Molds, Supports, and Surfaces in Lost and Found

by Brooks Turner


As I walked through Lost and Found, a two-person exhibition of new works by Katayoun Amjadi and Erin Smith at Hair and Nails, I unwittingly began repeating a mantra over and over in my head: support, surface, support, surface, support…. It began in Erin Smith’s macaroni, donut, teardrop, and french fry abstractions. Across the body of work, shapes repeat in different orientations and alignments becoming discrete sculptures and wall-bound reliefs. In many of the sculptures the armature (or support) that holds different shapes together is visible. The different textures and glazes applied to the surface of the ceramic objects facilitate formal play in each sculpture as well as across the body of work as a whole. Support-surface.

To arrive at this mantra so simply felt half-baked given its original namesake: the Supports/Surfaces movement that dominated the French art scene in the late 60s and 70s. Supports/Surfaces was something like to France what Minimalism was to the States. It originated in the revolutionary aspirations of Marxism and post-structuralism, which came to dominate universities, academies, and public intellectual discourse in France by the 70s. The movement rejected abstract expressionism and Greenbergian formalism as inherently right wing, capitalist, and aristocratic for celebrating a sense of individualism that was incompatible with marxist theory. But even in rejecting this and other forms of Expressionism, the

movement sought to advance the abstract language of painting, the most traditional of media. To the Supports/Surfaces group, painting was seen as a collaborative, process based, and/or conceptual activity rather than an expression of an artist’s innermost feelings or desires. Designs were borrowed from graffiti, public signs, and paper postings, or invented to be simple, process driven shapes that could be endlessly repeated. Craft was celebrated, not as a skill but in its everydayness, its accessibility. Stretcher bars and wood panels were rejected for unstretched canvas, scraps of fabric, yarn, handkerchiefs, and other recycled materials that allowed the works to be portable and reiterable under different spatial constraints. By making paintings that originated in the common, the everyday, and the accessible, this group of painters sought to embody the proletariat through abstract formalism.

Moving to Katayoun Amjadi’s “Nightingale and Rose” series, I began again with …surface, support, surface, support, surface…. I first encountered Blow of Mercy, a series of 8 cast porcelain chicken carcasses, and began by investigating their surface texture and ornamentation. The last one in the progression, glazed blood red, brought to mind a heart—chicken carcass as heart. As I continued, the supports I found were not internal armatures, but rather the absent molds that had been used to produce every chicken carcass, every egg, and every hand: 6 eggs and 6 chickens in Chicken and Egg, 2 chickens in Bed of Roses, cast from the same mold as the 8 chickens in Blow of Mercy, two or three dozen hands in Where Red Tulips Grow. Even every red glove worn by each cast hand was born in an industrial mold before Amjadi bought the package. Surrounded by so many repeated, headless, chicken carcasses, I became aware of my own mortality. There is something especially vile to me about a raw chicken carcass. Perhaps it is the hidden memory of childhood warnings never to touch a dead bird. Or perhaps the present threat of salmonella. Maybe it’s the way the skin moves over the underlying muscle when uncooked. In Where Red Tulips Grow, the enlarged and simplified carcass of a chicken sits with presidential posture on the fingers of dozens of cast hands wearing red rubber gloves, its wings wrapped around its sides like a cape. This anthropomorphized chicken carcass carries itself with pride and dignity, raised up victoriously. But it’s just a carcass, like all the other chicken carcasses; we are all just carcasses, headlessly parading, inventing importance and hierarchy when all we are is meat and bone.

In returning to Smith’s sculptures, I was transfixed by the repetition of her forms. In Blood Line, a red teardrop shape repeats over and over, strung together on a length of rope, which hangs from the ceiling. The slight movement brought to the form through the rope helps convey a sense of liquid. But simultaneously, each teardrop solidifies as a bead of blood in an enlarged bracelet. I became lost in the sculpture, sure that every teardrop was cast from the same mold, but also aware of variation in each individual form. A dance evolved in my mind between Smith’s molds, her hands, and the nature of clay. The mold allows for repetition of a shaped form, the hand demolding and shaping introduces variation, the clay accepts both intentional and unintentional changes and solidifies them in the kiln, the heat of which adds its own deviations. Consider Pile of Big Fries: the corrugation is consistent, but each arc varies subtly, giving each fry a sense of individuality. X One and X Twouse the same two shapes sutured together, but each sculpture could not precisely occupy the other’s footprint. This dance is bookended by Smith’s eyes, one eye that creates the initial shapes to be molded and one eye that adds color to the finished surface.

The exhibition seemed to turn on a poetic dualism inherent to molding. A mold deals in emptiness and fullness. As a void, a mold resembles a chicken carcass, its guts removed and insides clean, awaiting the stuffing. As a vessel, a mold is more like a womb, giving sculptural life to raw material, birthing new forms all related through inherited aesthetic traits.

But what about Supports/Surfaces? When I left Hair and Nails I had written off the mantra as a game I played with myself. I accepted this because the formal characteristics of both bodies of work welcomed this playfulness. Much later, after I had started writing, I began to feel the connection did make sense. Neither Smith nor Amjadi could ever be confused for participating in the movement (there are many artists today who could), nor do their works necessarily fit within its lineage (most clearly because their work is involved in the language of sculpture, whereas Supports/Surfaces is situated in the history of painting). For Supports/Surfaces, the potential for, if not the act of, limitless repetition of shape and process was essential to communicate a poetics of universality and accessibility—art tied to the public not the individual, the everyday not the elite. In Smith’s work, repetition of forms and processes, along with the bright colors, and (mostly) minimal designs align with the aesthetic formalism present in the Supports/Surfaces movement. In Amjadi’s work, repetition of forms and processes conveys the everyday, both that of the raw headless chicken, and that of death, the great equalizer.


Brooks Turner is an artist, writer, and educator concerned primarily with our existential condition. His work has been exhibited nationally, including recent exhibitions at St. Mary’s University, Steve Turner Contemporary, and College of the Redwoods. He received his MFA in sculpture from UCLA in 2015 and currently adjuncts at St. Cloud State University. 



Trade Secret, A Technique to Try When Stranded

by Leah Wambach


Erin Smith and Katayoun Amjadi are strange together.

Smith fills the first floor gallery with wall-mounted and freestanding ceramic sculptures. Several depict identifiable objects: crinkle cut fries, ketchup drips, wait – blood droplets? – a trio of stacked heads. Others are abstract, some like gut piles or shy snakes, some puffy donuts, some squiggling cartoon arms. All are glazed in such nice colors. They feel casual to me, pleasant but vague. I find myself wandering back and forth between sculptures absentmindedly.

Downstairs, Amjadi presents variations on butchered hen and egg. Eight cast chicken carcasses line the wall, glazed and displayed like a collection of fancy, blood-soaked teacups. A white porcelain egg sits on an indented concrete pillow. Red rubber gloves reach for and support a human-scaled chicken, butchered, but made so smooth and white it appears divine. This work feels committed to making a point. I latch on. I take copious notes.

The difference here between Smith’s chill and Amjadi’s insistence makes me uncomfortable. I avoid writing about the show and then try to get out of the assignment altogether because I don’t know how to move forward.

So. Then what?

As a museum educator, I used this quick exercise on gallery tours all the time to help get groups thinking and talking. Students spend a few minutes looking at a work of art in silence then each choose one word to match or describe the work. We go around the circle and everyone shares their word out loud. Don’t think too hard. It’s okay if there are repeats, but do try to land on something that feels specific to the work.

The activity is best with multiple people, so I ask my boyfriend for help. This is not totally fair because he’s looking at photos I took of the works rather than experiencing them in person but let’s try.

My word for Bed of Rosesis grandmother. His is blink.

My word for Tip-Toeing is nest. His is winner.

We talk about our words. When I chose grandmother for Bed of Roses, I was thinking mostly of my own grandmother’s paper skin and the time she fed us awful rosewater ice cream. This grandmother wasn’t especially formal but she felt far away, already partially dissolved. I can’t imagine her cooking a chicken, but then she must have. Adam talks about the work as showing a lifespan in an instant, birth by water on the left, formal burial on the right and nothing in between. He likes that the carcass sitting in rosewater on the right is a little off-center and tilting, coming together or falling apart and not so well presented.

I say nest for Tip-Toeingbecause of the three stacked spheres that look just like big, speckled eggs. They’re in a precarious position, yet the chromatic play between grey, lavender, and blue soothes away the peril. Adam sees eggs too, perfectly balanced on a fully stretched accordion holding the most amount of air possible. He says the sculpture looks like an athlete standing on tip-toes (!) or a trophy. We have the idea that all of Smith’s sculptures could be trophies.

As we talk, I begin to admit that I am angry at Smith’s sculptures, the wall-mounted works in particular, for looking nice without saying much. Adam doesn’t feel this way. Looking at them makes him happy and that’s enough. More than enough. It’s valuable. He says they look like dances, and how nice would it be to look over and see a dance hanging on the wall, which I think is a good point.

Oddly, Amjadi gets the short shrift in all this. Since I ‘got’ her work the moment I saw it, I haven’t really considered it since. Yes, the big big stuff: mortality, consumption, devotion, social performance, cyclical repetition. Nice! Done. I ask Adam if he thinks Amjadi’s work is supposed to be funny. We decide maybe yes, but can’t tell for sure, which I think is great.


This one word thing may not get you back to the mainland, but hopefully it helps you explore the island.


Leia Wambach is a museum and arts education professional based in Minneapolis, MN.



Permeable Bodies in ‘ardcore, a thing like you and me

by Brooks Turner


What does it mean when we place something? To set a glass on a counter, we have placed it, we have given the object a definitive location and context, at least for a moment. This is somewhat mundane as an experience; we constantly set things down, organize, navigate between locations, etc… But equally present in our lives is the experience of un-placeability.

Phenomenological stimuli often trigger vague feelings of deja vu or familiarity, but we are unable to place them within a memory, context, or location. The ability to identify and place objects or feelings into categories is baked deep into our biology. We jump when we see a coiled rope out of the corner of our eye because, on a subconscious level, we have placed the shape of the rope into the category of snake which bears with it the threat of death.

Here we see emerging a complex relationship between shape, image, representation, and meaning. A coiled rope poses no real danger—in fact, it is a tool that can be immensely useful—but, in jumping, the abstracted shape borrows the identity of “snake” and the meaning associated with it. It is unsurprising that given these biological devices, societies and cultures evolved to objectify, categorize, and delineate the material world as well as the behaviors and actions of its participants. For centuries, science and philosophy in Europe grew only in the shadow of the Church, an institution predicated on the categorization of behaviors (and therefore people) as either good or evil. Thus, dualism came to dominate philosophy and science, defining a subject-object dynamic of conscious observer and passive observed. These hard categories establish hierarchies between brain and body, actor and patient, those ordained by history and those at its periphery.

In the 20th century, various scientific discoveries, as well as new philosophies, began dismantling the subject-object duality. The double-slit experiment in quantum physics provided evidence that perception actually changed the way the world structured itself, suggesting that objective reality was determined by subjective observation. Phenomenologists like Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger deconstructed Cartesian dualism and proposed a vision of reality in which the world exists as a unified whole. Graham Harman’s recent interpretation of Heidegger proposed that in using an object, even in simply describing it, we reduce that object to an identity only relevant to human beings, when in reality it is full of far more potential. New Materialist Jane Bennett has proposed “thing-power,” a vision of all matter as quasi-agent, having its own potentialities, trajectories, and tendencies beyond human objectification. The threat of climate change has forced us to see the Earth as a kind of organism, of which we are only one piece. Even the human body itself, which we tend to see as singular, is made up of communities of organisms and interconnected systems working collaboratively to produce this thing called consciousness. More and more, it seems the nature of reality cannot be broken apart into discrete objects, hard categories, or rigidly defined matter. Mind is produced by matter not distinct from it.

However, as observers, we constantly delineate space into discrete objects. We consciously and subconsciously place the things that make up the world into defined categories based on names, types, hierarchies, preferences, and demands. It makes the world easier to consume, to process. And yet in truth, we are set adrift in a world of vibrant material and permeable categories. How do we reconcile the biological and social processes of categorization with the growing awareness of the borderless expanse of indiscernible, indescribable people and things?

On the one hand it seems paradoxical to think that art could be a way to address this issue. Aesthetic judgment begins with sensory discrimination, which reifies the subject-object duality. Artists act as subjects, objectifying their surroundings, their experiences, their emotions, so as to capture them in paint, clay, text, or movement. And yet, art can also act as a means to open up and reveal new kinds of subjectivity and experience. In many ways, art once made is no longer under the control of the artist; it is a meteor hurtling through space on its own trajectory, altered by its encounters with other cosmic bodies and forces. The objectification that occurs in making an artwork is transcended through its ability to cultivate poetic meaning.

Thus, in turning to ‘ardcore, a thing like you and me, Christopher Corey Allen’s new exhibition at Hair and Nails, we experience a landscape of bodies and things that are both placeable and unplaceable within social and physical categories. CCA pictures a world caught between object and subject, adrift in a sea of abstract repetition and incongruous borders.

‘ardcore, a thing like you and meopens with a deep blue, almost purple, room. Or is it a light purple that almost appears blue? A section of chain link fence hangs in the middle of the room, supporting a video work and dividing the front space in two. But the division is provisional and permeable, and through the fence a second video work fills the back wall. On the surrounding walls, different prints hang from grommets piercing the paper. The thump of distant and filtered music vibrates the floor—a physical feeling of distance. Together, these works frame the unplaceable in the context of this exhibition.

In ‘ardkore love parade, a patterned figure stands atop a plinth striking poses against a black background. Like a living sculpture, the figure slowly moves between positions, first contrapposto then crouched down. The features that we might use to identify the figure are obscured, replaced by irregular patterning that slowly changes. An audio track played through headphones accompanies the video. It begins with a single distorted and deepened voice. I felt it was talking to me, but I could only make out fragments of its speech before it faded into the background among people talking, birds chirping, other environmental noises, and a strong metronomic beat. The sounds created a background world, almost filling in the black space around the figure. But, even though I could hear some semblance of a world, I couldn’t place it in a fixed context or reality—like failing to remember the events of a dream despite the clarity of its emotional impression.

Beyond the chain link fence, a figure twists and turns in irregular movements, sometimes multiplying into copies of itself careening through a black background in Take Me With You or Ci Piace In Pace. Like in ‘ardkore love parade, each figure is a silhouette filled with flat patterning but bearing shadows of the creases and folds of a body as it moves. There is a sense of gravity to the movements of each figure, but I’m never quite sure of its orientation. Up is simultaneously down and down is simultaneously up—the figures move simultaneously naturally and simultaneously otherworldly. Close observance of the patterns making up each figure reveal repeated and rotated tiles of shapes and textures that look vaguely bodily without clear referent. Hair protrudes from skin folds, creases and wrinkles overlap in unrecognizable ways, something like intestines zip together.

The same patterns repeat across paper in the prints hanging on the surrounding walls. Rather than cropping the patterns into rectangles, the edges of each print are trimmed to the irregular pattern borders. Chains and metal pegs affixed to the wall penetrate grommets and holes cut in the print, causing the paper to sag and undulate like skinned hides. In this blue/purple room we are given fragments of bodies stripped of identity but performing their physicality. Fragments out of place and in space, distant but present, dream-like but real. To be a body is to feel—physically, emotionally, consciously, instinctually, abstractly, unplaceably. This blue/purple room is a murky landscape of permeable bodies in a world of collapsing categories.

In the small room on the first floor, Boxer(s), a 3-panel video work, displays multiple boxing silhouettes filled with and surrounded by patterning. Silver gloves worn by the patterned silhouettes retain their three-dimensional definition and coloring. The striking clarity of gloves, the only definitive representation of an object on the first floor of Hair and Nails, gives me, for the first time, a category to grab a hold of. From the gloves, I define the abstracted and obscured figures as boxers, even though their movements feel lackadaisically performed. Sounds of boxing gloves making contact with a practice pad provide a soundtrack, but the movements pictured in the video don’t correspond to the fast-paced rhythmic beating. The objects and the objectified figures are disjointed from the background space of the video.

In the basement, Born Slippy, or Born Slippyage, or Born Slippery presents a litany of patterned silhouette characters each wearing a single object, such as a leather jacket or gloves. These club goers perform different personas as a distant but loud beat fills the space. This is what vibrated my feet when I first entered the exhibition. Like Boxer(s), the objects used objectify the wearing subject, categorizing the person as a “type.” It is strange to think that in this work, an object objectifies a subject, even as the object feels out of place in the strange patterned dreamscape of the video.

Through this tangled duality of placeability and unplaceability, the body emerges as the critical entity in Christopher Corey Allen’s work. When specific objects appear in their videos, the body is forced into performing a role. The chains attached to the prints force the paper to sag, which heightens the skin-like quality of these works while also objectifying the body it represents. Without objects, the body is free to move and to morph, to exist outside of prescribed categories or bindings. But, despite all these descriptions, categories, and delineations that CCA uses in their work and I use to describe it, pattern becomes the driving and determining force. Pattern extends into and outside of borders. In the repeating abstract shapes, we can each find our own subjective reading of the images, like finding animals, architecture, people, and monsters in the nebulous shapes of clouds passing overhead. But sometimes it’s more true to let clouds be clouds. To me, this work proposes that we accept unplaceability, that we let the world be a patterned dreamscape and free ourselves to float through it in our own vibrant physicality.


Brooks Turner is an artist, writer, and educator concerned primarily with our existential condition. His work has been exhibited nationally, including recent exhibitions at St. Mary’s University, Steve Turner Contemporary, and College of the Redwoods. He received his MFA in sculpture from UCLA in 2015 and currently adjuncts at St. Cloud State University. 



Form-Making: A Figure Space Report

by Margit Galanter



As so many of us have faced, it is nearly impossible — or in other words, a very fine art — to translate lived experience into language. Yet, this act is somehow nectar. What is more satisfying: accessing the sentences that get close to the mysteries of life as they unfold, or to be engaged in the act of trying?  And how does this project of transducing compare to just doing the thing in real time and space, itself?

Making language is collaborative, syncretic. And yeah, language comes in many forms.

Like this vertical right here in your hands.

As part of Otto Ramstad’s Lineage,I was in Oslo, Norway, April 2019, and the week before Tuning in Brussels. These were two projects both aligned with the work of Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson, and the generations of development that have come from their respective dance works in Material for the Spine and Tuning Scores. In Oslo, Kristin Van Loon, Maura Gahan, Olive Bieringa, and myself were invited by Otto to participate as the live learning context for his project at the arts university of Norway; and in Brussels, we participated in a Tuning Scores convention of practitioners from throughout Europe and the U.S., the first of its kind in some sense (that so many Americans were present). This gathering was on the tail end of a celebration and book launch for Steve Paxton’s beautiful book, Gravity.

Sometimes you get to experience something novel, and it brings you closer to your Work. The conditions offered forums for new form-making.

Lisa and Steve had joined forces several years ago to offer their teaching collaboration “Figure Space,” and this project in Europe was a direct outgrowth of the experiment. These are movement researches, inquiries in spontaneous composition, with layers of observations that explicate and teach us about action as it is forming. These experimental practices grow through doing, in interdependence with the people who do them, and the places where they are done. Somehow this is one of the gifts of embodied practice, — that it is only through the doing that the work continues to grow and breathe, and it’s through them we access our own growing in the world. They are living systems that are contextually located.

In Brussels, there is a group that meets regularly and has adopted a chance-based, non-facilitative method for Tuning; they roll a die, and with their pre-determined six tuning score options, one is “chosen”, and they practice it for three hours. We all gathered from multiple countries and first languages, and found a surprising ease entering into practice together. We were based at the new and visionary TicTac space, a massive studio, courtyard, cafe, rest spaces, and resident housing. On Sunday, we wrote scores on pieces of paper, and in smaller groups, went for it > we dove into chance. In my smaller group, there was a lively mix of set and unset, as we created our own warm-up, and then practiced the score “Go.” We chose colored pencils to use as similar objects, and in a small image space we made single movement propositions with our pencils (pencil-body-beings-in-place). We watched how the score stayed its course, and where it expanded through the cumulative nature of time and desires. Tuning is a score that grows from sensations, opinions, and appetites, enacted and made explicit through our individual and “collective measuring” (Charlie Morrissey, UK). What was so salient was how having a shared practice enabled us both to move together as a large group, and also have tools to decide how to proceed, — context, content and form, all expressed through Tuning.

In Oslo, so much. Teaching beautiful BA students and community dancers, practicing scores of our own collective creation in “Open Studio” time in Otto’s installation, watching his performance many many times and finding more layers, the vagaries and learning of collective decision-making.

With the BA students, working with an academic context, I offered Material for the Spine as a source for growing language from our body’s knowing. I facilitated formal, bodily, sensorial practice in MFS as a jumping point for creating ideas. The flows and directionalities in the imaging of MFS attenuate us to the sensation of lines and flow, which in turn brings forth a capacity to form language and thought. We worked off of Steve’s phrasing: “Drafting Interior Techniques.” We alternated between movement action and writing, talking, and from it some new language emerged, and the space supported the conservatory students to access their own inquiries.

Over a weekend, Kristin, Maura, and I co-taught through the organization PRAXIS, – we were to explore different facets of Figure Space.I was lucky to teach after the other two, to be in response to their unique ways of bringing these materials together – a symphony of tones. It was Sunday morning. The group was much smaller at first, then grew. We invoked a dojo, epigenetically. I wanted to work off of what had been offered, to give a sense of practice and at the same time offer from my own mixing. The class was a meditation on “figure” “space” and “figure space” – we found these, we blurred them, we clarified them, all through the action of the materials of rolling, intentional eye movements, warm-up exercises, tuning practices > tuning the techniques and puzzling the senses. A highlight was doing Puzzle #1 in a big circle, feeling the larger circulation pattern as each person circled around themself. We found softening in our movement and the environment through sensing as we moved.

From the book Interdependence: Biology and Beyond: “There is no peeking at the world independent of perceptions” (Kriti Sharma). The whole idea that it depends > that there is anit that depends > that it depends; our senses evolve through our actions, the forms grow through our approximations, there is nothing unitary, we are the multitudes, we are always changing, and we are literally in interaction. These forms are growing through our actions, and everything we touch changes us.

So with this, what is a line? A line of thought, a projection, a proposition. A shape, a form, a pattern? How are the many ways we make by following our fascinations? And in turn, breathing new forms……


Margit Galanter is a movement artist, educator and choreographer living in the Bay Area, California. She is the initiator of the vivid grove ~ a field for moving, learning, creative evolution, and collective liberatory practices.



Meg Stuart: Until Our Hearts Stop

HAU, Berlin.  April 24, 2019

by Sean Smuda


Dance theater is similar to opera, its conceits can be ridiculously dramatic, but also express the behavioral modifications needed to extend life’s possibilities, examine its shortcomings, and put them in perspective. In it there is much that is neither dance nor theater, but a subtlety that is in the heart of the beholder and in the best case a series of uncomfortably emotional states that ring hard, true, soaring. Its subtleties are also in the pocket of the beholder, in the dirtiest, most intimate sense.

Meg Stuart’s long-touring show “Until Our Hearts Stop” does not drop its invention to intention ratio for its 2+ hours. It magnetizes by its sheer over-the-top cultural condensing, deconstruction, self-deprecating dénouement, and free whiskey passed out by the actors about halfway in.

In Berlin, where art seems to live and die by research and thesis, Stuart’s work serves as a meta-relief. The grounding of “Until Our Hearts Stop Beating” is duration, variation, and reconfiguration —more or less everything that it is possible to do with the human body. Doughy, membranous pretzel mountains are formed and torn asunder by the nine players on stage as a group, in pairs, etc., until three emerge as a real band, clothes come off others, and asses are played like instruments. Angst, aggression, affection, and blind repetition follow as the six remaining performers cycle through groupings and scenarios. It climaxes with two naked women hijacking the band and screaming out a Punk performance, then an exhausted aftermath of rebuilding.

The audience must also recover, and the forth wall becomes a drive-through window. Orders are taken from the stage for booze, fruit, and snacks. Clichés and devices gain momentum as we loosen up and settle into a long diatribe by a magician dishing to his confidant/mother about the theater world (aka Life). The disappearing of an audience member in a mirrored box becomes a layer of the self as it dissolves into gossip, self-doubt, lashing out, and weariness. Finally, the monolog ends, the energy flattens, and then reverses, with a question from one of the beautiful actors, “Will someone come home me tonight?” Hands go up, then the question is elaborated, “To unplug my toilet? It’s been running for three days”. This ante is scaled and re-scaled as the audience is directly challenged to give the actors all their drugs and money for a night we’ll never forget, then an appeal to the millionaires present, if any, promising to end up via caravan in Russia and capture the last wild wolf. From the ecstatic applause and looks, I think that this does indeed happen after each show, which is why it is both the never-ending tour, and what the heart does at any given second.


Sean Smuda is doing a triple book launch in Berlin.



The Body, Labor, and History in Catherine Sullivan’s The Startled Faction

by Brooks Turner


Spanning several years of production, Catherine Sullivan’s exhibition The Startled Factionat Hair and Nails explores different conceptions of labor, history, body, and performance. Each work exists for its own ends, but themes overlap and blend into each other. The eponymous work of the exhibition takes an abstract approach to representing ambiguous labor, setting this contemporary occurrence within the history of labor uprising in America. Eternal Resting, a film collaboration with the Warsaw-based Teatr Opera Buffa on view in the basement, explores labor through a script written by Katarzyna Winska and improvisation from the troop of actors. In both works, the stage (whether literal or implied) becomes a space to think through collective or shared movement and action, the props and sets a representation of place in time and history. The movements of each body, as well as its costume, captures abstractly the individual, subject to the social and historical forces of time and space.

“Entropy, Em-tropy, Empa-trophy,” an actor declares in The Startled Faction (a sensitivity training), enacting the entropic process while she speaks. What is work’s entropy? How do our bodies exist within history? What labor do we perform in mind and body for ends other than our own?


“Cross the line if…”


The first few times I watched The Startled Faction, I felt compelled to decode the script. The dialogue guiding the film is poetic and idiosyncratic, corresponding abstractly rather than demonstratively or literally with the narrative arch. I stuck on to a recurring phrase, a kind of call and response:

“Cross the line if you can take a job without your coworkers suspecting you got it because of your race or gender.”

“Cross the line if you were raised by a single parent.”

“Cross the line if you are an only child.”

“Cross the line if you’ve told a racist joke.”

“Cross the line if you’ve had to answer for your entire race or gender as if you were the expert.”

To cross a line indicates a transgression of some sort. In pulling apart this metaphor, physical spaces delineated by borders become representative of actions that are morally or socially acceptable or unacceptable. Crossing the line is indicative of transitioning from a socially acceptable space to one that is unacceptable through action.

We are never told what boundary the line represents, or what spaces of action they delineate. Both the privileged and the disadvantaged are instructed to “cross the line.” Do they both cross the same line? Do they cross in opposite directions? The line never appears literally in the film, and no character clearly performs the action of crossing a line. Different characters issue these instructions, but all seem spoken from the same voice. The phrase becomes mystical, almost as if ceremonially conjuring a god.

Eternal Resting is a striking contrast. When I entered the basement I focused on reading the subtitles. The film flows into a script then out of it and into explorative and speculative conversations. Most of the action is staged on a balcony several stories up in the midst of Warsaw, Poland. In one scene the camera moves inside, following a strip of blue tape placed about halfway up the wall and encircling the entire apartment. Aesthetically, the line divides the space into a top and bottom. While no one appears in the frame, a body in this space would be divided in half by the line. Together these films address a host of questions, perhaps most critically: what is it to be a body divided by an invisible line?

Each instruction to “cross the line” becomes a moment to meditate on your own identity and experiences. When do I cross the line? Who else would cross with me? What does the implication of line-crossing say about me? This is the only unifying aspect of the instruction: the implication of identity and personal experience. Within the context of employment and labor, identity and personal experience exist at odds with the corporate enterprise which increasingly desires machines over humans. This is made especially clear when a computer-generated voice issues instructions: “…Cross the line if you have feigned incompetence. Cross the line if you have conspicuously demonstrated fatigue…” By “crossing the line” and implicating aspects of identity or actions, regardless of privilege or power, we make ourselves vulnerable to the corporate enterprise. This is inherently dehumanizing—an irony given the status of corporations as humans within our legal structure.

Within this dynamic, a struggle evolves between forces of objectification and the embodied soul. Resistance is perhaps to occupy the interstitial space of the line rather than set yourself within a border.


“Recreation makes Free”


Above the entrance to many of their concentration camps, the Nazis set the phrase, “Work will set you free.” This false promise represented hope for Jews forcibly imprisoned. But, freedom was death, not liberation. The American Dream traffics in a similar promise: anyone who works hard can have true freedom. The political circumstances of endless debt and corporate welfare, driving income inequality and un-livable wages thrive on this false promise. Eternal Resting opens at a retreat for workaholics learning how to engage in leisure time. In one group session, the leader exclaims, “Recreation makes free,” which the group repeats in unison. This phrase rejects labor exploitation and the systems that have sought to imprison people through work. True freedom is achieved through recreation, for what is freedom if not play?

Later in the film, an actor discusses the advantage of working as a janitor: he “doesn’t know anything, doesn’t have any skills. And this is precisely what his job is…. What’s the effect of this not thinking? It’s that he’s saving his brain, right? And then when he needs this brain, it has freshness for different activities than work. Why work?”

When we turn to TheStartled Faction, freedom is absent. Dancers mime sewing, sweeping, washing, the movement of industrial mechanisms and laborers, or the affect of office workers. Their actions are limited by work as an abstraction, a false god. Even when the characters dance to “The Nitty Gritty” or mime protest actions, their bodies are not free, but bound by the shapes of history. An actor demands: “Everybody make a shape with your body.” The labor we perform writes itself into our bodies; inherently the shapes our bodies make become written into our souls.


“There’s so much we didn’t cover.”


In the The Startled Faction, the film dialogue follows an idiosyncratic and chaotic logic. It resists decoding at every turn, embracing paradox and contradiction. By attempting to decode the text, I missed so much of the visual language of the film. But similarly, when I turned my attention only to the visual character, I missed aspects of the dialogue because of its non-linear nature. In Eternal Resting, the dialogue is written out as subtitles, translating in English the spoken Polish across the bottom of the screen. Reading the subtitles naturally shifts attention to the text, pushing the action of the film into a kind of background space. To focus on the details of the setting and characters is to miss some aspect of what they say. Fluency in Polish might help bridge this disconnect, but text always makes the disconnect present. The dialogue and action in these films both requires and obscures each other. The experience of watching the film becomes an impression of a feeling, an object partially formed by the illusions of memory, dreams, and hallucinations.

At this macro-view, we can similarly consider the structure of each film. Eternal Restinglacks a title screen. The action of the film is largely seated conversation, a brief interlude of the interior of an apartment and another later of actors playing music on a roof. Throughout the film, there is no indication of the passage of time; conversation is concerned with the present and speculations of the future. The film ends by fading to black before looping back to the opening scene. This loop, uninterrupted by titles and credits, allows the conversation to always stay present, never to enter the past. The Startled Factionbegins and ends in the same small conference room. In the final scene, the characters indicate awareness of the passing of time within the context of the film:

“I need some time to unsee;

“Adapt to this discovery;

“I have not crossed the line, but I should have at some point in this exercise;

“There’s so much we didn’t cover.”

Even though time has passed, the absence of evolution and resolution implicates the drama sandwiched between these conference room meetings will continue on and on, even though the credits roll.


“Imagination is the Spiritual Sphere of Humanity.”


In The Startled Faction, a relationship to history is filtered through the 1954 film Salt of the Earth, a fictionalized retelling of the 1951 Mexican-American union strike against the Empire Zinc Company in New Mexico. Made at the height of McCarthyism by blacklisted Hollywood professionals, some of whom had been jailed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Salt of the Earth was itself blacklisted but found a following of leftists and unionists in America and abroad. The history of protest is traced from this period into the present through costumes and set pieces: women dressed as 1950s domestic laborers intermingle with men wearing polos, and other women in skirt suits. These characters move through spaces that sometimes mimic a hollowed-out brick factory interior, sometimes a sterile office space. Posters at the end of sticks declare “We are tired of living in debt,” echoing 21st century concerns tied to the ballooning cost of education and housing, stagnant wages, and the automation of industry. To contemplate history is to enter it in some regard, and when we do, the events of history become transformed within our imagination. The Startled Factionis a reminder that history rhymes, its poetry repeating through our collective imagination.

Eternal Restingaddresses this directly in an improvised sequence spoken by an older male actor in a suit: “Imagination is a spiritual sphere of humanity, and just like Mariola said about her faith and faith [sic.] and religion… likewise I would like to say that this spiritual element of a human being is not evident within what he leaves behind. Nevertheless it shapes the individuality of a person…” If the spiritual dimension of a human being is not evident in the past, then it only exists in the present. The events of history—what we have left behind—are merely recorded facts, a collection of inert objects. In the present the facts and objects enter our individual and collective imaginations, informing the spiritual dimension of humanity. History becomes, unwillingly, myth. But, myth can be dangerous; myth is the historical currency of fascism, which seeks to define an imagined character for a race of people from the spiritualization of history.

But the character of Sullivan’s films are in line with Beckett and Brecht rather than Riefenstahl, even as history becomes spiritualized and mythologized in her work. Her relationship to history is shamanic, swirling together spirits that are both and neither good and/nor evil. The chaos of logic, embrace of paradox, futile or mundane action, and absence of a glorified conclusion in these films build an aesthetics against fascism. Truth, both for an individual body and a social group, is chaotic, paradoxical, spiritual, and mundane.


Brooks Turner is an artist, writer, and educator concerned primarily with our existential condition. His work has been exhibited nationally, including recent exhibitions at St. Mary’s University, Steve Turner Contemporary, and College of the Redwoods. He received his MFA in sculpture from UCLA in 2015 and currently adjuncts at St. Cloud State University. 



Social Distortion: The Startled Faction


Hair + Nails Gallery

by Kevin Obsatz


It’s hard to put a screen into a gallery in an interesting way – I’ve seen lots of provisional solutions to this problem, some more complex and intricate than others, with varying degrees of success.

So, I want to say first of all, that I think the installation of Catherine Sullivan’s work at the Hair + Nails Gallery in Minneapolis is about as good as it gets. Simple, thoughtful, and effective – neither drawing attention to itself nor fully disappearing into the architecture of the space.

The video projector is mounted to the ceiling, and projects onto a simple, folding screen about 8 or 9 feet wide, placed on a tripod in the middle of the space. The film itself is “anamorphic widescreen,” meaning wider than widescreen, about 2.4 times as wide as it is tall – so the projection screen is only a little bit unscrolled – perhaps three feet vertically, suspended at eye level in the center of the room, walls all around painted a dark gray or black.

There’s something about this set of installation choices that to me fits perfectly with the size and shape and theme and tone of the film itself – unifying the experience of seeing the work on several levels at once.

Anamorphic is epic – it’s a format that was first applied to cinema in the 1950s, when it was trying to compete with the small, square-ish black and white box of television. Movies responded with color and scope, getting as big and impressive as they could. That shape of frame was achieved on a film strip with a specially shaped lens which distorted the image by squeezing it – and then another special lens was needed on the projector to unsqueeze the image, making it appear relatively accurate in dimensions, though there is still some additional distortion around the edges.

And, as a filmmaker, I can tell you that anamorphic widescreen is also particularly difficult to work with – though it can create a beautiful, wide-open feeling landscape shot for a western, it’s also, in its own way, a very narrow slot through which to view the world, particularly anything that isn’t carefully arranged along a horizontal axis.

In a small space, crowded with human figures and other visual information, it can also evoke a particular feeling of claustrophobia because it kind of sees everything, all at once – and requires an active effort on the part of the audience to track what’s going on across the frame.

I think that this single decision, on the part of Catherine Sullivan and her team, is a remarkably bold choice, and I feel that I can see them all working hard – the director, cinematographer, and cast – to use that eccentric rectangle to the limits of its aesthetic and narrative capacities.




Through that 9-foot portal in the gallery, we peer into an enclosed space which we never leave throughout the duration of the 35-minute piece. The Startled Factionappears to have been created and realized within a sort of studio or warehouse space that is completely self-contained and has been thoroughly built and lit as a sort of enclosed ecosystem, a biodome, for these nine performers.

In the beginning all the perfomers are crammed into one frame in a much-too-small office-y space, lit by cringingly bright overhead lights, though we can see clearly through a doorway to a much larger, presumeably more comfortable and open space beyond.

The subtitle of the piece is (a sensitivity training)and the content of the dialogue is familiar to anyone who has found themselves in such a (usually mandatory) corporate training session, but the arrangement and delivery of the text is beautifully balanced between the natural and the uncanny. Characters deliver lines that we’ve all heard before, somewhere, but it’s never quite clear who they’re talking to, and the relationships between one line and the next have a delicious amount of slippage, so they’re constantly on the verge of making sense and actually communicating something meaningful and constantly falling back into abstraction, from words grouped together meaning something specific to a series of sounds, like when you stare at a word on a page until it stops making sense. Sense. Sense. Sense. Sense. Sense. Sense.

Sitting in a folding chair in the gallery in front of the wide wide screen, I was acutely aware of my own discomfort, and my unwillingness to sit still and participate for the full 35 minutes of the piece, since I had a choice – I could get up and walk around the space, look at the printed didactic, my phone, the other people passing through the gallery.

I actually had a better viewing experience later on my laptop, with headphones – simply because I had made the decision to press play and planned to stick with the piece from start to finish.

Which makes me think about the challenges of long-form moving image work in a gallery setting in general, what it means to experience maybe 90 seconds of such a piece while in motion through the galleries, and if this one, like sensitivity training itself, really requires the emotional commitment and buy-in of a venue where you feel the weight of the expectation to stay throughout, from beginning to end.




Because we don’t stay stuck in the small office forever – the characters start twitching and moving, and before long we’re out into more of an open studio, with more theatrical lighting, and there is really glorious movement, sharp, subtle, sometimes violent, bodies contorting on foot, in chairs, on tables, on the floor.

I’m not a choreographer so I can’t get too deep into the description of the movement itself – only that I found it so welcome, in direct contrast to everyone standing uncomfortably close and seated in the small room together.

I thought about how, in all of the sensitivity trainings I’ve been a part of, there’s so many words – talking and powerpoint and handouts and Q&As – and how distinctly I remember becoming aware of my body in the chair, squirming and shifting my weight. How much I wanted to move, and I wanted all of us to move, and I wanted movement to be allowed, and how necessary it is, maybe, to engage the body and the sense of touch and kinetic presence in a room together as well as merely the mind and the voice, when the subject is anything interpersonally important.

Perhaps all corporate training, and all conflict resolution and restorative justice for that matter, needs to be danced and felt rather than merely discussed. And maybe it is, maybe that’s already happening, just not in the corporate settings where I’ve experienced these conversations.

Just as the dialogue sort of free-associates itself, shaping these characters and their relationships and conflicts through diffraction rather than direct address, the narrative unfolds at the very edges of making any sense, and loops and spirals and returns to words we’ve heard before, motions we’ve seen transposed and re-deployed in different bodies.




Throughout the piece the frame is full, so much is happening in the foreground and the background, it’s really a visual feast, which I know from experience is SO HARD to execute and somehow make it look easy. Having action in the foreground and background of a shot at the same time can be a matter of fractions of inches in blocking and choreography and camera movement and lighting, and somehow the camera gets moving as well, tilting vertiginously to take in towering figures and others splayed out on the floor, sometimes within the same shot, even.

One other technical piece of cinematographic trickery – there’s a diopter employed in some shots in the latter part of the film, a kind of prism used to split the focus in a film frame so that something in the foreground can be sharp at the same time as something in the background. Only here too there’s slippage – and it’s something I’ve never seen before in all of the hundreds of films I’ve seen.

The line dividing the planes of focus drifts slowly from one object to another, rendering our own view of one character in a kind of split, sharp on one side and soft on another, a choice, again so simple but simultaneously so complex – to make the familiar uncanny, to make us question the entire mechanism of the moving image, the very idea that what we see, through this device, can be described as objectively sharp, right or true.




This is, necessarily, an incomplete report on The Startled Faction (a sensitivity training) — there’s much more to it, it’s an incredibly dense 35 minute experience, even if you do stay through from start to finish, multiple times.

I left it feeling inspired by the sheer scope of possibility, what one can do with the tools of cinema in a fine art setting, with a dozen immensely talented people in a few rooms, in a wide and simultaneously narrow frame, in 35 minutes, which is both remarkably quick and also an eternity in a gallery. How many layers are possible, how much can be going on in there. How good corporate sensitivity training could actually be, if it were allowed to get really weird.


Kevin Obsatz is a filmmaker and media artist based in Minneapolis.  He. teaches experimental film and narrative video at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere, and curates the screening series Cellular Cinema (



The afterlife of our economic pursuits

By Genevieve DeLeon



O shabti, alloted to me, if I be summoned of or if I be detailed to do any work which has to be done in the realm of the dead; if indeed obstacles are implanted for you therewith as a man at his duties, you shall detail yourself for me on every occasion of making arable the fields, of flooding the banks, or of conveying sand from east to west; `Here am I’, you shall say.

          –Spell 6, Egyptian Book of the Dead

Shabti dolls, funerary figures in ancient Egypt, accompanied the deceased to the after-life. Just as work was expected of the subjects of that dynasty during their time in this world, so would toil be expected of those same individuals after death. The dolls, which were buried with mummies in numbers proportional to wealth, were to take on their work, should obstacles arise (

For ancient Egyptians, work continued across the divide, as, of course, did the class system that structured it. This was the correctfunction of humankind in the maintenance of the natural order. No peace in rest; no definitive rest, period. And the kings wouldn’t have it any other way.


Eternal Resting, a 31-minute video looped on a TV screen in the basement of the Hair + Nails Gallery as part of Catherine Sullivan’s show, The Startled Faction, presents three theatrical acts performed by the Teatr Opera Buffa Warsaw (TOB), staged in a pavilion located near Old Town in Warsaw, Poland.

On the basement floor just beyond the TV screen: Never Resting. There’s a tapestry bearing pictorial art characteristic of ancient Egypt encircled by objects, fashioned by the TOB, which replicate objects made and used by Cricot 2, a Polish experimental theatre company founded in 1955 by the avant-garde artist and theatre director, Tadeusz Kantor (

As the video opens, we find ourselves in the fictionalized Becêtre Hotel, first, for a “gala of labor leaders” (“100 employers and their employees”); then, for a retreat for workaholics; and, finally, decades later, among the hotel’s ruins, for an archeological dig.

(The name Becêtre, perhaps meant to recall the Bicêtre Hospital, the 18th-century asylum for men located in Paris, takes on special relevance when one learns that the TOB includes company members living with schizophrenia. But more on Bicêtre later.)

Eternal Resting, for me, is a meditation on how labor and capital reaches across everydivide.  The grind of work shapes relations, keeps time, generates cultures and psychologies. It pulses from and permeates to every corner of our lives. Eternal Restingtakes up, with great experimentation, the realities of that labor, digging through the ruins of its early dreams of progress.

Denizens of the gig economy, many artists shed the few protections afforded to workers under good circumstances. We are 9-5-free but also retirement-free; there is no peace in our rest, either. Arts work is our economic pursuit.

And art objects and their ancillaries (documentations of performance and theater props included) hold a special place in the landscape of labor and capital, as well. Born from arts work, these objects bear its insignia and, at an unstable price, circulate its legacy to viewers across epochs. They are art work’s afterlife.

Sullivan’s positioning of Eternal Restingand Never RestingwithinThe Startled Factionmakes questions of labor and social life specific to the discourses of contemporary art and objecthood in the space of the gallery.


The “gala” of the first act begins with an abundance of absurd pageantry. Champagne flows “until the bottom of the night.” We learn those present are “driven and enthusiastic,” that employees enjoy social benefits afforded by great profit. And yet we are haunted by the preamble, whose list of vocal forms includes “arias,” “fanfare,” and the whisper “should I hide my disability or not?”

(Though initially a hospital in which patients were “routinely shackled” (Britannica), Bicêtre is highlighted in the last chapter of Foucault’s Madness and Civilizationfor the work of its chief physician Philippe Pinel, pioneer of “moral therapy,” said, famously, to have unchained the patients, introducing “humane” interventions within the asylum.)

Guests at the “gala” undergo a variety of activities–there’s a job fair, for example: “We are looking for workers in the following fields…Volunteer by raising your hand. Job is abroad.” As the act proceeds, the dialogue flickers between the assured rhetoric of the employer-and-employee exchange (“I truly love my work”; “One must have hope that business will be worth your while…”)–and interjections of a more human voice, which foreground the complexities of a personal dilemma.

(And yet Foucault is quick to assert this regime, which aimed to use religious principles “as a means of cure,” simply engendered a shackeling by other means. Centering moralization in the care of these patients situated them in an” element” where they would “be in debate with [themselves] and [their] surroundings,” constituting “a milieu” in which they would “be kept in a perpetual anxiety, ceaselessly threatened by Law and Transgression.”)

One character, for example, states: “I would like to become a washroom attendant because most of society likes people who do physical work that requires no thinking.” Another musing (“When a shoe is comfortable a person can let his feet take a rest, they can rest in peace…”) leads to an extended rumination on shoes and feet from the time of the ancient Egyptians to accounts of the present.

(If physical schakeling enabled “terrors” to “surround madness from the outside,” Foucault argued, the fear instituted at his “Retreat” “passe[d] between reason and madness” like a “mediation.” No longer visible, fear was now imbued with a “‘power of disalienation,” which bound “the madman” and “the man of reason” in “solidarity.” Madness would no longer “cause fear,” it would simply “be afraid, without recourse or return” thus “entirely in the hands of the pedagogy of good sense, of truth, and of morality” (241-245).)

In this way, the script of Eternal Resting, crafted by Katarzyna Wińska, enacts a surreal and participatory performance, inviting company members to read lines and to speak freely, improvising within its loose framework. Dressed in plain clothes and reading from paper scripts, company members do not assume fixed character roles, at least not for long.

(Labor and its many cultures shackle…

Each act, instead, establishes a situation in which single lines and monologues can become systems unto themselves. The spoken text provides information, full of emotional inflection, deepening our immersion in the situation, but refuses, importantly, to orient us to that situation’s many moving parts. And, in the second and third acts, the absurdism only deepens.

…by means no “retreats for workaholics” can undo.)

Released from the burden of linear narrative, without a thrust of action or a set of archetypes to identify with, we, too, as viewers find a certain freedom. Our empathy roves and waffles, fixing, for example, on personality or the specificity and expressiveness of each company member’s performance rather than their function within the whole.


Beyond the script, the space of performance on view in Eternal Restingis spare; folding chairs cluster in unadorned rooms characterized by slight disrepair. The lighting is natural: the rooms with windows are sun-lit, those without are not. Though we are contained for the duration of the acts within the premises of the pavilion, the staging of the acts roams from room to room.

Additionally, footage of each act is pieced together from documentation of various rehearsals there. A video clip of a scene might jump from footage of one rehearsal to that of another, from a configuration of the company members in one corner of a room to that of the members in another corner, all without interrupting the flow of the text or the time.

The camera, too, roams of its own accord–even, at times, straying from the company members. Well into the first act, cued by a line from a company member (“And here something appears on the screen, right?”) the camera’s eye turns out from the pavilion onto the neo-classical and 1960s-era buildings nearby. We zero in on an apartment. Perhaps it is the apartment of Polish avant-garde artist Edward Krasiński, whom we learn from a text accompanying the video, is situated on the same block.

As if the mere proximity of Krasiński’s abode could conjure his art, later, after the camera returns to the pavilion’s interior, we find a number of rooms bearing Krasiński’s signature blue scotch tape adhered like a watermark at chest level moving across walls, molding, cabinets, a refrigerator. We become immersed in that installation as a situation of its own, unpeopled and expanding across rooms that were, before, hidden from view.

(The absence of Krasiński in the presence of a signature of his work gives us a key to the video Eternal Restingitself, which navigates to the space of this gallery without company members in tow. The project’s relationship to Sullivan is circuitous. It is a welcome affront to straight-forward notions of authorship. And the same is true of the replicas of Kantor’s objects on the floor near the TV screen.

Art objects communicate inscrutably, in ciphers, shedding their makers and the conditions of their making over time. How are art objects inscribed with the labor of their making and the history of their usage? What hope do we have to recover those histories?

There isthe project of archaeology, as suggested by the third act ofEternal Resting. But what can archaeology tell us, for example, about the affective density a piece had at the time of its completion? Archaeology’s questions are too narrow. One must re-encounter an object in a context that accommodates emotional andintellectual complexity to begin to answer questions like these. Sullivan poses the gallery as that remedial space, as one in which objects might live their own lives.)


In all this, I should say, there is great pleasure. Sullivan’s posing is through pleasure.

Especially: the pleasure of over-stimulation. We shift in step with the actors’ performances and the rapid clip of footage splicing. Our head swivels from screen to object on the basement, from shoe mold to champagne cooler.

Prismatic exchanges–between actor and text, actor and actor, object and object–become totalizing. And our expectation for “progress” or straight-forward answers yields, like a sigh of relief, to the piece’s on-goingness – a resting whichmight very well unfold ceaselessly if allowed.


Where do these works leave us?

When beginning the task of this review, the first step I took was to transcribe the subtitles from the first act of Eternal Resting. As I transcribed, I found myself responding to Katarzyna Wińska’s script, imbued by the improvisation of her company members, with notes of my own. I began to annotate, to write – to transgress the transcription and the genre of review – to explore the broader project at work of nesting. Works within works; readymades within readymades.

Director: Move your glass…Savor the wine…Think how happy you are, smile!

Pleasure generates. These objects invite us to act in kind, to engage with the process of their making, however many degrees removed. Stack this pleasure against the false promises of progress that labor and capital offer and see what happens.


Genevieve DeLeon is an artist and poet. Her drawings and paintings have been exhibited at the Tessellate Gallery, DC Artspace, the Washington Studio School, and the Yellow Barn Gallery. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Ekphrasis, and Poet Lore. She is a recent alum of Cranbrook Academy of Art and an AICAD post-graduate teaching fellow at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.