FOR ALLIE AND THE SPACE SHE MAKES
Makeup On Empty Space
F R.S.L., May 1, 2016 : by Jeanine Jablonski and Evan La Londe
2 ����������� Making Up Space : by Kristan Kennedy 4 ����������� Makeup on Empty Space : by Anne Waldman 7 ����������� Formulating (Reform) : by Emma Christ 10 ��������� Dylan Mira 12 ��������� How to Look at Bodies That You Don’t Know Shit Anything About : by Kemi Adeyemi 13 ��������� keijaun thomas 14 ��������� From a Fleshly Object to a Flash of Air : by Sampada Aranke 16 ��������� A.K. Burns 19 ��������� thinking and writing : by Kevin Holden 21 ��������� Beer Me : by Jibade-Khalil Huffman 25 ��������� Bunnybrains 26 ��������� Compassion : Avery Bloch 27 ��������� Glossary of Terms 29 ��������� Biographical Information 31 ��������� Acknowledgments
Making Up Space
WE STARTED OFF AS A BODY INSIDE A BODY. It is the
most intimate interiority. There is the forming and floating in fluid and then suddenly we are flying in air. We are composite of stuff, bones, blood, cells and other mysterious structures. We are also a bundle of evolving senses and sense memories (some we make some of them are inscribed in our DNA .) ¹ It is not surprising that almost from the beginning we battle a feeling that we belong inside and outside of the host organism, the society, the social, the institution, the other bodies, the thinking. As humans, we don’t share everything, but we do share the p er for m a nce of being born. Then, we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out just what it is we are here for. The potential of this bodily space is limitless and the boundaries resist definition. Unfixed positions are not waiting to be something else; they are something
in their nothingness. This is highly politicized space of being. It is the active space of evolving thought, language and invention. Anne Waldman said of her poem “Makeup on Empty Space” that it addresses “the idea in Buddhist psychology that feminine energy tends to manifest in the world, adorning empty space.” ² Here, the adornment is also a re-orientation, a transformation. Waldman’s words move us through a corporeal confusion where she is piling creams and paint on
¶ ANNE WALDMAN, “MAKEUP ON EMPTY SPACE”, FROM HELPING THE DREAMER (COFFEE HOUSE PRESS, 1989). COPYRIGHT © 1989 ANNE WALDMAN. * NANCY N. CHEN, “SPEAKING NEARBY: A CONVERSATION WITH TRINH T. MINH-HA”, VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY REVIEW, VOLUME 8, NUMBER 1, SPRING, 1992. ** ILKA SAUL,”PERFORMANCE AND PERCEPTION: GENDER, SEXUALITY, AND CULTURE IN DAVID HENRY HWANG’S M.BUTTERFLY “ AMERIKASTUDIEN / AMERICAN STUDIES , VOL. 43, NO.4, ENGENDERING MANHOOD, 1998 PP. 629-644
t h e e y e brows and eyelashes of empty space, she removes it’s wrinkled clothes, she binds spells, crystals and power, she binds its debts, she peers into memory, and susses out anger. Her body is language, it describes emotional space, the psyche, the economy, love lost, and magical thinking. Her body is also an empty body. Here emptiness is just another word for potential. In Waldman’s ** poem, the body is “the phenomenal world” and we are the ones painting it. And so on the advent of PICA entering a new building, a place we will “live” in, I have placed this poem in a title role. Currently, the building is a body made up of concrete bones and glass window eyes, it is empty and we have to fill it, or it is full and we have to empty it out. It doesn’t (dark) matter ³ either way/ anyway. It just is what it is and the artists will do what they please. They are our voice. That voice will echo and bounce off and into others. I wou ld say
1 “In psychology, genetic memory is a memory present at birth that exists in the absence of sensory experience, and is incorporated into the genome over long spans of time. It is based on the idea that common experiences of a species become incorporated into its genetic code.” —Rodolfo R. Llinas, I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self (2001). MIT Press. pp. 190–191 2 Jena Osman, “Tracking a Poem in Time: The Shifting States of Anne Waldman’s ‘Makeup on Empty Space,’” Jacket Magazine, April 2005 3 “A group of Japanese physicists has revealed where dark matter is — though not what it is — for the first time. As it turns out, the mysterious
substance is almost everywhere, drooping throughout intergalactic space to form an all-encompassing web of matter. Dark matter is invisible: It doesn’t interact with light, so astronomers cannot actually see it. So far, it has only been observed indirectly by way of the gravitational force it exerts on ordinary, visible matter. On the basis of this gravitational interaction, physicists have inferred that dark matter constitutes 22 percent of the matter-energy content of the universe, while ordinary detectable matter constitutes just 4.5 percent.” —“Physicists find Dark Matter: It’s Everywhere.” Natalie Wolchover 2013, Space.com.
t h a t that is PICA’s core curatorial mandate: “She does what she wants.” She being all things but especially that which changes the space just by considering the opportunity to do so. Perhaps this is the energy Waldman was referring to. There is much debate on where to draw the lines and boundaries in the space of display, what is visual, what is performative, what is anointed, what is new, what is mainstage, what is centerstage, what is not “of” stage at all. This debate exists in the art world, the same world that we simultaneously work for and against the world we are trying to evolve. Makeup on Empty Space presents themselves as an exhibition inside of a festival. A body within a body. We have been here before (see above). The video essays, installations, materials, happenings contained within are performing Ma (間).4 There is no negative space or in between; there is only progression, interval, and relationship. When that space is a person, it comes and it goes. When that space is a room of images and sound, it stays put for a while. We can’t change that, we can’t curate that, we (as in the artists, you and I) can just consider the evolving substance of space. S
† KEMI ADEYEMI, “STRAIGHT LEANIN’ : SOUNDING BLACK LIFE AT THE INTERSECTION OF HIP-HOP AND BIG PHARMA”, SOUNDING OUT, SEPTEMBER 2015 ‡ bell hooks, BLACK LOOKS : RACE AND REPRESENTATIO N, SOUTH END PRESS, BOSTON, 1992.
4 “Ma. Concept of space or emptiness between two things, used mainly in Japanese arts to describe a gap or interval.” —Japan Encyclopedia, Harvard University Press, Louise Fredereic (Author), Kathe Roth (Translator)
Makeup on Empty Space from nothing to the root of the tongue from nothing to speaking of empty space I bind the ash tree I bind the yew I bind the willow undressing you
I bind uranium
hanging the wrinkled clothes on a nail
I bind the uneconomical unrenewable energy of uranium
hanging the green coat on a nail dancing in the evening it ended with dancing in the evening I am still thinking about putting makeup on empty space
dash uranium to empty space I bind the color red I seduce the color red to empty space I put the sunset in empty space
ANNE WALDM AN
I want to scare you: the hanging night, the drifting night,
I take the blue of his eyes and make an offering to empty space
I am putting makeup on empty space
the moaning night, daughter of troubled sleep I want to scare you
all patinas convening on empty space rouge blushing on empty space I am putting makeup on empty space pasting eyelashes on empty space painting the eyebrows of empty space piling creams on empty space painting the phenomenal world I am hanging ornaments on empty space gold clips, lacquer combs, plastic hairpins on empty space I am sticking wire pins into empty space I pour words over empty space, enthrall the empty space
I take the green of everything coming to life, it grows &
I bind as far as cold day goes
climbs into empty space
I bind the power of 20 husky men
I put the white of the snow at the foot of empty space
I bind the seductive colorful women, all of them I bind the massive rock I bind the hanging night, the drifting night, the moaning night, daughter of troubled sleep I am binding my debts, I magnetize the phone bill bind the root of my pointed tongue
packing, stuffing jamming empty space
I cup my hands in water, splash water on empty space
spinning necklaces around empty space
water drunk by empty space
Fancy this, imagine this: painting the phenomenal world
Look what thoughts will do Look what words will do
bangles on wrists
from nothing to the face
pendants hung on empty space I am putting my memory into empty space
I clasp the yellow of the catâ€™s eyes sitting in the black space I clasp them to my heart, empty space I want the brown of this floor to rise up into empty space Take the floor apart to find the brown, bind it up again under spell of empty space I want to take this old wall apart I am rich in my mind thinking of this, I am thinking of putting makeup on empty space
Everything crumbles around empty space
night, the moaning night
the thin dry weed crumbles, the milkweed is blown into empty space
daughter of troubled sleep
I bind the stars reflected in your eye from nothing to these typing fingers
I hang up a mirror to catch stars, everything occurs to me out in the
the tires are studded for the difficult climb
from nothing to the legs of the elk
night in my skull of empty space
I put my hands to my face
from nothing to the neck of the deer
I go outside in starry ice
I am putting makeup on empty space
from nothing to porcelain teeth
I build up the house again in memory of empty space
I wanted to scare you with the night that scared me
This occurs to me about empty space
the drifting night, the moaning night
I kept it going when I put the water on
that it is nevered to be mentioned again
when I let the water run
Someone was always intruding to make you forget empty space
sweeping together in empty space
There is a better way to say empty space
painting the phenomenal world
Turn yourself inside out and you might disappear
there’s talk of dressing the body with strange adornments
you have a new definition in empty space
to remind you of a vow to empty space
What I like about impermanence is the clash
there’s talk of the discourse in your mind like a silkworm
from nothing to the fine stand of pine in the forest
of my big body with empty space I am putting the floor back together again I am rebuilding the wall I am slapping mortar on bricks I am fastening the machine together with delicate wire There is no eternal thread, maybe there is thread of pure gold I am starting to sing inside about the empty space there is some new detail every time 6
This occurs to me
I am taping the picture I love so well on the wall: moonless black night beyond country-plaid curtains everything illuminated out of empty space I hang the black linen dress on my body the hanging night, the drifting
I wish to venture into a not-chiseled place I pour sand on the ground Objects and vehicles emerge from the fog the canyon is dangerous tonight
you put it all on you paint your nails you put on scarves all the time adorning empty space Whatever-your-name-is I tell you “empty space” with your fictions with dancing come around to it with your funny way of singing come around to it with your smiling come to it
suddenly there are warning lights
with your enormous retinue & accumulation come around to it
The patrol is helpful in the manner of guiding
with your extras come round to it
there is talk of slowing down
with your good fortune, with your lazy fortune come round to it
there is talk of a feminine deity I bind her with a briar I bind with the tooth of a tiger I bind with my quartz crystal I magnetize the worlds I cover myself with jewels I drink amrita there is some new detail there is a spangle on her shoe there is a stud on her boot
when you look most like a bird, that is the time to come around to it when you are cheating, come to it when you are in your anguished head when you are not sensible when you are insisting on the praise from many tongues It begins with the root of the tongue it begins with the root of the heart there is a spinal cord of wind singing & moaning in empty space S
USED WITH PERMISSION FROM HELPING THE DREAMER (COFFEE HOUSE PRESS, 1989). COPYRIGHT © 1989 ANNE WALDMAN.
Diagram by Emma Christ. See glossary of terms, p. 27 F
EM M A CHRIST
“I AM PUTTING MAKEUP ON EMPTY SPACE ,” both reconciling and masking the negative space that is the body, my body; a body that is placed in the space of other as it fails to fit paradigms of identity. Male, female, trans, non-binary… the space you occupy, the way you occupy it, becoming markers of your identity. You make it— “makeup”. I am painting myself: my empty space, my world, “painting the phenomenal world”. Karen Barad calls phenomena the “smallest unit for intra-action”; that it represents the inseparability of the object and the observation of it. My world is phenomenal. It is composed of the objects and the observers. To them am I the object? The observed? Ties in unity: I can’t be detached from the observer, moreover he can not be from me. If y describes x, it too is describing itself. If they observe me, I observe them. My world is phenomenal. I paint myself with patinas; my protective covering. I am made up like the Statue of Liberty, coated to prevent the wear of time + debris + slander + words placed on my space. “Makeup”: to mask, to reconcile
space and identity. I differ from the statue for it is I who makes up, not I who is made upon. Reclamation of identity. Rejection of being negative space. Repurposing the projections of others who aim to put me in the position of the other. Orientalism aimed to study and understand what was viewed as strange or other: the outsiders watching the outsiders. I am watching myself. I am watching myself be watched. Ilka Saal wrote that Orientalism only has a reality through the Western viewer: “the Orient serves as a mirror to the West, in which the latter perceives what it wants to perceive”. Orient = other. Other = body. Body = me. The body playing against projections of negativity on an assumed empty space, showing and reflecting back: making up. Makeup a metallic silver, coating skin in an effort to both hide and show. S
Dylan Mira and The Body INTERVIEW
For Makeup on Empty Space, Mira presents Duty Free, a live video essay presented in two evenings. That arrives through a base note, a vanishing point an other historical orientations or a woman under the influence of a woman under the influence under the influence of a woman under the influence until it has no name.
history through the texture of feeling. That’s where I’m calling from, where we don’t know. BODY: How
from a dream of sorts (or perhaps a vision?) that propelled you to travel to Portland in search of an old teacher. Can you tell us a bit more about what you arrived at by following instinct and then that instinct becoming research and material? THIS WORK HAS ARRIVED
DYL AN MIRA:
A healer covered me in crystals based on the vibrations of my body and she would ask me questions with each placement. I thought I was going to be hypnotized but I was fully conscious and also really self-conscious and sceptical; she kept asking OK , just what’s the first thing that comes to your mind then? and so finally I would tell her and that would lead to another image and on and on. I recognized a lot of images in this process while some were very unfamiliar, like, Oh, that witch mountain I went to in Korea is my face and Hi, Hiroko Tamano performing the Butoh cleaning dance in my stomach and Why is a cartoon necklace coming out of the sky? Around the same time I was writing a review of Anicka Yi’s 7,070,430K of Digital Spit, A Memoir, which is an amazing book doused in a specially formulated scent. I was spending a lot of time with this book spread on my face recording feelings about smells, and I then I remembered my mother’s perfume in the ’80s. This started to draw the other images to it, so I just kept noticing and following these threads. More and more it feels that I am a recorder of information found in and around the body. Affects and accidents. What my body knows is always a surprise to me, there can be so much trauma and resistance to embodiment, I’m not always there… but paying attention to the fragments that come up and how they may connect really is a form of decolonizing knowledge. Diffracting
do you turn a word into an idea? An idea into a performance? Is your work dealing with such transformations?
DM: Words are ideas, a sign of something else. I read recently that pointing is a uniquely human gesture, this instruction to look elsewhere for the thing because the thing is not here, not even at the tip of the finger, abstraction. Humans are the only animals who kill from a distance. I’m interested in language and distance and bodies and against killing and also do not want my body to be on top of my body, to quote Aaliyah, “I’ll be more than a woman,” I am in excess. In Duty Free, I weave around the word Opium, which is the name of a perfume, which is a sign for a drug, for a place, for a woman, for a war which were all ideas that were enacted. Colonialism is many parts the violent performance of abstraction. I am trying to ask how abstraction makes and breaks the body, how it functions as movement and also as violence. BODY: Do you want to help people know some-
thing? If so, what? If not, what do you want? There are some different histories I am trying to expand and connect, hopefully opening up the possibility for a broader multiplicity and specificity of knowledge making and world making. I heard Charles Gaines speak recently about his 1993 exhibition Theater of Refusal and in response to the critics he said something like, 1. I don’t think we need to be calling these Identity Art, and 2. How do we engage these works in a way that relates not to a limit but to the infinite? which I thought was so great, it’s going beyond the personal is political, past margin, past center, past politics. I’m interested in how many of us navigate fragmentation; not being represented, we may become constant editors relating different parts together. More and more I feel this viewership is becoming a mode of making that is not striving for DM:
representation but challenging universal legibility. I want the single screen to break. There is something sweating through the rubble about trust and forgiveness; that is the work and it may just be for me, but maybe there is permission in witnessing. BODY: What do you think the audience wants?
I feel like I am the audience and I am looking for an energetic exchange, risking the question. I know the impulse to protect myself as a maker and a person, to keep things private, coherent, enough blood to get home, but I do love it when I’m watching something and then all of a sudden I am mixed up in it because maybe neither of “us” know exactly what’s happening. Hopefully that addresses the tricky spectator/creator paradigm on some kind of psychic particle level. I’m not promising any of this; I’m excellent at breaking promises to myself. I mostly want snacks and an emergency exit. DM:
BODY: Do you use language as a form of resistance
and, if so, why? DM: For many years I created documentaries with activist groups and non-profit organizations. I learned the state wants to fund a narrative both necrophilic and jingoistic from women of color, clear like a blade how you almost died but then became a productive citizen. I’m interested in a subjectivity that is opaque, irredeemable, the language we make in our unknowability, this thing we are at-risk of. Clarity is always defined and redefined by power to keep power in place. I’m thinking of so much recent video documentation of police brutality and murder rendered inconsequent by a system that demands proof. I’m thinking of the collapse of education under capitalism. Challenging form, narrative, genre, and comprehension as a way of radical truth telling or subjectivity opening feels so urgent. A few years ago, I started learning a feminist
In an early process email sent to Kennedy, Dylan Mira said that she is ‘…turning over history to multiply layers for research. This mode in conversation with bell hooks’ Oppositional Gaze, Donna Haraway’s Diffraction, Eduard Glissant’s Opacity, Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Speaking Nearby, the essay that arrives next to and around and against and through. Edward Said’s Orientalism as a discourse, Sarah Ahmed’s use of phenomenology in discussing Orientalism with queerness, The Wizard of Oz, smoke, plants, crystals, Joan Jonas, M. Butterfly, Anicka Yi’s stinking book, pictures of sand I keep digitally printing on silk, Lisa Simpson, my life.” H
practice of automatic writing led by the author Laurie Weeks which really influences the way I approach all my work now. It’s a way to let language out instead of putting it on and it’s something you do around other people; it really breaks down the lone genius or the banking model of education or capitalist production. It’s a hyper-present witnessing of something that’s already here. It became the way I’m most comfortable with words and I still organize a writing group now, C U NextNext Tuesday, with Amanda Joy and Rachelle Sawatsky. After publishing some of the texts I was making, I started doing public readings, which is always scary but feels so in tune with the work, it keeps moving just like it arrived, through the body in space. It feels like a live interrelation that I’m having with language that resists, as Litia Perta might say, “getting it or being got by it.” BODY: Do you want to be contextualized? DM: I’m curious. I wonder what would arise? I think we are interrelated and entangled and our work is always ongoing with others so it is generous and honest and something I try to do in my practice, I like to quote and cite and lift up who I love… and then I know that context can be made and directed outside of us and sometimes against us, so I guess it’s a conversation, like how is context determined and by whom? BODY: Is the body a space? DM:
Yes, it’s over t/here.
you believe humans can create their own form of patina? Is there a human patina?
DM: I think the human project is unraveling, which is to say that it was made. Humanness just made me think of cat videos, anthropomorphism, also Kylie Jenner make-up tutorials started appearing in my YouTube spiral and I just watched her Snapchat some bronzer on her wrist and there was some kind of effect on where she had a digital cat nose and paws. I’m into all these things and they’re sort of about inhumanity but from a binary of human not human, maybe that could be human patina? Oh, perfume enters the room. Then there is human’s creating patina to ride to the next plane which I feel is more like makeup on empty space, like challenging the singular self, like putting nice rims on an old car, let’s ride it ’til the wheels fall off which is probably next year. I feel like that question got me high. S
keijaun thomas and The Body INTERVIEW
For Makeup on Empty Space, keijaun thomas presents Distance is Not Separation: Section 1, Selective Seeing: Corners. You, Section 2: Painted Images, Colored Symbols: She’s Hard, She Q each night for three consecutive nights. This emergent work investigates the black femme body in relation to the athletic body, weighing value and skills, and how language constructs and transcribes symbols. THE BODY:
your work being narrative? Is story important? If so where does that story live in you or in the audience? DO YOU THINK OF
i’m really compelled by language, i remember growing up and sitting outside in my auntie Shirley’s front yard and listening to my aunties, cousins, and grandma telling stories about growing up in my home town. so storytelling has always fascinated me, the act of reliving and reworking through stories and the lives (my family) that carry them. so these kind of stores live within my spirit, my family’s collective herstory, but stories come in many different forms. nowadays, i take stories apart, i want to reimagine how stories and herstory travel. how stories move, like can a story move through my body, can i tell you a story through my ass shaking or my back sweating? you feel me. BODY: Does emotion or intellect have a gender?
this is a funny question. i’m into it… i think about gender as a multifaceted spectrum of learning and unlearning. like my emotion and or my intellect exceed gender, i’m working on exceeding gender but i say this question is funny because if emotion or intellect and a gender they would be patriarchy like gendered intellect is why women make less money in this country, if emotion had a gender it would be “boys” don’t cry… so no, i think emotion and intellect are genderless but of course, we (society) like to place gender on to people, on to things, on to words. kt:
material of your performance is your body, your voice, a whistle, black hair, white hair, glue, gloves, red stocking caps, brown paper bags, mashed potato flakes, sugar, tissue paper, concrete blocks, cardboard boxes, grocery bags, serving trays, detergent, rope, four, vaseline, yarn, stockings, bricks, saltine crackers, beer, scissors, text, color, napkins, tape, markers, a broom head, etc.; how do you select your materials? How much of your performance is tied up in their meaning or gesture? Are you building a set or a sculpture? kt: my work is really composed of several formal aspects: when i’m selecting/collecting materials i am often collecting stories that speak to different histories, materials that tell stories through the way they interact with my body and my audience’s collective bodies. each object/material have their own stories to tell, i help activate those stories. i am as much a vessel as they are, we can rethink, reshape, reimagine through our interactions. i talk about my materials as shape shifters; they adapt in order to survive. sometimes they are hiding, sometimes they all work together to build new possibilities for liberation of black and brown people. they hold histories, i want to provide new avenues to navigate a distance that is not separate. my lifeline doesn’t stop when my pulse cease to exist, the distance between here and there might spread or broaden but the act of getting to one place or another is a shared distance. if that makes sense.
13 BODY: Is the body a space? kt: i always say, i’m feeling FULL BODY! like i’m feeling everything through this body, my body is full of love, full of power, full of compassion, full of wanting to get to know you, to get to know us. the body is full of spaces. S
From a Fleshly Object to a Flash of Air ESSAY SA MPADA AR ANKE
1970 Catalysis series are a set of conceptual performances in which the artist transforms herself into an object. Performed as several separate events, Piper conducted everyday actions in New York City while in states of strange abjectness, including covering herself with white paint, stuffing a large bath towel in her mouth, and even saturating her clothing in vinegar, eggs, milk and cod liver oil for a week before running errands during rush hour. In a 1972 interview with Lucy Lippard,¹ Piper notes how she considered Catalysis an exercise of self-objectification and public violation.² By adorning her self in grotesque and stomach-churning smells, colors, and textures, Piper calls her personhood into question and draws attention to what it might mean to always already be considered an object in light of one’s skin, body, and history. Piper exemplifies what Fred Moten calls the “refusal of the object” which builds upon an understanding of the history of objects as it collides with the history of Blackness, where Black peoples were considered objects from the Middle Passage through the practice of chattel slavery and beyond.³ This conjoined and unmistakably horrific history of Blackness and objecthood transforms Catalysis into an even stranger encounter in which artist and interlocutor are asked to take on this vexed history, albeit subtly and in the form of conceptual performance.⁴ This notion of “body”—one that throws into crisis the stability of subjecthood and objecthood— is of particular relevance for those of us invested in interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches to aesthetic production. Hortense Spillers marks
a boundary between conventional understandings of the body as a sleeve for a Western notion of a unified subject and those Black captives whose capture made possible Western thought itself.⁵ As she does so, Spillers develops the concept “flesh” as a placeholder for what we might call the making of the modern Black body. She qualifies that the distinction between body and flesh is a “central one between captive and liberated subject-positions”— a distinction that provisionally marks how flesh is a “primary narrative” to that of the body, and one that manifests violently in the Middle Passage, but whose violent historical trace continues to make itself visible in contemporary moments.⁶ Flesh might work as a generative index for Piper’s performance. She transforms her flesh into an art-object; a Black woman turned catalyst. She transforms the surface of her flesh such that it becomes open to judgments, desires, projections in such a way that clarifies how the notion of the art-object itself is racialized. In this, Catalysis embodies Fred Moten’s claim that “the history of blackness is testament to the fact that objects can and do resist.”⁷ Piper activates that space of reckoning, where those who see her have to contend with the very history that makes their bodies known and Piper’s visible. Piper moves us into a live engagement with the precarious status of the art object in relation to histories of Blackness. While her uses of the the olfactory might repel those that surround her, it nonetheless calls our attention towards how her flesh historicizes a notion of the racialized body. In a slightly different move, William Pope.L’s use of air teases one to tend their body towards Blackness itself and thus moves us towards another kind of (de)materialization of the subject-object relation proper.⁸ Pope.L’s 2016 installation Blind (donut version) is a square hole cut out of a wall in New York’s Pace Gallery. Featured in the show Blackness in Abstraction, Blind (donut version)
looks just like a Black square on a white wall, that is until you walk past it. The moment you approach this space, a flash of cold air hits your face. This wind makes the viewer aware of their skin, their flesh, their body in proximity to the void in front of them. Blind (donut version) does not reach towards the myth of “colorblindness” in the wake of ongoing racial terror, nor does it gesture towards a romantic ideal of aesthetic judgment past the scope of visibility or representation. Rather, the blinding force of this work is its air, which is to say the air that we are forced to breath in upon experiencing the work. Blind (donut version) forces you to close your eyes as you try to stick your head into this Black hole to see what it is. In other words, Pope.L pivots you away from seeing is believing and instead invites you to feel your way into being. Keeping the viewer at a distance, albeit an intimate one, Pope.L throws into further crisis the status of the art object opened up by Piper, while it is precisely this “object” that makes one aware of their status as “subject.” In a phenomenological turn, the viewer is asked to consider what Saidiya Hartman theorizes as Blackness in terms of social relationality—a field of possibilities and impossibilities for modes of comportment, knowledge practices, and materials for communing that all coalesce around one’s proximity to Blackness. Pope.L takes Piper’s transformation into an object and diffuses it, and in so doing turns our tables such that we are asked to consider how flesh anticipates body, and how body anticipates relation, and finally how Blackness touches it all. What is left unanswered, yet not unsaid, is a question that Pope.L poses: “Isn’t it possible that Blackness has always contained within itself its own diffusion?” ¹⁰ S
1 Lucy Lippard and Adrian Piper, “Catalysis: an Interview with Adrian Piper.” The Drama Review: 16.1 (1972): 77. For more on Piper’s philosophical and artistic practice as a sustained engagement with self and other, subject and object, mind and body, see: Cervenak, Sarah J. “Against Traffic: De/formations of Race and Freedom in the Art of Adrian Piper.” Discourse. 28.2 (2008); Uri McMillan, Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance (New York: New York University Press, 2015). 2 Ibid. 3 Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003: 1. 4 I am indebted to Huey Copeland’s lucid theoretical and material analysis on this topic, in which he undertakes takes this history of Blackness and objecthood as understood through contemporary Black artistic practices, with particular attention to installation and multimedia work. For a more thorough account, see Huey Copeland, Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 5 Hortense J. Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: an American Grammar Book.” Diacritics. 17.2 (1987). 6 Ibid, 67. 7 Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003, 1. 8 For more on his brilliant elaboration of “Tending-toward-Blackness” as a “leaning into and caring for” that aims to “mark the construction of the material world and provide a different horizon from which to take our bearings,” see Huey Copeland, “Tending-toward-Blackness,” October. 156 (2016): 141-144. 9 Saidiya V. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. 10 William Pope. L, “Some Notes on the Ocean…,” as quoted in Blackness in Abstraction exhibition catalogue, Pace Gallery, New York 2016. Originally published by the author in Spike Art Quarterly, 45 (Autumn 2015). ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY CERVENAK, S.J. “Against Traffic: De/formations of Race and Freedom in the Art of Adrian Piper.” Discourse : Berkeley
Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture. 28 (2006): 114-129. COPELAND, HUEY. Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site
of Blackness in Multicultural America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. COPELAND, HUEY. “Tending-toward-Blackness,” October. 156 (2016): 141-144. GREEN, RENÉE. Other Planes of There: Selected Writings. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. HARTMAN, SAIDIYA V. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery,
and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. LEMON, RALPH. On Value. New York: Triple Canopy, 2016. LIPPARD, LUCY AND ADRIAN PIPER. “Catalysis: an Interview with Adrian Piper.” The Drama Review: 16.1 (1972). MCMILLAN, URI. Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Fem-
inist Art and Performance. New York: New York University Press, 2015. MOTEN, FRED. In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical
Tradition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003. PIPER, ADRIAN. Out of Order, Out of Sight. Cambridge, Boston: MIT Press, 1996. POPE. L, WILLIAM. “Some Notes on the Ocean…,” as quoted in
Blackness in Abstraction exhibition catalogue, Pace Gallery, New York 2016. Originally published by the author in Spike
Art Quarterly, 45 (Autumn 2015). SPILLERS, HORTENSE. ”Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: an American Grammar Book.” Diacritics. 17.2 (1987). THOMPSON, KRISTA A. Visual Economy of Light in African Di-
asporic Aesthetic Practice. Place of publication not identified: Duke University Press, 2015.
A.K. Burns and The Body language, humor, symbols and subjects (body, water, land, and the void) that will be explored forthcoming. BODY: What are you trying to upend? What are you trying to establish?
I’m attempting to upend the order of things as they may be perceived, by establishing a disorientation (familiar meeting unfamiliar parts) that offers a re-orientation within a speculative now. By this I mean all the aesthetics, materials, and sites used in the work are not about an imagined future or a reconstruction of the past. It’s all a representation of the time in which it was made, 2012-2015, that uses some of the tropes of science fiction and theater as a pathway towards suspended belief. The thing that I’m most interested in playing with is perception, your subjective reading of the accumulated signifiers I put into A Smeary Spot—the relationship between the script/speech, the props/the material world and the ‘agents’ actions. I refer to the characters as acting agents because they are not inherently representations of humans, but more over, of actions, of change, of active matter or ideas. So I see it as a fantastical document and interpretation of a present. I’m most interested in the present, because I see it as having the most potential, the most ability to actively do or change something. If change is the only thing we can rely on and the present is the place where change occurs. As the present becomes
For Makeup on Empty Space, A.K. Burns presents the multi-channel video installation A Smeary Spot (2015), the first chapter in a cycle of works entitled Negative Space. In concert with this installation, the artist and PICA will release a vinyl pressing of Leave No Trace, a new composition by the artist to be accompanied by an evening of related performances by Jen Rosenblit and keyon gaskin. THE BODY: IS A SMEARY SPOT
A .K. BURNS:
No, because in general, I don’t believe in origin stories. Everything is part of a continuum that is accessed through various openings or, (for those with a panache for violence) through barging in. And those who barge usually breed a particular narcissism that perceives these entrances as beginnings. But, A Smeary Spot is a nucleus, a sun, a mother– the work from which the other parts emerge, circulate around, are anchored and reference back to. This project is looking like it will be a five-part cycle, with A Smeary Spot as an opening to the subsequent episodes, for which there is no particular order. A Smeary Spot sets the stage and holds the future episodes together in conversation; the politics,
we use and care for bodies is essentially what I’m investigating in this new cycle of works. BODY: Do
you believe humans can create their own form of Patina? Is there a human patina?
If we use the New Oxford American Dictionary definition for patina as “an impression or appearance of something.” Absolutely. Its like our favorite past time. Impersonators and imposters. As for a human patina, this sounds overly specific as if there is one human patina. I don’t believe in human universalism and I would say the point of a patina is its ability to construct difference.
both past and future simultaneously, the past is where the residue of change solidifies and the future is where our desires and or dissatisfactions with change are projected. That also means the things I’m upending or establishing are in flux, and this work will inevitably change a lot over what could easily become a decade-long project.
does “otherness” factor into your
work? Oh gawd, um... this is like the question of queerness in my work, which I get asked about a lot. These words, other and queer, are used interchangeably and profusely. Used to establish a ‘patina’ of radicality, which makes me suspect of both terms. I’m definitely interested in how the status quo is insidiously integrated into every fiber of our being, even for those of us who are ‘woke’ or have ‘came out’ and are actively addressing these super structures. I would just say that I’m generally critical and unsettled with the world as it is. That my body often feels uncomfortable, sad and angry, and that the work I do as an artist and educator is a form of recuperative labor that is both personal and political.
AKB: BODY: Is the body a space? If it is what is it good for?
What is the body exhibiting in this current work? The body is a lot of things, and I would say broadly that a space is one form a body can take. But to say a body is a space might be too limiting for how I think about bodies. Body text, auto-body, corporeal body, body politic, body of water. The body, as I would define it, is the form that results from attraction or order (imposed or bio-chemical) of multiparts that coalesce to work in union. Bodies are fantastic apparatuses for action: be it a book, a vehicle, the human and animal ability to create and sustain through labor, the traction of a socio-political movement, or the life-sustaining liquid that results from copious amounts of H²O. If bodies are a resource, a source of power, they can be and are easily utilized—through the organization and control of said bodies—to generate capital. So possibly, bodies that remain dynamic, adaptable, unfixed, and in transition retain the agency or power to liberate from capitalism and the exploitation of the body. This power shift that is tightly bound to how
you want this work to be contextualized? If so how, what can we look to?
Nothing more than what I’ve already said. S
See Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (2007), Katen Ballard, Duke University Press G
WHAT AM I THINKING HERE . Why am I writing here. What do I want to say. Why do I want to speak. Do I feel obligated to speak? To be here? To be present? To know what I’m doing and to know exactly what to do? How can I be a better person? So I’ve arrived to the table, I’ve arrived to the laptop, to the pdx. edu account. To the google documents. To a blank screen. Indeed I am oriented here. I am oriented to the screen and to the blank page (the whiteness of it all). What is one to do in such moments? When one doesn’t know what to do or how to do it or think about it? But the page is a promise of a blank ground, one in which to build one’s self from (the promise of whiteness—purity, genuine, knowledge, wisdom, insight, theory). One can build a new idea or a new concept from the blankness (whiteness) of the page. A ground has been built. So what to put there? Much like the exhibition, a new ground must be built: walls must be built. They must be painted white. The artists must put their work in the gallery. Maybe it’s hung up. Maybe it’s projected. Or maybe the artist is the artwork for an audience. There are traces of these happenings, of these multiple gazes and orientations and happenings. There is debris, there are holes, there are publications. There is digital code. And yes there is the work. Once the exhibition is done the work is still there, still present, a residue of the artist. An exhibition can be kind of like setting a new ground, much like the way PICA is setting new ground in NE Portland, with the exhibition and the performances and the works. The objects and the pieces collectively are not just
orientation devices, but the exhibition becomes the orientation device itself, a collection of residues and dirt and scratches, and makeup and jokes and echoes and sweat and money. It becomes a history, the history is written, like a body. The body becomes a history. A history tablet or book. Indeed, there is memory. There is the memory. The institution becomes a body (so scary to humanize an organization). But we must recognize that blankness can be a kind of whiteness, and that can be read as a kind of colonization. Indeed, setting the ground for new things to come, setting the ground for emptiness, blankness (makeup on EMPTY SPACE ), is to make a clearing for the ground, is to remove the ground already present and to make new happen on “new” space. Indeed, the space before the ground has already been occupied by people, by history, by the rays of the sun hitting it and making something come out of its body. The institution is not safe from this, and it is not safe from this critique. Indeed nobody is. It is funny to talk about colonialism and racial embodiment in the white space of a gallery, just like it’s funny to talk about anti-capitalism on an iphone or you mention it on yr Tinder profile. There is something funny and ironic about this realization. But like, what the fuck do you expect?
Itâ€™s not like capitalism is a vacuum. Let alone colonialism. How do we orientate ourselves in such times of crisis? Are we even capable of organizing ourselves, of orienting ourselves in the most correct way we can, or is there something like dark matter that shapes and forms bodies to move one way and not another? Indeed, capitalism and colonialism and patriarchy is a kind of dark matter, in this context. What is the point of this? Why am I writing here? I expect that a word a phrase a letter stacked on top of each other is somehow a connection between a word and a thought and some kind of insight into the world and into this art as if thought or theory or a new body could emerge from the page and that expectation is so dauntingâ€”the expectation of production and working and development and NEW is so ingrained into the body. What else is there to do? Is it radical to not do anything? Is it radical to not make anything new? To make nothing at all? To just sleep and eat and sleep and eat and to keep moving through this landscape as if nothing ever happened? Perhaps maybe, perhaps not. Thereâ€™s not a lot that we can do about all that. Does this shit even matter? Will it even matter in a year? Or two? Or three thousand? Will this place still be alive then? Will this planet be anything? Who gives a fuck about the present moment? The contemporary? What is this place? Time is an orientation device, indeed it is created to orient ourselves to production and labour and work. It orients the body to do certain things at certain times and for things to happen or not happen. And yet without it we will all become disoriented. And yet this kind of disorientation might bring catastrophic disaster. And yet this kind of disorientation may bring us closer to the universe than anything we
could imagine. Do other planets have a concept of time? What the fuck is this shit? Where am I going? Collateral damage. Disorientation devices. Queer objects. Disorientation objects. Queer devices. The movement from one thing to another. A progression of thought. The body as construct. Human material, immaterial labor, trying to arrive at the point of contact between an idea and knowledge, ingrained into the page through the pressure of ink and heat. A human pressure, the body is under pressure (attack). I have not arrived anywhere. I have not arrived at an orientation. I have moved through and through again. Perhaps though they are different kinds of orientating. Orientating through anxiety. Orientating through desire. Orientating through ideology and institution. Orientating through the body. And yet somehow this might be a dream of some sort. No it probably is not. There is nowhere better than this place. There is nothing better than here. There is no one better than you. So where do we go from here? Making a path, yet following another. That is the paradox of the path, of moving from one place to another. Of leaving traces. Of putting makeup on an empty space. You follow the path, and you make another one. S
Drawing by Dan Seward F
Beer Me JIBADE KHALIL- HUFFM AN
I’ve watched you paint dollar signs onto your eyes the motion of going dizzy appearing in your eyes
I’ve seen you go
headfirst into an icerink and after some time emerge with a bandolier half filled with crenoline bolts half emptied of blanks dosing yourself until you can find the appropriate sword I’ve seen a danger on your face I want everything to do with your opening remarks nothing to do with the part where you mess up for ten minutes and actually leave the auditorium to douse water on your face and afterwards you tell me that you blacked out for the rest, that you don’t remember turning it around at the last second and leaving everyone with a feeling they took home and still think about on occasion. S
FROM PROSE SENTENCE, JIBADE-KHALIL HUFFMAN, 2016. PRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE ARTIST.
Bunnybrains and The Body BODY: What’s
the difference between the visual
and the sonic? The visual is so happy to be buds with the sonic. It’s easy to be a firecracker but hard to be a boom.
Bunnybrains’ exhibition will be open in the 511 Gallery at Pacific Northwest College of Art and features a variety of participatory workshops, rotating guest exhibitions, spontaneous happenings and performances, and more.
BODY: What do you do? What do you call yourself? Does your music have a form?
I do stuff that expels the dayd through a human filter. I call myself me. The form is always moving. Like an army brat. Or a seedpod.
BB: THE BODY:
what does that mean? All things, all people, all expectations, all forms?
WHEN YOU SAY “BUNNYBR AINS IS ALL ,”
does “otherness” factor into your
It is simply an invitation. To cholera or to chocolate. It’s your decision. We can’t force you to unforeseen yourself. But the welcome mat is permanent. BODY: Is the body a space? If so what is it good for? How do you use this space in your work?
It’s a good book with endless pages. Some are stuck together with kitchen sauce and some have never been read. It’s good for helping the light seem like a good thing, instead of something you just click off at night.
Being in conservative constraints and hiding that and then being able to let it out sporadically creates dual worlds. Different looks and faces. They are not all friends but they live in peace.
you believe humans can create their own form of patina? Is there a human patina?
If they breathe out then definitely they can spatter the canvas somehow. S
BODY: Do you think about your body while you’re
on stage? Is the body exhibiting thinking or freedom from thought while performing? I think about how I can’t swallow too much hair or I’ll choke. I think about how to avoid poking my eye out with a guitar cord and how much can I keep going and still get up and do it again… It’s disconnected and reconnected alternately throughout playing and performing.
facebook.com/Don’tShootPDX theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/about-the-counted blacklivesmatter.com alp.org/community/sos mappingpoliceviolence.org arrestingpower.com H
ODALISQUE : Ingre’s seminal rendering of a concubine in the sultan’s palace synthesizes the foreign, female, and sensual into a haunting painting of the West’s gaze at the East, man’s gaze at woman. Five extra vertebrae have been added to the figure, contorting her into an absolute fiction. “She” is an oriental ideal that can never exist. G
HARAMBE : It’s hard to imagine a more uncanny other than a gorilla. As close and far as it gets. What is inside Harambe’s body? Did he get to have one before he died? I’ve forgotten the mom and the child. A meme about death. It’s obviously easier to keep thinking about Harambe than it is to think about the black men we also watched die on the internet this year.¹ G
26 E YOUNG THUG : “In my world, you can be a gangsta with a dress or you can be a gangsta with baggy pants. I feel like there’s no such thing as gender.”
CAPTIONS AND IMAGE ESSAY BY AVERY BLOCH
“In the portraits of Harambe that surface on my Timeline, I appreciate the majesty of his body, a body not so distantly related to any human, Black or otherwise— and a body that can never live again. Unlike compassion, living is not limitless; as humans, we have the unique ability and responsibility to shape the lives of the animals we have placed ourselves over, as well as the ability and responsibility to shape our institutions, norms and cultural assumptions. Our own violences. Should Harambe have been killed? …Should a young Black man be 21 times more likely to be one of those slain than a young White one? All of these questions are ours as Americans, with a particular onus on White Americans. Compassion is an investible form of power, and can be, as we see with various campaigns around Harambe’s death, a tool of inquiry and an agent of social change. To whatever possible end, folks have chosen to invest in Harambe—and the more we practice investing, the more potent and capacious our collective compassion becomes. In turn, compassion is never wasted, should never be discouraged. What should be questioned are the presumptive limits of American compassion, and how that compassion can be most critically and progressively invested. Harambe will rest in peace; how can we, in a nation that grows more tenaciously racist with each turned head?” —Chelsey Shannon, “The limits of white compassion: Imagine if Black lives mattered as much as one gorilla.” (May 31 2016) Salon.com
Glossary of Terms ABSENCE: The nonexistence or lack of;
required for sustained physical or
inattention to present surroundings or
mental activity; a dynamic quality;
a usually positive spiritual force; the
IDENTITY: Who you think you are.
ADORN: To make (something or someone)
property of matter and radiation that
more attractive through the addition
is manifest as a capacity to perform
of something; to enliven or decorate
work; an invisible sensation.
BLACKNESS: The quality or state of being black. BODY: The physical structure of a person
structure or composition throughout. A
concept for understanding embodied experiences; situated within the body.
EPHEMERAL: Lasting a very short time;
as if with ornaments.
similar kind or or nature; of uniform
INVISIBILITY: Incapable by nature of being seen; (racial invisibility) one’s
EXCLUDED: To deny someone access to;
being is not seen, only one’s skin
to remove from consideration.
tone and the stereotypes, ideas, and
or an animal, including the bones,
FEMINISM: The theory of the political,
flesh and organs; give material to
economic, and social equality of the
LANGUAGE: the system of words or signs
something abstract; a mass of matter
sexes; organized activity on behalf of
that people use to express thoughts
distinct from other matters.
women’s rights and interests.
and feelings to each other; any one
manner or outcome of something); bring (something) into the desired state for use. CONFINE:
FETISHIZE: To make a fetish of; have an
of the systems of human language
excessive and irrational commitment
that are used and understood by a
to or obsession with (something).
particular group of people; words of
FIXITY: The state of being unchanging or permanent; the quality or state of
Keep or restrict someone
prejudices attached to that.
being fixed or stable.
a particular kind. MANNERISM: One technique of stretching and morphing the human figure in art
or something within certain limits
FIVE VERTEBRATE: Ingres’ Grande
(space, scope, quantity, or time);
Odalisque has been studied and
of 16th century European art that
the borders or boundaries of a
shown to possess five extra vertebrae.
birthed this version of the technique.
place, especially with regard to their
They twist the figure into a mannerist
restricting freedom of movement.
emblem of the oriental other.
into impossible positions; the style
MATERIAL: The matter from which a things is or can be made; denoting or
CONSCIOUSNESS: The quality or state of
FLEXIBLE: Capable of bending easily
being aware especially of something
without breaking; able to be easily
within oneself; the upper level of
MATTER: something that is being done,
mental life; concern for some political
circumstances or conditions; ready
talked about, or thought about; the
or social cause; the fact of awareness
and able to change so as to adapt to
thing that forms physical objects and
by the mind of itself and the world.
CORPSE: A dead body, especially of
consisting of physical objects rather than the mind or spirit.
FLUID: A substance that has no fixed
MEMES: An element of a culture or system
a human being; the remains of
shape and yields easily to external
of behavior that may be considered
something discarded or defunct.
pressure; able to flow easily.
to be passed from one individual
CYCLE: An interval of time during which
FRAGMENTS: A small part broken or
a sequence of a recurring succession
separated off something; detached or
of events or phenomena is completed;
incomplete; small bits.
a circular or spiral arrangement; a complete set or series.
to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation; real g shit. MEMORY: Something remembered from
A social binary in which
the past; a recollection; the power or
people identify; a subclass within
process of reproducing or recalling
a grammatical class of a language
what has been learned and retained
esoteric subject) clearer and easier
that is partly arbitrary but also
mystifying features of. DIRECTION:
NEGATIVE SPACE: It is the space around
rank, manner of existence, or sex)
the subject(s) of an image, typically
forming a shape relevant to the image
guidance or supervision of action or
with and selection of other words or
and designed to balance out the
conduct; a channel or direct course
of thought or action; a guiding, governing, or motivating purpose.
GENDER ROLES: A set of societal norms
dictating the types of behaviors which
can be perceived by the senses; a
DISPLACE: To remove from the usual or
are generally considered acceptable,
person or thing to which a specific
proper place; to take the place of; to
appropriate or desirable for people
action or feeling is directed; to say
move physically out of position; to
based on their actual or perceived sex
something to express disapproval of
take over the place, position or role of.
EASTERN IDEOLOGY: Eastern culture, beliefs, politics and social norms. EMPTY:
having no real purpose or value. ENERGY:
or disagreement with something.
HABITUAL: Doing, practicing, or acting
ORGANIC MATTER: Organic matter or
in some manner by force of habit;
organic material, natural organic
matter refers to the large pool of
regularly or repeatedly. HOMOGENEOUS: Of the same or a
terrestrial and aquatic environments. ORIENTALISM:
RADICAL: Relating to or affecting the
of a structure, system, or thing that
fundamental nature of something; a
give it strength or bind it together;
group of atoms behaving as a unit in a
strengthen with or as if with sinews. SKIN: The thin layer of tissue forming
number of compounds.
Asia; representation of Asia in a
RECYCLE: Convert (waste) into reusable
stereotyped way that is regarded as
material; return (material) to a
of a person or animal; To remove
embodying a colonialist attitude.
previous stage in a cyclical process;
the outer layer from an object or
OTHER: Used to refer to a person or thing
to pass again through a series of
being; a membranous film or scum;
that is different or distinct from one
changes or treatments; to bring back.
a sheathing or casing forming the
already mentioned or known; view or
the natural outer cover of the body
outside surface of a structure.
treat (a person or group of people) as
two or more concepts, objects, or
SPACE: A limited extent between one,
intrinsically different from and alien
people are connected, or the state of
two, or three dimensions; the area
being connected; the state of being
between objects; to be or become
PARADIGM: A typical example or pattern of something; a model; a theory or group of ideas about how something
related or interrelated; a romantic or
distracted, euphoric, or disoriented;
a boundless three dimensional extent
Have in or be able to
should be done, made or thought
bring to one’s mind an awareness of
(someone or something that one has
PATINA: A usually green film formed naturally on copper and bronze by long exposure or artificially (as by acids) and often valued aesthetically
in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. SUBJECTIVE: Based on or influenced
seen, known, or experienced in the
opinions; relating to the way a person
speaking or acting on behalf of
experiences things in his or her own mind. TENSIONS: Either of two balancing forces
for its color; an appearance or aura
someone or the state of being so
that is derived from association,
causing or tending to cause tension;
habit, or established character; a
portrayal of someone or something
mental or emotional strain; a balance
in a particular way or as of being of
can provide protective covering for
a certain nature; the body of persons
between opposing forces or elements.
materials that would otherwise be damaged by corrosion or weathering. PHENOMENOLOGY:
representing a constituency. SATURATE: Cause (something) to become
TIME: The indefinite continued progress of existence; past, present, future;
thoroughly soaked with liquid so that
phenomena as distinct from that of
no more can be absorbed; to satisfy
measured in terms of events which
the nature of being. PRAXIS: Practice, as distinguished from theory; an exercise or practice of an art, science or skill. PRESENCE: The state or fact of existing,
fully; to fill completely with something
that permeates or pervades.
through present to future.
SELF-DETERMINATION: Free choice of one’s own acts or states without external compulsion; determination
TOTALITY: The whole of something; the quality or state of being total. VOID: A completely empty space; not
occurring, or being present in a place
by the people of a territorial unit of
occupied; being without something
or thing; a person or thing that exists
their own future political status.
or is present in a place but not seen.
SEXUALITY: A person’s sexual orientation
WASTE: A sparsely settled or barren
QUEER: Whatever is at odds with the
or preference; expression of sexual
normal, dominant or legitimate; an
receptivity or interest; capacity for
umbrella term sometimes used by
loss or decrease by use, wear or
LGBTQA people to refer to the entire
SINEWS: A piece of tough fibrous tissue
LGBT community; related to the
uniting muscle to bone or bone to
concept of genderqueer.
bone; a tendon or ligament; the parts
COMPILED BY EMMA CHRIST WITH ASSISTANCE FROM LOLA SHORT
decay; to use or expend carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose.
Biographies FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PUBLICATION, THE BODY IS :
Kristan Kennedy an artist, educator and Visual Art Curator at PICA ; Roz Crews an artist, educator, and Curatorial Assistant at PICA ; Emma Christ, an artist currently studying at Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, New York; Avery Bloch, an artist currently studying at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon; and Kevin Holden, an artist currently studying at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon; with input from Daphne Lyda, Ali Perkins, and Lola Shore. CONTRIBUTORS SAMPADA AR ANKE (Ph.D, Performance Studies) is an Assistant Professor in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her research interests include performance theories of embodiment, visual culture, and black cultural and aesthetic theory. Her work has been published in Art Journal, Equid Novi: African Journalism Studies, and Trans-Scripts: An Interdisciplinary Online Journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences at U.C. Irvine. She’s currently working on her book manuscript entitled Death’s Futurity: The Visual Culture of Death in Black Radical Politics. KEMI ADEYEMI is Assistant Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She is working on a manuscript that explores how black queer women manipulate sound and the body to reorganize the racialized networks of pleasure in the nightlife scenes of gentrifying neighborhoods. Her work has appeared in Palimpsest and Sounding Out!, and she is co-editing the first collected volume on queer nightlife studies. Kemi received a Ph.D from the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.
is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. He is the author of three books of poems, 19 Names For Our Band (Fence, 2008), James Brown is Dead (Future Plan and Program, 2011), and Sleeper Hold (Fence, 2014). His art and JIBADE-KHALIL HUFFMAN
writing projects, spanning photography, video, performance and poetry, have been exhibited and performed at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR ; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA ; MoMA/P.S .1, Long Island City, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA ; among others. is a poet and activist. She has been an active member of the “Outrider” experimental poetry community. Her poetry is recognized in the lineage of Whitman and Ginsberg, and in the Beat, New York School, and Black Mountain trajectories of the New American Poetry. Yet she remains a highly original “open field investigator” of consciousness, committed to the possibilities of radical shifts of language and states of mind to create new modal structures and montages of attention. She is the author of more than 40 books. She was one of the founders and directors of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery, working there for twelve years. She also co-founded with Allen Ginsberg the celebrated Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, the first Buddhist inspired University in the western hemisphere, in 1974. Ginsberg has called Waldman his “spiritual wife.” She is a Distinguished Professor of Poetics at Naropa and continues to work to preserve the school’s substantial literary/oral archive. Waldman is a recipient of the American Book Award’s Lifetime Achievement, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and has recently been appointed a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Waldman divides her time between New York City and Boulder, Colorado. ANNE WALDMAN
is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Burns is currently a 2016–17 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University, where she will be developing the long term project, Negative Space, a cycle of multi-media installations.
California Los Angeles and a BFA in Video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The opening episode from this cycle of works, A Smeary Spot, debuted at Participant Inc, NY in the Fall of 2015. The work was initiated with the generous support of a 2015 Creative Capital Foundation Visual Arts Award. Additional support for the forthcoming episodes of Negative Space is being provided through the Education Department’s Spring 2017 Research & Development Season at the New Museum, where Burns is also currently in residence. The residency will culminate with an exhibition opening in January 2017. Burns is a founding member of W.A.G.E (Working Artists in the Great Economy) an artists’ advocacy group that most recently developed W.A.G.E certification and fee calculator both launched in 2014.
DAN SEWARD, also known as Bunnybrains, is a musician, curator and promoter in Hudson, New York, where he runs the celebrated (and somewhat nomadic) record store, John Doe Records. Bunnybrains’ career highlights include a vinyl only pressing with Matador, a national tour supporting Devendra Banhart, a four-CD box-set that garnered raves from the indie press, and opening for a reunited Hawkwind—a set credited with giving the many hippies in attendance bad trips. SHANEKIA MCINTOSH (1989), is a writer, creative arts programmer and DJ born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. In 2010, McIntosh moved to Hudson, NY and has been actively engaged in multimedia work (radio, performance, curation). Most recently founded and published art + writing zine ZeroCool.
JAMIE LEE MOHR is an interdisciplinary artist and keijaun thomas creates live performance and mul- filmmaker based in Putney, Vermont. She is the protimedia installations that oscillate between move- ducer of collaborative public access television series ment and materials that function as tools, objects “Coma Club” and “Oral Tradition TeleVision” and and structures, as well as a visual language that creator of the popup gallery “Be Your Own Placebo”. can be read, observed, and repeated within spatial, Through synthesis of social practice, performance, temporal, and sensorial environments. Her work and filmmaking, she investigates the symbiotic relainvestigates the histories, symbols, and images that tionships between physical landscape, individual construct notions of Black identity within black narrative, and cultural identity. In 2015 Mohr exampersonhood. thomas examines, deconstructs, and ined interpersonal dimensions within these themes reconstructs notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, while conducting qualitative research at a geotherpassing, trespassing, eroticized, and marginalized mal greenhouse in an isolated sustainable commurepresentations of the black body in relation to nity in Iceland. In Spring 2016 she traveled in Cuba disposable labor, domestic service, and notions of to further explore ways that these concepts apply to thingness amongst materials addressing blackness the political and cultural identity of sovereign island outside of a codependent, binary structure of exis- nations. This fall, Mohr will continue to integrate tence. thomas earned their Master’s degree from the socio political and environmental research with School of the Art Institute of Chicago. thomas has her art practice while sailing in the Arctic Circle. A shown work nationally and internationally in Los longtime contributor to Bunnybrains, Mohr has also Angeles, CA ; Portland, OR ; Chicago, IL ; Boston, MA ; performed in “N.P.R. the band” and “Degeneration New York, NY; Miami, FL ; and Taipei, Taiwan; Paris, Dripping with Blood Fading Away”. S France; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; and the United Kingdom. thomas was an artist-in-residence at PICA as part of the Creative Exchange Lab program in Fall 2015. DYLAN MIR A is an artist moving between video and text, recording how language makes bodies within the limits of representation and the thickness of time. Her recent projects have been presented at Performa, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, and Human Resources. She holds an MFA in New Genres from University of
Acknowledgments The curator would like to acknowledge the following for their time, talent, and generosity: CUR ATORIAL ASSISTANT
Roz Crews HEAD PREPAR ATOR
Spencer Byrne-Seres PREPAR ATOR
Margaret Heath INTERNS
Avery Bloch, Emma Christ, and Kevin Holden LIGHTING
Bill Boese SOUND
Rory Breshears LAYOUT & COLLATERAL DESIGN
Sean Schumacher EDITORS
Kirsten Saladow, Roz Crews ANGEL -AT-LARGE
T.C. Smith A.K. Burns, Shanekia McIntosh, Dylan Mira, Jamie Lee Mohr, Dan Seward, and keijaun thomas EXHIBITING ARTISTS
Chris Balo, Bill Boese, Rory Breshears, Ben Houston, Kathy Andrews, Tahni Holt, Lia Gangitano and Participant, Cory Fox, Kelly Rauer, Mack McFarland, Ashley Gibson, Center for Art and Culture at PNCA , Bryson Hanson, Chris Freeman, Mark Keppinger, Victoria Frey, Luisa Adrianzen Guyer and Leigh Guyer, Jesse Mejia, Devin Ray, Eli Coplan, Chaz Stobbs III, Sarah Turner, Justen Harn, Portland Community Media, Coho Productions, Michael Jones, Portland Center Stage, Chloe Thompson, Sean Chamberlain, Shawn Creeden, Plant Daddy PUBLICATION Special thanks to Sean Schumacher and Kirsten Saladow for working on design
and execution of this publication with me and to Roz Crews for editing. VISUAL ART PROGRA M SUPPORT PICA’S VISUAL ART CIRCLE
Jeanie Jablonski, Founding Chair; Daniel P. Winter, Founding Co-Chair; John Forsgren, Allie Furlotti, Linda Hutchins and John Montague, Sarah Miller Meigs, Jane Schiffhauer, Topher Sinkinson, and Stephanie Snyder. SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Allie Furlotti, Calligram Fund for New Work; National Performance Network’s Visual Art Network; Leslie B. Durst; Stephanie and Jonathan Snyder; MK Guth & Greg Landry; Sarah Miller Meigs & Andrew Meigs; Kathy & James Gentry; Jeanine Jablonski, Fourteen30 Contemporary; The Smith Family, Showdrape; Bill Boese, Morning Becomes Electric; Mark Spencer Hotel PICA & TBA FESTIVAL PICA BOARD AND VOLUNTEERS
Thank you to the current, past, and founding board members for their service to the organization, and specifically Allie Furlotti for her artist-centric approach to philanthropy and for the incredible gift of PICA’s new home. To our PICA volunteers, who hold this Festival up from the inside with so much generosity and enthusiasm. PICA STAFF
Victoria Frey, Angela Mattox, Erin Boberg Doughton, Roya Amirsoleymani, Pam CameronSnyder, Kim Crosby, Erika Osurman, Kirsten Saladow, Sean Schumacher, Eri Stern, Daniel Glendening
TBA:16 STAFF AND CREW Chris Balo, Bill Boese, Jeff Forbes, Alley Frey, Daniel Granias, Robin Greenwood, Garret Megaw, Cassie Skauge, Cassie Smith, Jason Winslow, Ryan Winters, Rozalyn Crews, Felisha Ledesma, Lev Anderson, Spencer ByrneSeres, Margaret Heath, Helmy Membreño, Aaron Rosenblum, Van Pham, Lenka Becvar, Nicole Richwalsky, Chelsea Petrakis, Patrick Leonard, Jillian Porten, Jesse Card INTERNS Jack Hochberg, Juliana Cable, Hilary Devaney, Joaquin Dollar, Elliot Eugenie, Claire Natter, Lola Shore, Eva Klos, Emalee Moore, Eileen Ruelas, Kieran Swann, Ali Perkins, Daphne Lyda, Avery Bloch, Kevin Holden, Emma Christ MY LOVE AND GR ATITUDE TO the curious people of the world. To my Visual Art Program staff and interns—Roz, Spencer, Maggie, Micah, Avery, Emma, and Kevin— who are passionately committed to PICA; as artists they contribute so much of their inventive selves to myself and to those exhibiting here. To the PICA staff who work too much and deserve so much more, but who also constantly reframe work as an emotionally and spiritually worthy endeavor. Special thanks to Sean and Kirsten, who know how late I am going to be with everything and still make magic. To Erin for taking care of my staff when a budget line wasn’t going to. To Daniel Glendening for his care and tending of the Resource Room. To Roya for adding context and depth to everything. To Vic for being VIC! To the interns—Jack, Juliana, Elliot, Hilary, Claire, Joaquin, Lola, Eva, Emalee, Eileen, Kieran, Ali, and Daphne—for being such a force and a joy to have around. To Beth
for all of her service and all of her systems. To my family and friends, who are one and the same and to those who made this year better by just being near: Tom & Winnie Kennedy; Kate Kennedy & Lucas Howard; Brendan Kennedy & Kenny Mellman; David Kennedy; Rob Halverson; Liz Calderon; Jeanie Jablonski, Evan La Londe, and Marbles; Topher Sinkinson; Allie Furlotti and Dylan; Ryan Noon; Jamie Edwards; Stephanie Snyder; Sarah Miller Meigs; Dan Winter & Jon Forsgren; Derek Franklin, Heather Franklin, and Kofi, Booker, Tuesday, and Shalo; Philip Iosca; Rachel Pedderson; Arnold J. Kemp; Fawn Krieger & Jorg Jakoby; Patrick Leonard & Amanda Pedden; Jessica & Kirk Kelly; Yoko Ott; Adam Sorenson; Israel Lund; Alex Felton; David Knowles; Keith Crowe & Brent Johnson; Mami Takahashi and William Pope.L; Christoph Meier; Julie Dickover and Chris Balashak; Sam Korman; Sara GreenbergerRafferty; Ramsey McPhillips; Matthew Day Jackson, Laura Seymore, and Flynn, Everett, and Beast… and as always, Kristy Edmunds. To my community here in Portland, Oregon, and beyond in Brooklyn, in Bovina, and elsewhere. COLOPHON
Typeset in Farnham by Christian Schwartz—whose pitch-perfect type designs inevitably crept into every part of TBA this year— and Freight with additional support from the “classified” cuts of Merganthaler Linotype’s (nigh-forgotten) powerhouse Spartan, which Bausch & Lomb once called the “most readable” typeface ever devised. Printed in September 2016 in Albany, Oregon, by Oregon Web Press. S
All Makeup on Empty Space projects are free and open to the public during September and October. For additional details, see: pica.org/tba
BUNNYBRAINS E X H I BI T ION
SEPT 1 – OCT 15 Sept 8–18: Daily, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sept 1–9, Sept 19–Oct 15: Tue–Sat, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. R E CE P T ION
THU SEPT 1, 6 p.m. L O CAT ION
PNCA 511 GALLERY: 511 NW Broadway, Portland OR A .K. BURNS
A Smeary Spot EXHIBITION
SEPT 8 – OCT 20 Sept 9–18: Daily, Noon – 5:30 p.m. SEPT 22–OCT 20: Thu–Fri, Noon–6 p.m., Sat–Sun, Noon–4 p.m. R E CE P T ION
THU SEPT 8, 8:00 p.m. R E COR D R E L E A SE
Leave No Trace Release Party and Performance with Jen Rosenblit & keyon gaskin SEPT 14, 9:30 p.m. L O CAT ION
PICA AT HANCOCK: 15 NE Hancock St., Portland OR keijaun thomas
Distance is Not Separation: Section 1. Selective Seeing: Corners, You, Section 2: Painted Images, Colored Symbols: She’s Hard, She Q SEPT 11, 12, AND 13, 8:30 P.M. LOCATION PICA AT HANCOCK: 15 NE Hancock St., Portland OR
DYL AN MIRA
Duty Free SEPT 14 AND SEPT 15, 8:30 p.m. LOCATION
PICA AT HANCOCK: 15 NE Hancock St., Portland OR
COVER PHOTO BY EMMA CHRIST
Catalog for the exhibition presented at the 2016 Time-Based Art Festival in Portland, Oregon