[-empyre-] [–empyre–] Refiguring the Future, Week 1: Exhibition as Ecosystem

Sarah Watson sarahawatson at gmail.com
Tue Mar 5 14:27:14 AEDT 2019

Since "Refiguring the Future" opened on February 8 at the Hunter
College Art Galleries' 205 Hudson Gallery, I have more or less been
living with the exhibition: turning it on and off, tending to
misbehaving technology, spending focused time with each work, and
caring and tending to the show. Having this sustained time in one of
our exhibition is rare. Usually the shows goes up and then I have to
turn my attention to the next exhibition. This constant pace of
exhibition making can sometimes feel like being on a hamster wheel.
I'm sure others who work at small or perhaps not so small institutions
can relate to this feeling.

In part, I am afforded the opportunity to spend so much time in
"Refiguring the Future" since I am teaching a Graduate Curatorial
Methods course centered around the exhibition. As a class we meet,
discuss, and move through the show every Tuesday afternoon. The class
is an experiment, as I have never structured a curatorial class within
an exhibition––both thematically and physically.  It is through this
ongoing time in "Refiguring the Future" that I started to think of the
exhibition as an ecosystem.

Taking this week to focus on the creation of this ecosystem, we have
invited the co-curators of "Refiguring the Future" Heather
Dewey-Hagbog (US) and Dorothy R. Santos (US) to share how the idea for
"Refiguring the Future" came to be and how certain works and artists
influenced the curatorial direction of the exhibition and conference.
Together we will think on what shifts when we identify the exhibition
not as static, but rather as an evolving complex and interconnected

Heather Dewey-Hagborg
Dr. Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and educator
who is interested in art as research and critical practice. Her
controversial biopolitical art practice includes the project Stranger
Visions in which she created portrait sculptures from analyses of
genetic material (hair, cigarette butts, chewed up gum) collected in
public places. Heather has shown work internationally at events and
venues including the World Economic Forum, the Daejeon Biennale, the
Guangzhou Triennial, and the Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture
Biennale, the Van Abbemuseum, Transmediale and PS1 MOMA. Her work is
held in public collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Victoria and
Albert Museum, and the New York Historical Society, among others, and
has been widely discussed in the media, from the New York Times and
the BBC to Art Forum and Wired. Heather has a PhD in Electronic Arts
from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dorothy R. Santos
Dorothy R. Santos is a Filipinx American writer, curator, and
researcher whose academic interests include digital art, computational
media, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco,
California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology
from the University of San Francisco and received her Master’s degree
in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts.
She is currently a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the
University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles
fellow. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Rhizome,
Hyperallergic, Ars Technica, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open

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