Nov 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm
The landscape is an event
With Caitlin Berrigan, Courtney Stephens & Mathilde Walker-Billaud
The event is a narrative
(or is it)
The event is a landscape
(or is it)
The landscape is an event
Caitlin Berrigan and Courtney Stephens take us into the deep time of physics and geology. Both artists investigate how human events and emotions reverberate through the environment and landscapes. They transpose observational codes and instruments in the realm of lived experience to reflect on power, memory and trauma. As they infiltrate the“objective” gaze, they propose alternative epistemologies of seeing and sensing. Their films operate as a disorienting and feminist techno-scientific fiction, an embodied and materialist meditation on patriarchal violence and history.
As part of the series “What You Get Is What You See,” this program will reflect on the tight relation between the physics and the politics of spectatorship. Examining how the time, scope and scale of materiality can be used to structure a narrative, the participants will wonder (again): can personal/political/global catastrophe be spectated?
Performative Reading, Caitlin Berrigan, 10 min.
Imaginary Explosions is an artist book, a book of poetry and topological delineation. Its pages explore geological ruptures, the immense scale and deep time of sexual violence, and the ways traumas reverberate through bodies across multiple generations of relationships and families.
Video, Courtney Stephens, 9 min.
In her work, Stephens explores codified language systems to convey lived experience. She represents disturbances that surfaces only in the gaps between statements.
Screening and Presentation
Imaginary Explosions, Caitlin Berrigan, 20 min.
In Caitlin Berrigan’s pseudo-science fiction Imaginary Explosions, a group of transfeminist geologists investigate volcanoes, remote-sensing laboratories, and geological survey sites across the world, conspiring to erupt all of Earth’s volcanoes simultaneously. These scientists operate with the desires of mineral earth for radical, planetary transformation. Made with real life collaborators, Imaginary Explosions is an exercise in feminist affiliation, climate reparation and cosmology creation. It is a sensory ethnographic observational method that inhabits technoscientific imaginations and epistemologies.
Caitlin Berrigan works across performance, video, sculpture, text and public choreographies to engage with the intimate and embodied dimensions of power, politics, and capitalism. She has created special commissions for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Harvard Carpenter Center, and the deCordova Museum. Her work has shown at Storefront for Art & Architecture, Hammer Museum, Anthology Film Archives, LACMA, Goldsmith’s London, Homeworks Beirut, and the Vancouver Olympics, among others. She has received grants & residencies from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Graham Foundation, PROGRAM for Art & Architecture Berlin, Wassaic Project, and Akademie Schloss Solitude. She holds a Master’s in visual art from MIT and a B.A. from Hampshire College. She is a professor of emerging media at NYU Tisch Photography & Imaging.
Courtney Stephens is a filmmaker and programmer based in Los Angeles. She has combined her interest in geography and archives into live essay-documentary, curated programs, alongside her work in experimental documentary. Her films have screened at SXSW, The Wexner Center for the Arts, UnionDocs, Anthology Film Archives, Mumbai International Film Festival, Dhaka International Film Festival, and elsewhere. She co-programs the film and lecture series Veggie Cloud, and has presented events at The Getty Museum, REDCAT, AM-London, Art Contemporary Los Angeles, Human Resources, the Velaslavasay Panorama, and ongoingly at Veggie Cloud’s space in Los Angeles. Stephens attended the American Film Institute, is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Sloan Scholarship, and periodically lectures on subjects relating to film and geography at the Royal Geographical Society, London.
Mathilde Walker-Billaud is an independent curator and cultural producer based in New York, City. She trained and worked as an art editor in Paris. As a Program Director at the cultural services of the French Embassy in New York City, she organized multidisciplinary programs related to fiction and non fiction writings translated from French. She also co-programmed and produced five editions of the international festival of performances and ideas “Walls and Bridges” for Villa Gillet in New York City. For UnionDocs, Walker-Billaud programs workshops and hosts a series of mixed media talks about spectatorship “What You Get Is What You see” which featured Nora Chipaumire, Luc Sante, David Levine, DJ /rupture, Melanie Bonajo, Martha Rosler, Lawrence Abu Hamdan and more.
About the Series - What You Get is What You See
Filmmakers, artists and writers share their personal observations as viewers, readers, watchers, listeners and audience members. It is a critical space where reception is scrutinized and disentangled, where viewership is exposed as an everyday political act.
This series gives us the opportunity to review the traditional binaries attached to spectatorship: individual/collective, author/spectator, active/passive, life/art, real/fake and discuss the relevance of these terminologies today. This feels critically important as we increasingly rely on digital data and mediated experiences, as we navigate a society that has totally integrated and embraced the spectacular.
Focusing more on the process than the result, the program also highlights the role of spectatorship in creative practice.