[-empyre-] Art as a Conversation

Margaret Rhee mrheeloy at gmail.com
Thu Oct 31 16:34:15 AEDT 2019

Thank you Maria, Gabriela, LeConte and Craig for your incredible work. It’s
been such an honor to engage further. I’ve been blessed to meet each artist
individually and to experience the convergences between The projects is
deeply illuminating and exciting.

I think a lot about the ways Maria plays with form through paper dresses
and paintings to intervene in discourses about undocumentation, and how
Craig’s innovative experimentation on the page as Oceania also subverts
forms in a decolonial, demilitarized act. Their work is deeply moving as it
extends the ideas of how one paints and writes poetry.

Similarly, I’ve been deeply moved by the resistance strategies that connect
to Gabriela’s incredible playful work in collectivity and politics in
Columbia, and LeConte’s playful poetic and public health interventions with
participatory action research and poetry. Both practices brings vital
attention to the global south and Black communities through collaboration
and play. I hope we can continue conversations in real time and on the
forum even even as we move into the next month.

This month has been incredibly moving, and impactful and I’m grateful to
everyone for participating. We hope to reconvene the posts in a different
space as a separate collection and will be in touch shortly for those that
want to be involved. We’re grateful to Renate and her incredible mentorship
and vision for —empyre— these email messages were bursts of insight,
provocation, and inspiring balm of on art, poetry, and collaboration.

Thank you again to former weeks participants  Paige, David, Kathleen,
Lynne, Truong, Maria, Kenji, Chase, Erica, Kale, Jerry, Craig, Maria,
LeConte and Gabriela for being models of intervention and play.

We honor Tony Conrad in his inspiration of the initial forum and hope to
continue the conversation. Many thanks again everyone.

On Sun, Oct 27, 2019 at 6:12 PM Maria Cornejo Cisneros <mcornejo at pratt.edu>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thank you Margaret for including me and my work.
> I am attaching a few photographs from videos that Ryan Bonilla and I are
> making.
> I think my approach is playful and it gets people involved in the
> experience to open up new perceptions and inclusivity.
> My work is rooted in my immigrant experience in the United States. I
> portray the criminalization of migration, definitions of citizenship,
> bi-culturalism, and how cultural identity is perceived by some in this time
> of division and rising nationalism. I begin by drawing from my imagination
> then, later, from photographs, combining the two to create a macro
> migration narrative. Geographically, the imagery combines fictional and
> actual moments on the US-Mexican border; I emphasize what life is like for
> undocumented persons in the United States.
> *https://www.thecut.com/2016/05/artist-who-made-her-dress-out-of-paper.html
> <https://www.thecut.com/2016/05/artist-who-made-her-dress-out-of-paper.html>*
> *https://museumsc.org/tierra-de-rosas/
> <https://museumsc.org/tierra-de-rosas/>*
> *https://www.pratt.edu/news/view/mural-on-life-and-hope-fills-the-windows-of-pratt-manhattan-campus
> <https://www.pratt.edu/news/view/mural-on-life-and-hope-fills-the-windows-of-pratt-manhattan-campus>*
> *Faculty Maria de Los Angeles' Mural on Life and Hope Fills the Windows of
> Pratt Manhattan Campus *
> *Article by Allison Meier *
> Over several days in early October, the first floor windows of the Pratt
> Manhattan campus were filled with vibrant drawings in ink. The painted
> mural is a long-term installation by Maria de Los Angeles
> <https://pratt.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b5072fda76f3fa8720b7f04ef&id=fa7fc17202&e=9071dbfd7e>,
> BFA Painting ’13 and Visiting Instructor in Foundation, Associate Degrees,
> and Continuing and Professional Studies. The New York-based
> multidisciplinary artist regularly works with unconventional media. Her
> detailed paintings have adorned paper, canvas, and wearable dresses. These
> pieces reflect on her own experiences as an immigrant to encourage dialogue
> about migration and marginalization in the United States.
> “The mural is an homage to life, hope, and freedom,” said de Los Angeles.
> “The mural is welcoming with details of mothers with children, children
> with butterflies, stars, and people walking around a landscape composed of
> roses and other flowers. I like how the reflection of the building across
> the street and people walking by appear in the mural and it’s transformed
> by the light throughout the day.”
> Her kaleidoscopic layers of flora, faces, butterflies, birds, and stars
> are embedded with imagery responding to themes of migration, displacement,
> identity, and otherness. The painted dresses, worn by the artist or
> volunteers in performances and made from recycled materials, have surfaces
> that consider the body as a place for social and political discussion,
> particularly on biculturalism and confronting stereotypes.
> Similarly, the mural brings this discourse to an unexpected place with its
> visibility on a busy New York City street. The participation of art in the
> community is central to de Los Angeles’s work and the mural engages both
> passersby and visitors in the creative work happening at the Pratt
> Manhattan campus which also houses the Pratt Manhattan Gallery
> <https://pratt.us15.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b5072fda76f3fa8720b7f04ef&id=99278d3549&e=9071dbfd7e>
> .
> “Through this project, Pratt hopes to attract attention to the diverse and
> inclusive environment of our Manhattan campus,” said Nsombi B. Ricketts,
> Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “In addition, Maria de
> Los Angeles’s work exemplifies the Institute’s commitment to social
> practice and celebration of National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.”
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu


Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.

College Fellow in Digital Practice (2018 - 2019)
Department of English
Harvard University

Assistant Professor in Media Theory (2019)
Department of Media Study
SUNY Buffalo
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