The Shape of Change: A Conversation

Panel Discussion Fri 23 Apr 2010 6.30PM-8.30PM Parsons The New School for Design
25 East 13th Street, 2nd Floor
Free admission
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In January 2009, artist and Parsons faculty member Melanie Crean launched The Shape of Change, an ongoing project consisting of two interconnected works that examine the ephemeral nature of change, independence, and the formation of identity. The first work tracks change on an international scale on the Web site, an online archive of American and Iraqi desires for political change.

Through the presentation and visualization of opinions of artists, writers and the general public, this part of The Shape of Change seeks to countermand the empty political brand that the term 'change' was reduced to in recent American and Iraqi elections.

The second project looks at change on a personal scale, documenting an infants' early development as it learns to walk and speak, thus establishing itself as an independent social subject. In this conversation, scholars and practitioners from the fields of art, science, and religion discuss how their concepts of change both correspond and differ.

AA Bronson is an artist and healer living and working in New York City. In the sixties, he left university with a group of friends to found a free school, a commune, and an underground newspaper. This led him into an adventure with gestalt therapy, radical education, and independent publishing. In 1969 he formed the artists group General Idea with Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal; for the next 25 years they lived and worked together to produce the living artwork of their being together, in addition to undertaking over 100 solo exhibitions, and countless temporary public art projects. In 1974 they founded Art Metropole, Toronto, a distribution center and archive for artists books, audio, and video. From 1987 through 1994, they focused their work on the subject of AIDS. He is currently the President of Printed Matter, Inc., in New York City, and Artistic Director of the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary.

Melanie Crean is Assistant Professor of Media Design at Parsons The New School for Design, teaching classes in experimental time-based work, mobile media and gaming. As the former Director of Production at Eyebeam, she founded a studio that worked with socially based moving image, sound, public art and open source software. She designed special effects at MTV Digital Television Lab and produced documentaries in Nepal, on subjects that include women trafficking and the spread of HIV along trucking routes. Crean has received commissions from Art in General, Bronx Arts Council, Harvestworks, NYFA, NYSCA, Rhizome and Creative Time.

Sensei Jules Shuzen Harris is a Soto priest who has been practicing Buddhism for more than 25 years. He holds an Ed.D. with a concentration in applied human development from Teachers College of Columbia University and a MSW from New York University. As a psychotherapist, Shuzen has found creative ways to synthesize Western psychology and Zen to achieve dramatic results with his patients. He also focuses on the relationship between Zen and the martial arts. He is a fourth-degree Dan Black Belt in Iaido (the art of drawing and cutting with a samurai sword) and a Black Belt in Kendo (Japanese fencing). He also founded two schools of Japanese swordsmanship in Albany, NY and Salt Lake City, UT.

Alaa Majeed is a reporter, producer, and translator. She received her BA from Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. Majeed has co-produced segments for Al-Jazeera International and PBS. She has also reported for United Press International, Pacifica Radio, the BBC, National Public Radio, "60 Minutes" and The Sunday Times (London). Her experience as a translator includes work with news services, conducting/translating classes for Iraqi civil servants, and a position with Nature Iraq, a non-governmental, environmental organization. She is currently also working as a researcher, monitoring news wires, documenting press freedom violations, and conducting investigative interviews with journalists overseas for the Committee to Protect Journalists, which is based in New York. In 2007, she received the International Courage in Journalism award from the International Womens Media Foundation.

Presented as part of Streaming Culture / Art & Politics, an interdivisional initiative organized by Victoria Vesna, Visiting Professor, UCLA, and Director of Research, School of Art, Media & Technology, Parsons The New School of Design, in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.

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