2018-2020 Fellows Dean Erdmann and Helene Kazan Artist Talk and Conversation

Fri 5 Oct 2018 6.30PM-8.00PM The New School/Vera List Center
Kellen Auditorium
66 Fifth Avenue
New York City

Free admission.
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The Vera List Center for Art and Politics is pleased to announce the appointment of visual artist Dean Erdmann and artist, curator and writer Helene Kazan as 2018-2020 Vera List Center Fellows. They were selected from an international pool of over 220 applicants from 35 countries by an ad hoc fellowship committee of former fellows, New School faculty, and Vera List Center staff.

On Friday, October 5, at 6:30 pm, as part of the center's Vera List Center Forum 2018 Dean Erdmann and Helene Kazan will present on their distinct practices, in a first encounter with Vera List Center audiences as they embark on developing their fellowship projects. They will be joined in this conversation by Carin Kuoni, VLC director and chief curator.

The Vera List Center Fellowships support individuals whose work advances the discourse on art and politics. They offer the opportunity to develop a fellowship project in relation to the center's focus theme, and provide a financial stipend, research support by The School faculty and student assistants, short-term residencies in New York City, and a production budget for the project's public presentation. Framed by the curatorial focus theme for 2018-2020, If Art Is Politics, the Vera List Center investigates some of the following provocations: if art is politics, how is it politically viable and how does it acquire political agency? How does it shift or affect the sites, practices and participants of political processes in ways that traditional forms of political involvement might not? If art is politics, how are the institutions of art implicated in such a new political order? Erdmann and Kazan are developing exemplary projects to engage with this provocation that consider art as a social site where poetics have the potential to transform political subjectivities.

Dean Erdmann
During their fellowship at the Vera List Center, and in collaboration with the New School community, Dean Erdmann will create a semi-autobiographical, environmental installation on the subject of American illiberalism. Weaving together film, sculpture, photography, and text, they will consider how our historical pasts have produced our current moment of social and political crisis. The fellowship project will draw global links between America, Germany, and Japan, as well as the comparatively cheap thrills of motorcycling and the high price of stimulant use, to tie together the working class and poor, legacies of war, and the subcultural thrill of speed.

Dean Erdmann's work addresses the politics of place, class, and the body. Erdmann uses still and moving images from found and original footage, and often creates or uses archives as source material. They manipulate footage into new forms, rearranging, destabilizing, and building anew its form. Through the intensity of the visual experience, which may entail meditative, hypnotic, or hallucinatory experiences, the viewer becomes acutely aware of their perceptive capacities and how those link to their bodies, feelings, and knowledges.

Erdmann completed their MFA at UCSD (2008). They received a CCI Completion Grant (2012) and the CCF Emerging Artist Fellowship (2013). Their work has been exhibited at ONE Archive (Los Angeles), 21stCentury Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; REDCAT (Los Angeles), Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) and the Images Festival in Toronto. Fabrication is nearly complete for the 400-foot LA Metro artwork commissioned for Leimert Park Station opening in 2019. Upcoming, their work is included in the MexiCali Biennial.

Helene Kazan
During her fellowship at the Vera List Center, Helene Kazan will explore an intersection of international law and the revolutionary potential of the poetic testimony of violence, in the production of international legal justice. Building on the model of interdisciplinary practice that she established in the exhibition and public program Points of Contact in Lebanon, in collaboration with the wider community of The New School, Kazan will create a multi-media and interdisciplinary platform through an exhibition and public program to explore and answer complex questions on the legal agency of poetic testimony of violence, towards a further reparative process of international legal justice. In doing so, Kazan will raise questions central to the roles played by the curator, artist, exhibition space, or cultural institution, in regard to the register of slow, structural and spectacular modes of enacting violence.

Helene Kazan's work engages an intersection of international law, architecture, and the human bodily experience of violence. Observed through the lived-built environment in Lebanon, Kazan distinguishes how violence can be traced through architecture as a material sensor of an evolving integrated limit condition of conflict and capitalism. Further in understanding the human effects of this lived condition, Kazan questions the politics of dominant methods of producing evidence that can exclude or render the human body invisible. In response, Kazan argues for the poetic testimony of violence, as a method by which the human subject can gain further political and legal agency. Kazan is completing a PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University, London. She recently curated the exhibition Points of Contact in Lebanon, and her work's been shown at documenta(14), The Serpentine Gallery, London, Beirut Art Center, Lebanon, Mosaic Rooms, London, Ibraaz, Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
    • Artist Talk and Conversation with 2018-2020 Vera List Center Fellows