Closed Captions Available Sessions are recorded only for the cohort’s reference and are not posted online.
10/02 – Contextualizing the Mexican Milagros: Agents of Relational Anatomy | Alexis de Chaunac
I have been working with the imagery of Milagros, charm-like metal objects, votive sculptural images of body parts, isolated limbs and organs that can be used for healing purposes and as votive offerings. During centuries, Milagros were used as magical objects to ward-off disease, pain, and misfortune. I am intrigued how the forms operate both individually and in communication with one another, creating a hieroglyphic lexicon waiting to be deciphered as Milagros have metaphorical connotations too. The depiction of an isolated, fragmented foot could signify that it is meant to protect a person undertaking a journey. Through interpreting the Milagros, I would like to showcase how they can still be very much relevant in Mexican culture today. Some of the interrogations I have and I would love to have your insights are: How can they bridge the transcendental and the vernacular? What each body part signifies culturally, for myself and for others? How were they inspired and hybridized from the catholic Ex Votos coming from Spain? What are the differences with rituals in other cultures, for instance the wooden limbs in Japan?
1. Balance, 2023, oil on linen stretched on wooden panel, 16 x 12 x 2 in.
5. Wooden Hands in Japan
2. Milagros, 2023, oil on linen stretched on wooden panel, 16 x 12 x 2 in.
Sacred Heart (Corazón Espinado)
4. Luminosidad, 2023, oil and graphite on linen, 20 x 16 x 2 in.
7. Milagros on black background from book “Agents of Faith”
2. Praying Milagros
6. Christ covered with Milagros
3. Rubbing, 2023, graphite on scroll paper, 7 x 144 in.
Alexis de Chaunac is a Mexican-French visual artist working between painting, drawing, collage and installation. He completed his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2022 and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2014. He is a recipient of the Dedalus Foundation Fellowship and the Fundación Jumex de Arte Contemporáneo grant. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums including Galleria Ramo in Como, Italy (2022), Sargent’s Daughters in New York (2019) and Carrillo Gil Art Museum in Mexico City (2017). He has been featured and given interviews to publications such as Whitewall, Whitehot Magazine and Artsy’s Editorial. He lives and works in Chicago, IL and is currently a BOLT resident at Chicago Artists Coalition. He approaches his work like an archeologist, uncovering layers of our collective experience. His body of work is the result of his personal connection to his Mexican and French heritage, as well as his interwoven cultural histories.
10/16 – Into Conversation: Temporality, Power and the Interview | Ian Carstens
Conversation has value and the documentation of it can be considered art. As a practicing filmmaker I am interested in how the interview expresses its own politics and power dynamics, and how these can be co-opted or reframed. How does applying objecthood to the interview and ideas of co-creation comment on interrelatedness and various temporalities? Wrapped up with the art object-ness of the interview are various agendas, processes and tools connected to Imperialist projects of capture, control and erasure. Perhaps the practice of interviewing can be one of mutualism, empathy and with an embrace of what writer Jessica Lanay calls “ethically not knowing?” The inclusion of art history, critical theory, epistemological critique and firsthand knowledge inform and complicate this art object. How can an interview be a space for generative critique and how does it center its own and its participant’s “here-ness”? What critiques exist in the structures built around documented content (the archive, its UX, recycling/sampling) and what might they tell us about critical possibilities and future imaginings?
2. Azoulay, Ariella Aïsha. The Civil Contract of Photography. 1st pbk. ed. New York : Cambridge, Mass: Zone Books ; Distributed by The MIT Press, 2008.
4. Gerhard Richter and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Obrist – O’Brist. Artist book 2009. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln.
3. Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present, March 14, 2010–May 31, 2010. Performance. MOMA. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar.
Ian Carstens is a writer, filmmaker and curator from the Mississippi River Valley. His work explores temporality, non-human aliveness, multiplicity, as well as critiques of the archive, lens-based art forms and cultural institutions. Carstens is the lead curator/filmmaker of Glass Breakfast, an ongoing archival project. His video works have screened at various film festivals as well as on public television. He is an Associate Editor of Ruckus Art Journal and his arts writing has been published with Burnaway, Sugarcane, and Sixty Inches From Center.
10/23 – Amor Eterno: Luchar por la Vida | Araceli Zuniga
Amor Eterno: Luchar por la Vida is a project of transformative healing through story-telling and world building rooted in the histories of local Chicago Brown and Black communities. Child-like expression stretches from the purest form of love. As we mature and grow, true compassion of the soul is put aside; our celestial awareness cocoons. Through an accessible and explorative art practice, Amor Eterno aims to reintroduce transformative justice of the heart and tug at the string that connects us all together. What seeds are to be planted to grow the necessary tools for collective healing? When we consider our unity, in harmony with our differences, how can we extend ourselves to those around us?
A close up of a painting titled Cartwheel where a figure looks up, their face gray with a blue tint, a yellow gleam coming from the center. Their arms raised as if they were beginning to twirl. Two deep red hands are gently holding their face, the red fades into bright yellow arms.
A scanned image of a collaged zine titled “Justice Club”. Each letter cut out from different places. Underneath the title, written in red bubble letters “Volume 1” and finally under that “A collaborative zine” is typewritten. A monarch butterfly on a red flower holds the left corner. Behind the all the text is a background of a picture a table covered with collage materials, paper and scissors, magazines scattered.
This is an old image of me with my grandfather, taken in the living room. I’m on the left holding a toy cake. On the right, mi abuelo is smiling with a yellow long sleeve and shaded glasses.
Short form text that says: “eternal love for all! eternal love for all! (a pause) eternal love for all! (another pause) eternal love. Lastly, “compassion (action:engagement) follows empathy / optimistic discipline”.
Araceli Zuniga is a Mexican-American artist based in the midwest whose work is defined by intimacy and play. Through traditional methods of painting and drawing (and storytelling), Araceli uses playful qualities to encourage a self reflective process as a mediation between self and others; mending the past within our future. Araceli’s work has been featured with WPCA (Milwaukee), FLXST Gallery, Povos Gallery, and Genesis Gallery. They are a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They are a member of the Underbelly collective based in Madison, WI and has completed a fellowship at the BlackPaint Studios’ Creative Leadership Program in Milwaukee, WI. They have also collaborated with Communication, a Madison-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering a vibrant creative community. Araceli strives to continue the work of communal care in Chicago communities. After the abrupt death of Araceli’s grandfather in the summer of 2022, their work repositioned into a more active subjectivity, specifically luchadores. Masks, shifting identities, and a cultural thread leading back to home has grounded their work in themes of aggressive play and the eminence of living.
10/30 – Consider a Disappearance | Ruby Que
I’ve been drawn to the artist Bas Jan Ader, who disappeared at sea while completing his project “In Search of the Miraculous.” I obsessively watched and rewatched his video works, which often involved him leaving frame, becoming hidden, disappearing. In an article for the Brooklyn Rail, his wife wrote, “I’ve never totally given up hoping that he will one day come back.” This hit me. I’m thinking about the histories and reverberations of a disappearance: the longing, searching, never finding, and sitting with. I’m thinking about figures such as Ader, Connie Converse, and Amelia Earhart, but also our obsession with them, more precisely, finding them. I’m thinking about the people that have been forced to disappear or into hiding in my distant home city, Hong Kong, and the possibility of disappearance or invisibility as resistance. I’m thinking about absences in my own practice: the missing person, the abandoned homeland, the obsolete medium, the traumatic memory. I’m thinking about myth making and ghosts. Who disappears? Who gets left behind? How does one disappear, and how does one grapple with the void?
1. Untitled (Tea Party), Bas Jan Ader, 1972
2. A Movie Is a Thing Alive, 2021, super 8mm film, digital projection, hard drive, fire, hammer
3. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, 2023, cast bronze, found ring
4. The Causeway Bay Books disappearances are a series of international disappearances concerning five staff members of Causeway Bay Books, a former bookstore located in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. This is an image of the entrance of Causeway Bay Books, which has been closed since the disappearance of its fifth staff member, Lee Bo.
Ruby Que is an installation artist and experimental filmmaker who occasionally writes, sculpts, and performs. In their work they open portals and create hauntings. Their films and installations have been shown at Kavi Gupta, Comfort Station, Chicago Artists Coalition (Chicago, IL), Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (Ithaca, NY), and Du Vert à L’infini (Franche Comte, France) amongst others. They have been awarded residencies including Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), ACRE (Steuben, WI), Ellis-Beauregard Foundation (Rockland, ME), and are currently a HATCH resident at Chicago Artists Coalition. They grew up in Hong Kong in the lingering shadow of colonialism, and now lives and works on the unceded homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi, or what is known as Chicago. They were named a 2023 Breakout Artist by Newcity Magazine. They hold a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
11/06 – Bridging Diasporic Divides: Synthesizing Family Through Visual Art | Natasha Moustache
Drawing from my experience as a first-generation person of African descent my arts practice centers around reassembling the fracturing I witnessed early on between the African and Black American communities. I use photography and domestic installation to synthesize family galleries as a way to connect experiences, rituals, and cultural signifiers that permeate the Diaspora. In researching this topic I’m thinking about cultural inheritance, colonial influence, shared generational traumas, and in particular creolization; how can we bridge the gaps between various African Diasporic groups in service of connecting us across oceans and manmade borders? How can we create new family archiving that narrows those cultural gaps between the African immigrant community and the Black American community and beyond? My work views the Diaspora through the lens of Eduard Glissant’s rhizome theory. I’m interested in ways to visualize the nuances of cultural experiences and signifiers – African and Caribbean artists and writers that work in similar ways. I find artist/writer interviews, film, and post-colonial theory particularly helpful to build language. I’m interested in the thoughts of other POC and BIPOC artists who identify as part of the African or Latinx diaspora.
_M2_19315-Edit.jpg: Travaye pou Lanmour, Labour of Love: A woman standing leans over the body of an elder woman lying on a bed. She tends to the elderly woman, and her body. She wears a black burka and a maroon and pink floral dress. We cannot see the elder woman’s face, only tuffs of white hair.
Family Archive (Under the Same Sun): Five hands are placed over the pregnant belly of a woman. In the bottom right had corner the face of a baby boy looks up at his mothers belly.
Ashanti on Bed (Lerozyon…): A young girl poses on her bed. She is surrounded by pink. Her dress is pink, her bedspread, her curtains. Her gaze is fixed on the viewer.
Between You and Me: A woman holds an African mask in front of her face, obscuring her identity. Behind her a gold baroque frame outlines her head and shoulders.
19B82472….: Installation view from Vermont Center of Photography. The triptych – Marmay Beau Vallon 1, 2, 3 – is paired with Labour Koko dan Dife (Coconut Husk in the Fire ). Three black and white images show a boy or boys diving and spinning into a body of water – the Indian Ocean. One larger image shows a coconut husk burning as fuel in fire.
American Queen (Under the Same Sun): And elder woman poses proudly on her bed. On her crown is a black cap with a gold X. She sits on a comforter baring the image of a cheetah baring it’s teeth. The woman looks directly into lens, her gaze steady on the viewer.
IMG_2997: Installation view of Under the Same Sun at Hyde Park Art Center. Three framed images are displayed on a 12×12 wall featuring brown and black wallpaper created using an image of ginger. In front of the wall, a brown plinth holds a glass display case, Inside ginger root grows on top of a mound of soil.
Natasha Moustache is a photographic installation artist based in Chicago. Moustache’s practice utilizes portraiture and narrative documentation exhibited within intricately fabricated worlds that evoke themes of home, familial lineage, and cross-cultural commonalities centering the African Diaspora. Moustache received their BFA from Simmons College in 2004. In 2005 they were awarded the Center for Photography at Woodstock AIR residency at the age of 22. They continued their arts practice in Boston, Ma while foregrounding their photojournalist and freelance career in the subsequent years. In 2019, they enrolled in Chicago Columbia College to pursue their MFA where they were awarded the Stuart Abelson Travel Fellowship and later the 2021 MOCP Snider Prize Honorable Mention. Moustache’s work has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Photography, the International Center for Photography, the Center for Photography at Woodstock and the Hyde Park Art Center. Most recently, Moustache was a Latitude AIR in January 2023 and debuted their first solo show at the C33 Gallery in Chicago in April 2023. Their second solo show is currently on view at the Lubeznik Art Center in Michigan City, IN.
augstine participated in the Fall 2021 season with the topic Agenciamentos Olfativos / The Agency of Scent.
agustine zegers is a Chilean olfactory artist and writer. By way of queer and microbial methodologies, zegers deploys care practices that reach microscopic dimensions by incorporating bacterial communities, aromatic molecules, and food absorption in their artistic projects, creating tools to reflect about cohabitation, interspecies and intrahuman belonging, and care itself. Their work has been exhibited and published internationally at venues such as the Venice Biennale, Galería Jaqueline Martins, Sharjah Art Foundation, the Institute of Queer Ecology, and DIS Magazine.