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

Amanda McDonald Crowley amandamcdc at gmail.com
Sat Feb 23 16:37:42 EST 2013

Thanks Renate for the invitation and the moderation. Sorry that it has taken me until today to post.

I asked specifically to respond this week, because it was my birthday last Friday. Lets just say it was a significant birthday. And let me add that it was a birthday that Shani will never attain. So if felt appropriate, or poignant. Nonetheless, I've been struggling all week with how to write about Shani's research practice instead of telling a personal story about myself and my relationship to her. But I've realised that its not really possible, nor is it even necessary.

Additionally, I've been busy all week on helping to set up her memorial service for Sunday at Postmasters. Perhaps I am channelling Shani and just keeping busy. Looking to the future; only looking back if it will help to forge a path forward.

But the fact of the matter is that our lives are complex and I can't talk about Shani's life or her work without weaving a story. 

I also asked Renate to be paired with Paul, as over the last couple of years, Paul and I have checked in with one another quite a bit on what each of us knew of Shani's condition at any given time. In December he reached out to me. But I was in Italy on a residency myself, so couldn't give him an on-the-ground update. It felt a little helpless.

The last time I saw Shani was at a workshop and dinner that she planned and presented as part of Art, Environment, Action! at the Sheila C Johnson Design Center at Parsons, The New School. It was a memorable dinner on many levels. It was astounding that Shani was there and able to introduce the event: she was shunning a walking frame, but could not go very far without it. And she was so determined. My own research at the moment is on art, food, and technology. So I spend a lot of time contemplating how what we consume influences the health of the planet and our own health. Shani's last body of work does that too. The meal was prepared collaboratively by the audience. That felt very special. And it was delicious. Her collaborator, Michelle Fuerst, thoughtfully helped us all to understand how to cook the meal, just as Shani helped us to understand how the ingredients might be healthful to her, and to us.

Over the last month I have also really appreciated that people have referenced Shani's persuasive bent, her dedication to her work. Lets face it: sometimes she was just plain bossy. Claire's post reminded me that the first time I met Shani was at Next 5 Minutes in Amsterdam. She was certainly bossy there, as she made sure that the Free Range Grain installation was properly presented. In Helsinki in 2004 during the ISEA Festival she suggested to me that I look at opportunities in the USA, post my Festival work. I dismissed the idea summarily, but when I did arrive at Eyebeam 18 months later, there was Shani, working with Brooke and Jamie on Area's Immediate Reading, one of my favourite Eyebeam projects. Though the project was beautiful, her regret, even then was that a commission (AiR was a commission) didn't give her enough opportunity to just play and explore at Eyebeam. Heidi's comment that she was always wanting to learn new skills reminded me also of this. I was lucky, as both Brooke and Beatriz were later accepted respectively for a fellowship and a residency, though at different times.

Indeed Shani's last series of works were conceived at Eyebeam. It wasn't an easy time for her, or for me. But it was rewarding.

Today I went to Union Square Markets. Shani discovered that there is a baker in New York city who makes Ruisleipä. Our mutual friend in Finland, Minna, will understand how splendid that is. I'll bring the Ruisleipä to Postmasters on Sunday. It will be perfect with smoked fish. I'll slice the onions on the chopping board that was in the gift basket I received as a parting gift from Eyebeam, with the knowledge that Shani had a hand in ensuring that the gift basket contained that very lovely chopping board.

And I'm curating an exhibition at gallery at calIT2 in April, that looks at how food systems, the health of our bodies and the health of our ecosystems - our planet -  are intertwined. Shani's work will be in it. Her work and her research has influenced me. Just as my work influenced her.

We work in an eco-system. May we find the strength to influence change through our work. Our life depends upon it.


On Feb 22, 2013, at 12:44 PM, Renate Ferro wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear Claire,  Thanks so much for this incredibly personal snapshot of
> Beatriz.  I think that so many of us have been affected by what
> appears to be an epidemic of breast cancer. I agree with you so much
> in that what was so remarkable about  Beatriz was how she was able to
> turn such personal adversity into the impetus for artistic creation
> and research.  One such project, The Anti-Cancer Survival Kit
> http://anticancersurvivalkit.net/
> is a project that so many of her friends and associates will continue
> to work on her behalf. A couple of posts have mentioned this work
> previously but I have attached the url above again.
> Best Wishes in your full recovery Claire.  Renate
> On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 9:04 AM, Claire Pentecost <cpentecost at saic.edu> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> 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 contemplate.
>> 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.
>> claire
>> 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
>>>      http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
>>> Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net
>>> Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
>>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu/
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empyre
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> --
>> Claire Pentecost
>> Professor, Department of Photography
>> The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
>> cpente at saic.edu
>> www.clairepentecost.org
>> www.publicamateur.wordpress.com
>> skype: clairepentecost
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> -- 
> 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
>      http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
> Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net
> Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu/
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empyre
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Amanda McDonald Crowley
Cultural Worker, Curator
current research: Art/Tech/Food

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20130223/7dcd11aa/attachment.htm>

More information about the empyre mailing list