[-empyre-] The task is to carry on, but it is often incredibly difficult.

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Fri Mar 10 08:21:17 AEDT 2017


“The task is to carry on, but it is often incredibly difficult.”


Aviva, Thank you so much for bravely sharing the circumstances around your life and work.  How uncanny it is the boundaries between life and art become so entrwined. Your installations are brave and I am hoping that you will share with us a link to your research and work. What I will try here to do is empathize with both the personal and professional challenges that face you every day and say that our networked community of -empyre–soft skinned space supports all of your work and I hope that you find our collective, virtual energy enough to move ahead when your own reserves seem to be low.  In solidarity. 

To the rest of our -empyre- network we would love to hear what you are doing and how your lives and work, research and life have shifted, changed and morphed in light of the evolving state of the world.  

 Renate

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ghostnets at ghostnets.com<ghostnets at ghostnets.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 11:32 AM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] The global Trump effect
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>


----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
The most powerful t. effect is personal and intimate. 
I have been hesitant to jump into this discussion because it is so ubiquitous in my life now, I can hardly bear more. I teach at Stony Brook University, the most diverse school for students from all over the world, and it is obsessive there. i teach a class in Collective Action and Advocacy in the Sustainability Dept. to earnest young people, who are over-whelmed, but the department policy is to avoid direct allusuions to this "administration”. My most important collaborator is Dr. Jim White, Director of the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the Univ of CO at Boulder, tasked with monitoring climate change, where I’m an Affiliate, and we both work with Dr. Gene Turner, who has been monitoring the Gulf Spill, which continues to destroy the third largest watershed in the world. My own present work is a series of installations in the path of natural gas pipelines, to try to stop them with a combination of copyright law and eminent domain law. All my colleagues, feminists and artists working on climate change,  biodiversity and nuclear issues have their hair on fire and speak of waking up in tears every morning. As I move forward, I am literally in fear of my life. Recently, someone tangential to my project, The Blues Trees Symphony, was shot dead with 150 rounds, for shooting at a natural gas pipeline. That’s just the professional part. 

Personally, as a someone living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who couldn’t accrue enuf quarters for social security due to disability,and as a cancer survivor, assaults on health care, environmental protection and unleashing banks to do as they please, my life is threatened in a whole other panorama of horrific outcomes.  The upshot, is that I sleep walk thru every day with chronic PTSD, while trying to see a future that is a beacon to the diverse nationalities of the young people I teach, and plan events that might thwart the global effects of fossil fuel proliferation, that could endanger my collaborators. I think many people I know are living like this now.

Intellectually, I have long analysed the relationship between over-population and species decline under threat and pressure. I think t. is a “natural” corrective for what our species has failed to manage more wisely. What I never anticipated, was the sheer cruelty of those who are implementing his regime. It is disheartening in a whole other dimension of reality that even Hitler could not have imagined.

The task is to carry on, but it is often incredibly difficult.


“What the world needs is a good housekeeper.”
Aviva Rahmani, PhD
Affiliate INSTAAR, University of CO. at Boulder
https://www.nyfa.org/ArtistDirectory/ShowProject/1446ef3a-0a9d-4449-96be-74023eb9c376
Watch “Blued Trees”:  https://vimeo.com/135290635
www.ghostnets.com <http://www.ghostnets.com/>
www.gulftogulf.org <http://www.gulftogulf.org/>

On Mar 9, 2017, at 11:05 AM, Renate Terese Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu> wrote:

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------

Thanks William  for your perspectives from Barcelona.  I teach at Cornell University in upstate New York.  It is so true that in the course of a few weeks the “temperature” politically and socially has changed for not only citizens living within the United States but also globally.  That said I wanted to share a few of the personal instances where personal lives are affected.  At Cornell we have declared our university to be a safe space with many of the departments putting up statements on their websites.  In fact the art department posted this one about a month ago. Just under ABOUT US there you will find it.  http://aap.cornell.edu/academics/art/about

Working with students both undergraduate and graduate I find students daily whose parents are undocumented and are afraid of losing their support systems.  There are students and faculty from the international countries that have been targeted by the ban who are afraid that if they go to a conference outside of the states leaving Cornell or perhaps return to their homelands they will never be able to enter again.  Just last week at the grocery store I ran into a young academic who is a visiting scholar who was in near tears because her immediate travel plans had to be curtailed.  A new media theoretician from Turkey who lives in Canada just canceled her plans to attend an upcoming media conference in Chicago because she would have to cross the border.  And most dramatically the number of students applying to our BFA and MFA programs has been affected.  

I write these rather localized observations now because I believe that while we spend hours reading, listening, watching the news, lives are affected on a very localized and individual level where individuals, families, work is being directly affected.  I continue to be awed by the actions of so many in a positive movement that is growing.  Just last night artists, both faculty, mfa students, and alumni hosted a benefit exhibition where we raised a lot of money for local women’s groups who have been affected by some of the new changes in legislation. 

Also just yesterday the day without a woman strike on International Women’s Day was ceremoniously celebrated with both action and non-action.  My 85 year old mother decided she would stay home and not go get her groceries in response to the strike.  the https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday/

So William and those of you in Australia and London and China and Singapore and so many other places I would love to hear how artists and non-artists are responding to the global shift to the right.  How are you and your friends, peers responding to not only Trump per say but this general shift right.  

Thanks William for sharing I would love to know more.
Also thanks to Allan for pinch hitting while I was on strike yesterday.   

Warmly,  Renate



Renate Ferro
Visiting Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Art
Tjaden Hall 306
rferro at cornell.edu





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