[-empyre-] LA memorial/screening

Alex Juhasz Alexandra_Juhasz at pitzer.edu
Sat Feb 23 04:47:31 EST 2013

I have been reading the posts here for the last few weeks and have been very grateful and moved by the response of this community to Beatriz's life and work.
I also appreciate the use of this space for the tender and necessary project of online-community mourning and celebration.

I wanted to share with you that we are in the last phases of organizing the LA memorial for Beatriz, as well as asking for your guidance.
This will take place at LACE, on Wednesday April 17, I think from 6-9 (although the times are not 100% set).
When I began this conversation with Beatriz—a friend of mine for just the past few years, I met her through our mutual friend Rachel when Beatriz was already quite sick—we were planning a screening of her most recent project, Dying for the Other<http://beatrizdacosta.net/Dying_for_the_Other/>, after she had sent out a call to friends and colleagues (I think in November), asking us to help mobilize a tour of the just-completed work. At that time, along with Robert Crouch at LACE, Robert Nideffer, and Ciara Ennis (who runs our galleries where I teach, at Pitzer), we began to organize a screening and panel discussion with Donna Haraway and Catherine Lord, which I would moderate and Beatriz might attend. At this time, Beatriz was having some difficulty managing all the decisions necessary for such an event, but it was stunning and moving to see her try to keep firm control over the shape of the projection, reception, and distribution of her work. Stunning and moving in that she was having difficulties with much of life's most mundane details, but somehow managed to stay true and committed to managing her own vision of the life her work, and herself, the artist, in the world.

In the past few weeks, we have been working together, closely, to honor her wishes for this screening, while also attending to the LA community's desire for a memorial. At this time, Donna, Catherine and I are beginning to conceive of a dance-like evening, that moves from screening, to panel conversation about her new work, to personal reflections on her life and work in a wholistic rather than programatic way (i.e in chunks). Needless to say, it is an affair we are all attending to with close care, love, and sensitivity. I would love feedback on this forum (or off) about other ideas or needs her friends and colleagues might have for this evening in LA.


Alex Juhasz
Media Studies
Pitzer College
alexandra_juhasz at pitzer.edu<mailto:alexandra_juhasz at pitzer.edu>

On Feb 22, 2013, at 9:28 AM, Renate Ferro wrote:

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
Dear Heidi,  My week has been bogged down with admissions
responsibilities so my apologies for not responding.  Your post about
the culture at Carnegie Mellon at the time I have heard from many
others as well was remarkable but before we close the week I am hoping
you will write to us a bit more about tNa?  Is there any documentation
of the piece that you created together?

I hope you will have time to make another post this week.  Renate

On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 2:31 PM, Heidi Kumao <hkumao at umich.edu<mailto:hkumao at umich.edu>> wrote:
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Hi all,

I’ve been reading what everyone has written and became especially nostalgic when Antoinette was describing the Robotic Cello piece.  Shani (Beatriz) and I started sharing a studio at Carnegie Mellon University at that time, and I witnessed almost every aspect of that project’s construction and complexities…oh, the golden days!

I will start my writing here by sharing some of my impressions and memories of Shani  as she was just establishing herself in the U.S. as an artist.

I first met Shani in late 1999 at Carnegie Mellon where she was an exchange student from Aix-En-Provence finishing her thesis project (the cello) and I was a Research Fellow at the Studio for Creative Inquiry.  I was sitting in on Simon Penny’s course on technology, theory, and culture, which had an amazing array of artists, engineers, computer scientists, and other interested parties (including Shani) all joining into the lively class discussions. The culture of Carnegie Mellon’s art community at that time was incredibly fluid in terms of the art and technology crowd.  Potlucks, parties, and meetings at bars would always include a mixture of art students and faculty, as well as Ph.D. students in robotics, computer science, and AI.  It was a magical time to be at Carnegie Mellon as it was the home base for many great tactical media practitioners and artist collectives including: Critical Art Ensemble, Simon Penny, Institute for Applied Autonomy, SubRosa and other groups working out of the Studio for Creative Inquiry, a think tank for creative research . Working collaboratively was commonplace and we all seemed to share similar ideas about the function of art and the artist in society.  I say all this to frame the environment that Shani and many of us shared at that time, and also to contextualize what would become integral aspects of her working process.

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