Spring 2015 R&D Season: SPECULATION

Chelsea Knight, Fall to Earth, Chapter 1 —“Conversion,” 2014 (production still). HD video; 5 min. Photo: Jeesu Kim

Spring 2015 R&D Season: SPECULATION

Organized by the New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement, the Spring 2015 R&D (Research and Development) Season leads an investigative examination of the theme of SPECULATION via a range of activities anchored by residencies with artists Chelsea Knight and Constantina Zavitsanos and culminating in an exhibition organized in collaboration with Taipei Contemporary Art Center. For this R&D Season, SPECULATION is considered for, among other things, its volatile relationship to faith and evocation of diverse possibilities for speculative futures, including alternative economies that focus on caregiving, collective labor, and new modes of distribution.

Chelsea Knight: Fall to Earth
March–September 2015
For her residency, Chelsea Knight will produce the final chapters of Fall to Earth, a cycle of short videos inspired by Salman Rushdie’s magical realist novel The Satanic Verses. Staged as a series of live events produced for video, each chapter takes as its point of departure themes related to socially condemned speech and other forms of silencing or restraint and includes original scores created by different collaborating artists. The chapters’ themes are “Conversion,” “Blasphemy,” “Resistance,” “Violence,” and “Silence.

March 28: Fall to Earth, Chapter 2—“Blasphemy” (Live Event with Mathew Paul Jinks)
April 18: Fall to Earth, Chapter 3—“Resistance” (Live Event with Ryan Tracy)
June 7: Fall to Earth, Chapter 4—“Violence” (Live Event with Nick Hallett)
June 20: Fall to Earth, Chapter 5—“Silence” (Live Event with Christine Sun Kim)

Two additional programs organized with Knight examine fiction as a way to forecast—and even change—the future. “Knight + Knight Latencies” is a performance that is part lecture, part dinner party, and part therapy session in which two female artists who share the same last name examine their symmetries and, in the process, some fundamentals around feminism and race. “Screening the Speculative” brings together filmmakers who are all pursuing, in various ways, the promise of disrupting notions of seamless, unified reality.

April 26: “Knight + Knight Latencies,” with Autumn Knight
May 9: “Screening the Speculative,” with Melika Bass, Jen Liu, and Peter Miller

Constantina Zavitsanos: “THIS COULD BE US”
March–September 2015
Constantina Zavitsanos’s residency “THIS COULD BE US” includes a series of research-driven programs organized around speculative concepts of planning, contingency, and care. Care is not only one of the primary sources of surplus value within capitalism, as feminists have argued, but is critical to the organization of society. “Still Life, a workshop” and “Vanitas, a rehearsal” are two live events organized with Park McArthur that expand ideas of debt and dependency in order to think more complexly about decay, cyclical relay, “premature aging,” persistent immaturity, and other issues of development. Two Speculative Planning Sessions with Reina Gossett and invited speakers take up questions relating to debt, futurity, and the contingencies of chance, and include contributions from the Speculative Planning Study Group and teens participating in the New Museum Experimental Study Program. “Deferment & Late Arrivals,” a screening and discussion with Caroline Key and Soyoung Yoon, foregrounds two films that address the reproductive labors of organizing: Grace Period (by Caroline Key and KIM KyungMook, 2014) and Finally Got the News (by Stewart Bird, Peter Gessner, and Rene Lichtman, in association with the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, 1970).

March 26: “Still Life, a workshop,” with Park McArthur
March 29: “Vanitas, a rehearsal,” with Park McArthur
April 25: Speculative Planning Session 1, with Stefano Harney and Fred Moten
May 7: Speculative Planning Session 2, with Denise Ferreira da Silva
May 16: “Deferment & Late Arrivals,” with Caroline Key and Soyoung Yoon

Taipei Contemporary Art Center: “The Great Ephemeral”
May 27–September 6, 2015
Fifth Floor Gallery
Established in 2010, Taipei Contemporary Art Center (TCAC) offers a local platform for artists, curators, scholars, and cultural activists to gather and evolve projects dedicated to the role of contemporary art within an international context. As part of the R&D Season devoted to SPECULATION, the Center has been invited to participate in a Hub residency to co-organize a project for the Museum focusing on issues of infrastructure and modes of production in art-making and reception today. The resulting exhibition, which will culminate on the Museum’s Fifth Floor, will negotiate the role of “economics” (whether financial, symbolic, or alternative) in various artists’ works while highlighting the deeply unquantifiable aspects of “value” itself.

Sessions: March 8–May 25, 2015
Aligned with R&D Season themes, New Museum Seminars provide a peer-led platform for a select group of participants to discuss and debate ideas as they emerge. This Season, as part of its investigation of SPECULATION, the group will consider how we can approach different visions of future political and social orders while acknowledging that these visions will inevitably become valuable to capitalist and other forces that are generally understood to limit them.

Classes: February 4–April 22, 2015
The New Museum’s Experimental Study Program pairs youths (fifteen to twenty years old) with artists in residence to collaborate on projects and research related to Season themes. Over several months, teens and Museum staff will explore issues around race and the body, routine acts of care, and access to “the commons” with Knight and Zavitsanos.

The New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement is spearheaded by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement. Chelsea Knight’s and Constantina Zavitsanos’s residencies are organized by Burton with Travis Chamberlain, Associate Curator of Performance, and Taraneh Fazeli, Education Associate. Museum as Hub is curated by Lauren Cornell and directed by Burton. New Museum Seminars are organized by Burton with Fazeli and Alicia Ritson, Research Fellow. The Experimental Study Program is organized by Sasha Wortzel, Educator, G:Class and High School Programs, and Jen Song, Associate Director of Education.

Additional support for artist residencies is made possible by Laurie Wolfert.

New Museum Seminars are made possible through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Generous support for G:Class is provided by the Keith Haring Foundation School, Teen, and Family Programs Fund.

Education and Public Engagement programs are made possible, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation and the Bloomingdale’s Fund of the Macy’s Foundation. Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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