Art, an Index to (see also Politics): 25 Years of Vera List Center Fellowships

Conversations Sat 21 Apr 2018 2.00PM-5.30PM Followed by a festive reception.

The New School
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
New York City
Admission is free to all VLC events. Please register here.
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Art, an Index to (see also Politics): 25 Years of Vera List Center Fellowships is the culminating event in the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Vera List Center. After the third Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics bestowed on Maria Thereza Alves in Fall 2017, Art, an index pays tribute to the work of over thirty Vera List Center Fellows—visual artists, writers, musicians, scholars, historians, and dancers—who have worked to locate spaces and moments where aesthetic practices translate into political realities. As the only institution committed exclusively to operating at the intersection of art and politics, the Vera List Center has nurtured their diverse fellowship projects in the context of the intellectual environment of The New School.

An afternoon of discussions and a lecture, Art, an index to (see also Politics) evolved from private exchanges between Vera List Center Fellows that happened throughout the spring where they considered the interrelatedness of their individual fellowship projects with their current practice. The conversations on April 21 are complemented by a reader of the same title that records these generative engagements. Collectively, conversations and book conjure the meaning, importance, and necessity of the interdisciplinary nature of the Vera List Center Fellowships.

The index always comes at a juncture; it points to a thing but is not the thing itself; it is a tool and instrument of activation. Here, the Vera List Center Fellowship program itself is positioned as an index—an initiative activated by the fellows who use local and hyperspecific instances of contemporary culture to speak to larger aesthetic, cultural, economic, and socio-political concerns. These indices yield specific questions such as those on resistance to and use of institutions, how to not speak the language of power, on being a fugitive in a safe space, and protocols that sidestep decisions of power.

Alexander Provan: Outside the Hit Factory
2:00 – 2:30pm
A response to the question: why (more) Katy Perry? An illustrated lecture on the use of consumer–behavior data and neurobiology research in the production of pop music, in order to craft songs that are guaranteed to be pleasing to as many listeners as possible—and to avoid confronting listeners with songs that they haven't been conditioned to like. Alexander Provan, Vera List Center Fellow (2013–2015), will play a selection of hits and speculate on the role of artificial intelligence in developing songs that match our psychographics; sounds that encourage us to shop, accept the finitude of life, and, most importantly, chill.

An Index, Conversation I: Archive
3:00 – 4:00pm

How does the necessarily selective nature of an archive bracket and determine what can and will be remembered of our pasts and how does this shape our futures? Who has the capacity to intervene in such structures and what are some contemporary methodologies for doing so? Vera List Center Fellows Wendy Ewald, Casey Gollan, Victoria Sobel, Jonathan Weinberg join in a conversation moderated by Vera List Center Curator Amanda Parmer to think through these questions and their relationships to agency, conviviality, and desire.

Wendy Ewald, VLC Fellow (2000)
Casey Gollan, VLC Fellow (2015–2017)
Victoria Sobel, VLC Fellow (2015–2017)
Jonathan Weinberg, VLC Fellow (2002)
Moderator: VLC Curator Amanda Parmer

An Index, Conversation II: Speech Acts
4:30 – 5:30pm
What is so potent about speech? As Vera List Center Fellows Sharon Hayes and Bouchra Khalili discuss in Art, an Index to (see also Politics), does speech call a collective into being? In this sense does speech act? This conversation considers the efficacy of speech acts to galvanize continuously new alliances with the potential of political impact.

Sharon Hayes, VLC Fellow (2006–2007)
Ashley Hunt, VLC Fellow (2006–2007)
Bouchra Khalili, VLC Fellow (2011–2013)
Robert Sember, VLC Fellow (2009–2011)
Moderator: VLC Director and Chief Curator Carin Kuoni

5:30–7:00pm Closing Reception and playlist by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, VLC Fellow (2015–2017)

Andrea Geyer: Truly Spun Never
March 7– April 21, 2018
Hales Project Room 64 Delancey Street, New York City

Truly Spun Never (2016) stems from Andrea Geyer's investigation into the
political history of "Ausdruckstanz" (expressive dance) emerging in Germany
between 1910 and 1940. With its celebration of natural movements, emotions,
and sensuality, "German dance," in stark contrast to other modern art forms such
as poetry, theater, painting, or sculpture, was not considered degenerate. The
physical liberation of dancers like Rudolph Laban and Mary Wigmann served as
a smokescreen for the repressive cultural politics of the Third Reich at large.
Geyer's work has always contested such a notion that art exists outside of life
and/or politics.

Wendy Ewald: Works, Projects, Collaborations 1975–1996
Thursday, April 19, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Opening Reception
Steven Kasher Gallery, 515 West 26 Street, New York City

Wendy Ewald has traveled the globe as part of a sustained and evolving artistic and educational project, addressing the conceptual, formal, and narrative aspects of photography with her students, as well as making portraits of them. Wendy Ewald: Works, Projects, Collaborations 1975–1996 begins with her first extended collaboration in Kentucky in 1975 and includes projects from Mexico (1991), India (1989–1991), the Netherlands (1996), Colombia (1982–1985), South Africa (1992) and Morocco (1995) extending into the work that was developed during her Vera List Center Fellowship in 2000.

His Master's Vox: Maria Chavez, Alexander Provan, Josh Tonsfeldt 
Thursday, April 19, 7:00pm Performance and LP Launch
Triple Canopy, 264 Canal Street, 3W, New York City

Alexander Provan's Measuring Device with Organs, is a sound work developed by Provan during his Vera List Center Fellowship (2013–2015) and published by Triple Canopy as an LP. The recording narrates a listening test and reveals how we are subjected to the edicts of anonymous experts: each time we open an MP3 or MOV, play a record or CD, we effectively universalize their tastes—and suppress the sensory experiences of millions of others. This event includes performative responses from Maria Chavez, a sound artist and DJ, and Josh Tonsfeldt, marking the publication of Alexander Provan's LP Measuring Device with Organs.

Jill Magid: The Proposal
Sunday–Wednesday, April 22–25, Film Screenings and Discussions
Tribeca Film Festival, Cinépolis Chelsea, 260 W 23rd Street, New York City

During Jill Magid's Vera List Center Fellowship (2013–2015) she developed The Proposal on the personal and private archives of the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902–1988). The project has taken the form of several exhibitions and publications, and now premieres as a film at the Tribeca Film Festival. The spellbinding documentary recounts Magid's unlikely journey into a legal quagmire and her attempt to question the inaccessibility of Barragán's work.

74 million million million tons
April 30–July 30, 2018
Exhibition curated by Ruba Katrib and Lawrence Abu Hamdan
SculptureCenter, 44–19 Purves Street, Long Island City

Individuals and objects contribute to and corroborate accounts of a significant
event, or shift, in material, social, technological, and/or political realities. But
before this happens, there is a period of time between the event and its subsequent
narratives when a lapse in comprehension exists. This exhibition, co-curated
by Vera List Center Fellow Lawrence Abu Hamdan, presents ten artists who
consider materials integral to the relevant events. They anticipate and produce
material documents even before the process has been deemed necessary.