Symposium | Punctures: Textiles in Digital and Material Time
November 16, 2018 @ 7:00 pm– November 17, 2018 @ 9:00 pm EST
Friday, November 16, 7–9pm | Screening & Performance
Saturday, November 17, 11am–7pm | Artist Presentations + Discussions
@ Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center (341 Delaware Ave)
Free and open to the public.
Click here to RSVP (limited seating available. RSVP by 11:59pm on Thursday, November 15.)
Squeaky Wheel presents a convening of artists and scholars from several nations from North America for a convening exploring the interwoven histories of textile arts and media arts from early cinema to the current digital age. Topics include: a participatory media arts project focusing on the lives of Chinese immigrant garment workers; how Lakota hair weaving practices point towards alternative interfaces; and a “biomythography” of Black life through an epic project about a seamstress.
Taking place in the theatre of Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Punctures functions as a public platform that will inform Squeaky Wheel’s large-scale, multi-site exhibition of the same name, opening in late 2019. Using the concept of needlework—sewing, stitching, weaving and other textile practices—as a material and metaphorical underpinning, the symposium and eventual exhibition of Punctures will explore questions regarding gendered labor in domestic, industrial, and artistic fields, along with the material and immaterial threads of 20th and 21st century art and industry.
The symposium opens on the evening of November 16th with a screening of films by Jodie Mack, Laura Huertas Millán, Abraham Ravett, and a multi-media performance by Kite followed by presentations and panel discussions on November 17th. Contributors include: Terri Francis, Kyla Gordon, Kite, Beryl Korot, Chris Lee, Jodi Lynn Maracle, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Stephen Monteiro, Tina Rivers Ryan, Ekrem Serdar, Jasmina Tumbas, Kelly Walters, the WASH Project, and Betty Yu.
Seating is limited and RSVP is required. Click here to RSVP and confirm your attendance.
Friday, November 16, 2018
7pm | Digital and Material Time
Films and performance, including Point de Gaze (2012) by Jodie Mack, La Libertad (2018) by Laura Huertas Millán, Tziporah (2007) by Abraham Ravett, and a multi-media performance titled Listener by Kite.
The opening of the symposium features a screening of works meant to ground us in the histories and images around the connections between textiles and media art, while also looking at how textile practices have formed political, material, and epistemological points of departure for media artists.
Point de Gaze
5min, 16mm film, silent, 2012
Named after a type of Belgian lace, this spectral study investigates intricate illusion and optical arrest. – Jodie Mack
7min, 16mm film, silent, 2008
Tziporah is the Hebrew word for “bird.” This is another cinematic response to grief and loss. – Abraham Ravett
Laura Huertas Millán
29 mins, HD video, Spanish with English subtitles, 2017
Produced out of Harvard´s Sensory Ethnography Lab, Laura Huertas Millán´s masterful La Libertad follows a group of matriarchal weavers in Mexico, whose backstrap loom – a pre-Hispanic technique preserved for centuries by Indigenous women in Mesoamerica – provides the formal structure for the film´s exploration of handicrafts and their ties to freedom. With echoes of the influential ethnographic work of Chick Strand, La Libertad combines astute observation, testimony, subtle transfers in scale, space and texture, as it weaves its own singular study of labour, creativity, and the mysterious traces that circulate between them. – Andréa Picard
Lakota-Sys (L-Sys), 2018
Listener is a science fiction story told through a performance artwork. The story is about a woman wandering alone in the future, receiving transmissions from the Far Place on her Listening devices. During the live performance, Kite uses a hair-braid with sensors to control sound and video. The hair-braid changes a synthesizer, which sends sound to machine learning software, which manipulates the video. This image is a still from the ‘Lakota-System (L-Sys)’ visual interface. The artist asks, “How can Lakota understandings of hair effect the design of technology? What does a Lakota data-visualizing interface look like?” – Kite
Saturday, November 17, 2018
11am | Registration
Coffee and light refreshments.
11:30am | Underpinnings
Ekrem Serdar & Kelly Walters. Moderated by Chris Lee.
The history of media arts, of film and electronic arts, is interwoven with influences, material, sociological, and metaphorical with textile arts. Mirroring the gendered reception of craft in art contexts through the 20th century, the debt of media arts to textiles remains under-acknowledged. How can a focus on textile arts help us think differently about how we practice media arts? In the opening panel, curator Ekrem Serdar will chart the research that’s leading to Squeaky Wheel’s exhibition opening in 2019, while Kelly Walters, the designer of Punctures, will speak of her design and textile practice.
12:30pm | Quilted Americana
Terri Francis & Tiona Nekkia McClodden. Moderated by Kyla Gordon.
Textiles are embodied knowledge: their fabrics and patterns, represent an accumulation of practices through history, and mark their moment. The way we engage with them are not dissimilar to how we engage with home movies: we watch the flickering images of our families, studying the bonds between our generations. The following panel features an artist project that aims to mythologize biography, and a research project that finds the myths in daily life. Dr. Terri Francis will present on her upcoming book Quilted Films: African American Home Movies and Historical Memory, 1924–1975, which reframes personal family films as both art and historical artifact. Tiona Nekkia McClodden will speak about her upcoming work The Seamstress, which forms the second part of her project Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic.
1:30pm | Break
3pm | Weaving an Interface
Kite & Stephen Monteiro. Moderated by Jodi Lynn Maracle.
The influence of textile practices expands into the current day, from how Jacquard looms influenced early computing to the very way our fingers interact with our smartphones. What is often forgotten in how these practices are implemented are the histories embedded within them. Bringing together two guests both based in Montreal, scholar Stephen Monteiro will speak of how textile practices have influenced modern interface designs, while artist Kite will be talking about Listener, performed as part of the symposium the night before.
4pm | Garment Workers
Betty Yu & the WASH Project. Moderated by Jasmina Tumbas.
Any discussion on art has the potential for a romanticization of women’s labor, ignoring the sweatshops and gross exploitation of workers, displacement, and other factors inherent in global capitalism. Artist and activist Betty Yu will present on her interactive installation work The Garment Worker (2014) that focuses on the daily life of a garment worker and the hardships they encounter working in a sweatshop, providing a rare look into garment working conditions that Chinese immigrants face in New York City through the personal story of the artist. Yu is joined by representatives from Buffalo’s The WASH Project, who will present on how their organization establishes an outlet for simple, open & free practice of creativity, play, and human engagement, while serving as a human services hub for the immediate Burmese community & beyond.
5pm | Binding History
Beryl Korot in conversation with Tina Rivers Ryan.
Made thirty years after the Holocaust, Beryl Korot’s haunting Dachau, 1974 owes its rigorous formalism to the visual structure of woven cloth. Documenting tourists visiting Nazi Germany’s first concentration camp, the work aims to grapple with both what is there, and what was. Korot’s life and pioneering practice has been dedicated to finding the material and immaterial threads binding the practice of textiles and media art practice, elucidating how this relationship can bind histories. The artist is joined in this panel by Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan for a conversation on her life and work.
Biographies of the presenters, moderators, and filmmakers
Terri Francis directs the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University, Bloomington. She guest edited a close-up on Afrosurrealism in film and video for the 2013 fall issue of Black Camera: A International Film Journal. She published her path breaking study of Jamaican non-theatrical films in “Sounding the Nation: Martin Rennalls and the Jamaica Film Unit, 1951-1961” in Film History in 2011. Her book Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism, a study of how the entertainer used humor to master her conundrums, is forthcoming from Indiana University Press.
Kyla Gordon is a scholar and curator. She is the Curatorial Research Assistant at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Arts Centre. She received her MA in Visual Culture from New York University, has studied Modern Art at Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, and has BAs in Art History and English from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She has a background in curatorial work, archives, and arts administration. She has worked in galleries and cultural institutions around the world, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, Interview Magazine, Hallwalls, 80WSE, Shakespeare and Company, and Re:Voir Film Gallery. Her scholarly interests include textiles, costume studies, film, kitsch, and British history.
Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an Oglala Lakota performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD student at Concordia University and Research Assistant for the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Her research is concerned with contemporary Lakota epistemologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance practice. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fiber sculptures, immersive video & sound installations, as well as co-running the experimental electronic imprint, Unheard Records.
Beryl Korot is a pioneer of video art. By applying specific structures inherent to loom programming to the programming of multiple channels of video she brought the ancient and modern worlds of technology into conversation. This extended to a body of work on handwoven canvas in an original language based on the grid structure of woven cloth, as well as to works on paper that combine ink, pencil and digitized threads. Two early multiple channel works, Dachau 1974 and Text and Commentary works have been seen at the Whitney Museum (1980,1993, 2000, 2002); the Kitchen, New York, NY (1975); Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (1977); Documenta 6, Kassel, Germany (1977); The Köln and Düsseldorf Kunstvereins (1989 and 1994); the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (1990); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (2010); bitforms gallery, New York, NY (2012/2018); the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, England (2013); Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany (2013); Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2014), The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2014); Tate Modern, London, England (2014); Center for Media Art (ZKM), Karlruhe Germany (2008/2017); The San Francisco MOMA (2016), and The Museum of Modern Art, NYC (2017/18) amongst others. Two video/music collaborations with Steve Reich, The Cave (1993) and Three Tales (2002) brought video installation art into a theatrical context, and have been performed worldwide since 1993. Korot’s work is in both private and public collections including MoMA, NYC, the Kramlich collection’s New Art Trust shared with the Tate Modern, MoMA NYC and SF MoMA, the Sol LeWitt Collection, and the Thoma Art Foundation.
Chris Lee is a graphic designer and educator based Buffalo, NY, and Toronto, ON. He is a graduate of OCADU (Toronto) and the Sandberg Instituut (Amsterdam), and has worked for The Walrus Magazine, Metahaven and Bruce Mau Design. He was also the designer and an editorial board member of the journal Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy. Clients, primarily in the cultural sector, have included cmagazine, Art Museum, grunt gallery, the Aga Khan Museum, and Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, among others. Chris collaborates with designer/developer Seungyong Moon, under the banner of MuyongJiyong 무용지용 (無用之用). Chris’ research explores graphic design’s entanglement with power, standards, and legitimacy. He has contributed projects and writing to the Decolonising Design, Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, The Copyist, Graphic, Volume, and Counter Signals. Chris is the guest-co-editor of the “Graphic Design” issue of cmagazine along with Ali Shamas Qadeer. He has facilitated workshops in the US, Canada, Scotland, the Netherlands and Croatia, and has been invited to lecture at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, ArtEZ, The Sandberg Instituut, The Design Academy Eindhoven, CalArts and OCADU. Chris is an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo SUNY, and a member of the programming committee of Gendai Gallery and Squeaky Wheel. He is a graphic design research fellow of Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (2017/18), participant of the fifth edition of the Summer University of the Bibliothèque Kandinsky at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Cairolexicon.com
Jodie Mack is an experimental animator who received her MFA in film, video, and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. Combining the formal techniques and structures of abstract/absolute animation with those of cinematic genres, her handmade films use collage to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, the tension between form and meaning. Musical documentary or stroboscopic archive: her films study domestic and recycled materials to illuminate the elements shared between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced graphic design. The works unleash the kinetic energy of overlooked and wasted objects and question the role of decoration in daily life. Mack’s 16mm films have screened at a variety of venues including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Images Festival, Projections at the New York Film Festival, and the Viennale. She has presented solo programs at the 25FPS Festival, Anthology Film Archives, BFI London Film Festival, Harvard Film Archive, National Gallery of Art, REDCAT, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, and Wexner Center for the Arts among others. Her work has been featured in publications including Artforum, Cinema Scope, The New York Times, and Senses of Cinema. She is an Associate Professor of Animation at Dartmouth College and a 2018/19 Film Study Center Fellow at Harvard University.
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Jodi Lynn Maracle is a Kanien’keha:ka mother, artist, scholar and activist currently pursuing her dreams of building her Kanien’keha language proficiency. She received her MA from the University of Buffalo while completing the first year of a Mohawk immersion program in Buffalo, NY. As an artist, Jodi has shown work throughout Dish with One Spoon territory working primarily in textile and earth based installations invoking Haudenosaunee material forms and language combined with modern forms of making to interrogate multiple experiential realities of specific locations and landscapes. She works as a consultant and presenter with many arts organizations and academic institutions to foster greater understanding of Haudenosaunee philosophies, languages, material culture and contemporary realities. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Buffalo. Of her many accomplishments, she is most proud of hearing her son excitedly speak his Mohawk language each day.
Laura Huertas Millán is a French-Colombian artist and filmmaker. Entwining ethnography, ecology, fiction and historical enquiries, her moving image work engages with strategies of survival, resistance and resilience against violence. Building complex visual and sonic worlds infused by the real, her cinematographic practice circulates between contemporary art venues and international film festivals. Part of the official selections of the Viennale (Vienna), the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, La Habana or Cinéma du Réel (Paris), her films have earned prizes in Locarno, FIDMarseille, Doclisboa and Videobrasil, among others. She has participated in screenings and exhibitions in institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (Paris), Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Les Laboratories d ́Aubervilliers, Western Front (Vancouver) and Instituto de Visión (Bogotá). Retrospectives of her films have been held at the ICA (London), Mar del Plata Film festival, Toronto ́s Cinematheque (TIFF Lightbox) and the Flaherty Seminar. Her works are part of public and private collections as the Kadist Foundation (Paris-San Francisco), the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (CNAP) and the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (Miami). She is currently preparing her first feature film, after completing in 2017 a PhD between PSL University (SACRe program) and the Sensory Ethnography Lab (Harvard University).
Stephen Monteiro is the author of The Fabric of Interface: Mobile Media, Design, and Gender (MIT Press, 2017) and editor of The Screen Media Reader (Bloomsbury, 2017). He is an affiliate assistant professor of communication studies at Concordia University, Montreal.
Tiona Nekkia McClodden, an artist and curator, has looked critically at intersections of race, gender, sexuality and social commentary through an interdisciplinary practice that includes documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installation. McClodden is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them the 2017 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and the 2016 Pew Fellowship in the Arts in Philadelphia. She has exhibited her work at many venues internationally, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, MOCA LA, MCA Chicago, MOMA PS1, the Kansai Queer Film Festival in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan, and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
Abraham Ravett holds a B.F.A and M.F.A in filmmaking and photography and has been an independent filmmaker for the past thirty-five years. He was born in Polandand raised in Israel and the U.S.A. Mr. Ravett received grants for his work from the Massachusetts Cultural Council; National Foundation for Jewish Culture: Fund for Documentary Filmmaking; National Endowment for the Arts; The Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities; The Japan Foundation; The LEF Foundation; The Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation; and a 1994 filmmaking fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His films have been screened internationally, including at several one-person shows at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His work has won “Top Prize” at the Viennale 2000, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Onion City Film/Video Festival. In 1999, he collaborated with dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones on his solo performance “The Breathing Show.” A retrospective of Ravett’s films was shown at the 2014 Festival Film Dokumenter Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is Assistant Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. As a curator, scholar, and critic, her work focuses on the histories of art and technology from the 1960s to the present. Her writing has been commissioned by museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Albright-Knox, and regularly appears in Artforum.
Ekrem Serdar is the curator at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center, where he is responsible for the organization’s exhibitions, public programming, and artist residencies. He is the recipient of a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (2017). His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Millennium Film Journal, 5harfliler, among other publications.
Jasmina Tumbas (PhD, Art History, Duke University) is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History & Performance Studies in the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Buffalo. Her teaching and research fields focus on modern and contemporary art history and theory, histories and theories of performance, body and conceptual art, art and activism, feminist art, critical theory, and contemporary East European art history. She is currently finishing her first book, The Erotics of Dictatorship: A Visual Exegesis of Gender & Sexuality under Yugoslav Socialism, and her second, Media Violence, Ethnic Roma, and Gender: Feminist Resistance Beyond Citizenship, and serves as co-editor for the anthology Radical Art in Transition: Counter-Culture, Protest, Resistance and Contemporary Art in the Balkans since 1968. Her research has appeared in ArtMargins, Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, ASAP Journal, and Art and Documentation/Sztuka i Dokumentacja, and in the anthologies Shifting Corporealities in Contemporary Performance and Performing Arts in the Second Public Sphere.
Kelly Walters is a designer and educator whose work investigates the intersection of black cultural vernacular in mainstream media. She feels her role as a designer is to understand how socio-political frameworks and shifting technology influence the sounds, symbols and style of black people. She has worked as a designer for SFMOMA, the RISD Museum, Alexander Isley, and Blue State Digital. She has produced websites, digital social campaigns, books and other printed matter for clients such as: Google Fiber, Google for Entrepreneurs, FairTrade USA, Hillel International, and PayPal. From 2015–2016, she was awarded an Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship in the Graphic Design program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Kelly received dual degrees at the University of Connecticut, earning a BFA in Communication Design and a BA in Communication Sciences. She completed her MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Kelly was most recently an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Connecticut.
Using the arts as a common denominator, the WASH Project establishes an outlet for the simple, open & free practice of creativity, play, and human engagement. WASH also serves as a human services hub for the immediate Burmese community & beyond: a neighborhood access point for information regarding a wide range of community services & cultural opportunities. From this effort, we continue to cultivate the development of a small, yet dynamic center of local community life, a place that people of all ages & walks of life come to; a place, that by the way it is designed & the way it is operated, strengthens its neighborhood, collaboratively, via a model of creativity & open engagement.
Betty Yu is a multimedia artist, filmmaker, educator and activist born and raised in NYC to Chinese immigrant parents. Ms. Yu’s documentary “Resilience” about her garment worker mother fighting sweatshop conditions, screened at national and international film festivals including the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. Yu’s multi-media installation, The Garment Worker was featured at Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive. She worked with housing activists and artists to co-create Monument to Anti-Displacement Organizing that was featured in the Agitprop! show at Brooklyn Museum. Betty was a 2012 Public Artist-in-Resident and received the 2016 SOAPBOX Artist Award from Laundromat Project. In 2017, Ms. Yu has been awarded several artist residences from institutions such as the International Studio & Curatorial Program, Skidmore College’s Documentary Studies Collaborative and SPACE at Ryder Farm. In 2015, Betty co-founded Chinatown Art Brigade, a cultural collective using art to advance anti-gentrification organizing. Betty won the 2017 Aronson Journalism for Social Justice Documentary Award for her film, Three Tours. Ms. Yu is currently 2017-18 fellow of the Intercultural Leadership Institute. Betty is also an adjunct assistant professor teaching new media, film theory, art and video production at various colleges in NYC which include The New School, John Jay College, Marymount Manhattan College and Hunter College. In addition Betty Yu sits on the boards of Third World Newsreel and Working Films, two progressive documentary film organizations. Ms. Yu holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College.
Punctures logo design by Kelly Walters.