Squeaky Wheel announces Summer 2020 Workspace Residents

Contact: Ekrem Serdar (ekrem@squeaky.org)


Squeaky Wheel is pleased to announce its Workspace Residents for Summer 2020. Beginning August 15 and through September 5, 2020, we will support four residents for a three week period, during which the residents will develop works-in-progress and new projects. The residency will provide Emily Watlington, Eric Barry Drasin, Jenson Leonard, and Johann Diedrick with a stipend, artist fees, along with tailored access to equipment, technical and curatorial consultations, and presentations about Buffalo’s histories by guest lecturers. Due to the pandemic, this residency will take place remotely. This is the tenth session of the Workspace Residency.

During their residency, Emily Watlington will be working on a chapter for a book on accessibility as an artistic medium, focusing on artistic uses of closed captioning. Eric Barry Drasin will be researching digital art cooperatives vis a vis distributed technologies, online communities spaces, experimental finance, and alternative forms of governance. Jenson Leonard will be filming and editing Workflow, an installation centered around the velocity and momentum of blackness (historically and as imagined online) as it relates to the philosophical concept of acceleration-the idea that the only way out of capitalism is through its intensification. Johann Diedrick will be composing music for Wake, an hour-long sonic performance relating to the local ecology in and around Silo City and its connection to the Buffalo River, and that offers a moment to mourn over the loss of our environment, our world, and ourselves. The Summer 2020 residency was juried by Ekrem Serdar, Martina LaVallo, and Liz Park. Biographies of the residents and juries can be found below.

The public will have the opportunity to engage with the residents on six occasions for artist talks, skill-shares, panels, and performances. On Wednesday, August 19, 6 pm Johann Diedrick will deliver an online soundscapes workshop; on Friday, August 21, 7 pm, Emily Watlington will lead a workshop and lecture on making artworks accessible; on Saturday, August 22, 7 pm, all four residents will briefly present on their work in Meet the Residents; on Wednesday, August 26, Eric Drasin will present a lecture on blockchain tools for digital cooperatives; on Friday, August 28, Jenson Leonard will lead a meme colloquium and workshop. Finally, on Friday, September 4, Johann Diedrick will perform online. All events as part of the residency are free to attend.

The pandemic necessitated that this residency, and all related events, take place virtually when appropriate. We are tentatively planning an in-person event with Johann Diedrick at Silo City in late Spring 2021. Equipment access to residents is being provided through mailing service. We are additionally thankful for Scribe Video Center in partnering with us to provide Jenson Leonard with space and facilities in his local Philadelphia.

Squeaky Wheel’s Workspace Residency is a bi-yearly residency open to artists and researchers working in art and technology. Applications for the Spring 2021 residency will open on September 1 and will be open to local applicants only to address a lack of paid artist opportunities in Buffalo. For more information about the program, including past residents, visit squeaky.org/workspace

Workspace Residency is supported by generous support by the County of Erie and County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, and individual members, businesses, and supporters.

Emily Watlington is assistant editor at Art in America. She writes about contemporary art—primarily video—often through the lenses of feminism and disability justice. A Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree from MIT in the history, theory, and criticism of architecture and art, she has held curatorial positions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center and MassArt’s Bakalar and Paine Galleries (now the MassArt Art Museum). Her writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, Mousse, and Frieze, and she has contributed to numerous books and exhibition catalogues, including Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974–1995 (2018), An Inventory of Shimmers: Objects of Intimacy in Contemporary Art (2017), and Independent Female Filmmakers (Routledge, 2018).

Eric Barry Drasin is a research-based artist exploring the relationship between art and systems of value. Through emerging blockchain technologies, his current research explores “distributed” processes, objects, and organizations that problematize and reprogram fundamental assumptions about how value is constructed and disseminated.
Using contracts and legal frameworks as a platform for enacting collectivity, his work injects cooperation and utopian absurdity into systems designed to consolidate power. The notion of the art object is rematerialized in digital space and expanded to engage notions of cultural production and collective agency. Value is thus performed as a form of disruption, and capitalism itself is the terrain for the refiguration of the economic landscape.

Jenson Leonard
My practice involves the intersection of poetry, conceptual art, and internet memes. Not unlike the earliest forms of oral poetry, memes transmit our cultural memory. I scour the web for these preserves…the copies and reproductions of our collective digital id, dragging and dropping(sculpting) my findings into the Adobe Suite to create a bricolage of text and image that call into question notions of identity and empire. I chart an internet psychogeography that questions the sensorial exhaustiveness of audiovisual capitalism–An art that, in the framework of predictive algorithms and data extractions attempts intervention within the infrastructure of social media.

Johann Diedrick is a Caribbean-American artist who makes installations, performances, and sculptures that allow you to explore the world through your ears. He surfaces vibratory histories of past interactions inscribed in material and embedded in space, peeling back sonic layers to reveal hidden memories and untold stories. He shares his tools and techniques through listening tours, workshops, and open-source hardware/software. He is currently a Spring 2020 technology artist-in-residence at Pioneer Works and a recipient of a 2020 Brooklyn Arts Fund grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council. Along with receiving an Asian Cultural Council grant, his work has been featured in Wire Magazine, Musicworks Magazine, and presented at MoMA PS1 (in collaboration with Jonathan González), Somerset House (London, UK), Social Kitchen (Kyoto, Japan), Common Ground (Berlin, Germany), Recess (Brooklyn, NY), Knockdown Center (Queens, NY), and Pioneer Works (Brooklyn, NY).


Ekrem Serdar is the curator at Squeaky Wheel, where he is responsible for the organization’s exhibitions, public programming, and artist residencies. Previously, he was a programmer with Experimental Response Cinema (Austin, TX) which he co-founded. He is the recipient of a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (2017). He is an advisory member of Experimental Response Cinema, and the FOL Cinema Society (Istanbul). His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Millennium Film Journal, 5harfliler, among other publications. He completed his BA in Critical Studies, and his MFA in Media Arts Production at the Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo. He is from Ankara, Turkey.

Liz Park is Curator of Exhibitions at UB Art Galleries in Buffalo, New York. She was most recently the associate curator of the 2018 Carnegie International at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. She has curated exhibitions at a wide range of institutions including the Western Front in Vancouver, the Kitchen in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon. Her writing has been published by Afterall Online, Afterimage, ArtAsiaPacific, Performa Magazine, Fillip, Yishu: A Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Pluto Press, and Ryerson University Press, among others. She was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2011-2012 and Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow at ICA Philadelphia in 2013-2015.

Martina LaVallo is a digital multimedia maker and arts administrator based in Buffalo, NY. She has helped local artists produce festivals and interned at multiple Buffalo arts organizations, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Squeaky Wheel. For one year she served as an Americorps VISTA member for Squeaky Wheel as the Education Coordinator. In 2019 she started a Girls Who Code club at Squeaky Wheel and is the lead instructor. Martina received her BA in Media Study Production from the Department of Media Study at SUNY University at Buffalo. She is currently pursuing her MA in Arts Management at SUNY University at Buffalo.