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Responding to Zoe Leonard’s “I want a president…”

By | Documents

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Texts from Responses to Zoe Leonard’s “I want a president….”
Artists, activists, and thinkers shared contemporary responses to Zoe Leonard’s influential 1992 text I want a president…

Christopher Cole: “Don’t worry Judy, we’ll get it taken care of.”
Christopher Cole is an interdisciplinary artist whose work incorporates performance, text, and installation. He lives and works in New York City.

Meera Nair: I wait for a President
Meera Nair is the author of Video (NY: Pantheon 2003) and two children’s books, Maya Saves the Day and Maya in a Mess (India: Duckbill Publishing). Video received the Sixth Annual Asian-American Literary Award for Fiction. It was named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and a Notable Book by the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize. A recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), Queens Council for the Arts and MacDowell Colony, Nair’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, among others. Nair is on the writing faculty at NYU’s Gallatin School and Brooklyn College’s MFA program.

Shannon Matesky: I want a President…
Shannon Matesky is an actress, poet, producer, director from Berkeley, California. Brooklyn based, Shannon curates Queer Abstract, a monthly QTPOC performance series and currently the Youth Engagement Coordinator at Urban Word NYC. You can find more information about her work at www.shannonmatesky.com

Melissa Ragona:  UNPRESIDENTED (aka Cointhians Caught in a Nasty Chora)*
Melissa Ragona’s essays and reviews have appeared in October, Frieze, Art Papers and in numerous edited collections on contemporary studies in film, sculpture, sound, and new technologies. She has also published in monographs on the work of artists, Heike Mutter, Ulrich Genth, Christian Jankowski, Paul Sharits, Antoine Catala, and Carolee Schneemann. Her book, Readymade Sound: Andy Warhol’s Recording Aesthetics, is forthcoming from University of California Press. She is an Associate Professor of Critical Theory and Art History in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

J Soto: Love as a Series of Warnings; A Prayer for What Our Love Will Look Like
J Soto is a queer interdisciplinary artist, writer, and arts organizer. He has curated and performed work for The National Queer Arts Festival (San Francisco),  Links Hall (Chicago), as well as Vox Populi (Philadelphia) among others nationally. His collaborative writing project, “Ya Presente Ayer” can be found in Support Networks, Chicago Social Practice History Series (University of Chicago Press). Currently he is developing the Latinx Artist Retreat (LXAR) with a group of other artists and administrators nationally, and is also a co-founder of the Latinx Artist Visibility Award (LAVA) for Ox-Bow School of Art in partnership with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. www.jsoto.net

Diya Vij: I want a President…
Diya Vij is a cultural producer in New York City. In addition to working on her own independent projects, she joined the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in 2014, where she serves as Special Projects Manager, Commissioner’s Unit. She was previously with the Queens Museum from 2010-2014, first as a Curatorial Fellow and then in Communications. She has an MA in Art History from Hunter College and a BA from Bard College.  

Originally conceived in response to the cultural and political climate of the early 1990’s, Leonard’s text urges us to ask: what has changed and what remains the same? Leonard notes, “I am interested in the space this text opens up for us to imagine and voice what we want in our leaders, and even beyond that, what we can envision for the future of our society.”

Engaging with this timeless text in the wake of the upcoming inauguration, this reading highlights the necessity of speaking out, of looking to the future, and the importance of coming together in mourning, rage, and action.

This event was part of a fundraising series of music, performances, and workshops accompanying NASTY WOMEN exhibition, which was on view at Knockdown Center January 12-15th, 2017.  Proceeds benefitted select charities working towards women’s reproductive health and community health initiatives.

 

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Knockdown Center’s MEDIA page is an ongoing collection of audio, video, writing, and ephemera produced by our arts programming. It serves not only as an aural and visual index of the diverse artistic activities that occur within the space, but also as a resource for artists, writers, curators, and researchers who may be interested in learning more about the practitioners that come through our doors. As a primary source, documents housed within the MEDIA page have been minimally edited and largely unmodified. Audio files link to our Soundcloud channel, where curator conversations, exhibition walkthroughs, panels, and poetry readings can be heard individually, or as select playlists.

Power Share/Power Surge: A Panel Discussion

By | Video | No Comments

January 19th, 2017

Power Share/Power Surge: A Panel Discussion on Activism, Aging, Art, Black Lives Matter, Civil Rights, Intersectional Feminisms, Sexuality, Trans Rights, and more. What can we do? Where do we connect? How can we share power?

Curated and donated by Christen Clifford and moderated by Stephanie Acosta
Panelists: Ashton Applewhite, Ayana Evans, and Pamela Sneed

This panel, curated by artist and activist Christen Clifford, came about through a consideration of feminism and asking whether there was a difference between identity politics and civil rights, and how we can come together to share our power. Clifford invited four artists and writers to connect, with the definition of “connect” in mind as “a link to a power supply.”

Christen Clifford is an activist, curator, feminist performance artist, mother and writer whose work includes the PussyBow . She teaches at The New School.

This event was part of STAY NASTY, a fundraising series of music, performances, and workshops that accompanied the NASTY WOMEN exhibition, January 12-15th, 2017.

Video courtesy of James Tate + Intrinsic Grey

Christen Clifford
http://christenclifford.tumblr.com/

Ashton Applewhite
https://thischairrocks.com/

Ayana Evans
https://www.ayanaevans.com/

Pamela Sneed
http://www.pamelasneedspeaks.com/

Stephanie Acosta
http://www.stephanieacosta.org/

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Knockdown Center’s MEDIA page is an ongoing collection of audio, video, writing, and ephemera produced by our arts programming. It serves not only as an aural and visual index of the diverse artistic activities that occur within the space, but also as a resource for artists, writers, curators, and researchers who may be interested in learning more about the practitioners that come through our doors. As a primary source, documents housed within the MEDIA page have been minimally edited and largely unmodified. Audio files link to our Soundcloud channel, where curator conversations, exhibition walkthroughs, panels, and poetry readings can be heard individually, or as select playlists.

“Read My Lips” Poetry Reading

By | Audio | No Comments

December 8th, 2016

“Read My Lips” Poetry Reading

In conjunction with the exhibition “Read My Lips,” artists Kerry Downey and Loren Britton organized a reading with five queer poets whose practices address marginalized bodies and problems of language. Featuring readings by Ana Božičević, Wo Chan, Rin Johnson, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, and Jespa J. Smith.

Read My Lips is a two-person show featuring work by Kerry Downey and Loren Britton that considers queer abstraction as an investment in indeterminacy, which allows for an expansive sense of embodiment, including but not limited to, the slipperiness of gender, affect, desire, and language.

Ana Božičević, born in Croatia in 1977, is a poet, translator, teacher, and occasional singer. She is the author of Stars of the Night Commute(2009), the Lambda Award-winning Rise in the Fall (2013) and Joy of Missing Out, forthcoming with Birds, LLC. She is the recipient of the 40 Under 40: The Future of Feminism award from the Feminist Press, and the PEN American Center/NYSCA grant for translating It Was Easy to Set the Snow on Fire by Zvonko Karanović, forthcoming from Phoneme Media. The anthology of translations The Day Lady Gaga Died: An Anthology of Newer New York Poets she co-edited with Željko Mitić appeared in Serbia in Fall 2011. https://www.anabozicevic.com/

Wo Chan is a queer Fujianese poet and drag performer. They hold fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and the Asian American Writers Workshop. As a member of Brooklyn-based drag alliance Switch n’ Play, Wo has performed at venues including Brooklyn Pride, The Trevor Project, and Vox Populi. Their all Asian American experimental theater piece WHITEFLAG/WHITEFACE debuted at the Dixon Place HOT! Festival in 2016. http://brooklynpoets.org/poet/wo-chan/

Rin Johnson is a Brooklyn based sculptor and poet. Moving between Virtual Reality and sculpture, Johnson has exhibited and read widely in Europe and the US. Johnson has a BFA in photography and urban planning from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Johnson is an MFA Candidate in Sculpture at Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts. Johnson is the author of “Nobody Sleeps Better Than White People” from Inpatient Press and the forthcoming VR book, “Meet in the Corner” from Publishing House.Johnson writes for the Brooklyn Rail and teaches image literacy and photography at Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU). Johnson runs Imperial Matters with Sophia Le Fraga. http://www.rinjohnson.com/

Julian Talamantez Brolaski is the author of Of Mongrelitude (forthcoming, Wave Books April 2017), Advice for Lovers (City Lights 2012), gowanus atropolis (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011), and co-editor of NO GENDER: Reflections on the Life & Work of kari edwards (Litmus Press / Belladonna Books 2009). Julian is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in the country band The Western Skyline (www.thewesternskyline.org). Currently in Queens, NY, Julian also sometimes lives in California. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/julian-brolaski

Jespa J. Smith is a poet, visual artist and part-time philosopher. They were born in Germany, where they studied Philosophy and Anthropology, and are currently living in Montréal, Canada.Their poetry focusses on the small, personal interactions, on transitional and surreal situations.

Images from Read My Lips

 

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Knockdown Center’s MEDIA page is an ongoing collection of audio, video, writing, and ephemera produced by our arts programming. It serves not only as an aural and visual index of the diverse artistic activities that occur within the space, but also as a resource for artists, writers, curators, and researchers who may be interested in learning more about the practitioners that come through our doors. As a primary source, documents housed within the MEDIA page have been minimally edited and largely unmodified. Audio files link to our Soundcloud channel, where curator conversations, exhibition walkthroughs, panels, and poetry readings can be heard individually, or as select playlists.

Huffington Post on Mami

By | Press

“Mami Wata, literally translated as “Mother Water,” is a spirit revered in West, Central, and Southern Africa, as well as within the African diaspora. She is often depicted as half woman, half aquatic creature, with a snake coiling around her undressed midsection. Pearls, gold, combs, mirrors and other trinkets dangle off her body.”

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