Mirada triste from my series Mi mamá has been selected for the Magnitude Seven juried exhibition at Manifest Gallery, 2727 Woodburn Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45206 from May 31 through June 29, 2019. The opening reception is on May 31 from 6-9PM during the Woodburn Walk.
Photography is the language of memory not yet remembered.
Praba Pilar, Danielle Sembieda, and I have co-curated an exhibition of work by 7 artists for the Women Eco Artist Dialogue (WEAD) entitled feminist tECnOart:
Over millennia, human beings have co-evolved with the technologies they’ve developed from planetary material, from tool making to managing water systems to nuclear energy. These technologies have had vastly asymmetrical impacts, as the balance of incalculable benefits and damages are not explicitly categorical. What has been astonishing is the rapid acceleration of technological developments and adoption across the globe over the last few decades, and the resulting social and political changes and how they impact daily life. Taken with the urgent calls for mitigating catastrophic climate change described in the 2018 Special Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we are at a crossroads on how we engage the interdependence among all organisms on Earth. In this online exhibition, WEAD focuses on cis and trans women artists who utilize technology in their art practices to further an ambitious dialogue on change.
We join the two statements of scholar Derek Rassmusen and bioartist Natalie Jeremijenko to underline the concerns raised by the artists in this exhibition: the mindset that humans can and should be masters over the rest of our biosphere. Qallunat is the Inuit word for Europeans, and writing from Nunavut, Rassmusen unpacks how persistent Euro-American ways of structuring ecosystems into independent resources to be bought and sold dismembers relations, knowledges, resources, and economies. Assuming human beings are separate and superior to the rest of matter on Earth eradicates sustainable systems that work because of relationality and reciprocity. From her Whitney Museum show For the Birds, created with Phil Taylor and the Bureau of Inverse Technology, Jeremijenko asks us to ponder how strange indeed it is to believe humans can own all other living species. Both ask us to reconsider truth, puncture illusions, and generate alternate possibilities outside of binaries revolving around the human, animal, culture, nature, tradition and technology. Whether in capitalist, communist, or feudalist economic systems, we need renewed approaches to accountability, reciprocity and sharing.
We have selected the works of women identified artists who engage the technology space and ecosystems through wildly different methodologies and approaches. From humorous to the sublime, they utilize online gaming, multimedia performance, digital processes, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, biotechnology, and scientific processes. Oglala Lakota artist Kite brings together physics, performance, carbon fiber sculptures, and immersive video and sound with Oglala Lakota knowledge systems to upset universalized Western concepts of truth. Elizabeth Demaray shares her intraspecies dilemmas by bringing out paradoxical connections between species that perturb commonly held assumptions and knowledge. Lynn Mowson transgresses acceptable boundaries by seeking empathic relations with nonhuman fellow creatures. Dornith Doherty collaborates with biologists to record the technological spaces that stop time for living matter, by preserving seeds through climate changes. micha cárdenas developed an online interactive game that shares the migration and settlement of a trans woman of color to complicate narratives of migration caused by climate change. Maria Paz Gutierrez intersects architecture and science to develop synchronizations of synthetic and living matter that detoxify air or reuse graywater. Bioartist Suzanne Anker uses technological media to explore concepts of nature, toxicity, decay, and the sublime.
Women are historically under recognized for their critical engagements with technology as makers, programmers, coders, designers, gamers, engineers, scientists, roboticists, and artists. From a vast field of creative visionaries, we also celebrate three experimental artists whose technological practices inspire us to remake worlds: Skawennati, Jeremijenko and Da Costa.
In 1996, Mohawk new media artist Skawennati Tricia Fragnito introduced the Cyber PowWows to address stereotypes that Indigenous people are a-technological and could not use technology in their work. For decades, Skawennati has created new media machinima projects that situate Indigenous storytelling in technologized landscapes, including She Falls For Ages, mixing “Haudenosaunee storytelling with science fiction to connect the deep past and the far future.” In 2005 she co-founded Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace with Jason Edward Lewis; and she is currently working on the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. As early as 1992, Natalie Jeremijenko combined engineering and art in the Bureau of Inverse Technology to question the politics of information, climate change, and corporate control over collective technologies. By 1999, Jeremijenko was cloning trees in her One Trees project, physically demonstrating the biological processes that impact genetic engineering. More recently, Jeremijenko has been using robotics and other technological systems to explore architectures of reciprocity for healing environmental destruction. Beatriz Da Costa (1974-2012) worked with robotics, micro-electronics, and biological materials to create interspecies performances, installations and public works that engaged “the responsible use of natural resources and environmental sustainability.” Da Costa collaborated with colleagues through Preemptive Media, but also created interspecies collaborations with homing pigeons, where together they gathered and distributed air quality information to the public while exploring new engagements in pigeon-human relations.
Since 1996, WEAD has supported women eco-artists, educators, curators, and writers through networking, exhibitions and programming. With this online exhibition of feminist tEChnO-art, WEAD is expanding our network to women identified artists whose work is centered on technology, social justice, and the environment.
See the exhibition here.
Three pieces from my series CONVENIENCE have been selected to be included in the juried ARCHIVE [photo] exhibit in the Main Gallery at Manifest Research Gallery and Drawing Center, 2727 Woodburn Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45206 from September 28 through October 26, 2018.
My photograph SHAMROCK from the series CONVENIENCE has been selected for inclusion in The Photo Review International Competition Issue 2018. The piece will also be published on the website.
I am pleased to have been the juror for HORIZON: Contemporary Landscape 2018. The exhibition will run from September 7, 2018 through November 4, 2018 at the Community Arts Center in Danville, Kentucky. The opening will take place on September 14 from 5:30-7:00 PM.
My essay regarding the concept of sanctuary regarding immigration, women, animals, and art was published in the Sanctuary Bistro blog on January 12, 2018:
The word sanctuary is one of the defining terms of our historical moment. In the face of virulent Trumpian xenophobia, jurisdictions including cities, towns, and universities have declared themselves sanctuary cities. They are limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities so as to protect people whose only crime is fleeing intolerable circumstances to find a better home for themselves and their families.
Sanctuary, with its connotations of refuge and home, seems to be a particularly feminine concept. Women have always been the keepers of the home. I’ll leave it to others to argue about whether it is essentially our nature or whether it is what we’ve been conditioned to do. What is true is that many of us have reveled in that role, and have done it lovingly, in spite of the fact that it has paid little or not at all and does not come with the recognition, fame, money, and power of occupations mostly held by men.
It may not be known to those who spend little time thinking about animals in terms other than their use to humans that an increasing number of animal sanctuaries have sprung up in the recent past. These are not zoos; they are places for which the primary, in fact, the only purpose is the happiness and well-being of the animals who live there. They are among the very few places in which animals are not viewed by humans as resources or commodities, and where they are given the respect that all sentient beings deserve. They are beautiful places. And though in the animal rights movement, the majority of the positions of power are held by men, the majority of the people who perform the endless work of rehabilitating, caring for, loving, and providing a home for rescued animals, are women.
Art on the other hand has historically been the realm of men. As art historian Linda Nochlin observed in her seminal 1971 essay, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists, “in actuality, as we all know, things as they are and as they have been, in the arts as in a hundred other areas, are stultifying, oppressive, and discouraging to all those, women among them, who did not have the good fortune to be born white, preferably middle class and, above all, male. The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education – education understood to include everything that happens to us from the moment we enter this world of meaningful symbols, signs, and signals. The miracle is, in fact, that given the overwhelming odds against women, or blacks, that so many of both have managed to achieve so much sheer excellence, in those bailiwicks of white masculine prerogative like science, politics, or the arts.”
The recent dinner at Sanctuary Bistro to benefit the Women Eco Artist Dialogue (WEAD) was a lovely manifestation of the concept of sanctuary. In the face of millennia of patriarchal social structures that recognize, support, promote, and brand as “geniuses” almost exclusively male artists, Sanctuary Bistro and WEAD put into practice the understanding that what it takes to make an artist great is not necessarily or merely “genius” but social structures that recognize, support, promote, and indeed provide a metaphorical home for women who are producing art.
In the central square of a seaside village south of Rome, a stone slab stands as a monument to i cadutti, that is, to the citizens of the town who were killed in WWII. The town is Terracina, my father’s hometown. Dozens of names are etched into the monument, including those of my widowed grandmother, Piera La Rocca and my aunt Paolina, who were killed in an air raid when my father was 9 years old. My orphaned father and his siblings faced poverty, hunger, homelessness, and long-term emotional struggles. Even so, my father immigrated to North America, started a family of his own, and built a career as a computer engineer. We returned to Europe as often as possible and my father’s family remains deeply connected, celebrating births, mourning deaths, and sharing our joys, sorrows, failures, and successes.
As a child, I spent much of my time 6,000 miles from Terracina, in my mother’s family home in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Some of my happiest memories are of playing in the yard with my cousins and my grandmother’s dogs, of birthdays and holidays, of my grandmother making arroz or reading in her favorite chair. But neoliberal policies, the repeated devaluation of the peso, and the drug wars had egregious effects on my mother’s hometown. After my grandmother’s death, her family home was sold and most of the family has migrated north. Our once tightly-knit family is now scattered, and with the exception of a few hard-won visits, we communicate our continued affection mostly by phone, text, e-mail, and social media.
My family is not so different from other families. All families have tragic stories to tell and most bear the scars of the aftermath of conflict. We must, many of us, “move out of war’s desperate struggle to survive, and begin another equally mighty struggle – that of learning to live again.” These are the words of Sara Terry about her work in post-war Bosnia and the genesis of The Aftermath Project: War is Only Half the Story. The project manifests what may be photography’s noblest role, that of bearing witness, of testifying to and bringing to light that which might otherwise remain largely unseen.
In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag’s 2003 book-length essay about the imagery of atrocities and war, she wrote, “What is called collective memory is not a remembering but a stipulating: that this is important, and this is the story about how it happened, with the pictures that lock the story in our minds.” Recovering from trauma requires the articulation of a story about how it happened that frees us from denial, shame, anxiety, disconnection, and despair. The photographs that comprise The Aftermath Project lock in our minds a narrative of mourning and healing.
Like much of the most powerful art, The Aftermath Project evolved into a growing body of work that has taken on a life of its own. Each photographer who has participated has contributed a unique perspective that forms an essential element of the whole. And that is the beauty of art: the particulars are so truthfully and lovingly examined that each of us can recognize our own stories there.
Two pieces from my series, CONVENIENCE will be included in the 2018 SPE Combined International Caucus Exhibition juried by Anthony Goicolea at University of the Arts, Philadelphia, March 1st through March 4th 2018. The University of the Arts Exhibition Opening and Reception will be held Friday, March 2nd - 6:30PM to 8:30PM at UArts Hamilton & Arronson Galleries.
Two pieces from my ongoing series, CENSORED LANDSCAPES will be included in the Until Every Animal Is Free exhibition, February 1-28 at Sparks Gallery, 4229 18th Street, San Francisco, CA. The opening reception is on February 1 from 6-9PM.
I presented my ongoing photographic series, CENSORED LANDSCAPES at the Institute for Critical Animal Studes conference on November 11 at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. It was immensely inspiring and informative to meet and converse with all these esteemed scholar/activists! More information about the conference and about ICAS here.
A piece from my series FAST FOOD is included in the upcoming "State of Time" exhibition in the Wilson Gallery at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY. The opening reception is Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 6-8PM. More information here.
I am so pleased to be welcomed to the Studio Art faculty at Centre College as an Assistant Professor teaching Photography and Moving Image.
I delighted to have been invited to speak about my FAST FOOD and CENSORED LANDSCAPES photographic series at the 4th Annual Ecofeminism Conference on April 22 at Santa Monica College. More information here.
A piece from my series CENSORED LANDSCAPES will be included in the ReclaimingEarth - works by women eco artists exhibition from April 8 - June 24, 2017 in the Jewett Gallery in the lower level of the San Francisco Public Library at 100 Larkin St. (at Grove). Opening Event to meet the artists and curators is on Sunday April 9, 2017 at 1PM in the Koret Auditorium in the lower level.
I will be conversing about my FAST FOOD and CENSORED LANDSCAPES series with CFUV(101.9 FM) Winds of Change radio host, Janine Bandcroft, on International Women's Day, Wednesday March 8, 2017 from 11AM-noon. CFUV is listener supported radio on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples in Victoria, BC.
A piece from my FAST FOOD series will be included in the upcoming WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT exhibition. It will be a traveling exhibition curated by Tomiko Jones and hosted by the The Arts at California Institute of Integral Studies. More details to follow.