’est qu’avec le cœur… would be in French. Despite the rather large change in word order to highlight the focus, the sentence is still quite close to the original.

Wakeman, on the other hand, actually moves away from the original. While placing ‘only’ before ‘really see’ does not seem a remarkable departure, what it actually does is place the focus on ‘really’. This results in a strong contrast with the concept of not really seeing.

Subject Adverb Verb Prepositional phrase
one only really sees with the heart

8. Other alternatives

What is interesting in all this is that translators have not tried any alternative ways of packaging the same information. It would be quite possible to, say, use a passive instead:

‘Things can only be seen clearly with the heart’.

The passive captures perfectly the concept of a general truth, and the word ‘things’ expresses quite well the notion of ‘things in general’. None of the translators adopt this option, probably because of the stylistic infelicity of a passive starting with ‘things’.

But even without such stylistic considerations, one can’t help but suspect that translators have steered away from alternative renderings out of sheer inertia — a simple tendency to follow the form of the original French. Despite the oft-repeated ideal of dynamic equivalence, which holds that translation should recreate the force and meaning of the original and not merely transpose it word for word, in practice most translators, in the absence of compelling grammatical, stylistic, or semantic reasons to the contrary, simply tag along with the original text.

White Washing as Erasure – Titus Kaphar

Vice interview with one of my favorite artists, Titus Kaphar who’s work addresses the invisible stories left out of history & art…

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wd4mb9/titus-kaphar-on-his-new-solo-show-and-unarmed-black-men-in-america-111

Artist ​Titus Kaphar on His New Solo Show and Unarmed Black Men in America

“I feel very strongly that most of the history that we have been taught is at best incomplete, and at worse fiction.”

by Antwaun Sargent
Jan 15 2015, 3:50pm

‘The Jerome Project (Asphalt and Chalk) V,’ 2014.Images courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

In the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury’s acquittal of officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown, the artist Titus Kaphar drew on black asphalt paper the images of a group of unarmed black men who had all suffered premature deaths by white men. Using white chalk, Kaphar sketched Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Michael Brown, overlaying their faces on top of each other to confuse the viewer. The disorienting result aims to signify the growing list of young, black men whose lives have been unfairly taken by authorities in America, and how communities across the country are still mourning these victims.

Opening tonight, January 15, at Jack Shainman Gallery’s two locations in Chelsea, Manhattan, Kaphar will present two separate bodies of work that focus on the duality of black experience in America from both a modern and historical perspective. The first show, Asphalt and Chalk, includes the overlain victims, as well as an extension of the artist’s earlier work, The Jerome Project, which consisted of confessional-styled paintings that featured black males all named after St. Jerome. Kaphar’s men, who are covered in tar and gold leaves, have served time for committing un-saintly offenses.

In Drawing the Blinds, the second show, the works represent the artist’s ability to re-imagine blackness by revising the dominant histories we learned in grade school but now take for granted. In Space to Forget, a black woman sits on her knees in a blue dress, swiping the floor as a cutout of a baby sits on her back. The post-racialist would want us to place a black child on the woman’s back, but upon consideration, the baby must in fact be white, given the work’s pre-revolutionary framing. With this realization, we are confronted with the shows’ multilayered ideas, as well as the racial tensions and misunderstandings that still shape our country far more than we would like to believe. Kaphar’s work brings forgotten figures to the center of the canvas and demonstrates how their stories continue to inform the country’s narrative, and matter now more than ever.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Kaphar to speak with him about his timely solo show and expand upon the art’s powerful conceptual goals.

Jerome (Set)

VICE: You came to make the work in The Jerome Project because you were searching for your father’s criminal record. How did that search lead to you creating that body of work?
Titus Kaphar: My father and I had been out of contact for a long time. So I went online and I was randomly searching for other things, and then it came into my head: “I wonder what this dude is up to?” I looked up his name, wedon’t share a surname,and found 99 men with the same one. I was shocked about how many of them had similar criminal records, how many of them were black, and that got me thinking about what was going on with the system.

Focusing on the real-life Jeromes that make up the project, how did their lives influence the paintings beyond the internet search?
Once I found the mug shots, I felt like it was necessary for me to get in contact with these folks. I didn’t necessarily want to get in contact with my father, but that happened serendipitously. So, he was the first one I reconnected with [in person]. I filmed the conversation with my father and I saw a different person in him than I had ever seen before.

Do you attribute that to prison?
Definitely not. It was the result of things that had happened in his life after prison. After going through the footage, I realized that I learned a lot about the criminal justice system, poverty in America, and these structural problems—like the deindustrialization of cities in the Midwest (which affected the community I grew up in)—and how those issues evolved into criminal justice issues. So after talking to my father, I wrote letters to several different Jeromes. Some were in prison, and some were not; some replied, and some did not.

You use tar and gold leaf in the paintings. What do these materials symbolize?
When I first started the project, I was thinking about the name Jerome itself. I spoke with my father about how he ended up with the name and he told me that because it related to the bible. And so as I was looking into St. Jerome and I started looking into irony of these men living in this un-saintly situation, but being named after a saint. So I decided to make small devotional paintings for men who would never receive that kind of attention. Beauty is often a bad word in contemporary art right now, but I definitely wanted the paintings to be beautiful. I wanted people to look at these black men on the wall and say they are beautiful. Then to realize these are men who are incarcerated—that moment of confusion where you are trying to manage the reality of beauty and incarceration is part of the project’s goal.

The tar happened because I was trying to figure out a way to deal with how being incarcerated impacted these men’s lives. So I decided to start to submerge the paintings in tar in proportion to the amount of time they had served in prison. But the more research I did I realized that the amount of time that one spends in prison is only the beginning of their relationship to the system. And so the amount of tar I could apply just wasn’t enough. Then, I decided to lean on the tar itself as a symbolic gesture of the impact of the criminal justice system. So works are fully covered and some are slightly covered. The tar also functions as a means to protect the identity of some of these individuals.

‘Jerome XXIX,’ (2014)

What would you want people at risk to get out of The Jerome Project?
I think this is a question of expanding the project. I am working with high school students at this community organization called Art Space in New Heaven who is building an exhibition about the criminal justice system. I did a test run of the program at De Anza College in San Jose with 30 students—I had dancers, photographers, painters, sculptors, art historians, and historians all working together in the museum space there.

What we ended up doing was having this really beautiful experience where the folks who didn’t consider themselves artists became the research mind of the project. They would bring their information to the group and say, “Did you know they are building prisons based on third- and fourth-grade test scores?” and that would inspire the artists’ work. For the dancers in the group, we built a simulated cell and they choreographed a piece in that space, navigating the outline of the bed and desk while thinking about the idea of being confined. I am also in talks to set up a program at Rikers Island to go in and work with some of the guys there. So there is a way to address this issue through the arts.

Switching over to the revisionist paintings, what strikes me about the revisionist work is that there are these histories overlapping on one another—a combination of word-of-mouth family tales, and these social studies text books that tell you that black people ain’t shit and white people rule the world. In your paintings, the duality embedded in those histories is always at play. Did you start painting with this intention?
Duality is a perfect word for it because in most of the work there’s this simultaneous idea of absence and presence. Something is gone and something is present. And so I think about the history itself much in the same way. It may not be written in all of the textbooks, but it is still there. I also feel very strongly that most of the history that we have been taught is at best incomplete, and at worse fiction. The more I read history, I realize that all depictions are, to some degree, fiction. We lose something in the interpretation. And as I realized that painters throughout history have embraced this idea of fiction, I have felt complete freedom to address these paintings in a way that made sense for me.

Prior to photography we have these paintings that function as placeholders in our minds for specific historical events. The signing of the Declaration of the Independence is a really great example because the Trumbull painting generally pops in your head when you think of that event. Well that is a complete fiction. That’s not how it happened. Those individuals were never in the same room together signing any document like that. But yet that is the placeholder in our mind. So for me these paintings are a way of altering the placeholders and allowed me to maybe put in some facts that were maybe left out.

‘Space to Forget,’ (2014)

So if you view this painting hanging on the wall through a dominant narrative, the cutout would certainly represented a white baby on the black woman’s back. And what makes that even more powerful for me is that the black woman is dressed in a nice blue dress, which represents a form of empowerment for the time in which the painting is staged. Or am I reading that wrong?
I think there’s two things, one it is significant that you realized that. You see into the history and understand that the individual on the back most likely was white. I didn’t tell you that. That’s your understanding that you bring to the painting. But a lot of people are going to look at that painting and not come to that conclusion.

In your paintings Another Night for Remembrance: Study in Time and 1968/2014 you use this white paint over protest scenes. What was your thought process behind that particular technique?
It was very specific with the Time project. I was really nervous about that. Not nervous because I didn’t think I could do it. I was nervous because I felt like, to a certain degree, I was participating in the very thing that might lead to the erasure of this issue. Once we see something on television, or in print, we are given a kind of permission to forget. And so I wanted to make something that reflects this erasure that happens.

We are talking about Ferguson right now and Eric Garner right now. Are we going to still be talking about it five years from now? Because these issues are likely going to be still happening—I hope not, but historically speaking it’s probably still going to be happening. So for me, the white washing was about a kind of erasure.

Will the piece be in the show?
The piece will be in the show but the piece is not for sale.

What strikes me about you is that you draw from a very personal side to create your work. Why do you make work that is much more personal that a lot of artists would claim to do?
I tried to avoid it for a really long time to be honest with you. I stopped for a while because I got tired of having these deeply personal conversations with people I didn’t know.

Like me.
Yes, but I got to a point where I realized that these conversations, as I create work, have the affect of informing people who may not know. And for the folks that do know, the work says I get you, I understand where you are coming from, and I am coming from the same place. It’s not always easy or comfortable and I don’t always like it and sometimes I pull away from it a little bit because sometimes it is painful.

‘1968/2014,’ (2014)

‘Yet Another Fight for Remembrance,’ 2014

Titus Kaphar’s solo exhibitions Drawing the Blinds and Asphalt and Chalk will open Thursday, January 15, and be on display through February 21 at Jack Shainman Gallery at 513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street.

A portion of Titus Kaphar’s The Jerome Project is currently on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem (144 West 125th Street) through March 8.

Tagged:
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drawing the blinds
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Making Invisible the Visible

Jenny Polak talks about her piece, Host – Emergency Sleeping Systems for Undocumented Guests, a site-specific installation at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, created in response to the story of Barbara Kremer who sheltered in her home 24 people from immigration raids on workers at a meat packing factory in Worthington MN in 2006.

Watch a short video on her piece here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=u-pp3hrAfrw

 

Constructivism & Disequilibrium

As I begin to make an effort towards synthesizing the data I’ve gathered through the Invisibility Lab over the last few months, I find this article by Sandy Speicher particularly relevant and potentially helpful…

Knowledge doesn’t exist in the world,
and you don’t acquire it:
Knowledge exists in our own minds,
through our own active construction.

 

CREATING INSTABILITY

The uncomfortable secret to creative success is “disequilibrium”

Back in the 1950s, the psychologist Jean Piaget observed children to understand how people learn. He concluded that, counter to popular belief, knowledge doesn’t exist in the world, and you don’t acquire it: Knowledge exists in our own minds, through our own active construction. No one really teaches you anything, Piaget claimed. Instead, he believed that we are natural learners, constantly processing the world in order to create our own understanding…

Piaget chose the perfect word to describe this state of misalignment: Disequilibrium…

Disequilibrium happens when you begin to see things in the world that don’t make sense to you…

 

 

The uncomfortable secret to creative success is “disequilibrium”

Flowers of Democracy: Women in the Ukraine and other places of conflict…

“During the last 2 years the situation in my country, as in many other countries in conflict, has become more and more patriarchal. The position of women, especially in war areas, is so difficult. Ideas that the place of women is just in the kitchen, to take care of their men and give birth, are becoming more widespread. At the same time, our women are very active in the “backstage” of war – all volunteer movements in Ukraine are held up on the shoulders of women. Our economy has still not fallen because our women really take care of the army, whilst at the same time, they work to provide money for their families and take care of their children without any social help from the state. Women are more and more becoming 2nd class citizens in our society. Invisible and transparent, they do the work and create the glue that holds society together. Their work is not recognized. It’s beautiful, powerful and strong, they are the flowers of democracy.”

Interview with Ukrainian artist, Maria Kulikovska on the Art Represent.com blog.

http://www.artrepresent.com/blog/maria-kulikovska-interview

Intersectionalty & Positionality

Finally! A description of “Positionality” I can understand.
From Zetta Elliott’s blog:

I woke at 4am this morning knowing I had to be up soon to catch my 7am train to Baltimore. This cold seemed to be over—I made it through yesterday without sneezing once—but today I woke with an impossible headache and by the time my meds kicked in, I’d missed my train. I sent my presentation to the Kidlitcon coordinators and my co-panelist Mary Fan read my remarks for me. I figured I’d post my remarks here and when the video is posted, I’ll share that, too, so you can hear what the other panelists had to say. Not the way I thought this day would go…

Intersectionality: The Next Step in Diverse Books

Good morning! My name is Zetta Elliott and I will be moderating the next panel. I’ll start with brief introductions and then I’ll take a moment to define some key terms.

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy author, first-generation American, lifelong nerd, advocate for women in tech, and nobody’s Asian trophy wife.

Dynamic twin bloggers and debut authors: Guinevere and Libertad Thomas of Twinja Book Reviews create and critique diverse speculative fiction for teens; their debut novel is The Mark of Noba.

And I’m a middle-aged author, educator, scholar, immigrant, self-publisher, and fierce Black feminist advocate for greater diversity AND equity in kid lit.

We live in an either/or world that prefers to put people into simple, separate boxes. But identity is fluid, not fixed and books can help to reveal just how rich and complex our identities really are.

intersectionality-blueman

Understanding intersectionality begins by examining one’s own identity. Privilege has enabled many in the dominant group(s) to avoid considering the multiple ways in which individuals can experience—and perpetuate—oppression. At the same time, the preference for “single-issue books” can limit an author’s ability to explore/expose the various, overlapping systems that create the unfair advantages and disadvantages that shape our lives.

This graphic from the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women shows how each individual exists at the intersection of multiple aspects of identity. The opportunities available to us in this society can be enhanced and/or limited by one or multiple aspects of our identities. The experience of advantage or disadvantage can change from moment to moment—CONTEXT COUNTS.

I found this great definition of intersectionality on the site Geek Feminism Wiki:

Intersectionality is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. The concept first came from legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression. When possible, credit Kimberlé Crenshaw for coining the term “intersectionality” and bringing the concept to wider attention.

imagesIntersectionality has become more widely known and used in recent years, but many people fail to acknowledge the critical role played by Black feminists like Sojourner Truth (who asked “Ain’t I a woman?” back in 1851), Audre Lorde, and legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw who coined the term in a seminal 1989 essay, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.”

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You may have heard the term intersectionality used quite frequently as of late as white feminists reveal that the blindspots they had over a century ago persist to this day. Case in point: the publicity campaign for the forthcoming film Suffragette. The all-white cast posed in t-shirts bearing a quote first made my Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903—it was offensive then, and it’s offensive today. Black women actually WERE slaves, and rebellion isn’t merely a choice made by the righteous. The film focuses exclusively on white women in England even though women around the world also fought for the right to vote—and didn’t get it until long after their white “sisters” did.

When you’re driving, you can’t simply rely upon your car’s rear-view or side-view mirrors to keep you and others safe on the road. You have to look over your shoulder before you change lanes. One way to correct your blindspots when it comes to identity is to always situate yourself in relation to a text—state your particular position so that it’s clear and not allowed to operate invisibly as neutrality.

When you’re reading or reviewing a book, it’s important to publicly locate yourself—state your position because aspects of your identity will impact the way you engage with the text. There’s no such thing as an “average” or “objective” reader (or writer). I found this definition of positionality useful:

“By positionality we mean…that gender, race, class and other aspects of our identities are markers of relational positions rather than essential qualities. Knowledge is valid when it includes an acknowledgment of the knower’s specific position in any context, because changing contextual and relational factors are crucial for defining identities and our knowledge in any given situation.”

In our society, there is a default setting that privileges certain people. If I say, “Look at that doctor!” the default setting teaches us to expect a white, straight, middle- to upper middle-class man, probably middle-aged or older, wearing a white lab coat. If I say, “Look at that woman doctor!” the default has been manually adjusted in terms of gender, but all the other “settings” remain the same.

We ALL have blindspots. Did you catch mine? A while back (during the highly publicized transition of Caitlyn Jenner) I offended a dear friend by posting an article on Facebook that said some reactionary things about transwomen. When she questioned my decision to post it, I responded defensively, insisting “A lot of women are feeling anxious right now.” I should have said, “A lot of cis-gender women are feeling anxious right now” because that’s the position I was speaking from and it acknowledges the perspective of transwomen (which might be different).

indexPlease read this blog. Every single post. Here’s how contributor Allie Jane Bruce came to an understanding of intersectionality by positioning herself in relation to others:

Over the next few weeks–months–years, I gradually became aware of a world of exemptions, of -isms I’ve never had to deal with. I am a woman, yes. I am also White, heterosexual, cisgender, and not disabled. I am a documented citizen, I am housed, I am educated. None of these things change the fact that as a woman, I experience sexism (as it manifests against white women). But similarly, my woman-ness doesn’t alter the truth that I belong to the dominant group along these and many other identifiers.

I decided this past year to stop sending my books out for review. Only 2% of published children’s book authors in the US are Black, and after struggling for over a decade to sell my many manuscripts, I finally decided to self-publish. I was thrilled when the Reading While White blog appeared; I consider many of the contributors friends and allies, and I know that white women will NEVER listen to me the same way they will listen to another white woman.

I operate in fields that are dominated by white women—whether I’m dealing with a school, a library, a publisher, or a nonprofit, I will likely have to deal with a white woman gatekeeper who isn’t from my community, doesn’t know much about my culture, and yet has a lot more power than me. The same is true when it comes to reviewers. It’s not enough just to read diverse books. Marginalized writers need members of the dominant group(s) to acknowledge their advantages and the role their GROUP has played in creating and maintaining disparities. Do start with the woman in the mirror—but then join those who are committed to equity and not only diversity.

OCTOBER 18 CRIT SESSION POST

[ADD IMAGES FROM G-DOC VERSION]

Greetings from Ireland!

Due to a misunderstanding regarding my 90 day visa limitations, I’m currently working in the midst of several disruptions and relocations as I bide time out of the Schengen area (visiting Liverpool, Istanbul, and Donegal) so that I may reenter next week to present my work at the conference in Lisbon before finally flying home. I will have been away for 3.5 months total! And, while I would love to eventually permanently live in one place here in Europe (namely Berlin) I am about ready to go home again.

I’m right now deep in the final planning/designing phases for my “1,000 Invisible Things” performance lecture which will incorporate a 20 minute audio soundtrack that includes 2 musical scores woven together, some spoken word elements that will fade in and out throughout the soundscape, an ephemeral, minimal video as a backdrop, and some very minimal live performance actions by yours truly. I don’t have much to share with you on that at the moment since it is in so many different parts. But here’s an image from the process of gathering material and communicating with my collaborators…

Now… what to share with you for critique?

Well, I ended up debuting the Invisibility Lab in Berlin during Berlin Art Week rather than waiting for the conference in Lisbon. So that was super exciting for me!

Unfortunately, I had an unexpected setback just a couple of days before the opening event when a strong gust of wind ripped through the terrace where I had my Invisibility Lab tent set up, and destroyed the tent, snapping a leg and toppling it over. While I was at first, really deeply upset and stressed out about it, I thought about Andrew’s guidance – to always identify the true essence of a thing – to get down to that finest little element that is really the basis of whatever we’re creating. I realized then, that it wasn’t the structure that identifies the Invisibility Lab, but rather the content and engagement – the actual research and what we’re creating together inside the Lab.

This realization was very helpful as I searched for another location to situate the Lab in time for the Openhaus event at ZK/U on September 14th. (I remember now saying this summer, that I really like to engage with space, improvising a presentation based on the limitations and opportunities that are presented – be they time, space, audience, etc. So this situation presented just this type of opportunity.)

I set up a long table and chairs tucked into an area near the entrance to the Main Hall and exhibition space. I set out the Lab Sheets, displayed some apothecary jars and arranged some lighting. On opening night, wearing a lab coat and holding a clipboard, I welcomed people to the Invisibility Lab and invited them to add something to the Archive of Invisible Things.

I’m now realizing, I created, in essence an invisible lab where we’re researching invisibility… This is definitely not what I’d planned originally, but it evolved this way naturally. I worried about how it might complicate the one-to-one private performance sessions, but even those seemed to succeed as the intimate experiences that I’d intended them to be, even within the public space.

I have a lot of documentation, but I’ll post just a few images here so you get a sense of what was happening in the space.

 

Below are the blank forms people were filling out in Lab #1. I plan to publish them – either online or in book form. Right now, they are in a portfolio with plastic sleeves, so you can read both the front and back of each form. I’m excited that a few people are actually filling in the specimen label using their own language, but so far, most of them are in English. (Maybe I need to make that suggestion more clear.)

 

I’m getting French, Turkish and Portuguese translations for these now…

Here is a form being filled in during the lab.

It was surprising to me that people took quite a long time to fill out the forms – much longer than I expected. The image below is one of the ZK/U founders filling out a form. You can see, people were really giving the questions some serious thought. It took anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to fill out, depending on how much inner searching they had to do to find their answers.

The Lab #2 performance experiment is a collaborative drawing and live-action video capture of our hands creating the work together. I also recorded our discussion about invisibility and plan to use the audio and video in future works…

The guys below wanted to do the lab experiment together – which was really interesting. They’re both psychology students and they were really inspired by the whole concept. I found their answers and perspectives fascinating – and each a bit different. I haven’t had time to listen/review the audio and video yet, but look forward to at some point in the next few days, as I hope to be able to float a few of their sentences in over the audio score we’re creating for Lisbon…

For fun, Farid and I made a short performance video of me interacting with the archive. I’m not sure if/where I will use it, but I’m including it here for feedback, suggestions, or laughs. I still need to add credits and perhaps other image fades at the end… but here it is in its current form. I’m totally open to any feedback you’d like to give.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AjwTH5PGLk

I have been making a lot of audio recordings – some of which will find their way into the ambient soundscape I’m creating with the help of a sound engineer for my upcoming performance lecture in Lisbon. Unfortunately, it is not yet complete, so I can’t include it for this round.

This recording is of me reading the list of 1000 invisible things in my collection. Other recordings I’ve made this summer/fall include whispers, the sound of the jars rolling across the floor, the lids being opened and closed, vocalizing, singing, humming, tapping, etc.

{Sorry, I can’t seem to add it here, so I’ll put it in the email for you}

There’s so much material to share with you all, but I’m going to stop here for now. I must get back to preparing the video for my performance.

One of the big questions I have is how best to archive and share this material. The documentation and research is as much a part of the finished work as any creative mash-ups I make along the way…

I’m thinking of creating one website to host anything related to the Invisibility Lab, where I can post events, publish the forms, gather and arrange the data, upload videos, audio, news pieces, etc… but I’m having a little difficulty organizing all of my material and thoughts around this…

My Transart reviewer this summer, An Panheuysen, suggested I look at the website Center for Dying on Stage which you can check out. I’d like to figure this out sooner than later so people have a place to go to learn more, see their contributions to the Archive of Invisible Things, and see what events are coming up – but of course, this project will have to wait until after Lisbon.

I look forward to any suggestions you have on this or any other things that strike you!

Thank you in advance. Can’t wait to hear your feedback!

Best,

Gabrielle

INVISIBILITY LAB – BERLIN ART WEEK

This is a quick update – just to get some images posted. More to come…

Gabrielle Senza
gsenza

Life can really get in the way sometimes

It’s remarkable how much time some of the most basic things in life can take. From daily chores, to following up on emails with important contacts, to simply taking care of oneself and/or one’s family… A whole day can pass without ever getting to the creative, juicy part that makes you jazzed about being free and alive at this moment in your life.

And then there’s tomorrow… and with it, the promise of yet another chance at accomplishing what you want to accomplish. So may it be… so may it please be.

Workshop Notes – Performing the Archive

On Kawara –

Marking the experience of life and time.

Lejeune writes extensively on diaries – proof of life

Linda Montano &

Jamie McMurray – 365 Performances

Joshua Sofaer – Perform Everyday (what>, 2008) – includes objects & instructions – book is over $80 on Amazon (rare)

Thanasis Chondros & Alexandra Katsiani – Greek couple who have performed together over 25 years – and everyone in Greece has seen their work. Not doing it anymore though…

Repetition…

Ethics of Art – of trying to represent the experience of someone else – it’s authenticity? – the authorship?

** Think about: Recording the audience member’s experience of an event/performance/etc.

Presentation Assignment – Perform the Presentation – Who is presenting? The Collector or someone who has found this collection? ### Present as the collector or as someone who has found the collection…

 

 

 

Night of the Black Snow

Firebombing of Tokyo.jpgThe Bombing of Tokyo (東京大空襲 Tōkyōdaikūshū) often refers to a series of firebombing air raids by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II. On the night of 9–10 March 1945, Operation Meetinghouse was conducted and is regarded as the single most destructive bombing raid in human history:[1] 16 square miles (41 km2) of central Tokyo was annihilated, over 1 million were made homeless with an estimated 100,000 civilian deaths. The Japanese later called this event Night of the Black Snow.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Tokyo

Kayoko mentioned these in the Performing the Archive workshop