Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Invisible, 2014. Plastic bottles, packaging, water, proprietary chemicals, DNA, chelators, and DNA preservation molecules. Courtesy Thomas Dexter
This daylong symposium questions how the legacy of identity politics might be reconsidered in light of our present culture, where making oneself visible is de rigueur and yet can also carry threatening connotations: being captured, tracked, or dangerously overexposed. Through a series of discussions, “VISIBLE/INVISIBLE” examines how the underlying goals of movements that demanded representation (both in art and in culture at large) remain urgent and yet require significant rethinking amid a transformed social and existential landscape. Invited speakers will provocatively consider how power is mapped and at the same time hijacked in society today—not just between centers and margins, but also between subcultures and across shifting alliances. In addition, they will reflect on and present arguments for and against identity politics, attempting to consider its accomplishments while simultaneously restating, refuting, or reconfiguring its terms in the present.
Introductory Remarks: Lauren Cornell and Johanna Burton
Claire Barliant and Nav Haq in Conversation
Moderated by Alicia Ritson, Research Fellow
Through their recent, respective curatorial projects “As We Were Saying: Art and Identity in the Age of ‘Post’” and “Don’t You Know Who I Am? Art After Identity Politics,” Claire Barliant and Nav Haq have both asked what value identity politics might have for artists today, despite its somewhat tainted legacy as aesthetically limited, politically correct, and institutionally oriented. Barliant and Haq will discuss their experiences working with an emergent generation of artists that has reengaged notions of identity—albeit in radically reconfigured forms—pursuing questions of how identity and difference might be considered newly meaningful at this arguably “post-critical” moment in time.
Roundtable: “Who Remains? Subjectivity after Identity Politics”
Participants: Katherine Hubbard, Steffani Jemison, Carlos Motta, and Luke Willis Thompson
Moderated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement
This roundtable brings together practitioners for whom issues of identity—racial, sexual, and gender—remain relevant, and even urgent, today. Participants will address how they orient themselves in relation to the cultural sensibilities of the 1980s and 1990s that prioritized giving visibility to marginalized subjects at the expense of more nuanced aesthetic explorations of how identity was functioning in both art and culture at large. The roundtable will also consider how processes of identification or subjectification may—or may not—be useful in the context of more recent theoretically fluid notions of subjectivity and, further, how a timely politics of identity might produce more limber connections between art and advocacy efforts.
2:40–3 PM: BREAK
Roundtable: “Selfhood, Selflessness, and Selfies: On Being Rendered Visible”
Participants: Karen Archey, Zach Blas, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, and Jacolby Satterwhite
Moderated by Lauren Cornell, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Digital Projects, and Museum as Hub
In the last two decades, digital technologies, widespread access to the internet, and a generally more globalized world have increased our potential to be rendered visible, for example, through various new modes of self-representation or via the processing of personal information that is inadvertently shared by engaging these platforms. Participants will consider how making oneself visible—or giving visibility to others—affects how subjects are rendered, understood, and invested in, and how such visibility is experienced as both a benefit and a danger.
This public program is organized by the Department of Education and Public Engagement in association with the 2015 Triennial: “Surround Audience.”
Karen Archey is an art critic and independent curator based in New York and Berlin who focuses on feminist practices and the intersection of art and technology. She is Editor of e-flux conversations, and her writing is regularly featured in frieze, Art Review, and Art-Agenda. She has served as Curator-in-Residence at Abrons Arts Center, New York, and Editor-at-Large of Rhizome. She recently co-curated the survey exhibition “Art Post-Internet” at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and edited the PDF publication “Art Post-Internet: INFORMATION/DATA,” available at post-inter.net. Archey regularly speaks about contemporary art and has done so at venues such as the Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava; the Institute of Contemporary Art, London; the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Archey has recently contributed to anthologies published by Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands; the MIT Press, Cambridge, MA; the New Museum, New York; Whitechapel, London; and Sternberg Press, Berlin; among others.
Claire Barliant is a writer, curator, and teacher based in Brooklyn. Currently, she is Curatorial Advisor at EFA Project Space in New York. Barliant has worked as an associate editor of Artforum and an executive editor of Modern Painters. Her writing has appeared in Triple Canopy, Time Out New York, Artforum, Art in America, and Icon, as well as numerous catalogues. She has held teaching positions as Adjunct Professor, Master Lecturer, and Visiting Critic at University of the Arts, Philadelphia; SUNY Purchase; Parsons, the New School, New York; New York University; and Yale University, New Haven. Her recent curatorial projects include “As We Were Saying: Art and Identity in the Age of ‘Post’” at EFA Project Space, New York (2014); “Kool-Aid Wino” at Franklin Street Works, Stamford, CT (2013); and a screening series for Dirty Looks: On Location, New York (2013).
Zach Blas is an artist and writer whose work engages technology, queerness, and politics. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, Australia; the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; the 2014 Museum of Arts and Design Biennial, New York; the 2014 Dakar Biennale; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Queer/Art/Film LA; Transmediale, Berlin; and Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool. In 2013 and 2014, he was a resident at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, Brooklyn; the White Building, London; and the Moving Museum, Istanbul. Blas is currently producing two books: Escaping the Face (Rhizome) and Informatic Opacity: Biometric Facial Recognition and the Aesthetics and Politics of Defacement (Duke University Press). He has published writings in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, You are Here: Art after Technology (Cornerhouse Books), DIS Magazine, and Women Studies Quarterly (Feminist Press), and has coedited The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities (Atropos Press). Blas holds a PhD from the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University.
Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and educator who is interested in art as research and critical inquiry. Drawing from diverse practices including sound, sculpture, biology, and computation, she engages art as a means of probing the deep and often hidden structures of media, technology, and science that dominate the contemporary moment and frame our cultural imagination. Dewey-Hagborg has shown work internationally at events and venues including the Poland Mediations Biennale, Poznań; the Article Biennial, Stravanger, Norway; Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria; Transmediale, Berlin; Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona; the Science Gallery Dublin; MoMA P.S.1, Queens; the New Museum, New York; Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, Brooklyn; and the New York Public Library. Her work has been widely discussed in the media, from the New York Times and the BBC to TED and Wired, and she has participated in policy conversations at the Woodrow Wilson Policy Center, Washington, DC, and the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board. Dewey-Hagborg is Assistant Professor of Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently writing a dissertation on DNA, identity, and surveillance to complete her PhD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Nav Haq is Curator at M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp. He was previously Exhibitions Curator at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Curator at Gasworks, London. Haq has organized numerous solo projects with artists such as Shilpa Gupta, Hassan Khan, Kerry James Marshall, Kerry Tribe, and Cosima von Bonin. His group exhibitions have included “Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction” (2012); “Museum Show,” a historical survey of (semi-fictional) museums created by artists (2011); the two-person exhibition “The Sea Wall” presenting works by Félix González-Torres and Haegue Yang (2011); “Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie: Class Hegemony in Contemporary Art,” co-curated with Tirdad Zolghadr (2006–09); and “Contour Biennial 2007” in Mechelen, Belgium. In 2014, he co-curated the group exhibition “Don’t You Know Who I Am? Art After Identity Politics” with Anders Kreuger at M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp. Haq has also contributed to numerous periodicals, including Mousse, Frieze, Bidoun, Kaleidoscope, and Afterall Online, and is part of the editorial group for the web platform L’Internationale Online.
Katherine Hubbard is a Brooklyn-based artist whose photography practice incorporates performance, sculpture, clothing, text, and video. Hubbard’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at Renseriet, Stockholm; the University of Maryland Stamp Gallery, College Park, MD; and Capricious 88, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Art and Design, Marlborough Gallery, and the Brooklyn Museum. Hubbard has also collaborated with MPA at Higher Pictures, New York, and with Malin Arnell at Swiss Institute, New York. In 2015, Hubbard will present “Small Town Sex Shop,” a conceptual clothing project in collaboration with Savannah Knoop at Recess, New York. Hubbard has an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and is currently a part-time faculty member at Parsons the New School for Design.
Steffani Jemison was born in Berkeley, California, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009) and a BA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University (2003). Jemison uses time-based, photographic, and discursive platforms to examine “progress” and its alternatives. Jemison’s work has been exhibited or presented nationally and internationally at venues including the Brooklyn Museum; the Drawing Center, New York; LA><ART, Hollywood; the New Museum, New York; the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Laurel Gitlen, New York; Team Gallery, New York; and other venues. Her publishing project, Future Plan and Program, commissions literary work by artists of color and has published books by Martine Syms, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, and Harold Mendez, among others. She has participated in artist residencies at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, Brooklyn; Project Row Houses, Houston; the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Smack Mellon, Brooklyn. In 2015, Jemison will present her new multipart commission Promise Machine in conjunction with the MoMA exhibition “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North.”
Carlos Motta is a New York–based multidisciplinary artist whose work draws upon political history in an attempt to create counter-narratives that recognize suppressed histories, communities, and identities. Motta’s work has been presented internationally in venues such as Tate Modern, London; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá; Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin; the New Museum, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; and MoMA P.S.1, Queens; among many other public, private, and independent spaces. A survey exhibition of Motta’s work is on view at Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden, through March 2015. Motta’s Nefandus Trilogy, three new short films on pre-Hispanic and colonial sexuality, had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam before continuing on the international festival circuit. In November 2014, he won the PinchukArtCentre Kiev’s Future Generation Art Prize (Main Prize). Motta convened the event ritual of queer rituals at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam together with AA Bronson in November 2013 and guest-edited the April 2013 issue of e-flux journal, “(im)practical (im)possibilities,” on contemporary queer art and culture.
Jacolby Satterwhite is a New York–based artist who works with dance, performance, drawing, printmaking, and 3-D modeling, often in collaboration with his mother, an artist who battles with schizophrenia. He received his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art (2008) and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania (2010). He also participated in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency in 2009. Solo exhibitions include “The Matriarch’s Rhapsody,” Monya Rowe Gallery, New York (2013), and “Jacolby Satterwhite,” Hudson D. Walker Gallery, Provincetown, MA (2012). His work has also been included in “Approximately Infinite Universe,” Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2013); “Fore,” the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2012); “Aboveground Animation: 3-D Form,” the New Museum, New York (2012); “Beasts of Revelation,” DC Moore Gallery, New York (2012); “Bigger than Shadows,” Dodge Gallery, New York (2012); “Shift: Projects|Perspectives|Directions,” the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2012); “Oh, You Mean Cellophane and All That Crap,” the Calder Foundation, New York (2012); “Pixelated,” the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn (2012); “If There’s No Dancing at the Revolution I’m Not Coming,” Recess Activities, New York (2011); and “Robert Melee’s Talent Show,” the Kitchen, New York (2010); among others.
Luke Willis Thompson is a New Zealand artist based in Auckland, New Zealand, and Frankfurt, Germany. Thompson’s socially attuned works start from a place of personal identifi¬cation and then expand into layered investiga¬tions of colonialist legacies and contemporary race and class relations. Often taking the form of performance or sculpture, and frequently staged outside of the gallery, his works shift the context in which art is seen, making the experience of art dislocating or estranging. His previous solo exhibitions include “inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam,” Hopkinson Cundy, Auckland (2012), and “Yaw,” RM, Auckland (2011). His work has also been included in the group exhibitions “Between memory and trace,” Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Pakuranga, New Zealand (2012); “In Spite of Ourselves: Approaching Documentary,” St Paul St Gallery, Auckland, and the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, New Zealand (2012); and “Make\Shift: Tautai’s Third Tertiary Show,” St Paul St Gallery, Auckland (2010). Thompson’s performance Eventually they introduced me to the people i immediately recognised as those who would take me out anyway (2015) was commissioned for the 2015 Triennial: “Surround Audience.”