[-empyre-] Week 3 on empyre: Paul Vanouse, Amanda McDonald Crowley, Claire Penacost, and Heidi Kumao

Claire Pentecost cpentecost at saic.edu
Thu Feb 21 01:04:20 EST 2013

Many thanks to empyre for creating this space and then for offering it to
Shani's friends and collaborators for the month. We are typically scattered
and it is otherwise hard to find the means for a collective contemplation,
celebration and mourning of a singular life, its coherencies, tangents and
enduring enigmas. I for one will not be able to make the memorial in New
York, as i will be on my way to Europe to work on various things.

Thanks to all who have been posting. I have read and reread your thoughts
and memories which make me feel a kind of aching fullness. I am learning
many things about Shani and the ripples her work and life initiated. These
posts also offer me perspective on my own relationship with her, and how it
may have differed a bit from that of others. Although i was always keenly
aware of how important work was to Shani, for whatever reason, our time
together evolved into something less about work than about personal
challenges and transitions. We never lived in the same place so our contact
was episodic, brief, intense. And yet i seemed to catch her at times that
she wanted to slow things down. Now that it's time to contribute something
to the list i find it difficult; there seems to be a consensus that Shani
would have wanted us to focus more on her work than anything else, but what
i have to offer is of a more personal nature and i'm unsure of what i'm at
liberty to disclose.

I remember meeting Shani in some unknown year when she came to chicago with
CAE and they came to our house to hang out for an evening. She was so young
and vibrant and charming! In 2002 we collaborated on the Molecular Invasion
installation at the Corcoran, though we were sort of in charge of different
parts of that project, she on collaborating with the scientist (shoot, i
can't find his name just now) and i procuring seeds and managing everything
to do with growing plants in a gallery. From then on we would coincide at
various events like the Next Five Minutes in Amsterdam where she and CAE
were doing a version of Free Range Grains, in Paris on a panel at the 4S
annual meeting, in Buffalo around the infamous case of the DOJ against
Steve Kurtz, in Irvine at conferences. In 2004 we wrote a paper together
exploring the effects of the Patriot Act on the sciences (Of Patriots and
Profits, Radical History Review, Fall 2005, vol.93). We had some difficulty
working out the terms of this collaboration (under a deadline of course),
but one of the things i loved about Shani was that we could argue and even
express fairly negative emotions but she got over the strife very quickly
and didn't hold a grudge. I always appreciated her honesty and
disinclination to let resentment simmer.

I think our richest time together was when she talked me into going with
her to the World Social Forum in Nairobi in 2007. I had been twice before
to the wsf, once in Mumbai and again in Caracas. I wasn't going to go this
time but Shani could be very persuasive. She arranged housing for us at the
apartment of a colleague's family. We spent long days in sessions at the
forum and long evenings on the porch of our borrowed (rented really)
apartment just talking about everything imaginable. When the forum was over
we spent a couple of days exploring wildlife parks in the area. I will look
for photos. This was 10 days at a relatively leisurely pace. I knew about
the Shani who was always in a hurry, but that is not the Shani i
experienced. We talked about this pace, her feeling that she probably
didn't have much time in life, and her desire for time to step back and

Since Shani died, i have been diagnosed with breast cancer myself. My case
is so mild compared to what she faced that there is hardly room for
comparison but still, it makes me miss her in new ways. I'm struck again by
the courage and energy it takes to do the kind of research she did into her
own disease, to hold the balance between realism and optimism. This is a
very precise skill and she applied all her talents to the task; no doubt
the research and knowing was a powerful coping mechanism typical of her way
of dealing with all kinds of things. The last time i saw her was about a
year ago. She had been through so much by then but her humor seemed to be
the quality most in charge that evening.


On Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 10:54 AM, Renate Ferro <rtf9 at cornell.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thanks to Antoinette and Brooke for being our guest this week on empyre.
> Antoinette your last post on some of the historical precedents
> involving women and cellos was interesting.  I am also reminded of the
> various collaborations that cellist Charlotte Moorman accomplished
> with Nam June Paik. A quick image search of the two artists brought up
> a number of images.
> Thanks so much for the post.
> This week on empyre we welcome Paul Vanouse, Amanda McDonald Crowley,
> Claire Penacost, and Heidi Kumao. Their biographies are posted below
> and welcome them warmly to -empyre soft-skinned space. I am hoping
> that all of our guests from other weeks will feel free to post as
> their schedules permit and that any -empyre subscriber that is lurking
> in on our conversation who knew Beatriz or was inspired by her work to
> please post.  For anyone missing the discussion thus far, the entire
> conversation can be accessed in our archive at:
> http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/2013-February/date.html
> Best to all of you. Renate Ferro
> Biographies
> Week 3
> Paul Vanouse is a Professor of Visual Studies at the University at
> Buffalo. and has worked in emerging technological media forms since
> 1990.  His biological experiments, electronic cinema, and interactive
> installations have exhibited in over 20 countries and across the US.
> His recent projects, “Latent Figure Protocol”, “Ocular Revision” and
> “Suspect Inversion Center” use molecular biology techniques to
> challenge “genome-hype” and to confront issues surrounding DNA
> fingerprinting.
> Paul and Beatriz began their friendship at Carnegie Mellon in the late
> Nineties, while Paul was a  Fellow at the Studio for Creative Inquiry
> and Beatriz was finishing her degree. They taught together at the
> University at Buffalo, exhibited alongside one another in group
> exhibitions, and organized panels and workshops together, including
> Wetware Hackers workshop for ISEA 2006 in San Jose.  Paul and Beatriz
> have dialoged and collaborated for over fifteen years and she will be
> dearly missed.
> Amanda McDonald Crowley is a cultural worker, curator, and facilitator
> who creates media and contemporary art programs that encourage
> cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and exchange. Recent
> curatorial efforts include Our Haus, the 10th Anniversary exhibition
> for the Austrian Cultural Forum, NY. In late 2012 she did a residency
> as a Bogliasco Fellow, working on curatorial research at the
> intersection between art, food, and technology. Amanda is also
> currently a Board member of the National Alliance for Media Art +
> Culture (NAMAC) in the USA. She has been Director of the Australian
> Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) where she made significant links
> with science and industry by developing a range of residencies for
> artists in settings such as science organizations, contemporary art
> spaces and virtual residencies online. She was Associate Director of
> the Adelaide Festival 2002 in Australia, and also co-chair of the
> working group that organized the exhibition and symposium ‘conVerge:
> where art and science meet’. Critical Art Ensemble were to present
> their collaboration with Beatriz at that Festival. Alas, the Festival
> wasn't able to support the performance. While Executive Producer at
> ISEA2004 (the International Symposium for Electronic Arts 2004) held
> in Tallinn,  Estonia and Helsinki, Finland, and on a cruiser ferry in
> the Baltic sea, she finally met Beatriz who suggested that she
> consider professional options in the USA post ISEA. Amanda told
> Beatriz she would never move to the USA. 18 months later, when she
> became  Executive Director of Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New
> York City, Beatriz commented "never is not a very long time in your
> language it seems". When Amanda first arrived at Eyebeam in late 2005,
> Beatriz, with Preemptive Media, were commissioned to develop Area's
> Immediate Reading. Beatriz was also a member of the last residency
> program cohort Amanda oversaw at Eyebeam in 2011, where Beatriz was
> researching and developing her final projects Dying for the Other and
> Anti-Cancer Survival Kit.
> Claire Penacost: Claire Pentecost’s work engages diverse
> strategies—collaboration, research, teaching, field work, writing,
> lecturing, drawing, installation and photography—in an ongoing
> interrogation of the institutional structures that order knowledge.
> Her work has long addressed the contested boundary between natural and
> artificial, focusing the last fourteen years on food, agriculture and
> bio-engineering. Pentecost was a presenting artist at dOCUMENTA(13) in
> Kassel, Germany, and is represented by Higher Pictures in New York.
> She is a Professor in the Department of Photography at the School of
> the Art Institute of Chicago and often collaborates with Compass in
> the Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor.
> Heidi Kumao:  Emerging from the intersection of sculpture, theater and
> engineering, Heidi Kumao’s installations, experimental films, and
> machine art works generate artistic spectacle in order to explore the
> psychological underpinnings of everyday situations.  Each work
> restages simple behaviors (e.g. gardening, writing, standing upright,
> reading) within a larger cultural construct (such as a prison,
> family/home or traditional gender roles) through projection, kinetic
> elements or electronics. Through these performative tableaus and
> hybrid art forms, Kumao demonstrates how small gestures, even the most
> private and poetic, can become acts of defiance.
> She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in the USA,
> Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Canada including solo shows at the Museu
> da Imagem e do Som (São Paulo), Museu de Arte Moderne (Buenos Aires)
> and Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. Group exhibitions include
> SIGGRAPH 2011 (Vancouver), Wing Luke Asian Art Museum (Seattle), and
> Usina do Gasômetro Cultural Center (Porto Alegre, Brazil).  She has
> been awarded numerous national fellowships, grants, residencies and
> awards including: a Guggenheim Fellowship, an AAUW Post-doctoral
> Fellowship, a Creative Capital Grant in Emerging Fields/Robotics, and
> fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York
> Foundation for the Arts, and Art Matters (NYC).
> Heidi Kumao is an Associate Professor in the Stamps School of Art &
> Design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she teaches a
> range of classes in media, time-based art forms, and conceptual art
> practice.
> --
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
> Cornell University
> Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
> Ithaca, NY  14853
> Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
> URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
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Claire Pentecost
Professor, Department of Photography
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
cpente at saic.edu
skype: clairepentecost
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