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

Living as Form (the nomadic version): Upcoming Programming at UCSD

LIVING AS FORM (the nomadic version)
socially engaged practices from 1991-2011

When: November 26, 4:00 – 6:30 pm
Location: UC San Diego, Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) Performance Space

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)

For this roundtable discussion, five local artist collectives working in the San Diego-Tijuana region, who were commissioned for Living as Form (The Nomadic Version), are joined by Creative Time chief curator Nato Thompson. The discussion will be moderated by UAG gallery director and UCSD professor of art history, Grant Kester.

Since January 2007, Nato has organized major projects for Creative Time such as The Creative Time Summit (2009 and 2010), Paul Ramirez Jonas’s: Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie (2009), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), Paul Chan’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007) and Mike Nelson’s A Psychic Vacuum with curator Peter Eleey. Previously, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004) with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including BookForum, Frieze, Art Journal, Art Forum, Parkett, Cabinet and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. The College Art Association awarded him for distinguished writing in Art Journal in 2004. He curated the exhibition for Independent Curators International titled Experimental Geography with a book available by Melville House Publishing. His book Seeing Power: Socially Engaged Art in the Age of Cultural Production is due out by Melville House in December 2012.

Was founded in 2007 by artist David White with the help of numerous other individuals. The goal of the space was to blur the lines between the individual Artist, the Studio, the Gallery and the Neighborhood; and to re-imagine the form of the Gallery as tool for long term engagement with a particular locality. This engagement is implemented through collaborations across individuals, artists, small businesses, community activists and institutions. Some of these collaborations include the Agitprop reading and performance series established by poet James Meetze and currently curated by K. Lorraine Graham; a collaboration with the San Diego Museum of Art in creating the Summer Salon Series- (just completing its third year) an annual fourteen week series of installations, performances and talks that range from local to internationally recognized artists; and projects such as There Goes The Neighborhood – a four day event series that works with artists, activists, small businesses and neighborhood groups to produce installations, talks and performances that draw attention to, and offer an innovative forum for dialogue on issues relevant to changing conditions throughout San Diego’s first ring neighborhoods. Agitprop’s work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The New Children’s Museum and at the 2010 California Biennial and in publications such as ArtForum and Wired magazine.

Cog*nate Collective was founded in 2010, with the intent to engage the various groups that inhabit the San Diego/ Tijuana border including vendors, both formal and informal, and the thousands crossing between the two nations. Cog*nate’s projects aim to analyze and create conditions for exchange between these groups across social, cultural and economic registers to activate the crossing as a space for public dialogue. After a year of research at the Mercado de Artesanias de la Linea, Cog*nate founded Espacio cognado/Cog*nate space within the market, located between the lanes of US-bound traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Since the summer of 2011, Cog*nate space has served as a space to develop and carry out site-specific interventions in collaboration with shop owners and pedestrians at the crossing, and also served as exhibition space for shows with local artists from both sides of the border. The space has housed a workshop series for children who live and work at the crossing, and collaborations with Tijuana Poetry collective Colectivo Intransigente and Tijuana audio/visual collective BULBO. The space has also hosted an artist exchange/residency with Montreal based Art Center Dare-Dare, and an artisan residency with Mujeres Mixtecas, a Tijuana collective of Indigenous Artisans. As part of the UC San Diego University Art Gallery’s iteration of Living as Form (the nomadic version), Cog*nate’s newest endeavor is Borderblaster, which brings together the voices of vendors, artisans, artists, and activists in a series of conversations, readings, and interviews. Cog*nate Collective is coordinated by Amy Sanchez and Misael Diaz.

The Periscope Project is a not-for-profit organization (501(c)3 pending) comprised of a space and cooperative, committed to the transdisciplinary nexus of art, architecture, and regional urban issues. It is operated by a rotating group of core individuals (currently, James Enos, Molly Enos, and Charles Miller). Operating as studio workspace occupied by a rotating core cooperative, and re-programmable exhibition and event space in a unique urban context, the project works to provide amenities for students, artists, designers, scholars and activists working with and in response to their urban environment. TPP occupies five arranged intermodal shipping containers on a sliver lot in San Diego’s East Village. These unique architectural circumstances provide readymade work, exhibition, and community organizing space, while simultaneously existing as an architectural counterpoint to the status quo of San Diego’s urban landscape-enriching a dialog about how these spaces come to be, and what is to become of them.

Raúl Cárdenas Osuna is the founder and director of Torolab(est. 1995, Tijuana), a collective workshop and laboratory of contextual studies that identifies situations or phenomena of interest for research. Research themes that Torolab have developed until now range from the identity of the border region, to housing and security, to community building and survival, to public space, to economic and ecological sustainability, to nutritional poverty. Torolab’s work has been shown nationally and internationally at various venues, including: MoMA New York; Museum of Modern Art of Louisiana, Denmark; Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego; LA(X)ART, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art of Sydney; the Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; Havana Biennial; Liverpool Biennial; 2004 Beijing Biennial of Architecture; 2011 Mercosur Biennale; and 2009 Lyon Biennale.

Grant Kester is Professor of Art History, and Director of the University Art Gallery at the University of California, San Diego. Kester is one of the leading figures in the emerging critical dialogue around “relational” or “dialogical” art practices. His publications include Art, Activism and Oppositionality: Essays from Afterimage (Duke University Press, 1998), Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (University of California Press, 2004) and The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context (Duke University Press, 2011). His curatorial projects include Unlimited Partnerships: Collaboration in Contemporary Art at CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, New York in 2000 and Groundworks: Environmental Collaborations in Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon University in 2005. Kester’s essays have been published in The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Art Since 1945 (Blackwell, 2005), Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1945 (Blackwell, 2004), Poverty and Social Welfare in America: An Encyclopedia (ABC-Clio, 2004), Politics and Poetics: Radical Aesthetics for the Classroom (St. Martins Press, 1999), the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (Oxford University Press, 1998), and Ethics, Information and Technology: Readings (McFarland, 1997) as well as journals including Afterimage, Art Journal, E-Flux Journal, October, Variant (Scotland), Public Art Review, Exposure, The Nation, Third Text, Social Text and Art Papers. He is currently completing an anthology of writings by art collectives working in Latin America, in collaboration with Bill Kelley.

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