The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) Curated by Nato Thompson 

  • Living as Form (The Nomadic Version)
  • Curated by Nato Thompson
  • Co-organized by Creative Time and Independent Curators International (ICI) and assembled in collaboration with the University Art Gallery
  • October 4 > December 14, 2012
  • Opening Reception, Thursday October 4, 5:30 – 8:30 pm

LA JOLLA-The UC San Diego University Art Gallery (UAG) teams up with Creative Time and Independent Curators International (ICI) to present a customized version of Living as Form (The Nomadic Version). The exhibition is an unprecedented, international project exploring over twenty years of cultural works that blur the forms of art and everyday life, emphasizing participation, dialogue, and community engagement. 
In collaboration with 25 curators from around the world, Nato Thompson has selected 48 socially engaged projects produced in the last 20 years as the foundation of this exhibition. “Something historically unique is happening in cultural production that requires different rules for art than those of the 20th century,” says Thompson, “This culturally-savvy method of civic production has manifested in everyday urban life and growing civil unrest. Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) is an opportunity to cast a wide net and ask: how do we make sense of this work, and in turn, how do we make sense of the world we find ourselves in?

Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) will provide a broad look at a vast array of practices that appear with increasing regularity in fields ranging from theater to activism, and urban planning to visual art.

The UAG has hand-picked 22 of these projects from Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) in tandem with five unique community commissions to integrate into the exhibition. The exhibition will feature works by Suzanne Lacy, Vik Muniz, Rick Lowe, and Wikileaks among other noted artists and groups. Additionally, UAG Curatorial Fellow, Michelle Hyun, PhD Art History Candidate, Lara Bullock, and PhD Art History Students, Sascha Crasnow, and Elizabeth Miller have each curated a local component of Living as Form (The Nomadic Version).

The works on display address multiple audiences, and pay equal attention to the power of media. They are a part of an emerging reality where cultural production and politics live in an increasingly integrated relationship. The amalgamation of Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) with the diverse and relevant contributions of the aforementioned community projects generates a space for further inquiry and ultimately, new approaches to social practice.

About the Community Commissions: Agitprop, an initiative that uses the form of the gallery to connect artists, activists, and individuals as a network of agents, will facilitate an incubator non-profit organization called Connect San Diego. Connect San Diego assists people with developmental disabilities in establishing independent living practices through the mapping of localized “assets” in their respective communities. In the incubator space occupying the UAG, Agitprop and Connect San Diego will implement the strategy of “asset mapping” by applying it to the campus and the neighborhoods where Agitprop and Connect San Diego work.

Cog•nate Collective will create an onsite and offsite component of the exhibition. Cog•nate Collective conducts a continuous series of interventions at the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, one of the busiest land crossings in the world. Cog•nate collective  will be engaging disparate groups and individuals at the border and recording a series of interviews, debates, storytelling, performances, and poetry readings. The recordings will be broadcasted in segments via a low-range informal radio transmission over four weeks of the exhibition and accessible through mobile listening stations situated at the border and in the UAG gallery space.

The Periscope Project (TPP) is committed to the nexus of art, architecture, and regional urban issues.  TPP will have a multivalent presence in the exhibition. TPP will outline the impetus of their collaboration with local institutions, present case studies of these collaborations, and design a project developed specifically for the exhibition titled Building Blocks: Investigating the Prohibitive / Potential Scale of Redevelopment. By way of examining our core Building Blocks and prompting consideration for the base units of urban development, TPP wishes to detect hidden systems and generate conversations engaged at the level of the built environment.

The UAG is also partnering with There Goes the Neighborhood (TGTN) for a half-day program. Since its founding, TGTN has organized and hosted a series of multi-day, multi-venue events to stimulate dialogue, exchange, and critical thinking among a variety of publics across San Diego.On November 3rd, TGTN will extend its program to host What’s the Use?, a three part event that includes a video panel/forum about contemporary urban issues, a dining performance at Art Produce Gallery, and a second iteration of TGTN’s Critical Postcards event at the former North Park Post Office.

Torolab, a collective of artists, architects, and designers based in Tijuana, will present the Transborder Farmlab project. Situated in one of Tijuana’s most impoverished neighborhoods, the Transborder Farmlab project is a hub within a wider metropolitan initiative to develop the creative capacities of Camino Verde residents towards economic, social, and cultural empowerment. Torolab will present the Transborder Farmlab project in the UAG, while also conducting a workshop series in Tijuana with the constituents of the Transborder Farmlab on socially engaged art practices. The series will utilize the Living as Form archive and culminate in an informal exhibition of Living as Form (The Tijuana Version).

Related Programming: 
Public Programs @ the Structural & Materials Engineering Building (SME), UC San Diego

  • Conversation with Agitprop, Cog*nate Collective, Brian Goldfarb (Associate Professor of Communication, UCSD) 
October 16, 4:00 – 6:00 pm 
Discursive and Curatorial Production Initiative, SME 406
  • Conversation with The Periscope Project, Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell (Lecturer of Urban Studies & Planning, UCSD), and Nancy Kwak (Assistant Professor of History, UCSD)  
November 14, 1:00 – 3:00 pm 
Discursive and Curatorial Production Initiative, SME 406
  • Roundtable with Nato Thompson (chief curator, Creative Time), Agitprop, Cog•nate collective , The Periscope Project, and Torolab, moderated by Grant Kester (Professor of Art History, UCSD) 
November 26, 4:00 – 6:30 pm 
SME Performance Space

Neighborhood Events

  • There Goes The Neighborhood - What’s The Use? 
November 3 
2:00 pm, events start, location TBA 
11:00 pm, event closing reception, location TBA 
North Park neighborhood of San Diego
  • The Periscope Project Informal conversation and gathering at The Periscope Project 
November 14, 7:00 – 10:00 pm 
300 15th St., San Diego, CA 92101
  • Torolab 
Living as Form (The Tijuana Version) 
Project exhibition and event details TBA
  • Cog•nate collective  
Borderblaster (SD/TJ) 
Live recording at the Espacio Cognado,  
Mercado de Artesanias de La Linea, Tijuana 
Broadcasting from the University Art Gallery
  • Recording and broadcast schedule: October 4, 5:30 – 8:30 pm broadcast 
October 5, 3:00 pm broadcast 
October 6 & 7 live recording > October 12, 3:00 pm broadcast 
October 13 live recording > October 19, 3:00 pm broadcast 
October 20 live recording > October 26, 3:00 pm broadcast 
October 27 live recording > November 2, 3:00 pm broadcast 
November 3 live recording > November 9, 3:00 pm broadcast

Screenings @ the Visual Arts Facility (VAF) Performance Space,  
UC San Diego

  • Peter Watkins - La Commune (5hr 45 min) 
October 5, 6:00 – 11:45 pm
  • Appalshop – Up the Ridge: a U.S. Prison Story (53 min) 
October 18, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Suzanne Lacy – The Roof is on Fire (52 min) 
November 1, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Mardi Gras Indian Community – Tootie’s Last Suit (1 hr 38 min) 
November 15, 7:00 – 8:45 pm
  • Chto Delat – Angry Sandwich People or in Praise of Dialectic (8 min) 
Katerina Šedá – There is Nothing There (30 min) 
The Complaints Choir (20 min) 
November 29, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Participating Artists/Groups/Projects:
Lara Almarcegui and Begoña Movellán
Chto delat? (What is to be done?)
The Complaints Choir (founded by Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen)
DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency)
Farid Djahangir, Sassan Nassiri, Bita Fayyazi, Att Hasheminejad, and Khosrow Hassanzedeh 
Helena Producciones
Suzanne Lacy
Mardi Gras Indian Community 
Mammalian Driving Reflex, conceived by Darren O’Donnell 
Katerina Šedá 
Chemi Rosado Seijo 
Rick Lowe (with Sam Durant and Jessica Cusick)
Women on Waves
Peter Watkins
Tahrir Square
Vik Muniz
Oda Projesi (Özge Acıkkol, Günes Savas and Secil Yersel)
Slanguage (Founded by Karla Diaz, Juan Capistran and Mario Ybarra, Jr.)
U.S. Social Forum

About the Curators and the Exhibition: Nato Thompson is Chief Curator at Creative Time, New York, as well as a writer and activist. Among his public projects for Creative Time are Tania Bruguera’s Immigrant Movement International Democracy in America: The National Campaign, and Waiting for Godot, a project by Paul Chan held in New Orleans. Thompson was formerly a curator at MASS MoCA, and he also curated ICI’s Experimental Geography, which traveled to eight venues in North America.

Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) is the flexible, expanding iteration of Living as Form, an exhibition curated by Nato Thompson and presented by Creative Time in the fall of 2011 in New York City. Lead project support for the original Living as Form exhibition was provided by the Annenberg Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Danish Consulate, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mondriaan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Additional support for Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) was provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation; and the ICI Board of Trustees.

The projects included in Living as Form were selected by a group of curators, writers, artists, and historians, including: Caron Atlas, Negar Azimi, Ron Bechet, Claire Bishop, Brett Bloom, Rashida Bumbray, Carolina Caycedo, Ana Paula Cohen, Common Room, Teddy Cruz, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Hou Hanru, Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter, Shannon Jackson, Maria Lind, Chus Martínez, Sina Najafi, Marion von Osten, Ted Purves, Raqs Media Collective, Gregory Sholette, SUPERFLEX, Christine Tohme, Bik Van der Pol, and Sue Bell Yank.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 11:00am-5:00pm,
Wednesday & Friday 11:00am-7:30pm 
For more information please visit: or call (858) 534-0419

Media Contacts: Grant Kester,; 
Merete Kjaer,; 
Sheena Ghanbari,, 858-822-7755

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