[-empyre-] Week Four Guests: Bode, Watson, Rujoiu

Sarah Watson swat at hunter.cuny.edu
Wed Sep 30 04:23:31 AEST 2015

Sorry for the slow entry into -empyre-.  I want to start by thanking Tim Murray and Renate Ferro for inviting me to participate in this month's dialogue and to also thank everyone who has been involved in the realization of "The Experimental Television Center: A History, Etc..."  There was an incredible energy in the gallery Thursday evening and a multi-generational coming together of artists like nothing I have witnessed before.
On my first day away for the gallery, I have spent the morning navigating my way through the wonderful and thought provoking conversations that have been unfolding over the past few weeks.  Re-reading some of the early posts by Sherry Miller Hocking and Kathy High and catching up with some of the more recent posts.  There are so many things I want to respond to, expand on, and inquire about!   I'll start with the machines.
Maureen Turim in a post from earlier this week states "The process unfold that artists were not just using tools, but working to engage technologies that had their own creative and deconstructive potentials.  In other word the machines needed to be read..."
I find the poetic and conceptual possibilities of the machines and the artist's role in reading them endlessly interesting as it relates both to the early analog machines with their innate physicality and as well as to less tactical contemporary tools.  I think the ETC was at the forefront of this engagement throughout its long tenure, offering up a tremendous challenge and freedom to the artists who worked in residency there.  The ETC cultivated an open space of experimentation--void of the hyper-criticality that can infect institutions of higher learning--providing artists the opportunity to live with the machines, to get to know one another.  So many of artists who have contributed to empyre this month as well as those included in the exhibition have remarked on the unique and powerful experience afforded by eating and sleeping with the machines.
I think it is accurate to say as a society we now often find ourselves eating and sleeping with our machines, they become extensions of ourselves. The challenge for artists to read the machine is still as important as ever--to engage with their technologies and to co-opt them away from their destructive potentials.  What can artists learn from the ETC’s approach to this? Beyond the interaction with the machine, what else goes into owning our technology?  I think as Peer Bode brought up it is to “find your communities and take care of each other.” While the ETC continued to build and push the boundaries of tool making, they also fostered a real physical community of people, they stressed doing and making and a human touch.  All of these impulses can be found today in the rise of maker-spaces; the interest in building micro communities; the renewed interest in the handmade, the analogue, in craft, and so on.
I think Lynne Sachs summed it up in her -empyre- post from last week "We are all Kinoks, grappling with the shot and the edit, building our manifesto, trying to articulate our own particular understanding of the relationship between our bodies as organisms and the machine."

On Sep 26, 2015, at 12:11 PM, Timothy Conway Murray wrote:

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------Hi, again, everyone,

Thanks so much to Maureen Turim, Jason Bernagozzi, and Benton Bainbridge
for sharing their thoughts in-between the ETC opening and the Jewish
holidays over the past week.

We are rounding out September's discussion of "Video: Behind and Beyond"
with contributions from one of the pionneers of the medium, Peer Bode, and
two curators who have been so successful in bringing together different
generations of international artists to exhibit and contemplate the
lasting legacy of video and its digital interfaces, Sarah Watson of the
Hunter College Galleries and Anca Rujoiu of the Centre for Contemporary
Art of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.  I have enjoyed
working closely with Sarah on the Hunter exhibition, and celebrate her
exciting and judicious installation of the show, and I also so admire the
curatorial interventions of Anca with whom I've had the pleasure of
working in Singapore.

We welcome all three of you to the final days of our discussion and look
forward to hearing your thoughts.

Peer Bode (US) is Professor of Video Arts at the School of Art and Design
and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Institute for Electronic Arts (IEA),
NYSCC at Alfred University in Alfred, NY.  In 1976 Peer became the ETC
program¹s coordinator and artist in residence. It was during this period
that Peer made an impressive body of seminal early works. These were
exhibited broadly in New York, including exhibits at the Anthology Film
Archives, the Kitchen and the New York Avant Garde Film Festival. In
collaborations with David Jones at ETC, Peer assisted in the construction
of the Jones Frame Buffer, an instrument which has become a signature
processor within Peer's oeuvre. Peer has the distinction of creating some
of the earliest digital prints and digital video artworks. Other
collaborations from this period include video and dance works with
choreographers Bill T. Jones, Arnie Zane and Lois Welk together with Meryl
Blackman and Cara Brownell. As the ETC Program Coordinator, Peer assisted
numerous artists in realizing major works, including Shigeko Kubota,
Walter Wright, Doris Chase, Jud Yalcut, Gary Hill and Richard Kostelanetz.
In 1987 Peer became head of the Video Arts Program at the School of Art
and Design, NYSCC at Alfred University.  He has exhibited works in
international festivals and exhibitions, including the European Media Art
Festival (Osnabrück, Germany), Impakt Film and Video Art Festival (the
Netherlands), Viper Festival (Lucern, Switzerland), Image Farm (Hiroshima,
Japan), and across China.

Anca Rujoiu (SG), is a Romanian curator currently based in Singapore. She
is a curator for exhibitions at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
and curator
at FormContent, a curatorial initiative in London. Previously, she
coordinated the public programme of the School of Fine Art at the Royal
College of Art (UK).
With FormContent she explored various curatorial models and challenged the
relationship between artist/curator often overlapping their roles in the
process. Her
recent project with FormContent, It's Moving from I to It unfolded as a
performative script within a nomadic structure testing formats of
production and distribution. She has been a visiting lecturer at various
universities including Goldsmiths College, Central Saint Martins
University and Newcastle and television productions, artists' publications.

Sarah Watson (US)is the Chief Curator of the Hunter College Art Galleries
and co-organized, designed, and mounted the current ETC exhibition at
Hunter College Art Galliers. Since joining the galleries in 2012, she has
co-organized numerous exhibitions and their accompanying public
programming, including: Robert Barry: All the things I know . . . 1962 to
the present; Robert Motherwell and the New York School at Hunter; Gego and
Gerd Leufert: a dialogue; Héctor Fuenmayor: Citrus 6906; Open Work in
Latin America, New York & Beyond: Conceptualism Reconsidered; William
Anastasi: Sound Works 1963 to 2013; and Conceptual Abstraction.
Watson has served as a juror for Independent Curators International
Curatorial Intensive Program and sits on the Foundation To-Life, Inc.,
Arthur and Carol
Kaufman Goldberg Visiting Curator Committee at Hunter College.  Prior to
her arrival at Hunter College, She worked as the assistant curator for an
international private art collection. Watson holds an MA in Art History
from Hunter College and a BFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts, Peer, Sarah, and Anca.

Tim and Renate

Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Taylor Family Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
A D White House
Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York 14853

empyre forum
empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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