ELLIE NEW

curator . writer . producer
Artwork by Deborah Jack, “what is the value of water if it quenches our thirst for…” (2015), Courtesy of the artist. Graphic Design: Lau Guzmán.Artwork by Deborah Jack, “what is the value of water if it quenches our thirst for…” (2015), Courtesy of the artist. Graphic Design: Lau Guzmán.


March 2021
Curator, Event Series [virtual]

Presented by The Gallatin Galleries and WetLab

Press Your Ear to the Wind


a virtual stage for artist “duets” that unearth the complexities of climate crises through artworks, conversation, and questioning

Featuring: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Vibha Galhotra, Deborah Jack, Eiko Otake, Sarah Cameron Sunde & Tali Weinberg




What’s missing from mainstream dialogues about climate crises?

How can artistic practices unearth the complexities inherent in experiences of environmental injustice and climate emergency?

How can artworks activate our collective power to imagine more equitable, habitable futures?

Press Your Ear to the Wind
is a three-part event series that unites artists and audiences around the above questions. Borrowing its title from Deborah Jack’s artwork “Foremothers”, this series is an invitation to listen to the wisdom held in the land, water, and our own bodies, and to trace the currents of resilience that flow from our inherited pasts into the futures we generate.

In their own ways, each of these artists investigates relationships with place, cultural inheritance, ritual, and embodiment as modes of resistance to the systems that spur climate crises. In each virtual “duet”, two artists will share their artworks and ideas, untangling both the individual and the shared strands of their perspectives. Weaving art, conversation, and questioning across disciplinary and geographical boundaries, this series celebrates the power of art and artists to dismantle structures of oppression through acts of care, embodied imagination, and bold action.

– Ellie New



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March 3, 2021

Fathoming Uncertainty: Performing with(in) Vulnerable Landscapes

with Eiko Otake and Sarah Cameron Sunde


Eiko Otake: Photograph by William Johnston for Eiko Otake’s “A Body in Fukushima,” 2014. Sarah Cameron Sunde: Photo by Guilherme Burgos for Sarah Cameron Sunde’s “36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea.” (2019). Design by Lau GuzmánEiko Otake: Photograph by William Johnston for Eiko Otake’s “A Body in Fukushima,” 2014. Sarah Cameron Sunde: Photo by Guilherme Burgos for Sarah Cameron Sunde’s “36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea.” (2019). Design by Lau Guzmán

Access the event recording and artist bios here ︎︎︎

Read Eiko & Sarah’s written responses to questions that we didn’t get to during the event: Duet #1 Audience Questions & Responses

How do artists use their own bodies to articulate pressing issues of environmental injustice and collective vulnerability across places, timescales, and cultures?

Artists Eiko Otake (Japan/USA) and Sarah Cameron Sunde (USA) bridge site-responsive performance, film, photography, and installation to examine experiences of embodied vulnerability in the face of environmental crises, including nuclear disaster and sea-level rise. Throughout their globe-spanning and multi-year projects, each artist has challenged viewers to reconsider their preconceptions of time, understand the intricate interconnectedness of human bodies and natural landscapes, and witness the impacts of social and environmental injustices in varied places and communities. In this virtual conversation, they will reflect on their durational performance projects, including Eiko Otake’s A Body in Places and A Body in Fukushima and Sarah Cameron Sunde’s 36.5/A Durational Performance with the Sea. The artists discuss how they use their individual bodies to communicate global concerns, the impacts of industry-induced climate crises on the land and its inhabitants, and how they bridge visual and performing arts practices.






Lingering: reflections, questions, and scores for continued engagement

in collaboration with Ayaka Fujii

How do we inhabit time in crisis?

The Earth’s tidal bulge as breath, as breathing (an image from Sarah Cameron Sunde)

“I shouldn’t be here.” (Eiko, on her proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant)
Where is your physical being prohibited? Where is your movement restricted? What kind of movement is possible, even in such a space?

Body as measuring stick
Body as conduit
Body as deep time
Body as cycles
Body as body of water
Body as a historied place
Body as thread
Body as microcosm
Body as archive

Close your eyes and “go” somewhere. Where are you now? Where do you spend the longest length of time? Where are your feet touching? How do you “tune in” to a place? What does it ask of you? How does it affect your breath? How does it nourish you? What is included in its “DNA”? How does it feel to linger in the immensity of a place and its history? What is the scale of your body in relation to this place? How does its memory hold you? How do you contribute to its memory? How does this place linger with you?

Additional Resources

Personal Manifesto of an Artist as a Cultural Activist — EIKO OTAKE

See how Eiko has taken her performances to sites around the world, connecting them with Fukushima through her body’s presence in each place: Solo Project — EIKO OTAKE

Gia Kourlas on Eiko’s Fukushima memorials at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC: Eiko: A Dancer’s Urgent Body in a Sacred Space (Published 2017)

Fukushima: Contaminated water lingering quandary decade after nuclear disaster

Preorder Eiko’s upcoming publication on her work in Fukushima (Published June 1, 2021)

Two Indigenous Poets on Sea Level Rise: Rise: From One Island To Another on Vimeo

Hear about Sarah’s ongoing work in Aotearoa 36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea

Signaling through the Waves: Essays on 36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea, by Sarah Cameron Sunde (Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities)

Book recommendations from Sarah:
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud

 





March 17, 2021

Between Belief and Reality: Revealing Water Crises in Textile & Sculpture

with Vibha Galhotra and Tali Weinberg


Vibha Galhotra: Untitled from the series Flow, 2015. Tali Weinberg: Bound (i.1), 2018. Design by Lau GuzmánVibha Galhotra: Untitled from the series Flow, 2015. Tali Weinberg: Bound (i.1), 2018. Design by Lau Guzmán

Access the event recording and artist bios here ︎︎︎


How do artists transform scientific observation to reveal the realities of water crises in the face of denial, dismissal, and inaction?

In their sculptural artworks on the impacts of water insecurities, both Vibha Galhotra (India) and Tali Weinberg (USA) reach beyond documentation to create artworks that layer emotion, cultural heritage, and activism. From revealing the Yamuna River’s tangible toxicity using ghungroo bells in Vibha Galhotra’s Flow sculptures to reinscribing scientific data on drought, illness, and temperature changes in Tali Weinberg’s Woven Climate Datascapes, these artists employ beauty, shape, and color to prompt viewers to examine the gaps between their perceptions of water crises and their entangled realities. In this conversation, the two artists discuss their investigative creative processes and share artworks that subvert viewers’ expectations and transform visible realities into emotional understanding.





Lingering: reflections, questions, and scores for continued engagement

in collaboration with Ayaka Fujii

“I trace relationships between climate change, water, extractive industry, illness, and displacement; between personal and communal loss; and between corporeal and ecological bodies.” – Tali Weinberg

How do you trace the relationships between corporeal and ecological bodies?

Ask someone close to you / Have a conversation around:

“Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” (from Vibha’s works)

Where do belief and reality intertwine in issues of climate crises?

What scales of time do you feel and archive?

What kind of data does your body hold?

What do you labor over/in? Where does your labor live in relation to your ecological and cultural lineages? Do you find labor in ritual, or ritual in labor?

What is sacred to you? Where is sacred to you?

Your/my/our body is sacred.
Your/my/our body is polluted.
Your/my/our body is ebbing.
Your/my/our body is flowing.
Your/my/our body is cyclical.
Your/my/our body is porous.
Your/my/our body is water and its edges.

Additional Resources

See Vibha’s newest work in the Asia Society Triennial “We Do Not Dream Alone” March 26 through June 27, 2021

Vibha Galhotra: ‘I am a traveller, an observer of situations’

Read about Vibha’s work in the “Utopia of Difference” Catalogue: Jack Shainman Gallery

Watch a recording of an event from Vibha’s project “Who Owns the Water” at the Asia Society

Read more from Tali in an interview with Artists & Climate Change

Stay tuned for news of Tali’s works in the upcoming group exhibition The Data Imaginary: Fears and Fantasies at the Griffith University Art Museum, Australia (July 1 – September 18, 2021) and solo exhibition Weathering at the Praxis Gallery, Cleveland, OH (September 3 – October 29, 2021).

Check out Yale University’s Climate Opinion Maps

Watch Water Warriors: “the story of a community’s successful resistance against the oil and gas industry” in New Brunswick, Canada.

Stay Up-to-Date with the Artists’ Upcoming Works and Events

http://vibhagalhotra.site/index.html

https://www.taliweinberg.com/


 





March 31, 2021

Currents of Memory: The Sea, Ritual, and Rebirth in Film

with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and Deborah Jack


Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Study for Elevata. Deborah Jack, Untitled (in bloom) from the series “what is the value of water if it doesn’t quench our thirst for…” 2016. Design by Lau GuzmánMaria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Study for Elevata. Deborah Jack, Untitled (in bloom) from the series “what is the value of water if it doesn’t quench our thirst for…” 2016. Design by Lau Guzmán

Access the event recording and artist bios here ︎︎︎

How do we experience the land and the sea as containers or agents of memory? How can inherited and personal rituals amplify our interconnectedness with the landscapes we inhabit?

In this film screening and conversation, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (Cuba/USA) and Deborah Jack (St. Maarten/Netherlands) discuss the similarities and differences between their multidisciplinary practices and creative engagement with cultural memory and personal histories. Through film and sound, these two artists consider the ongoing impacts of colonization, trans-cultural identities, and contemporary diasporic experiences across the Caribbean region. Sharing artworks including Campos-Pons’ collection of photography, film, and performances and Jack’s film The Water Between Us Remembers…so We Carry This History On Our Skin…long For A Sea-bath And Hope The Salt Will Heal What Ails Us, they immerse viewers in the specificities of their nations’ histories as they breathe power into inherited traditions and new mythologies that center island and oceanic landscapes as spaces of healing and rebirth.





Lingering: reflections, questions, and scores for continued engagement

in collaboration with Ayaka Fujii

What is your relationship to the sea?
Where do you feel the sea in your body?
Where does your body find restoration?
Where are your edges?
Where do your borders become mutable?
Where is your reservoir?
Where do the shorelines within you meet?
Where is your geography calling you?

Contemplations for being ‘here’:
soften your edges.
feel,
your feet making contact with the ground
the small dance happening in stillness and inner movement
your body as a constellation of waves, arriving and departing
the borderlessness between your skin and space
breathe,
to feel a letting and listening
to feel a deep connectedness
“we are the same thing”*
find,
a reservoir in the soft places
        in the continuum of time,
        behind you, here, and before you
move,
in a duet with the waters of your body
        the waters of the air
        of the soil
        of the rivers and seas
        “the saliva / the amniotic waters /
                    that flow / in / under / ground / streams” **
         waters that pull and push at your softened edges
                    that erode the borders of time to shape a world continually remade
                    by the accumulation of histories and memory’s fluidity
           currents that intertwine life and death and life again
to draw up the threads of (re)memory
           that tangle in the spaces between
to “press your ear to the wind” **
to be “many in one” *
like how a wave moves through time.

* “We are the same thing. Saltwater, sweetwater, freshwater. This is not art. This is life – unfair, unfinished, disrupting, brutal, gorgeous, full of promise. Find imbalance. Being many in one. Finding balance, finding justice, find [that] inside us, we are the same thing. A tornado, a hurricane, a small fountain. Embodiment of the history of power, of inclusion, exclusion. We are the same thing.” (Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons)

** Foremothers (2002) by Deborah Jack.

Additional Resources

Read The Sea Is History by Derek Walcott – Poems | Academy of American Poets

Read Toni Morrison, “The Site of Memory”

Read “The Sea and the Breathing” by Astrida Neimanis

Listen to “The Nature of All Our Forms”: María Magdalena Campos-Pons on Performance Art

See Magda’s recent and ongoing project When We Gather, which marked the election of the first woman to the Vice Presidential office

Stay tuned for more talks and collaborations from Magda’s initiative Engine for Art, Democracy, and Justice at Vanderbilt University

Read about Deborah’s work in her own works in ForgottenLands Vol. 3

See Deborah’s work in the online exhibition Seascape Poetics, Curated by Bettina Pérez Martínez

Read the recent BOMB Magazine article on Deborah’s work Mare Incognitum / Unknown Sea: Deborah Jack Interviewed

Read About Evidence: A Conversation between Deborah Jack & Patricia Ortega-Miranda – Now Be Here

Stay tuned for more news about Deborah Jack’s solo exhibition at Pen + Brush Gallery in September 2021

Stay Up-to-Date with the Artists’ Upcoming Works and Events

https://www.deborahjack.com/

Deborah Jack (@debjack0) • Instagram

María Magdalena Campos-Pons — Gallery Wendi Norris

#MariaMagdalenaCamposPons