My visit to Pakistan in 2011 inspired my recent body of work. I am creating formal paintings that depict contradictions and irony within its pictorial coding. Starting from a silhouette of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, I paint colorful folk â€˜truck artâ€™ imagery on these war machines to give them a second skin that opens a dialogue about Pakistani culture. These paintings are accompanied by culturally loaded text. Poetic expressions in combination with stark iconography give birth to a new visual language. By applying photo-transferred images from Pakistani print media and layering it with traditional miniature painting, I challenge the grotesque reality of modern warfare. I am interested in the juxtaposition of terror with the representation of cultural beauty.
MAHWISH CHISHTY 120 N Green Street, #603, Chicago, IL 60607 Phone # (443) 739-5599 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mahachishty.com
EDUCATION Masters of Fine Arts University of Maryland, College Park, MD Studio Arts
Bachelors of Fine Arts National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan Concentration in Miniature Painting
EXHIBITION HISTORY Apr 2014 Jan 2014 Oct 2013 Oct 2013 May 2013 Mar 2013 Sept 2012 Sept 2011 Aug 2011 Jun 2010 Apr 2010 Jun 2009 Feb 2009 Nov 2008 Oct 2008 Jul 2008 Jun 2008 May 2008 Nov 2007 Nov 2007 May 2007 Nov 2006 Feb 2005 Nov 2005 Jul 2005 Sep 2004 May 2004 May 2004 Dec 2003
Welcome to the Dreamtime, Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn, NYC Metro Show 2014 with Stephen Romano, Manhattan, NYC Trace Recordings: Surveillance and identity in the 21st Century at UTS Gallery, University of Technology Sydney, Australia Air Rights at Taubman College Gallery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI The Art of War, International Museum of Women Muslima, San Francisco, CA 16th International Open at Women Made Gallery, Chicago, IL SCREEN Projects, The Jones Center at The Contemporary Austin, Austin, TX OPTIONS 2011, Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC Ikono TV, publication of paintings, Berlin, Germany con-TEXT-ual-ize at Chesapeake Gallery, Hartford Community College, Bel Air, MD Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival, Silver Spring, MD PERSPECTIVE: Women, Art & Islam at Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NY. In conjunction with Muslim Voices, NYCâ€™s first Muslim Festival Multi-Media Exhibition: Contemporary Trends at Marlboro Gallery, Largo, MD Washington Square Sculpture Invitational, Farragut North, Washington D.C. Interlinked at Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan 2008 Montpelier Sculpture Exhibition at Montpelier arts center, MD CONVERGENCE at Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD Thesis exhibition, The Art Gallery at University of Maryland, College Park, MD WILD THINGS at the Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel/ Bowie, MD THINKSMALL 4 at Art6, Richmond, VA Midpoint Show at the Union Gallery, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland, College Park, MD Participated in a group show at Union Gallery, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland, College Park, MD Participated in a group show at West Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park, MD International Miniature Invitational Biennial 3, THINKSMALL 3 at Art and Artspace galleries, Richmond, VA RADIUS 250 at Artspace gallery, Richmond, VA Group exhibition held at Canvas Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan Group exhibition held at Rohtas Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan Group exhibition, Rohtas Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan Thesis exhibition held at National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan
PRESS RELEASES AND PUBLICATIONS Apr 2014 Feb 2014
Book cover for Guernica, revisited, Poems by Richard Vargas, Albuquerque, New Mexico Video interview with DSE-TV. Filmed by Kimon Kotos and produced by Digital Spectrum Enterprises, West Michigan
Dec 2013 Dec 2013 Nov 2013 Nov 2013 Oct 2013 Aug 2013 Jul 2013 Jul 2013 Jul 2013 Jun 2013 Jun 2013 Jun 2013 Jun 2013 Jun 2013 May 2013 Oct 2011 Mar 2010 Aug 2009 Aug 2009 Jul 2009 May 2009 May 2008 May 2008 May 2007 Feb 2004 Jan 2004 Dec 2003
Predator, OOMK print issue 2. South Kilburn Studios in North London, UK Drones are not dangerous: normalization, new journalism, and the new drone culture, by Hamdan Azhar. The State, Vol IV: Dubai Artists use surveillance technology to explore extent we are monitored by Andrew Frost, The Guardian A’ l’aube de l’ere des drones by Claire Richard, Nouveau Projet. Montreal, Canada Air Rights: an exhibit by Drone Research Lab by Michael Abrahamson, Archinect, Ann Arbor, MI DroneART, a Product of Surveillance Criticism by Anna C. Natale at the Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil The Aesthetics of War by Rachel Hamel, Dubai, UAE Speed enforced by (armed) drones? Nope – artist install fake traffic signs by Nidhi Subbaraman, NBC News Technology From Pakistan with Love by Syed Ammad Tahir, MAG the weekly Drones As Folk Art a Pakistani artist reimagines America's death machines, by Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones Pakistani Folk Art and Drones Collide In Ornate Paintings by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan. Gizmodo, Australia Finally: A Drone for Dropping Rhymes, Not Bombs by Meghan Neal, Motherboard Drones and Art by Paul Schmelzer. Eyeteeth: Incisive ideas Art fiend: Contemporary Muslim women speak out from Inpapermagazine, Dawn newspaper An Interview with Pakistani artist Mahwish Chishty Of Drones and Dreams by Valerie Behiery, Islamic Art historian, Ph.D. Islamic Arts magazine ‘Options 2011’ combines minimal and conceptual art by Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post Art and Polemic in Pakistan Cultural, Politics and Tradition in Contemporary Miniature Painting by Virginia Whales, London, UK Perspectives: Women, Art & Islam by Holland Cotter. THE NEW YORK TIMES FIVE TAKES ON ISLAM, Interviewed by Siddhartha Mitter for WNYC EXHIBIT REVIEW: “Perspectives: Women, Art and Islam” by Jacquie Simone. THE INDYPENDENT, NYC Reinvented, Repurposed by Kate Carroll, THE GAZETTE and THE STAR, Prince George’s County, MD Interviewed by Jack Livingston for RADAR magazine, Baltimore, MD Unveiling the Inner self, thesis dissertation at University of Maryland, College Park, MD Interviewed by Li Koo for the Midpoint show at Union Gallery, University of MD Contemporary Asian Artist III: Contemporary Miniature Paintings from Pakistan by Virginia Whiles and Naazish Ataullah. Fukuoka Asian Art Museum THE NEWS on Sunday newspaper, Interviewed by Asim Akhtar, Lahore, Pakistan The Image of the Woman in Contemporary Miniature Painting, Interviewed by Christine Bruckauer for her book, Lahore, Pakistan
PERMANENT COLLECTIONS Dan Mouradian, Chicago, IL Virginia Whiles, London, UK Spudnik Press, Chicago, IL Muneera and Sameer Gardezi, Los Angeles, CA Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka-Shi, Japan Foreign Office, Islamabad, Pakistan
AWARDS Jan 2011 Jan 2004 Jun 1997
Recipient of residency at Montgomery College, Takoma Park/ Silver Spring, MD National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan: Haji Sharif Award (Excellence in Miniature Painting) and Shakir Ali/Kipling Award (Highest Merit Award) Islamabad Federal Board, Pakistan. Scholarship granted for attaining top position in Secondary School Certification
TEACHING EXPERIENCE Adjunct Professor School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL Painting Studio: Multi-Level Course Adjunct Professor Harold Washington Community College, Chicago, IL Elements of Drawing Two Dimensional Design
Fall 2013 - current
Spring 2014 - current
Professorial Lecturer George Washington University, Washington, DC Painting: Visual Thinking
Fall 2012 – Spring 2013
Lecturer Montgomery College, Takoma Park/ Silver Spring, MD Color Theory and Application Design Studio: 2 Dimensional
Fall 2011 – Spring 2013
Teaching Assistant University of Maryland University College, College Park, MD ARTT 354, Elements of Computer Graphics ARTT 250, Elements of Commercial Design ARTT 479, Advanced Computer Graphics
Spring 2011 – Fall 2012
Teaching Assistant University of Maryland, College Park, MD Drawing Fundamentals 2-D Design Fundamentals
Spring 2006 - 2008
LECTURES/ WORKSHOPS Apr 2014 Mar 2011 Nov 2010 Nov 2010 Nov 2010 Jul 2010 Dec 2009 Aug 2008 Jun 2008 May 2008
Presentation at Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School, Chicago, IL Lecture and presentation on gouache at Montgomery College, Takoma Park/ Silver Spring, MD Lecture and presentation at Sudan University for Science and Technology, Fine Arts Department. Khartoum, Sudan Lecture and workshop at Khartoum American School. Khartoum, Sudan Presentation at Rashid Diab Arts Center. Khartoum, Sudan Lecture presented at Unity Productions Foundation, Washington, D.C. Visiting artist for Color Theory class at Montgomery College, Takoma Park, MD Instructor for calligraphy workshop at Muslim Community Center, Silver Spring, MD Instructor for brush-making workshop at Artomatic, Washington D.C Participated in Cuisine Des Artisties for D.C. Arts Center
LANGUAGES Fluent in Urdu and English. Also knowledgeable of Punjabi, Arabic and Hindi. Certified for Arabic Calligraphy.
PUBLI CATI ONS
Are You “Cool” with Drones? Public Controversy and Objects of Security David Grondin and Nisha Shah When we talk about drones, we are really talking about the politics that demand, shape, and deploy them, and the politics which are made possible by them. - James Bridle (2013c)
On the Matter of Drones We are apparently living on the cusp of a new technological era. Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired, founder of the online community DIY Drones and 3D Robotics, puts it thus: “[j]ust as the 1970s saw the birth and rise of the personal computer, this decade will see the ascendance of the personal drone. We’re entering the Drone Age” (Anderson 2012: 104). Apparently, drones have become fashionable in a variety of sectors. With applications in real estate, traffic control, wild life monitoring, scientific research and commerce, various commentators have described them as the new “cool” technology (Lallanilla 2013). That drones might be “cool” has of course been questioned. Amidst a variety of concerns (for instance, domestic surveillance) are concerns about their “killer” applications – that is, the appropriateness of drone technology in military warfare. What initially appeared as a cutting edge technology that had an ethical action potential – “precision-guided” warfare – has been criticized for facilitating quasi-legal practices of targeted killing (Alston 2010; Zehfuss 2010). If being cool is being fashionable, then the fashion appears to be waning. As contested objects, drones might not be as “cool” as many celebrating a “drone age” might want to believe (Stahl 2013). As the editors of this special issue suggest, far from ready-made venues, publics are construed and constructed through controversy. On the one hand, this relates to a prominent matter – that is, an issue – that precipitates publics. As Marieke de Goede and Mara Wesseling, following Latour (2005), outline in their essay in this special issue, the “matter of concern” puts forth a controversy (or controversies) that ignites the debate and dialogue – the deliberative sphere – that makes publics politically distinctive (Habermas 1991). Along these lines, drones have captured public attention because they have been variously lauded and viewed as morbid. On the other hand, as Noortje Marres argues, “we enact a public that is both ‘accidental’ and ‘contingent’, in so far as the evocation of the public […] depends on particular material conditions and mediatizations” (Marres 2008: 29). Matters of concern have a more literal dimension – a set of material devices is entailed in the configuration of publics (Marres and Lezaun 2011; Braun and Whatmore 2010). The two matters – issues and devices – are of course related. The mediatization dimension alluded to is not just one of reflecting or imbuing devices with particular meanings. It relates to how devices bring about publics, and how they themselves become visible as public objects (both in the sense of focal issues and material things) through the controversies associated with them. Drones of course exemplify this in the way that they are 1
at once engendered through public debate, but also have given rise to deliberation and thus to the publics that surround them. Understood as a kind of mediated (and mediating) material, despite – or as a result of – the contention around the military and security application of drones, they evoke a “cool factor” of a different calibre. In his Understanding Media, media theorist Marshall McLuhan (1994) argued that communication technologies should be seen as existing on a continuum between “hot” and “cool”, with the former “low in participation” and latter “high in participation or completing by the audience” (McLuhan 1994: 23). Whereas hot media, like radios, “do not leave so much to be filled in or completed by the audience,” with cool media, such as television (or speech in general), “so little is given,” and therefore “so much has to be filled in by the listener.” Cool media therefore are detached, not directly drawing in the audience, but as a result have a more participatory quality (McLuhan 1994: 23). The cultural impact of the technology thus rests not just on the kind but also the extent of sensory extension involved on the part of the user. Described as “technical (or techno-cultural) object[s]” (Gregory 2014), the controversy associated with drones suggests that they are kind of a cool technology. The debate around drones suggests that they instil a participatory – evidently deliberative – dimension that generates public political culture. Drones might configure publics not in the way they foster a particular kind of fascination but in the way this fascination and attention to them appears to be evocative of controversies to make (sense of) their public “role”. In a word, drones are cool because they seem to automatically generate political dialogue – because drones are (inherently) controversial, they are inherently cool. Thus drones are cool – in both the colloquial sense and McLuhan’s technological categorization – precisely because everyone is talking about them: the sense of participatory engagement with the technology is evident in the “buzz” that surrounds them. Indeed, when it comes to concerns about their military and security applications, the discussion has abounded, and continues to expand. Interventions have ranged from more conventional discussions in official circles, reporting in the popular press, analyses in scholarly journals, to artistic reflections in theatre (George Brandt’s Grounded), performance art (Jordan Crandall’s Unmanned), photojournalism (Noor Behram’s work in Waziristan – see Delmont 2013), and painting (Joy Garnett’s Predator series1). This variety of opinions is indicative of an evolving public political culture in which the drone is weaved through different military, scientific, political, ethical, and aesthetic expressions to different communicational spaces and contrasting contexts. In short, the drone’s lifeworld extends beyond its limited war capacity and extends into and is interrogated by the public imagination. The role of these interventions in helping to visualize a drone is critical. When it comes to the military and security applications, drones have largely been invisible to publics, as part and parcel of covert “cloak and dagger” operations. To the extent then that drones have become visible as concrete objects, even as icons of public concerns about security, it is worth reflecting on how and why they have been visually displayed in the public sphere, or how public dialogue has rendered the drone imaginable in a specific form (or format). Here the role of artistic performance or an artwork is particularly evocative. Below we examine four specific interventions that strive to both “see” the drone and make it seen: the Canon Drone, 1
Dronestagram, Drone+ and Mahwish Chishty’s rendering of drones as folk art. Although each is a vignette of how to call into question the military application of drones, they are more than images with a frisson of political edginess – they have a role to play in manufacturing the drone’s public appeal. More to the point, each is a subjective appropriation that makes visible drones and their “killer” applications, inspiring a dialogue with the hope to transform (even vitiate) them. The Cool Media of Drones as Material Devices of the Public 1) The “Canon Drone”, Making the Killer Drone Visible What does a drone look like? War reporting in previous eras could provide actual images of the use of weaponry and its consequences (for instance, World War Two strategic bombers carpeting German industrial targets, or, during the Vietnam War, napalm bombs being launched on the jungles and troops). By contrast, the secretive use of drones, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has meant that outside official governmental sources, images of “killer drones” in action – that is, actually firing – have not been easy to find. And yet, as noted by James Bridle, one image – that “of a Reaper drone – exists and is everywhere” (Madrigal 2013): the “canonical image of the drone” (see figure 1 below). The picture is of a Reaper drone firing a Hellfire missile. Indeed, type “drone” in Google and the first image that appears is the Reaper Drone, which, in iconic fashion, has been named the Canon Drone. Figure 1: The Canonical Image of the Drone
3D Rendering of MQ-9 Reaper (Mike Hahn, 2009). Courtesy of the artist Mike Hahn. As James Bridle has deciphered, “[t]he Canon Drone does not exist, it never has. It is a computer generated rendering of a drone, a fiction. It flies over an abstracted landscape”2 (Bridle 2013a). The image of the drone is actually a design created by Michael Hahn, who remarked that he “had never seen an image of a drone actually firing a missile so that is what [he] decided to create” (quoted in Madrigal 2013). Driven to generate this image due to the lack of images of drones at 2
After contacting Hahn, Bridle was able to find that the backdrop was in fact a crop of a photo found on Flickr, and was “taken on October 11, 2007 using a Nikon D2X and posted to a Flickr account belonging to ‘trackpads’, a Not for Profit Foundation for the promotion and understanding of issues surrounding military service and the effect on families, although by it’s [sic] caption it appears to be an official US Army photograph, and released into the public domain” (Bridle 2013b).
the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency, Hahn uploaded his image to two online 3D images sites, http://www.luxology.com/ and http://www.3dallusions.com/. Becoming visible through a simple Google Search, “suddenly, everyone else, who also had never seen a drone actually firing a missile, had a way of seeing [one] with their own eyes” (Madrigal 2013). The viral iteration of this image certainly did its work by giving a public face to the drone war, and set the stage for much of its current controversy (Madrigal 2013). 2) Dronestagram – The Drone as Viewing Media Dronestagram3 is a social medial application available as an Instagram account, created by artist and activist James Bridle to make apparent the destructive effects of drone strikes through the drone’s-eye view (see figure 2 below).4 His effort is to make us see what drones see, “[m]aking these locations just a little bit more visible, a little closer. […] We do not know these landscapes and we cannot visit them” (Bridle 2012). And as Bridle aptly puts it, “[t]he political and practical possibilities of drone strikes are the consequence of invisible, distancing technologies, and a technologically-disengaged media and society” (Bridle 2012). Figure 2: The Drone’s-Eye View
Dronestagram (James Bridle, 2012). Courtesy of the artist James Bridle. Dronestagram primarily uses news reports provided by the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism5 and posts images from Google Maps Satellite view to Instagram. Accentuating the drone’s eye-view, what Caren Kaplan has long stressed to be the militarized view (Kaplan 2006), the file-sharing photo app provides aerial pictures of various inhabited landscapes known to have 3
See Bridle’s project at http://instagram.com/dronestagram. As he explains, using a variety of sources to uncover the locations of the strikes, he makes his best to provide the most approximate location map. 4 It is also available on Tumblr at http://dronestagram.tumblr.com/ and on Twitter at www.twier.com/dronestagram, as well as on a website, http://booktwo.org/notebook/dronestagram-drones-eye-view/). 5 Established in 2010, the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism is an independent not-for-profit organisation whose stated aim is to provide accurate information and news as indispensable elements of a healthy democracy (http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/who/).
been locations of drone strikes (they are not actual images of the strikes’ impact). Yet while an aerial vantange point in some ways makes drones more visible it makes invisible the human casualties, as a view from the sky obfuscates the ability to discern the affected human lives. For Bridle, the hope is that Dronestagram can inspire empathy for the people we do not see but who inhabit these “foreign landscapes” (Bridle 2012). 3) Drones+ – The Cool Media That Shall Not Be Drones+ is another social media and mobile application that also features drones strikes created by Josh Begley, a graduate student at New York University. Like Dronestagram, the application draws on information collected by the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism. However, rather than providing photographic images, the application works by alerting Apple iPhone users to the instance of a drone strike in Pakistan and Afghanistan through push notifications and text messages (Brownstone 2013). For data artist and web developer Begley the app is meant to unveil “how we report on national security more so than an intervention in national security” (Begley quoted in Brownstone 2013). The app was therefore created not only to represent the toll of drone strikes but also to democratize national security journalism. Figure 3: Drones+
Drones+ (Josh Begley 2012). Courtesy of the artist Josh Begley. Initially, Apple banned the application from its iPhone platform (Bonnington & Ackerman 2012); in fact, between 2012-14, Apple rejected the application five times. The unexpected attention from Apple made Apple’s ban the story. Dubbed “[t]he drone strike push notifications Apple doesn’t want you to see,” an interesting debate spawned over the publicity of drone strikes (Brownstone 2013). Although it is unclear what the impact of the app would have been had it not 5
been banned, its ban certainly contributed to its popularity. In fact, the drone controversy became even more public when Drones+ was a finalist in the Index Design Awards 2013, despite its unavailability. Apple finally approved Begley’s proposal in February 2014. However, the approval followed after Begley agreed to remove the word “drone,” renaming the application Metadata+, and broadening the application’s focus beyond just drone strikes to “real time updates on national security” (Begley quoted in Franceschi-Bicchierai 2014). Having uploaded his archive of drone strikes, Metadata+, it seems to fulfil Begley’s original purpose: to have “a living archive of hauntings – those which ghost the landscapes we create, and those which ghost the landscapes some of us will never have to see” (Begley quoted in Franceschi-Bicchierai 2014). Figure 4: Metadata+
Metadata+ (Josh Begley 2014). Courtesy of the artist Josh Begley.
4) “Drones as Folk Art” The above vignettes are tied to the drones’ war capacity, aiming to challenge the military applications of drones, forcing us to rethink how drones are “cool”. This last vignette goes further by foregrounding the symbolism of killer drones in everyday life, thus showing how 6
these objects are amenable to subjectivity and may even elicit a different kind of drone. Henceforth, Pakistani painter Mahwish Chishty asks “what would happen if these drones were friendlier looking, instead of such hard-edged, metallic war machines” (Mother Jones 2013)? Aestheticizing drones through the Pakistani folk art of truck painting and refashioning the RQ170, the X-47B, the MQ-9 Predator, Reaper and Guardian drone models6 to decorate trucks that are used as mobile homes, Chishty describes her work as taking an “eerie object” to produce “subjective paintings using silhouettes of drones and juxtaposing vibrant cultural imagery to facilitate acculturation”, as a way to “open[…] a dialogue” (Chishty, n.d.). Figure 5: Pakistani Drone Folk Art
MQ-9/1 (Mahwish Chishty, 2011)
By the Moonlight (Mahwish Chishty, 2013). [Waiting for permission from the artist.] When asked by Mother Jones as to whether this display puts a positive spin on drones, Chishty’s response demonstrated the ambivalent state over the controversy of drones: “I don’t know if I am glorifying it. I just want people to talk about it. At the same time, it has some kind of beauty to it. I am also looking at them as objects, and not as much as war machines” (Mother Jones 2013; our emphasis). For Chishty, US Predator and other killer drones hovering over the clouds of the Pakistani-Afghanistan border have become part of normal life in Pakistan, and thus her effort reflects how material devices “shift attention from the latent material constitution of subjects and 6
You may see them all here: http://muslima.imow.org/content/art-war.
forms of democracy to more explicit deployments of objects, settings and devices in the organization of participation” (Marres & Lezaun 2011: 496-97). In so doing, Chishty aims to progressively move away from the war capacity of drones; not that they are not part of military incursions but that for Pakistanis they are increasingly embedded in the landscape of the everyday. In this way, her art has the effect of reappropriating drones for the Pakistani population and ascribe them meanings in Pakistani culture with the truck-art form, challenging and altering the public imagination of drones as deadly war machines. Conclusion Drones are in many ways “all the rage” – they are at the forefront of laudatory discussions within and beyond the security apparatus, and, as a result, they are also the focus of concern, even ire. In drawing attention to the drone as a contested object, reassessing what makes drones cool, this piece has reflected on how drones materialize and mobilize publics by bringing forward Marshall McLuhan’s notion of “cool media” to convey another meaning of cool, one that illustrates how drones as objects of security engender and emerge through the controversies that spark publics. The short vignettes illustrating the Canon drone, Dronestagram, the Drones+ app, and Chishty’s folk art paintings all invoke different sites of contestation and partake in the cultural landscape of the “killer” drone controversy. Together they highlight the drone’s ambiguous public status as an emerging and, potentially transformative security technology. Cited References Alston, Philip. 2010. UNHRC: Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions: Study on Targeted Killings, May 28, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/14session/A.HRC.14.24.Add6.pdf. Accessed June 11, 2013. Anderson, Chris. 2012. “How I Accidentally Kickstarted the Domestic Drone Boom.” June 22, http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/06/ff_drones/all/. Accessed July 22, 2013. Azhar, Hamdam. 2013. “Drones Are Not Dangerous: Normalisation, New Journalism, and the New Drone Culture.” The State (blog), December 18, http://www.thestate.ae/drones-are-notdangerous-normalisation-new-journalism-and-the-new-drone-culture/. Accessed January 10, 2014. Bonnington, Christine and Spencer Ackerman. 2012. “Apple Rejects that App that Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes.” Danger Room, August 30, http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/08/drone-app/. Accessed January 20, 2014. Braun, Bruce and Sarah J. Whatmore (eds). 2010. Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy and Public Life. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Bridle, James. 2012. “Dronestagram: The Drone’s Eye-View.” Booktwo.org, November 8, http://booktwo.org/notebook/dronestagram-drones-eye-view/. Accessed March 20, 2013. Bridle, James. 2013a. “I Have Something of an Obsession With the Image.” One Visible Future: 8
Ongoing Research Into Visibility, Legibility, Agency, and Drones (onevisiblefuture.tumblr.com), March 8, http://onevisiblefuture.tumblr.com/post/44865882761/i-have-something-of-an-obsessionwith-the-image. Accessed March 20, 2013. Bridle, James. 2013b. “Mike Hahn, Who Created the Canon Drone Image.” One Visible Future: Ongoing Research Into Visibility, Legibility, Agency, and Drones (onevisiblefuture.tumblr.com/), April 23, http://onevisiblefuture.tumblr.com/post/48697035744/mike-hahn-who-created-the-canondrone-image. Accessed May 20, 2013. Bridle, James. 2013c. “Australia: Drone Shadows, Diagrams, and Political Systems.” Booktwo.org, September 6, http://booktwo.org/notebook/australia-drone-shadows/. Accessed December 16, 2013. Brownstone, Diane. 2013. “The Drone Strike Push Notifications Apple Doesn’t Want You To See.” July 2, http://www.fastcoexist.com/1682485/the-drone-strike-push-notifications-appledoesnt-want-you-to-see. Accessed November 15, 2013. Delmont, Matt. 2013. “Drone Encounters: Noor Behram, Omer Fast, and Visual Critiques of Drone Warfare.” American Quarterly 65 (1): 193-202. Francheschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo. 2014. “After 5 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes.” Mashable, February 7, http://mashable.com/2014/02/07/apple-apptracks-drone-strikes/. Accessed February 8, 2014. Gregory, Derek. 2014. “Drone Geographies.” Radical Philosophy, no. 147 (January/February), http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/article/drone-geographies. Accessed January 10, 2014. Habermas, Jürgen. 1991. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Translated by T. Burger. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Harkinson, Josh. 2013. “Friendly Fire: Drones As Folk Art | Mother Jones.” Mother Jones, June 24, http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/06/pakistani-drone-art-mahwish-chishty. Accessed July 12, 2013. Kaplan, Caren. 2006. “Mobility and War: The Cosmic View of US ‘Air Power’.” Environment and Planning A 38 (2): 395-407. Lallanilla, Marc. 2013. “9 Totally Cool Uses for Drones.” LiveScience, March 23, http://www.livescience.com/28137-cool-uses-for-drones.html. Accessed February 2, 2014. Latour, Bruno. 2005. “From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik: or How to Make Things Public.” In Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, 4-31. Cambridge: MIT Press. Madrigal, Alexis C. 2013. “The ‘Canonical’ Image of a Drone Is a Rendering Dressed Up in Photoshop.” The Atlantic.com, March 20, 9
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/the-canonical-image-of-a-drone-is-arendering-dressed-up-in-photoshop/274177/. Accessed August 10, 2013. Marres, Noortje and Javier Lezaun. 2011. “Materials and Devices of the Public.” Economy and Society 40 (4): 489-509. Marres, Noortje. 2008. “The Making of Climate Publics: Eco-homes as Material Devices of Publicity.” Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, no. 16: 27-45. McLuhan, Marshall. 1994. Understanding Media: The Extension of Man. Cambridge: MIT Press. Zehfuss, Maja. 2010. “Targeting: Precision and the Production of Ethics.” European Journal of International Relations 17 (3): 543-56.
Press Release for Immediate Release 15/10/13
TRACE RECORDINGS Surveillance and Identity in the 21st Century 22 October—29 November From top-secret NSA listening stations to the DNA left on chewed gum, upcoming exhibition Trace Recordings examines the mechanisms of 21st century surveillance and explores how they are changing behaviours and shifting our ideas of public/ private selves. Presenting work by eleven Australian and international artists across a variety of media, the exhibition critically, and at times playfully, casts an artistic light on the scale and complexity of these systems. Featuring works by Denis Beaubois (AU), James Bridle (UK), Mahwish Chishty (US), Paolo Cirio (IT), Benjamin Gaulon (FR), Heather Dewey-Hagborg (US), Adam Harvey (US), Trevor Paglen (US) Matt Richardson (US) and Shinseungback Kimyonghun (KR). Curated by Holly Williams and Chris Gaul. Trace Recordings is accompanied by a series of talks and workshops. What: Trace Recordings exhibition Where: UTS Gallery, University of Technology, Sydney Level 4, Peter Johnson Building, 702 Harris Street, Ultimo, When: Mon–Fri: 12–6pm; Sat 26 Oct & Sat 2 Nov: 1–5pm More info: www.tracerecordings.net
WELCOME TO THE NEW NORMAL A panel discussion on self, society and 21st century surveillance 5 November 6:30–8pm In the era of social media and networked technologies we are constantly recorded and observed. How are these pervasive but unseen surveillance systems altering our behaviour, feelings and sense of self? We choose to opt in to these systems; but do we really have the option to opt out? Join an expert panel featuring criminologist and legal scholar Katherine Biber; award-winning Global Mail journalist Clare Blumer; UTS Librarian and former intelligence analyst Mal Booth; Professor of Law and Director of the UTS Communications Law Centre Michael Fraser; psychology researcher Dr Andrew Geeves; Professor of Computer Systems Massimo Piccardi; and social analyst and identity law consultant Steve Wilson. Moderated by Trace Recordings co-curator Holly Williams. What: Welcome to The New Normal panel discussion When: Tuesday 5th November, 6:30–8pm Where: Guthrie Theatre, Level 3, 702 Harris St, Ultimo Book Tickets: http://new-normal.eventbrite.com/
Above from top: MAHWISH CHISHTY MQ-9/1, 2011, gouache, gold leaf and tea stain on handmade paper. SHINSEUNGBACK KIMYONGHUN Memory 2013, digital tablet, custom software, frame. Heather Dewey-Hagborg Stranger Visions. TREVOR PAGLEN They Watch the Moon 2010, digital c-type print. All images courtesy the artists.
Press Release for Immediate Release 15/10/13
TRACE RECORDINGS Exhibition highlights: Trace Recordings brings together photography, painting, sculpture, software, interactive and site-specific installation as well as hands-on workshops in creatively avoiding spying eyes. Highlights include: New York based Heather Dewey-Hagborg's Stranger Visions is a series of portraits generated from DNA found in public places. The artist extracts genetic material from cigarette butts, chewed gum and stray hairs to create imagined portraits based on the detailed and intimate traces left by strangers as they move through the world. Trevor Paglen's photograph They Watch the Moon depicts a secret NSA ECHELON station deep in the forests of West Virginia. The radio receivers are designed in part to take advantage of 'moon bounce' (capturing radio signals that have escaped into space, hit the moon, and been reflected back towards Earth). This long exposure is taken under the light of a full moon. Mahwish Chishty's miniature paintings of CIA drones are intricately rendered in the elaborate and colourful Pakistani folk-tradition of truck decoration. This style of decoration proudly reflects the personality of each truck driver—in contrast to the unadorned, drab grey exteriors of actual drones that reveal nothing about their far-distant operators. Paolo Cirio's Street Ghosts depict people as captured by Google street view cameras. Each Street Ghost is rendered life-size at the site where the street view image was originally taken. For Trace Recordings, Paolo Cirio will create new works around UTS. Shinseungback Kimyonghun's Memory is a digital tablet equipped with facial recognition software. The device records each face it recognises, endlessly superimposing faces to generate a composite portrait of every person who has viewed the work. 2.4 Ghz is the brainchild of French artist and hacker Benjamin Gaulon, who was inspired by the story of a woman in suburban Chicago who found a channel on her baby monitor was receiving video from the space shuttle Atlantis. Exhibition visitors can borrow one of his customised monitors to pick up unencrypted surveillance footage in the local area. Co-curator Chris Gaul comments:
“Artists approach these subjects from a unique perspective and can draw attention to these issues in a way that privacy advocates or legal experts can’t.” he says. “Hopefully in the future we’ll be less complacent about the degree of surveillance we accept in our lives and more aware of how it affects us.”
For full details visit: www.tracerecordings.net Media enquiries: Holly Williams email@example.com / 0458 555 248
Trace Recordings: surveillance, art and identity in the 21st century
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22 October 2013, 6.51am AEST
Trace Recordings: surveillance, art and identity in the 21st century Chris Gaul Tutor at University of Technology, Sydney “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.” These aren’t lines from Nineteen Eighty-Four but the words of Eric Schmidt, Google’s notoriously frank Executive Chair and former CEO. The repercussions of Schmidt’s matter-of-fact assessment are the subject of Trace Recordings, a new
“Stranger Visions” is a series of 3D printed portraits based on genetic material taken from public places, by Heather
exhibition exploring Dewey-Hagborg. Image courtesy of the artist surveillance and identity in the 21st century. It considers the disturbing consequences of surveillance in a networked age and examines controversial new technologies such as computer vision, surveillance drones, facial recognition and biometric profiling. Responding to the influence of surveillance technologies in our lives, the 11 artists in the exhibition draw together psychology, science, politics and technology in ways that policy experts or privacy advocates can’t. Ranging from the subtle and meticulous to the controversial and playful, their artistic provocations also highlight emerging forms of portraiture in the digital age.
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Trace Recordings: surveillance, art and identity in the 21st century
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In “Stranger Visions”, Heather Dewey-Hagborg analyses DNA from found cigarette butts, chewed gum and stray hairs to generate portraits of each subject based on their genetic data. Comparing the artist to her own genetically derived selfportrait, the resemblance is striking. While not so exact as to readily identify an individual, the portraits demonstrate the disquieting amount of information that can be derived from a single strand of a stranger’s hair and the disturbing potential for surveillance of our most personal information. Images courtesy of the artist
The artist extracts DNA from these samples to uncover a multitude of traits: from sex, ethnic background, eye and hair colour to hair thickness and curliness and even likelihood of freckles or propensity for obesity. From these data a facial model is generated which forms the basis of a lifesize 3D‐ printed mask. Image courtesy the artist
The artists use a variety of forms in their critique: creating striking 3D printed portraits from DNA taken from public places; meticulously painting spy drones in traditional Pakistani patterns; hiking deep into the wilderness to photograph secret government “moonbounce” installations; or exposing unencrypted surveillance networks using nothing more than a baby monitor.
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Trace Recordings: surveillance, art and identity in the 21st century
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Trevor Paglen’s photograph “They Watch the Moon” depicts a secret NSA listening station deep in the forests of West Virginia. The facility is hidden in the heart of the National Radio Quiet Zone, 34,000 square kilometres in West Virginia, USA, where WiFi, FM radio and similar transmissions are sensitive to radio astronomy. Courtesy the artist, Altman Siegel San Francisco, Metro Pictures New York and Galerie Thomas Zander Cologne. On loan from the collection of Dr Clinton Ng.
The myriad ways we’re watched and recorded every day are astonishing. Government agencies as unlikely as even the RSPCA can monitor your phone and email without your knowledge and without a warrant. Smart phones have tracked and recorded the location of millions of users without their consent. NSW Police patrol cars collect and catalogue the licence plate of every car they pass.
“Memory”, by Korean artist collective Shinseungback Kimyonghun, is a digital tablet equipped with facialrecognition software. The device records each face it recognises, endlessly superimposing faces to generate a composite portrait of every person who has viewed the work. As with the digital devices we interact with every day, ‘Memory’ quietly and diligently records and reports what it sees. Image courtesy the artists
Meanwhile, Google has argued in court that Gmail users have “no legitimate expectation of privacy”, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes privacy is “no longer a social norm” and former US Vice President Dick Cheney declared massive surveillance programs such as PRISM “the new normalcy”. https://theconversation.com/trace-recordings-surveillance-art-and-identity-in-the-21st-century-19351
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Trace Recordings: surveillance, art and identity in the 21st century
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In a networked world, where a single datum is often enough to unlock a wealth of private information, how well placed is our trust in these organisations? And if opting out of these systems is no longer an option, what agency do we have within them?
The Disposition Matrix is a system used by the US Government to assess masses of intelligence data. It create a matrix of people, places and events from which it extrapolates lists of targets for surveillance, rendition and killing. Image courtesy the artist
The exhibition offers an artistic insight into the methods and motivations of the people and machines who watch us, as well as providing creative ways to protect yourself—including workshops to design new make-up looks that confuse facial recognition algorithms. The exhibition is also the catalyst for a panel discussion, Welcome To The New Normal, that will explore these issues in depth with a panel of experts in psychology, intelligence, criminology, journalism, computer vision, law and sociology.
Traditionally trained miniature painter Mahwish Chishty’s CIA surveillance and attack drones are intricately rendered in the elaborate and colourful Pakistani folk tradition of truck decoration. This style of decoration proudly reflects the personality of each truck driver — in contrast to the unadorned, drab grey exteriors of actual drones that reveal nothing about their far-distant operators. Image courtesy the artist
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Trace Recordings: surveillance, art and identity in the 21st century
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Unauthorised incursions by unmanned aircraft have become commonplace in north-west Pakistan. By appropriating their form, Mahwish Chishty claims a sense of control over these silent menaces. Image courtesy the artist
Eric Schmidt says: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Increasingly, that seems like a statement that’s as relevant to the watchers as it is to the people they watch.
Trace Recordings opens at UTS Gallery University of Technology, Sydney today and runs until November 29. The panel discussion, Welcome To The New Normal, is at the Guthrie Theatre at UTS on November 5, 6:30–8pm. For more information visit https://newnormal.eventbrite.com/.
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DRONE RESEARCH LAB
AIR RIGHTS October 1 - October 17, 2013 Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning The University of Michigan
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. - R. Buckminster Fuller
Recipients of the
2013 Grant for Student Research funded through The Class of 2013 Class Gift Cover: â€œPaper Planeâ€? Source: Wikipedia
Opening Remarks and Reception, October 1 - 6 P.M.
DILLON ERB & JOHN HILMES
would like to extend their sincerest thanks to:
AXEL BRECHENSBAUER JAMES BRIDLE CASEY CARTER MAHWISH CHISTY STERLING CRISPIN SARA DEAN KATHRYN DREITZLER CHRIS GEIST ADAM HARVEY DAN KOBRAN SJ KWON ERIC MEYER JEFF NADER LINDSEY NETTE EVAN ROTH DAVID SCHELLINGERHOUDT JAMES SPILLER RACHEL SPILLER SCOTT SØRLI JASPER van LOENEN
The Graduating Class of 2013 Dean Monica Ponce de Leon Matthew Story, Peter Halquist, Dan Flake -Unterman, Ian Donaldson, Ethan Walker, Shan Sutherland, John Monnat, Brian Kohler, Ana De Araujo,Will Martin, Ashwin Kumar Zachary Angles, Keith Bretzius, Sarah Jarzembowski, Sandra Patton, Jeannette Turner, MaryAnn Wilkinson Jason Young, Etienne Turpin, Kathy Velikov, Geoff Thün, Christian Unverzagt, Leigha Dennis Kimberly Brink & Our Friends and Family
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS Like the internet and countless technologies before it, the aerial drone is military in origin. A number of previously unconsidered applications for this technology are being explored as the drone has become increasingly accessible to a civilian population. The surveillance potentials of this tool have highlighted tensions between privacy and transparency, and have challenged some of our most fundamental assumptions about public space. The democratization and proliferation of the aerial drone represents an unparalleled opportunity for experimentation and research.
The unavoidable and primary currency of architecture is space. It is the duty of architects and designers to interrogate any tool that can simultaneously access formerly restricted spatial territory while shifting our perception of known environments. As the debate concerning domestic and international drone flights (and attacks) is unfolding, architects and designers have been noticeably absent from meaningful, mainstream discourse.
DRONE RESEARCH LAB believes accessibility, familiarity and proficiency ultimately lead to a curiosity and irreverence required to generate unexpected and novel uses. This playfulness saps drones of their status as vilified objects, while acknowledging more optimistic potential trajectories. We assert that the drone will strengthen collective consciousness and awareness of our roles in the larger networks and ecosystems we inhabit — to a degree unparalleled since the advents of satellite photography, space travel and the web. We aspire to build a civilian knowledge base of non-violent, scientific, and potentially lifesaving applications.
DRONE RESEARCH LAB’s exhibition, “AIR RIGHTS” hopes to confront this by addressing such questions as: •
commonplace? Do they facilitate or obstruct these machines? • What are the ground rules and reasonable expectations of a society already living with intelligent, flying machines? • How can drones be embraced by artists, designers and
“THE PEACE DRONE”
AXEL BRECHENSBAUER Malmö, Sweden
JAMES BRIDLE London, United Kingdom
“A proposal to United States Armed Forces: Killing foreign people with Predator drones is history. Let me introduce ‘The Peace Drone’.
The unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, is a potent symbol of contemporary warfare, and of contemporary networked technologies. Drones are avatars of the network, and of the political processes that shape and deploy them, which are then reshaped by them in turn. The violence implicit in networked surveillance is made explicit in the the form of the drone, and serves as an opportunity to shine a light on the politics behind both, as well as the forms and understandings of public and social technologies which sustain them.
Hovering over hostile settlements or cities playing loud clown music, smiling around and delivering clouds of oxycontin: a beautiful American drug described as a pharmaceutical grade heroin. Happy people are better than dead people and best of all, they will be addicted to you!”
Axel Brechensbauer was born in the very south of Sweden in the countryside. In the absence of other things to do. This environment made him look very
Dronestagram uses publicly-available digital mapping tools and social networks to visualize the landscapes of undeclared wars of assassination, formulated, carried out and made possible by the same forms of technology. It draws the connections between these different technologies and the asymmetric nature of public understanding of them, protesting both the deployment of such technologies to circumvent the rule of law and human rights, and the structural inequalities of social media to respond to them.
closely at the small parts of nature. Brechensbauer builds the structures according to exacting blueprints and drawings, often spending “endless hours” crafting the shapes by hand from a mixture of wood, steel, and resin. Some parts are then sent to a bronze foundry to be cast. It’s a stark departure from Brechensbauer’s former career as a product designer working on everything from sunglasses to astronaut equipment. “At some point, I realized how technology or physical function is dictating the surface of everything that is designed,” Brechensbauer says. “This is how I took the step into pure shapes, aiming for the ultimate object.” Axel has exhibited in Spain, Germany, Sweden and the USA.
James Bridle is an artist, writer, and publisher based in London, UK. His writing on literature, culture and networks has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Wired, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic, the New Statesman, the Observer and many others, in print and online. His artworks and installations have been commissioned and exhibited worldwide and on the internet. He lectures regularly at universities, conferences and other events. His formulation of the New Aesthetic research project has spurred debate and creative work across multiple disciplines. His work can be found at http://booktwo.org.
“DRONES AS FOLK ART”
MAHWISH CHISTY Lahore, Pakistan / Chicago, Illinois
STERLING CRISPIN Santa Barbara, California
“My formal paintings depict contradictions and irony within its pictorial
We are at the dawn of a robotics revolution, which has already begun to transform the landscape of manufacturing, reconnaissance, surgery, and modern warfare. But what of the human psyche?
coding. Starting from a silhouette of UAV, I paint colorful folk ‘truck art’ imagery on these war machines to give them a second skin that opens a dialogue about Pakistani common culture. These paintings are accompanied by culturally loaded text and iconography to communicate phrases like: ‘Look at me but with love’, ‘Honk your horn before passing me’. And ‘Go in peace; Come back in peace’ These expressions in combination with stark iconography give birth to a new visual language. By applying layers of photo-transferred images from Pakistani print media and layering it with traditional miniature painting, I challenge the grotesque reality of modern warfare. I am interested in the contrast of terror with the representation of cultural beauty”.
Initially trained as a miniature painter from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, Mahwish Chishty has aggressively combined new media and conceptual work with her traditional practice. Ms. Chishty has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at venues like Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MOCADA), Brooklyn, NY; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD; Gallery 10, Washington D.C. and Rohtas Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan among others. By camouflaging modern war machines with folk imagery, Ms. Chishty is shedding light on the complexity of acculturation, politics and power. In November 2013, her work will be shown at UTS gallery in Sydney, Australia. Ms. Chishty also has pieces in the public and private collections including the Foreign Office Islamabad, Pakistan and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka Shi, Japan.
Charon is a physical embodiment of the tension between humans, robotic autonomous agents, and the virtual models which these agents rely on to understand the world. An object was created from the flightpath of an autonomous quadcopter while it interacted with me in a motion tracking lab. Both physical and virtual forces exerted their influence on the drone, creating a two-way boundary crossing between the internal world-model of the drone, and its external physical surroundings. This form can be considered as the shadow of this boundary crossing, fueled by the complex exchange between a sentient human and a robotic proto-lifeform. Charon is the ferryman on the River Styx, the mediator between the physical world and the underworld. In Greek mythology Charon was born from Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night) who were two of the first five primordial beings to come into existence, created by the source of all existence, Chaos. The name of Charon comes from the Greek word charopós, “of keen gaze”. The drone wirelessly receives its vision and thoughts from an array of cameras and computers which act as an extension of its being. The lab when considered as whole a system is akin to a living creature’s biological functions. This system is the flagellum of a global organism just beginning to awaken.
“THE KITE, THE QUAD, THE WING” DAVID SCHELLINGERHOUDT & LINDSEY NETTE Toronto, Canada A community group in a post-industrial city fights to reuse historic factory buildings in their neighborhood – they lack the information to realize the potentials of the place.
David Schellingerhoudt is a freelance designer, builder and gadgetier,
An explorer seeks a tool to reorient misguided perceptions of a vast landscape and its decaying ecosystem – she hopes to get over its horizons.
an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
A Mine-spotter stands before a chain-link fence and hears heavy machinery – unable to see the veins of earth or the coils of road beyond. The three characters are actually two: two graduate students attempting to shed some light on their research; two students in search of accessible, affordable points of view that haven’t been so accessible in the past; two theses looking right at the overlooked.
working in industrial design, residential renovation, urban activism, and DIY aerial photography. David has lived and worked in Vancouver, Calgary, New York, Dublin, Rome, and Toronto, and recently served as
David holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Waterloo; his thesis, “Hack: Reclaiming the Commons”, speculates on the power of the aerial view to unlock architecture and empower citizens to take control of their environments. Hack features four homemade remote control devices for urban reconnaissance. David is continuing his thesis research while travelling across Canada and flying his devices at every opportunity. Lindsey Nette is a designer, writer, and maker, with a focus on the power of “place” as a force and a bias that reshapes land into landscape. Lindsey received her Masters of Architecture from the
Three devices – the kite, the quad, and the wing – became the medium in my Masters Thesis, Hack: Reclaiming the Commons . But it was two blindnesses that sparked their creation: a fenced in factory I was trying to help save, and a road trip west to help my partner resurvey Canadian prairie. Both opportunities unfolded with their own conditions and constraints. The following are what I made, what we saw, and what we continue to seek out.
University of Waterloo. Her thesis, A Place in the Grass, focuses on the historically blind remaking of the prairie landscape in Canada, and the opportunities arising to rediscover a place we’ve never known. Lindsey’s work and experience have taken her to New York, Boston, Rome, Dublin, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. She is currently pursuing her interests in mobile architecture, nomadic ideas of place, and the resurveying of the Canadian West, while writing, building, and travelling across Canada.
“DIY (DRONE IT YOURSELF)” JASPER VAN LOENEN Rotterdam, The Kingdom of the Netherlands DIY (Drone It Yourself ) kit v1.0 offers you the opportunity to turn any object into a drone*, simply by attaching four motors and a control unit – no technical know-how needed. The kit consists of multiple parts that are easy to assemble and can be attached to a wide range of different objects. All of the files needed to create the original version of the kit are available online – and as of September 2013 have been downloaded over 16,000 times – so for more advanced users you can take the designs and alter the kit by making your own custom clamps or add-ons as needed – hence the v1.0 in the title of the work. * Technically this would be an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), not a drone, but drone seems to be the term everyone uses these days.
Jasper van Loenen [NL] is an artist-maker based in Rotterdam. His main interest lies in connecting the digital world to the physical, giving abstract systems a tactile presence. For this he uses a variety of materials and techniques, preferably open source.
DroneART, a Product of Surveillance Criticism Anna C. Natale Master student of the Post-graduation course in Contemporary Culture Studies at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil (ECCO-UFMT). Researcher at Lab.Tecc – Technologies, Sciences and Creation Laboratory at UFMT www.labteccufmt.wix.com/site firstname.lastname@example.org
Dolores Cristina Gomes Galindo PhD, Teacher and Coordinator of the Post-graduation course in Contemporary Culture Studies at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil (ECCO-UFMT). Coordinator of the Lab.Tecc email@example.com
Abstract: Drones are remotely piloted aircrafts (RPA) that are mostly used for surveillance but also to search for victims/soldiers, help rescue teams, guard suspects and carry out attacks. In order to attack is necessary to own legitimacy, and The United States tend to legitimize their attack actions as a defense response to the events of September 11 and continues to do so by raising the flag of the so called “War against terror”. By referring Hardt and Negri we understand that military power can be legitimized when their function is to maintain order, but not necessarily peace. Making possible to carry out legal, illegal and immoral acts of violence as long as this violence results in the production and maintenance of imperial order. The DroneArt enters the art circuit questioning the existing biopolitics in the use of drones. The re-appropriations are done in different shapes and intensities. The artists’ concerns are linked to the military; unauthorized surveillance; disregard for borders; no official statement of armed conflict, lack of justice to the families of innocents that were killed in these attacks, etc.. Drones are already present in various environments, in the Armed Forces, in corporations and also in the hands of civilians. We live in a moment in which there are no major wars, but many small armed conflicts. It is increasingly difficult to understand the distinctions between legitimate violence, crime and terrorism. If the legitimation of violence is not clear, then all the violence is within a range of gray tones but do not cease to oppress their citizens. The DroneART reveals the importance of questioning this violence that approach us as fast as the shadows of the clouds. Keywords: drone art, RPA, drones, surveillance, resistance.
According to the U.S. Army manual about drones, called Eyes of the U.S. Army Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, in 1915, Nicola Tesla introduced the concept of unmanned flight in his dissertation describing an armed aircraft designed to defend The United States. In 1919, Elmer Sperry, the creator of the gyroscope and autopilot technology, used an unmanned aircraft to sank a captured German ship as part of a demonstration of this new technology. Already in 1953 at Fort Huachuca in Arizona was done a complete test of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and in 1979 the Armed Forces did the first major acquisition of drones for the Aquila Program. During the operational tests in 1987, only seven of the hundred and five flights were successful. In 1985, the Department of Defense (DOD) purchased the Pioneer, which was the first drone that flew over three hundred combat missions during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm hunting missiles and high-value targets. The learned operational lessons and needs with the Global War on Terror (GWOT) induced the Armed Forces to increase the power of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Drone is the most commonly named used by national and international media to talk about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPA). These aircrafts better known as drones can be sent anywhere from anywhere on the globe. Other countries are beginning to adopt this type of surveillance and defense devices, and one of these countries is Brazil, according to a press release done on February five 2013, Embraer will begin producing drones.
The U.S. Army began combat operations in October 2001 with 54 operational Hunter and Shadow unmanned aircraft. Today, the Army has over 4,000 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in various sizes and capabilities with still more programmed. After nearly 9 years of continuous combat operations, we have significantly evolved the way we employ UAS in support of our Warfighters. These adaptations are reflected in the tremendous growth of platforms and the expanded capabilities in the current UAS force. (U.S. Army UAS Roadmap, 2010, p. i).
Drones are remotely piloted aircrafts that are often used for surveillance but also to search for victims/soldiers, help rescue teams, guard suspects and carry out attacks. In order to attack is necessary to own legitimacy, and The United States tend to legitimize their attack actions as a defense response to the events of September 11. And agreeing with Hardt and Negri we understand that military power can be legitimized when their function is to maintain order, but not necessarily peace. Making possible to carry out legal, illegal and immoral acts of
violence as long as this violence results in the production and maintenance of imperial order. The line of reasoning proposed by Hardt and Negri (2004) is confirmed in the following quote:
The global security environment is more ambiguous and unpredictable than in the past. Many national security and intelligence experts share the Armyâ€™s assessment that the next several decades will be characterized by persistent conflict â€“ protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors that are increasingly willing to use violence to achieve their political and ideological endsâ€Ś Future operations in this dynamic environment will likely span the spectrum of conflict from peacekeeping operations to counterinsurgency to major combat. 2009 Army Posture Statement. (U.S. Army UAS Roadmap, 2010, p. 19).
Through the statements above, the DroneArt enters the art circuit questioning the biopolitics in the use of drones. The re-appropriations are made differently, such as the work of the Pakistani artist Chishty, who resides in the United States and brings her resistance through beauty in her work. The concerns that are presented throught the DroneArt are about military power, illegality, immorality, unauthorized surveillance, disregard for borders, no official statement of armed conflict, lack of justice to the families of innocents that were killed in these attacks, etc.. The DroneArt questions with different methods the power of an empire to decide over live and death of citizens that are not within U.S. borders and that are of a different race and practice another religion.
Violence is legitimated most effectively today, it seems to us, not on any a priori framework, moral or legal, but only a posteriori, based on its results. It might seem that the violence of the strong is automatically legitimated and the violence of the weak immediately labeled terrorism, but the logic of the legitimation has more to do with the effects of the violence. The reinforcement of reestablishment of the current global order is what retroactively legitimates the use of violence. (HARDT; NEGRI, 2004, p.30).
In recent years, parallel to the increased use of lethal drones, artists with different backgrounds exhibit artistic works about these deadly devices. They are presented through paintings, photographs, urban interventions, dance and interactive online applications. The Pakistani artist Mahwish Chishty1, initiated her career in miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore in Pakistan and in her practices, she started to intensely explore the new media. Her works were exhibited at the Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, Gallery 10 in Washington D.C., Rohtas Gallery in Lahore in Pakistan and also at the Canvas 1
Gallery in Karachi in Pakistan for camouflaging war machines with modern folk images and iconography. Her work heats complex issues of acculturation, politics and power. Today, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland in Washington in the United States.
MQ-9/Predator (2011) â€“ Mahwish Chishty.
In 2011 Mahwish Chishty began creating a series of works with paint gouache on handmade paper. In the painting MQ-9/Predator, the sheet appears to have the same texture as homemade recycled paper, the tonal changes are visible, resembling the color of earth and sand grains, but also nullifies the track of time, there is no way to know the age of this work. What marks the contemporaneity of this work is the recognizable shave of the drone releasing its missiles, but the artist found a way to bring such a beauty that makes us question at the moment we observe the painting about how lethal this device really is. At that moment we need force ourselves that the device is all about surveillance and armed conflicts. Art camouflaged the drone. The conventional metallic gray existent in aircrafts was replaced by light and varied colors that give life to this device. Might be hard to think of a more appropriate and contradictory camouflage than giving life to a drone, giving life to an aircraft controlled miles away, in which was developed to observe, destroy and kill. The colors used are mostly light blue, dark blue, red and orange. The selection of colors and ornaments bring up a delicacy opposed against the original rigidity of the drone. Mahwish Chishty joined the subculture of droneArt after a visit to Pakistan to encounter family and friends that talked constantly about drones on the Pakistani
border. For about ten years, The United States maintains military presence with drones controlling the region to find and aim at “terrorists”, such a word is in quotes because there is an oficial investigations of the government to determine and differentiate terrorists from male adult civilians. These drone strikes in Pakistan killed over 2,000 people, mostly civilians.
Curiosity about all the propaganda behind the drone war inspired Chishty to re-imagine drones by painting them in the tradition of Pakistan’s truck art. Painting trucks is a local art form created by truck drivers who paint their vehicles in bright colours and floral patterns, often showing artistic depiction of heroes and sometimes with calligraphy in order to beautify them. Chishty juxtaposes silhouettes of drones with truck art imagery, taking the shapes of different kinds of drones and covering them in decoration, like the drivers who decorate their trucks. (PATHEOS, 2013).
She questions herself if her work mischaracterized these war apparatus through beauty. But wouldn’t it be a form of resistance? When she used an ordinary painting technique, she officially brought the drones to the quotidian way of life, showing that the drones have become part of every citizens life, now drones are as ordinary as buses. Mahwish Chishty was interviewed by the online magazine Mother Jones and she said: It’s kind of a folk art. It’s a tradition, a culture. People who drive these trucks basically live on those trucks, sleep on those trucks. They kind of make that into their mobile home and they decorate it into something that’s eye pleasing. They’re extremely beautiful paintings. They spend so much time on it and they don’t get any funding. This is something that they do, just a personal interest. It has no reason whatsoever other than just an aesthetic sense. I always thought that it was not given any importance in the art world back home, and I wanted people to think maybe that would happen if these drones were friendlier looking, instead of such hard-edged, metallic war machines. (MOTHER JONES, 2013).
Turning to the painting, Mahwish created an area to fit a pilot, that in reality does not exist since drones are about unmanned aircrafts, the frontal area of any aircraft usually refers to the idea of a cabin, this drawing has a white flower reinforcing the dualities: war/peace and surveillance/freedom. Another interesting aspect of this painting is how the artist composed the missiles. The coloring can be divided into 4 parts from its beginning: red, orange, yellow and white. If we observe only the missiles and take it out of context, it is impossible to recognize it as one. The missile was also camouflaged. About the missile compositions there are two possible readings: in the first there would be six different missiles in different directions, or we could also read that only one missile was fired and we can observe it falling until it reaches the end of the sheet. But,
there is not target, no victim, no blood, no pain. A missile fired randomly, as if its military power was not fatal. Reminding us about the numerous women and children victims of these unofficial and unfair strikes. The artist herself said that she sees these paintings as objects rather than as war machines. The refusal of the artist to see the drones as war devices and re-appropriate its forms into something simples, beautiful and peaceful becomes an action of resistance against these icons of death and destruction that according to the United States Army, armed conflicts against the so called enemies will be constant. As described in the Army’s Capstone Concept, to operate effectively under conditions of uncertainty and complexity in an era of persistent conflict, leaders must understand the situation in depth, adapt the actions of their formations to seize and retain the initiative, and be capable of rapid operations over extended distances while sustaining operations over time and across wide areas. Developing and integrating UAS into these formations provide the means to broaden situational awareness as well as improve our ability to see, target, and destroy the enemy. We also expect the UAS of the future to contribute to responsive and continuous sustainment in unsecure, austere environments. (U.S. Army UAS Roadmap, 2010, p. i).
Since the creation of photography, we have learned to “see” through machines. The 39 year old american Trevor Paglen made sure people would see the military machine through a machine. In 2010 he produced the photo Untitled – Reaper Drone, with this work the feeling of impotence towards the political surveillance is raised. Trevor believes that: I think that there is a little bit of any irony in the act of “watching the people who are watching you” here for sure, and it’s certainly something that I’ve developed into a subtheme quite explicitly in some works. But overall, I don’t think that particular dynamic is something I’m categorically interested in. That reading seems to emphasize the “surveillance” aspect of the work too much, and I’m actually not particularly interested in surveillance, per se. But it does point towards something that I am interested in, something I call “entangled photography” or “relational photography” – what I mean by this is thinking about photography beyond photographs. What happens if we start thinking about the practice of photography as embodying the critical moment in the work? In other words, what if the “fact” of photographing something is the essential critical point of a work? I started thinking about this a while ago when I was photographing secret military bases and CIA prisons – for me, a crucial part of those projects is not always what the images look like so much as the politics of producing them. (CURCIO, 2013).
The resistance presented by Trevor Paglen is clear, though his images, he reinforces the issue of the legitimation of imperial violence brought by Hardt and Negri (2004, p.30). The use
of drones confirms the idea of an enemy that is constantly present, and when war is at the political base, the enemy has a constitutive function to legitimize violence and attacks. When the enemy is no longer concrete, understandable and traceable, it facilitates the legitimacy of what is actually unsustainable.
Untitled (Drones), (2010) â€“ Trevor Paglen.
Another artist that belongs to the DroneArt circuit is the American James Bridle, he creates a direct visualization of drones by painting faithful outlines in real size in public areas of the city. His interventions shows civilians that pass by these places that such outlines represents war machines and make them wonder. Are we being watched? This kind of urban intervention inserts in our everyday lives the disturbance of military surveillance and the possibility of armed conflict, now we might be under surveillance and at risk of suffering drone attacks just as Muslims are for years. Through DroneArt we are demanded to think about the development of information technologies and also in the evolution of military strategies.
Drone Shadow 002 â€“ James Bridle
To keep pace with the prolific UAS growth, the Army will train more than 2,100 UAS operators, maintainers, and leaders in fiscal year (FY), 2012, which is an 800 percent increased compared to the FY 2003 training quota (U.S. Army UAS Roadmap, 2010, p. 1).
We live in a moment without Great wars, instead there are many small armed conflicts accros the globe. The United States present us its military technology through biopower actions. Conflicts grow behind badges, ideologies, religions and races. It is increasingly difficult to understand the distinctions between legitimate violence, crime and terrorism. If the legitimation of violence is not clear, then all violence is within a range of gray colors that does not stop oppressing their populations. The DroneArt reveals the importance of questioning this violence, that approach us as the shadows of the clouds. In the last three years many DroneArt projects were created to question the use of military drone and also civilian drones. This technology is becoming more accessible to the government, companies and civilians. They are not armed but they are used for surveillance. It seems that the drone technology will not be banned, on the contrary it is becoming a part of our lives, it is our own satellite device. DroneArt artists have also been using drones to express their concepts and ideas about this technology and in this article we will start categorizing them.
Using Drones: “The Peace Drone” Axel Brechensbauer, a Swedish artist created the “The Peace Drone” and this is how he presented his work: “A proposal to United States Armed Forces: Killing foreign people with Predator drones is history. Let me introduce ‘The Peace Drone’. Hoovering over hostile settlements or cities playing loud clown music, smiling around and delivering coulds of oxycontin: a beautiful American drug described as a pharmaceutical grade heroin. Happy people are better than dead people and the best of all, they will be addicted to you!” (http://www.mynameisaxel.com/Peace-drone).
“Charon” This project was developed by Sterling Crispin from California, he used codes and interacted physically with the quadropter in a very defined area. Every quadropter movement was detected by the computer that sent this information to a 3D printing machine, creating a product with an organic shape of the quadropter’s movement. (http://www.sterlingcrispin.com/charon.html)
“AR Backpack” Eric Meyer from New Mexico presents his project in the following way: “For an easily affordable price, the AR Backpack allows user to fit their AR Parrot drones with an aerosol of their choice (…) in contested territories otherwise unreachable by foot, or too dangerous to occupy in-situ. Seen here, the Backpack is loaded with a spray-paint canister, opening for artists a new territory to mark, sketch, paint and subvert.” (http://www.meyncm.com/AR-Backpack)
Painting “Drones as Folk Art” Paintings created by Mahwish Chishty. (http://www.mahachishty.com/BioArt.aspx) Photography “Untitled (Drones)” Photos taken by Trevor Paglen. (http://www.paglen.com/) Architecture “Metropolitan Membrane” In an architectural context the architects Casey Carter and Jeff Nader proposed the creation of a building that was resistant to the aerial surveillance. (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/184999497166774489/)
“Eco-drones” Chris Geist from New York found a way to change the eco life in the city. A drone would carry seeds that would be deployed in potential planting areas and according to each surface a different seed would delivered. (http://vimeo.com/47476718) Urban Intervention “Under the Shadow of the Drone” Created by James Bridle (shorttermmemoryloss.com) Dance “Seraph” Created by Robby Barnett, Molly Gawler, Renee Jaworski and Itamar Kubovy in collaboration with the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT0K8yJhHpo#t=13)
Clothers “Stealth Wear” Another New Yorker developed the Stealth Wear that explore the aesthetics of privacy and surveillance. This ‘anti-drone’ fabric masks the body temperature, reducing the machine visibility. Different clothing was developed but two of them were based in muslim clothes: the scarf and the burqa. (http://ahprojects.com/projects/stealth-wear#faq)
Bibliography EMBRAER. Avibras joins Harpia Systems to develop the unmanned aircraft systems market in Brazil. In: News – Press Releases, 2013. Available at: <http://www.embraer.com/enUS/ImprensaEventos/Press-releases/noticias/Pages/Avibras-e-Harpia-Sistemas-se-unem-paradesenvolver-mercado-de-aeronaves-remotamente-pilotadas-no-Brasil.aspx>. Access on: 08 Julho 2013. CHISHTY, M. Bio. Website, s.d. Available at: http://www.mahachishty.com/BioArt.aspx. Access on: 08 Julho 2013. CURCIO, S. Seeing is Believing: An Interview with Trevor Paglen. Dailyserving - An International Publication for contemporary art, 24 fev. 2011. Available at: <http://dailyserving.com/2011/02/interview-with-trevor-paglen/> Access on: 08 Julho 2013. HARDT, M.; NEGRI, A. Multitude – War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. New York: The Penquin Press, 2004. HARKISON, J. Drones As Folk Art. Mother Jones [online], Culture, 24 jun. 2013. Available at: <http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/06/pakistani-drone-art-mahwish-chishty>. Access on: 08 Julho 2013. PAGLEN, T. Biography. Website, s.d. Available at: <http://www.paglen.com/?l=biography>. Accesso on: 08 Julho 2013. PATHEOS. The Colourful Drones of Mahwish Chishty. Patheos – Hosting the Conversation on Faith blog, 2013. Available at: <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2013/07/the-colourfuldrones-of-mahwish-chishty/>. Access on: 08 Julho 2013. U.S. ARMY UAS CENTER OF EXCELLENCE. Eyes of the Army U.S. Army Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems 2010-2035, 2010.
options 2O11 Washington Project for the Arts September 15â€“October 29, 2011 629 New York Ave, NW, 2nd Floor Washington, DC 20001
options 2O11 introduction Lisa Gold
curator’s essay Stefanie Fedor
artists John James Anderson Bittersweet Zine Heather Boaz Amy Chan Mahwish Chishty Lisa Dillin Adam Dwight Twig Harper Artemis Herber Katherine Mann Jimmy Miracle Amber Robles-Gordon Oscar Santillan Stewart Watson
ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES Checklist Board, Staff, and supporters
Opening Reception Thursday, September 15, 6–8 pm
Curator & Artists’ Talk Saturday, October 1, 3 pm
This exhibition is made possible with support from Douglas Development and is funded, in part, by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to Kate Ballou, William Dorsey, Roberto Garcia, Douglas Jemal, Matthew Jemal, Norman Jemal, Carsten Jenkins, Sally Maier, Robert Shields, Michael Sigal/GCS, Inc., and Mark Sokoloff/Capitol Drywall, Inc.
It was thirty years ago that WPA presented the first Options exhibition as the bookend to a six-year effort to provide a serious forum to promote the work of Washington-based artists. Born in the spirit of advocacy rather than an affirmation of the proven, the Options biennial has long provided a path for artists without commercial representation and exposed the public to new ideas and un(der)recognized talent. While much has changed since 1981, what has remained constant is the ongoing need for venues to present work by area artistsâ€”especially work that falls outside the traditional forms of presentation, codification, or commodification. This exhibition aims to provide an opportunity to amplify the voices of these artists who are experimenting with ideas and processes, challenging our perceptions of what is and how things should be. The Options biennial has been a hallmark of WPAâ€™s exhibition program for thirty years. Diverse in nature and shaped by the sensibilities of each succeeding curator and practices of the participating artists, it provides an unmediated view of the current and serves to capture a defining moment in the Washington art scene. And while Options traditionally does not have a thematic structure, this exhibition, like those past, is anchored in themes that are both timely and timeless. This yearâ€™s curator, Stefanie Fedor, has done a remarkable job of poring through images, resumes, and statements, visiting artists in their studios, and engaging artists in discussions to distill a vast and overwhelming pool of talent into the selections presented here. Throughout the process, Stefanie has been assiduous and attentive in her consideration of the artists and artworks that comprise Options 2011. I am extremely grateful to her for her efforts to create a coherent vision for this exhibition, making visible certain affinities shared by artists and calling attention to trends both new and enduring. Many thanks to the WPA staff and Board for their support of this exhibition. Without the efforts of our Program Director, Blair Murphy, this show would not be possible. Our deepest gratitude to Douglas, Norman, and Matthew Jemal of Douglas Development for their immense generosity and the use of the space in which we present Options 2011; to Robert Shields and Kate Ballou for their incredible vision and mastery of spatial relationships; to Carsten Jenkins for helping us transform the space; to Sally Maier our talented catalog designer; and, most importantly, to the artists for making our world a little more interesting with their vision, passion, and curiosity.
LisA GOld Executive Director, Washington Project for the Arts
StefAnie Fedor Executive Director, Arlington Arts Center OPTIONS 2011 Curator
Through this process of curating Options 2011, I have been amazed and humbled by the lengths to which artists are going, the sacrifices that they are making, the number of jobs they are working, and the cooperation they are building to maintain their studio practices in our region. While not typically recognized as a center for contemporary art when compared to other cities with larger art markets, it seems that more and more artists are choosing to relocate, return, or commit to keeping their studios in and around DC, Baltimore, and Richmond, and are building the energy and momentum around an increasingly diversifying art scene. I am deeply interested in the spaces where artists work, where they approach investigation and find inspiration. The 13 artists who were selected—John James Anderson, Heather Boaz, Amy Chan, Mahwish Chishty. Lisa Dillin, Adam Dwight, Twig Harper, Artemis Herber, Katherine Mann, Jimmy Miracle, Amber Robles-Gordon, Oscar Santillan, and Stewart Watson—and the artists group Bittersweet, locate their practices in their living rooms, basements, office spaces, converted sites, and the public sphere and find inspiration in nature, the built environment, the body, psychology, political, and apolitical concerns. All but one of the artists are more than a few years out of school and all offer acute insight into the vitality of the art that is being produced in our area and expose a striking spectrum of the polar and parallel, formal and conceptual investigations happening in countless studios. Ranging from the more traditional artistic practices of painting, photography, sculpture, and video to animation, design, sound, installation, and social sculpture, the works selected for this exhibition represent a broad field of artistic practice, often incorporating hybrid forms and blurring formal boundaries. And while myriad associations, crossovers, and connections can be drawn in these works, I was struck by the appearance of a number of polarities—when considering the works of one artist with the next and within the works themselves—that were emerging both in subject and form. Concerns with private and public, personal and global, and natural and built environments emerged, and for the purposes of this exhibition and essay, I have divided the artists into these three thematic categories, but believe their works touch or cross all three and carry beyond.
Personal and Global Using obsessively accumulated found objects, conceptual actions, traditional miniature paintings, site-specificity, and research into social justice issues, Amber RoblesGordon, John James Anderson, Mahwish Chishty, Stewart Watson, and the artist group Bittersweet move personal investigations into global frameworks.
Collecting and repurposing old ribbons, findings, jewelry, and other discards to create new meanings and associations, Amber Robles-Gordon is both uncovering and rewriting histories with the assemblages she creates on out-sized canvases. Her series Milked starts from a highly personal exploration of gender, motherhood, and cultural production but relies on the accumulation of items left behind by a community of people. The beads, doll parts, lace scraps, and other cultural sediment she unearths and then deploys carry associations and implied histories that become part of a larger cumulative story of resources and how we use, reuse, and maintain both objects and the even more precious personal relationships we sustain. In the series Hour of Labor, John James Anderson uses his personal point of view as an artist and a maker to engage larger and more complex issues of labor, immigration, and economies. Hiring a day laborer to work alongside him for an hour to carry out a specific task, Anderson both directed and collaborated with these workers to create an end product that is displayed in the gallery alongside the tools and ephemeral objects that reveal the process. Calling into question high art, skilled and unskilled labor, wealth and authorship, the intention of these actions is to additionally effect an open dialogue about the economies of art and labor and to reveal and give voice to individuals whose experiences often exist in the margins. Trained as an artist in both Pakistan and the US, Mahwish Chishty’s work uses elements of her personal experience and cultural roots to “convey universal traits” that transcend boundaries. In her most recent series, Chishty subverts the practice of miniature painting by combining contemporary and political iconography with folk tradition. Decorating the silhouettes of unmanned military aircrafts in her paintings with the style and symbols of the Pakistani folk tradition of “Truck Art”– a popular and ubiquitous practice in Pakistan, where commercial vehicles are meticulously and colorfully adorned to become travelling canvases - Chishty redirects our focus from newspaper headlines to the routine of everyday life. Juxtaposing these two vehicles, one whimsical, one perilous, the artist makes a
powerful statement on global politics through a personal and humanistic lens. Stewart Watson creates site-specific installations using steel rods and stuffed pillow forms. These large-scale drawings-in-space are built using the tension that is created when a rod meets the wall and then the floor or the softer counterpoint of a pillow. The artist has described these meeting points as “events,” the place where the action of one item directly affects the other and vice versa. These constructed engagements are used as a metaphor for relationships, those in our daily lives that we have with our surroundings, with one another, and within larger frameworks of family and community. For this exhibition, the artist will work directly with the site to create other good looks: c.a., an installation that reacts to and reflects the site. Standing back from the work, we will see the networks that are created through the cooperation of these smaller “events” and understand the precarity involved and the potential for mishap if one part of the larger equation fails to hold up its end of the bargain. Bittersweet is reconsidering the role and direct impact visual artists can make in their communities. Set up as a commercial creative group that provides design services to not-for-profit organizations in the DC metropolitan region, they use a portion of their profits to produce a quarterly zine that focuses on social issues in the city by highlighting the work that local organizations are doing in response to these issues. In their first year of publication, the group has published four volumes focused on sexual trafficking and exploitation, economic empowerment, public health, and cultivating community development. The fifth volume, Defending Human Rights, will launch as part of Options 2011. Bringing together local visual artists, photographers, and designers, they are engaging in grass roots research and collaborative problem solving to create ways of thoughtful and effective visual reporting.
private and public Heather Boaz, Adam Dwight, Twig Harper, Jimmy Miracle, and Oscar Santillan use the body, vibrations, psychology, and phenomenology to explore, expose, and reconfigure personal experience. Through form, subject matter, or action, each of these artists has constructed
a type of intimate space, often juxtaposing the mundane with the extraordinary, however, what is often associated as personal and private ends there. All three of these artists leave wide room for interpretation; clues are given in sound, imagery, and vibration, but no conclusions are drawn, allowing the viewer to create meaning, construct narratives, or let go of the need to do either. Heather Boaz uses the body as both landscape and sculpture. Combining figurines and miniature objects, fleshy mounds become hill-scapes and crevices become interior corners. There is an implied narrative in these constructions, but the artist has left these open ended. The charged space of the body becomes a passive backdrop that invites the viewer to search for anecdotal clues to define an otherwise mundane domestic space. Using animation as his primary medium, Adam Dwight constructs characters that push the boundaries of narrative. The linear nature of Dwight’s animation belies its traditional form as his characters ramble a stream of consciousness that gives clues but not answers. In the six-minute animation RocketFuel, the viewer is drawn to round out the psychological portraits communicated by the first-person narrator. Highly personal in nature, tragic, and humorous all in one, Dwight presents us with evidence of banal and extraordinary events of home-life and street culture that, in the end, pose more questions than answers. Dwight is open to the characters coming to life on their own and is unapologetic about their itinerary. Known more widely as an experimental musician, Twig Harper has described his work as being “more or less about working with consciousness as an instrument.” The Sound Bed is a site where this objective is explored. Both the architect and curator of this project, Harper has invited a series of artists or “bioenergetic alchemists” to create compositions of low frequency sound waves that are experienced through the body. Only by lying down and relaxing on the intimate space of the bed will the piece play out. The social and cultural implications of the bed are transformed in this public arena and the metaphysical experience establishes an alchemical outcome where familiar becomes phenomenal. Jimmy Miracle transforms everyday materials and discarded objects into what he describes as “spiritual narratives with ontological possibilities.” Through a process of meticulous and repetitive labor, he elevates plastic carry-out boxes into objects of meditation and a treestump and thread into a radiant light source. Focused and straightforward, Miracle's deft handling of unassuming materials strips them of prior associations allowing for the experience to surpass the weight of the form.
Oscar Santillan has decidedly renounced his political beliefs and according to the artist, “By getting rid of the ideological superstitions and fraudulent morals of social utopias, I awoke to phenomenological thinking.” In the video The Telepathy Manifesto, Santillan slyly employs perception and scale to construct and then reconstruct reality and actualities. There are moments in the video that feel very certain and, in an instant, are uprooted when the artist recalibrates our vantage point. The poetic, if somewhat illogical, action of one man catching another’s tears is quickly moved into the realm of absurd when the lens pulls out. Rather than feeling duped, there is still a bit of magic in the possibility of this moment.
natural and built The urge to explore and explicate our direct surroundings is evidenced in the works of Amy Chan, Lisa Dillin, Artemis Herber, and Katherine Mann. These artists use both micro and panoramic lenses to view natural and built environments, often leading to the creation of new hyper-real terrains. Amy Chan describes her paintings as “hybrid scenes of the living world where rules like gravity and perspective do not apply.” Colorful and blithe, Chan assembles segments of collected imagery of the natural world to construct floating islands and imagined topographies that are in the same stroke pre-historic and futuristic. Earth elements such as branches, barnacles, rocks, and clumps of grass tumble, twist, and take flight in an indeterminate space. With few human traces on these landscapes, we are left to question if this space is or was habitable. Leaving the natural world completely behind, Lisa Dillin creates what she describes as “mental landscapes.” Dillin uses the culture and terrain of the office space to describe the psychology of the built environment. Combining found, repurposed, and built objects in a cool and specific palate, she employs humor with very economic strokes to describe the absurd ways we have adapted our environments and devised new modes of survival. She points slyly to caveman culture in both form and subject matter, noting the distance we have forged between man and nature. In Dillin’s estimation, this disconnection with nature has replaced
a former physical discomfort with a new-age psychological distress. Using ubiquitous and often forsaken materials, Artemis Herber expertly combines the built and natural world. Inspired by natural forms, Herber scores, shapes, and resurfaces common cardboard sheets into site-specific installations that become forests of color for the audience to traverse. In these conceptual landscapes, large sheets of pressed paper - what we can only suppose was processed from wood chips – is rolled into freestanding trunks to reclaim its original form. In the series Stems, each piece of the installation was made using the footprint of a felled tree on Herber’s bucolic Owings Mills property – victims of the encroaching Asian Longhorned Beetle. But whether victims of the paper mill or infestation, these ghosts painted in a bright acid green color become an ironic yet hopeful memorial to a lost and mutable landscape. Katherine Mann zooms in and out on constructed and organic worlds to create hybrid landscapes that are both obsessively ordered and chaotic. Her monumental paintings arrange decorative elements like lattice and braids into hyper-repetitive and turbulent compositions. Details that are normally deliberate and constrained multiply and grow out of control until they become what the artist describes as “cancerous.” Using scale and detail, the artist draws us into a landscape suffocating and overwrought with abundance, leaving us to wonder if we are witnessing the big bang or the grand finale. This exhibition is in no way comprehensive, and after reviewing over 375 submissions, visiting numerous exhibitions and artists studios, it was possible to come to the conclusion that it could have been organized many times over. So, I am thankful to all the artists who made time for studio visits and submitted proposals and I am especially grateful to Lisa Gold, Blair Murphy, and the staff and Board of WPA for making this rich and rewarding opportunity possible.
MAhWish Chishty Untitled I (detail), 2011, Gouache and tea stain on paper, 8" x 28 Â˝" Untitled II, 2011, Gouache and tea stain on paper, 8" x 28"
artiST BiogRAphies John James Anderson Education MFA, American University, Washington, DC BFA, Iowa State University, Ames, IA Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Semi-Finalist, Trawick Prize, 2010 Artist Fellowship Program, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, 2010 Young Artist Grant, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, 2008
Heather Boaz Education MFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD BFA, University of Kansas, Topeka, KS Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Semi-finalist, Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize, 2007, 2006 Individual Artist Grant, Maryland State Arts Council, 2003 Selected Exhibitions/Collections Exposed, Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MD, 2011 Dwelling, C33 Gallery, Columbia College, Chicago, IL, 2011 Untitled Exhibition, Cade Fine Arts Center Gallery, Arnold, MD, 2010 Sedulous Witness, Mighty Fine Arts Gallery, Dallas, TX, 2009
Postconceptualism: The Malleable Object, Stamp Gallery, College Park, MD, 2011 Synergy, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2010 Spring Solos, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA, 2010 The Coil Contract, Horse Trader Gallery, Aqua Art Miami, Miami, FL, 2010
Education MFA, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA BFA, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships
BA, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Meyers, FL
The Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, 2011 Artist in Residence, Petrified Forest National Park, Petrified Forest, AZ, 2009 Artist in Residence, The Cooperative of Artisans, Designers, and Artists in Fiskars, Fiskars, Finland, 2009
Abigail Byrd, Creative Director
Boom Box, Clemente Soto Velez Gallery, New York, NY, 2011 Collective Archive, School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD, 2011 Episodic Narrative, Rawls Museum Arts, Courtland, VA, 2010 Utopia and Wallpaper, Catskill Arts Center, Livingston Manor, NY, 2010
Bittersweet Zine Kate Schmidgall, Editor-in-Chief Education
AFA, Art Institute of Washington, Arlington, VA Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Best in Show, Art Institute of Washington Spring Portfolio Show, 2004 Amanda Lahr, Deputy Editor
BA, Gordon College, Wenham, MA
MFA, University of Maryland, College Park, MD BFA, National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan
Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Haji Sharif Award (Excellence in Miniature Painting), National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan Shakir Ali/ Kipling Award (Highest Merit Award), National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan Selected Exhibitions/Collections con-TEXT-ual-ize, Chesapeake Gallery, Hartford Community College, Bel Air, MD, 2010 PERSPECTIVE: Women, Art and Islam, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NY, 2009 Permanent Collection, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka-Shi, Japan
Lisa Dillin Education MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI BFA, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA Selected Exhibitions/Collections The Alternate Present, Flashpoint, Washington, DC, 2012 Office Units: Surrogate Prototypes, ArtSpace, New Haven, CT, 2010 Interface: Nature, Nurture Art, Brooklyn, NY, 2009 Thaw, Lana Santorelli Gallery, New York, NY, 2009
Adam Dwight Education BFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Creative Communities Fund Grant, 2011 Finalist, Real Art DC, The Washington Post, 2010 Selected Exhibitions/Collections Taiwanese Contemporary Art (TCA Project), International Studio and Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, NY, 2011 Off in a Corner, Flashpoint, Washington, DC, 2011 Collective Archive, School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD, 2011 E7: Tetrad, transformer, Washington, DC, 2010
Twig Harper Selected Discography Music for Higher Dimensional Consciousness, HereSee, 2009 Possible Last Unknowns, HereSee, 2009 Inner Alchemy / Electric Water, HereSee, 2009 The Last Human Alive, HereSee, 2008 Selected Exhibitions/Performances Transmodern Festival, Baltimore, MD, 2011 Cool Fest, Montreal, Canada, 2010 Brutal Sound Effects Festival #67, Oakland, CA, 2010 High Zero Festival, Baltimore, MD, 2009 The Sound of Things: Unmonumental Audio, as part of Nautical Almanac, New Museum, New York, NY, 2008
Artemis Herber Education MA, MAT, University of Paderborn, NRW, Germany Selected Exhibitions/Collections Found/Seen/Made: Steven Dobbins/Artemis Herber/ Joseph Hyde, Stevenson University Art Gallery, Stevenson, MD, 2011 Duets: 2011 Annual Members’ Juried Exhibition, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE, 2011 Supersize: Bigger is Better?, Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Dowell, MD, 2011 Paderborner Kunstpreis Solo Show, Sparkasse Paderborn, Germany, 2010 GAPS, Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA, 2010
Katherine Mann Education MFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD BFA, Brown University, Providence, RI Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Artist in Residence, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE, 2012 AIR Gallery Fellowship Program, Brooklyn, NY, 2011
Artist in Residence, Triangle Artists Workshop, Brooklyn, NY, 2010 Artist in Residence, Salzburg, Kunstlerhaus, Salzburg, Austria, 2010 Selected Exhibitions/Collection Bound, Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington, DC, 2011 2011 Juried Exhibition, Rawls Museum Arts, Courtland, VA, 2011 Buy What You Love, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY, 2011 Art in Embassies Program, Ambassador’s Residence, Yaounde, Cameroon, 2010
Jimmy Miracle Education BA, Belhaven College, Jackson, MS Selected Exhibitions/Collections Adams | Miracle, Storefront, Brooklyn, NY, 2010 Born to Die (Every Artist Thinks They Make Gold), HKJB, New York, NY and Berlin, Germany, 2010 Verse Suivante, Norte Maar, Brooklyn, NY, 2010 Unrealized Conceptual Bushwick, Nurture Art, Brooklyn, NY, 2010 New Birds, All Things Project, New York, NY, 2010
Colorblind/Colorsight, The Rotunda Gallery at American University, Washington, DC, 2009
Oscar Santillan Education MFA, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA BFA, Escuela Superior Politécnica de Litoral Ecuador, Guayaquil, Ecuador Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME, 2010 Second Prize, Salon de Julio, Pintura (Salon of July, Painting), Museum Municipal de Guayaquil, 2010 Sculpture MFA Teaching Assistantship, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2010-2011 Selected Exhibitions/Collections Paperless, The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC, 2012 Our Cult’s Classic, The Boiler, Brooklyn, NY, 2011 XI International Cuenca Biennale, Cuenca, Ecuador, 2011 Kierkegaard’s Walk, Galeria Marilia Razuk, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2010
MFA, Howard University, Washington, DC BS, Trinity College, Washington, DC
MFA, University of Maryland, College Park, MD BFA, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC Creates! Public Art Apprenticeship, 2010-2011 2nd Place Graduate Sculpture Award, Howard University, 2010 Selected Exhibitions/Collections Beyond the Pale, McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA, 2011 Wired, Pleasant Plains Workshop, Washington, DC, 2011 Masterpiece Miniature, Galeri Aswara, National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010 Global Art Buzz, University of California, Washington Center, Washington, DC, 2010
Selected Awards/Grants/ Fellowships Individual Artist Grant, Maryland State Arts Council, 2011 1st Place Award, Sadat Art for Peace Competition, University of Maryland, 2011 The Daniel Nicholson Ohlke Memorial Fund Award, 2008 Selected Exhibitions/Collections Baltimore Liste: Stewart Watson: IVF, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD, 2011 Stewart Watson: Family Room, DC Arts Center, Washington, DC, 2011 Occupied, City Arts Gallery, Baltimore, MD, 2010 Hope Against Hope, Current Gallery at the Phoenix Shot Tower, Baltimore, MD, 2010
options 2O11 checkliST John james Anderson Hour of Labor 2, 2011, Parts and labor, Dimensions variable Hour of Labor 3, 2011, Parts and labor, Dimensions variable Hour of Labor 4, 2011, Parts and labor, Dimensions variable Hour of Labor 5, 2011, Parts and labor, Dimensions variable Hour of Labor 6, 2011, Parts and labor, Dimensions variable
Bittersweet Zine Cultivating Community Development, Summer 2011, Print, 9 ½" x 8" Defending Human Rights, Fall 2011, Print, 9 ½" x 8" Improving Public Health, Spring 2011, Print, 9 ½" x 8"
Heather Boaz Corner, 2011, Digital photograph, 40" x 30" Debate, 2011, Digital photograph, 30" x 40" Jacket, 2011, Jacket and hardware, Dimensions variable Ladder, 2011, Digital photograph, 40" x 30" Park Bench, 2011, Digital photograph, 30" x 40" Shoes, 2011, Shoes and hardware, Dimensions variable
Amy Chan Weedpatch 1, 2011, Gouache and acrylic on paper, 22" x 30" Weedpatch 2, 2011, Gouache and acrylic on paper, 22" x 30"
Untitled I, 2011, Gouache and tea stain on paper, 8" x 28 ½"
Limbo, 2011, Acrylic and latex paint and woodcut installation, Dimensions variable
Untitled II, 2011, Gouache and tea stain on paper, 8" x 28" Untitled III, 2011, Gouache and tea stain on paper, 8" x 21" Untitled IV, 2011, Photo transfers and gouache on paper, 24" x 11" Untitled V, 2011, Photo transfers and gouache on paper, 24" x 11"
Lisa Dillin Award Plaque for H. Waldenford, 2009, Laser engraved brass and cherry laminate over MDF, 10" x 8" x ½" Disconnected, 2009, LCD screen, video, walnut, and plastic cord, 4" x 8" x 7"
Maw, 2011, Acrylic, sumi ink, and woodcut on papers, 70" x 120"
Jimmy Miracle Beam, 2011, Filament, tree trunk, and concrete slab, 84" x 24" x 132" Meditations, 2010, Plastic containers and filament, 10" x 35" x 7"
Amber Robles-Gordon Lace, 2010, Mixed media on canvas, 36" x 36" Milked, 2010, Mixed media on canvas, 36" x 36" The Swing Set, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 36" x 36"
I’d Rather be Fishing, 2009, Custom printed ceramic, 4" x 5 ½" x 3"
The Two Sides of My Spirit, 2010, Mixed media on canvas, 72" x 96"
Striped, 2011, Men's shirts, canvas, wood, and staples, 16" x 12" x 1" each, set of two
Untitled Ad for Roar Design, 2009, C-print, face mounted to Plexiglas, 20" x 30" Untitled (Ankle), 2010, C-print, face mounted to Plexiglas, 11" x 16 ½" Window B, 2011, Acrylic on canvas, wood stretcher, and plaster, 60 ¼" x 53" x 7" Window C (Basement Sunset), 2011, Formica laminate, plywood, acrylic paint, and fluorescent tubes, 16" x 20" x 4" each, set of five
Adam Dwight RocketFuel, 2011, Computer animation, 6:11 minutes
Twig Harper Sound Bed, 2011, Twin bed, blankets, and audio, 22" x 76" x 39"
Artemis Herber Rusty Shelters, 2011, Rust processed paint on corrugated cardboard, Dimensions variable Stems, 2011, Acrylic on corrugated cardboard, Dimensions variable
The Telepathy Manifesto, 2011, Video, 1:37 minutes
Stewart Watson other good looks: c.a., 2011, Steel, fabric, goose feathers, wool, and thread, Dimensions variable
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Catalogue Design Sally Maier
a conversation in miniature paintings
opening Thursday October 23 2008 at 6pm
Ejaz Art Gallery 79 B-1, M M Alam Road, Gulberg III Lahore, Pakistan +92 42 5718038 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ejazartgallery.com
Hiba Schahbaz Lotia | Parallel | 32 × 26.5 cm | 2008
Habiba Zaman Khan | Preferences | 15.5 × 20.5 cm | 2008
Shoaib Mahmood | Untitled | 14 × 15.5 cm | 2008
Mahwish Chishti | Untitled | 11 × 27 cm | 2008
Ahsan Jamal | Mashallah | 38.5 × 21.5 cm | 2008
Murad Khan Mumtaz | Night I | 10 × 10 cm | 2008
Farah Jabeen | Shehr-e-Zat | 23 cm diameter | 2008
Hajrah Khan | Untitled | 21 × 26.5 cm | 2008
Khadim Ali | Untitled | 34 × 52 cm | 2008
Hiba Schahbaz Lotia
When I was informed about the process required for this show, I drew a complete blank. When I received Hajrah’s painting, I was still perplexed, but then in a sudden bout of inspiration, I grabbed a black marker and began drawing on top of an older piece. I thought that it was done, but after a week or so, I began to sense a lack of conclusion and then reworked the painting substantially. This is the final result of that process.
My work deals with the various effects of external pressures on one’s inner moods.
I have been concerned with the situation of Muslims in Pakistan for some time. It was through the events of the Lal Masjid fiasco in Islamabad that I began working with several motifs related to religion and identity.
The Pakistani youth of today are misguided by Western influences. The influx of foreign branding that is rapidly changing our world is the focus of my work.
I am working with mirror images and reflections of the female form in my recent work.
Sharing artwork is under-explored territory in Pakistan’s art landscape. The process of using another’s work as a starting point for something new provided the impetus for this exhibition.
I used my piece in this show as a continuation of this process. In response to Mahvesh’s work, which featured a Kufic representation of the text ‘Mashallah,’ I worked on the text primarily, with the addition of heavy smoke. The rendering of smoke is a representative device that recalls the violence of the turbulent times we live in.
I use the elements of Western brands and their strong contrast to the iconography of our local culture to highlight the changing society we live in. In Dialogue with Tradition, the Nike-adorned clothing synonymous with American fashions is in stark opposition to the exquisitely rendered traditional Mughal figure in the photo-transfer of a miniature by Ustaad Haji Mohammad Sharif.
In my first piece, submitted for the group show, I have used a palette and composition that suggests the romantic, fantasized element that plays a role in everyone’s life. Its organized structure conveys a sense of ordered contentment. In another, the same rigid, organized form is applied to a situation in which fire and other elements show a mood that is perhaps more agitated. However, a sense of control is still maintained. Untitled | 16.5 × 26.5 cm | 2008
Sanctuary II | 13 × 7.5 cm | 2008
The decision to bring three-dimensional relief to the text was a means of further highlighting how—despite differences and conflict—our identity as Muslims begins and ends with God.
In my last piece, I am depicting the loss of control that results in a confused state of mind. The mood here is of disarray and fragmentation, as I have broken the organized composition.
In the two paintings titled Fanaa o Buqa, I have incorporated text from a Persian poem by my favourite poet, Jalaluddin Rumi, into the composition. Retaining the original Farsi text was important so as not to dilute the meaning of the poem with a translation. Preferences | 19 × 11.5 cm | 2008
The process began with the passing on of a work of mine, Parallel. I chose this piece for its neutral simplicity, hoping that it would be a springboard for any idea that its recipient chose to develop.
In the painting I submitted for the show, the same concept is explored. I was inspired by Habiba’s rendering of water and the strong red colour she used in her painting. Subsequently, I merged the two to form a river—not of water but of blood—running through my work.
Subsequently, each artist completed their piece, inspired or simply responding to the artwork they received, and then sent it forward to the next participant. In this way, a sequence of subtle and sometimes surprising associations was formed. Initially, the rendering of water in traditional miniature style was the most obvious connecting element. Later, other visual elements came to the fore, such as the eventual darkening of the colour palette in the last few paintings. Since each artist only saw the work that preceded their own, the end product remained in constant flux. Once the final painting was complete and the work was seen in its entirety, the effect of the series was experienced. Interestingly, the final piece by Khadim Ali depicting a nude brought the show full circle.
Variation on a Persian theme | 21.5 × 28 cm | 2007 Jashne Gul e Surkh series | 26.5 × 35 cm | 2005
Fanaa o Buqa | 32 × 32 cm | 2008 Untitled | 21.5 × 10.5 cm | 2006 Preferences | 14 × 19 cm | 2008
Deformation | 19 cm diameter | 2008 Sanctuary | 7.5 × 13 cm | 2008
Night II | 10 × 10 cm | 2008
Just as a plant grows in its natural habitat, but is then taken and planted somewhere new, you never know whether it will adjust to its environment, or if it will die. Only time can tell. In the same way, it is hard to move to a new place, especially if you’ve spent half your life in one place. It is hard to settle and make your place amongst people who have known each other forever.
Jashne Gul e Surkh series | 26.5 × 32 cm | 2005
I am currently living and working as an artist in America. In my art work I am exploring personal identity and what it means for me to be a Muslim living in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. My efforts are towards emphasizing the main message and meaning of Islam, peace.
Dialogue with Tradition | 17.5 × 14 cm | 2008
Untitled | 20 × 16.5 cm | 2008
For the past three years I have been investigating Kufic calligraphic scripts in my artwork, which I have also used in the form of personalized stamps in this recent painting.
Murad Khan Mumtaz
Intricate Realities | 26 cm diameter | 2008
Untitled | 25 × 20 cm | 2006
In my painting, I have tried to create a dialogue between the geographical distances and the mode of communication (through mail). I deliberately chose an envelope size format for this painting, as if it was ready to be mailed to any part of the world with some hidden messages, which are open to interpretation and can mean anything.
The artists were kind enough to also contribute two more pieces apiece in addition to the work they produced for the series. These were included in the exhibition to showcase their individual painting style outside of the structure imposed by a sequential series of works.
Habiba Zaman Khan
My hope is that this exhibition will contribute towards bringing the artist community together to work as a collective whole.
I have two daughters, and for me they are a blessing. Being the only sister among three brothers, it was my wish coming true when they were born. It was never an issue for me whether I had a boy or a girl, because in the end, he or she would be my child.
Hiba Schahbaz Lotia
When a boy is born, people are ecstatic, while sombre faces are seen when a girl is born. I realised that the pressure to have a son over a daughter was prevalent all around me, even among my friends.
I believe that this specific exhibition has provided me with an opportunity to create a chain of connection with my classmates. We were all trained at the same time but now live separate lives in different parts of the world.
The imagery revolves around hybrid characters and organic life forms that live an absurd, awkward existence. Visually, my inspiration stems primarily from the Persian drawings of the Safavid and Timurid era. Initially my work started off as an exploration of these archaic, anthropomorphic studies, but with time I developed my own imagery that was more personal and relevant to our time.
The miniature artists I had worked with five years ago—when we were students at the National College of Arts in Lahore—provided me with the perfect pool of talent with whom to explore this process.
Dialogue with Tradition | 20 × 14.5 cm | 2008
My work revolves around the preference to have a boy, due to certain social and personal issues. I am attempting to show the beauty of having a child, but also the mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement of the soon to be mother slowly washing away when she is put under the ‘pressure,’ knowing that this is not in her hands, and the innocent victim, the child, is being born into a world where it is being judged by its sex.
Fanaa o Buqa | 32 × 32 cm | 2008
design | Adnan Lotia photography | Kohi Marri
The Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Register at least a minimum of two weeks in advance of the program start date to request and receive a disability accommodation. PPC-PR-ACHD 5/08
Arts programs of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission are supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Montpelier Arts Center is a facility of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County, Arts and Cultural Heritage Division.
DIRECTIONS: Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Laurel-Bowie Road (Route 197). North toward Laurel on Route 197 to Crystal Plaza Shopping Center — Muirkirk Road.Turn left; Art Center Drive is first right.
9652 Muirkirk Road Laurel, Maryland 20708 301-953-1993 or 410-792-0664 TTY 301-490-2329 (hearing impaired line only) email@example.com www.pgparks.com Gallery Hours: 10 am- 5 pm Seven days a week.
Montpelier Arts Center
Montpelier Arts Center Main Gallery June 12– August 16 27th Annual Montpelier Invitational Sculpture Exhibition featuring sculptors:
Stewart Watson Christian Benefiel Aniko Makranczy Mahwish Chishty
Stewart Watson, Paper/syrup
Library Gallery Marcia Wolfson Ray
Resident Artist Gallery Melissa Burley
Friday, June 13 7–9 pm Reception for the Artists in the June Exhibitions Christian Benefiel, Pushover, Wood/copper
Library Gallery June 3 â€“ Aug. 17
Marcia Wolfson Ray
Main Gallery June 12 -August 16 Montpelier Invitational Sculpture Exhibition Reception: June 13, 7-9 pm
Reception: June 13, 7-9 pm
Resident Artist Gallery June 5-25 Melissa Burley Sculpture June 13 Reception, 7-9 pm July 3-27
Prince Georgeâ€™s County Residents and the Civil Rights Movement. Reception/ Lecture, 12 pm
Mahwish Chishty, Hidden and Visible, projection
Thursday, June 12, Noon Luncheon/Lecture Slide talk by participating artists who are MFA candidates at the University of Maryland. Followed by a light lunch. Reservations required. Call (301) 953-1993.
Aniko Makranczy from Memento Mori, cut paper
February 21, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Information Ruby Thorkelson / Gallery Coordinator Phone: (312) 738-0400 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
16th International Open Group exhibit juried by Kelli Connell With solo shows by 15th International 1st Prize Winner Allison Svoboda and Kathryn Gauthier March 1 – April 25, 2013 / Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 6–9 p.m. CHICAGO — Woman Made Gallery (WMG) presents a group exhibition with works by 37 artists. Juried by Kelli Connell it includes painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, installation, and video works. Kelli Connell’s body of work entitled Double Life has been widely received and included in national solo and group exhibitions. Her work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Microsoft, The Haggerty Museum of Art and The Dallas Museum of Art. Connell’s first full length monograph entitled Kelli Connell: Double Life was released by DECODE Books in August, 2011. Connell lives in Chicago where she is an Associate Professor of Photography at Columbia College. Artists represented in this exhibition are Clarissa Bonet, Kimberly Callas, Photograph by Samantha VanDeman Mahwish Chishty, Maria Dimanshtein, Françoise Duressé, Kelly Flynn, Gill Gatfield, Jennifer Georgescu, Niki Grangruth, Whitney Huber, Julie Renée Jones, Tatjana Jovancevic, Stacee Kalmanovsky, Natalie Krick, Annell Livingston, Daniela Londoño-Bernal, Cheryl Lorance, Casey Lowry, Ann Maki, Shay Mazloom, Alyce Haliday McQueen, Alice O'Neill, Sarah Page, Patricia Ridenour, Maryam Sabbaghpour, Christine Shank, Ashlae Shepler and Leah Gose, Deborah Silver, Kristina Smith, Christine Soccio, Ashley Strazzinski, Doménica de la Torre, Olivia Valentine, Samantha VanDeman, Melinda Whitmore, and Elenor Wilson. Woman Made Gallery 685 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60642 Website: www.womanmade.org Gallery Hours: Wed–Fri noon–7p.m. / Sat–Sun noon–4p.m. / Admission: Free Woman Made Gallery is supported in part by grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; a CityArts Program II grant from the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs; the Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, a donor-advised fund of the Chicago Community Trust; the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund; a major anonymous donor; and the generosity of its members and contributors.
http://www.tracerecordings.net/Mahwish-Chishty http://www.thestate.ae/drones-are-not-dangerous-normalisation-new-journalism-and-thenew-drone-culture/ http://muslima.imow.org/content/art-war http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/06/pakistani-drone-art-mahwish-chishty http://oomk.net/contributors http://gizmodo.com/pakistani-folk-art-and-american-drones-collide-in-these-574439696 http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/speed-enforced-armed-drones-nope-artist-installsfake-traffic-signs-6C10707431 http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/poetry-drone-would-drop-rhymes-not-bombs http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2013/07/the-colourful-drones-of-mahwish-chishty/ http://lookslikegooddesign.com/paintings-by-mahwish-chishty/ http://cultbrand.co.uk/2013/07/01/the-drone-art-of-mahwish-chishty/ http://vimeo.com/user6872822 http://www.artaustin.org/pr/2012-arthouse-chishty.html http://www.indypendent.org/2009/07/30/exhibit-review-%E2%80%9Cperspectiveswomen-art-and-islam%E2%80%9D http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/arts/design/21gall.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 http://muslimvoicesfestival.org/events/associate-partner-events http://www.aaa.org.hk/Collection/Details/27320
BIO Initially trained as a miniature painter from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, Mahwish Chishty has aggressively combined new media and conceptual work with her traditional practice. Ms. Chishty has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at venues like Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MOCADA), Brooklyn, NY; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD; Gallery 10, Washington D.C. and Rohtas Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan among others. By camouflaging modern war machines with folk imagery, Ms. Chishty is shedding light on the complexity of acculturation, politics and power. Recently her work was shown at UTS gallery in Sydney, Australia. Ms. Chishty also have pieces in the public and private collections including the Foreign office Islamabad, Pakistan and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka Shi, Japan.