Reena Katz: embodied arts collective assembly

2013 Web project
In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of its founding, the VLC commissioned artists Reena Katz and Paul Ramírez Jonas to "intervene" in the center's archive and create an original art work, reflecting the center's twenty-year history.

During an extended internship in 2010, Reena Katz was deeply immersed in the audio, video, and paper files of the Vera List Center's archive and twenty years of lectures, symposiums, panel discussions, and performances at the intersection of art and politics. As an artist who works with repurposing diverse texts through the collective and political body, Katz later proposed an online art project, embodied arts collective assembly, that would highlight, play, and invite engagement with the VLC online archive, casting it in a speculative future where half of Manhattan has decolonized, and the other half has hyper-capitalized. By isolating and recontextualizing different strands of the collective VLC archive narrative, embodied arts collective assembly allows for fresh appreciation of the words spoken by event participants and the crucial dialogues that track and sustain our potential for political engagement. In addition to the website, during the Anniversary Conference on May 17, 2013, Katz and a cast of readers performed the intervention Gradually, and with no small struggle against this realization..., which drew from transcripts of other past VLC events.

embodied arts collective assembly
The year is 2069. VLC, like most institutions in New York, is now funded and controlled by the Greater New York Culture Council (GNYCC), a seemingly benevolent board designed to discourage the creation and dissemination of radical culture. After the Wall Street collapse of 2014, New York split into smaller borough-states. The Union Square district was annexed by former Chelsea gallery owners as a factory-town style production zone. A group of former critically thinking artists, now known as The Squares, are producing thousands of art widgets to satisfy the myopic art market. Follow the visual cues to hack your way into the GNYCC's Wall of Sound to the liberated zone of Lower Manhattan, now known as Manahatta.

About Reena Katz
Reena Katz works with the transmission and reception of sonic information present in the human voice. She uses live and recorded talking, whispering, yelling, and listening to consider bodies as sites of knowledge, and communication as a social and political practice. Through audience participation in public spaces, Katz highlights the relationship between collective voice and the empathic act of listening. Her projects take shape as installations, recordings, and live performances. They have been performed, played, and exhibited widely in North America and Europe. She holds a BFA in Integrated Media from OCAD University, and a MFA from Parsons the New School for Design School for Art, Media, and Technology. Her current project, love takes the worry out of being close: public assemblies in bed with queers premiered in April at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto as part of the 2013 HATCH Residency. Katz is currently Acting Director of Galerie SAW Gallery in Ottawa.