All posts tagged: Rochester

(In)Visibility: Film Series at the Dryden Theatre

This fall, InVisible Culture proudly publishes its 25th issue, Security and Visibility, which considers the relationship between surveillance and the visual arts. In honor of this milestone, members of InVisible Culture‘s Editorial Board are working in collaboration with Jurij Meden, Curator of Film Exhibitions at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY and Tara Najd Ahmadi, University of Rochester Fellow at the George Eastman Museum, to present a film series that expands Issue 25’s theme into a cinematic register. The act of looking inherently structures the relation between the spectator and the viewed subject in dynamic terms. Traditionally, the viewer is understood to occupy a position of control over the subject of his or her gaze. This series, titled (In)Visibility, highlights the complexities of this association: what happens when the observer becomes vulnerable, and how can the observed find power in being watched? Set in a variety of locations, from the fashion world of 1970s New York City to an angel-occupied 1980s West Berlin to a contemporary militarized zone in Afghanistan, these films reveal the precarious nature of viewing, and remind …

Fieldnotes from the Hy Meisel Slide Collection

Written by Ali Feser An inquiry into the senses, in this light, directs us beyond the faculties of a subject to the transfers, exchanges, and attachments that hinge the body to its environment. Objects are endowed with histories of sensory experience, stratified with a plurality of perceptual possibilities.1 Outbreaks of nostalgia often follow revolution.2 Hy Meisel lived his entire life in Rochester from 1895 to 1980, and he worked as a machinist for Eastman-Kodak, which has been based there since the 1880s. Though Kodak now employs only a couple thousand workers, it was the city’s largest employer for most of the twentieth century. From census records I know that Hy didn’t finish high school but could read and write. While growing up, his family moved frequently to different homes in the same predominantly German neighborhood. His father was a sometimes preacher; they often took in boarders. I found Hy’s draft card and the passenger list from his cruise to Guatemala. I learned that Hy never married, that he never had kids. Much of this is …

“The Sundance Kid is Beautiful with Christopher Knowles” at the University of Rochester

A longtime collaborator of the artist Christopher Knowles once said, “everything Christopher knows makes sense, but not in the way we are familiar with.”[1] Indeed, Knowles’s work functions according to its own logic. Articles and prepositions propagate in excess. Single words, groups of words, and larger blocks of phrasing repeat, proliferating to a point at which the implied meaning of the language begins to unravel. This disintegration allows us to focus on the text’s material qualities—the sound and rhythm of the phrasing, the shape and color of the words on the page—rather than on its implied meaning or content. Born in 1959 in New York City, Knowles exhibited a fascination with the aural elements of language at an early age. He began writing and performing concrete poetry in his early teenage years, and recorded these works, which are composed of spoken dialogue that often repeats and overlaps, using multiple cassette tape recorders simultaneously. Knowles began to perform publicly in 1973 after meeting the renowned theater director and artist Robert Wilson, who had been introduced to …

Couturier Lafargue’s Earthworks: Asbestos and Copper at The University of Rochester, February 2014

Couturier Lafargue, Camping in the asbestos mine, 2013. In 2013, Canadian artists Louis Couturier and Jacky George Lafargue, who make up the collaborative duo known as Couturier Lafargue, spent four days and three nights in an open pit mine in Asbestos, a town located in southeastern Quebec whose name derives from the eponymous mineral it was famed for producing. The Jeffrey mine, which had once been the world’s leading producer of asbestos, had ceased operations in 2011. During their visit to the mine, the artists hiked their way around the enormous space, researched its composite materials, and took video, photographic, and audio footage that would eventually form the basis for installations inspired by the landscape of the mine that include sculpture, video, and large-format photographs. These modular installations, which the duo titled Asbestos Country (Terre d’amiante), offer a sobering investigation into the impacts of industrialization on the Québécois landscape and its surrounding community, and open up questions relating to the ways we engage with otherwise forgotten or overlooked locations. Couturier Lafargue presented an iteration of …

Al-Mutanabbi Street: Start The Conversation

Right now al-Mutanabbi street starts somewhere on a small street in Gaza, and in Damascus, on a small street in Beijing, a small street in Tehran. It starts in Baghdad, Beirut, and Cairo, it starts in Dublin, Calgary, Halifax, London, Exeter, and Bristol, and here in San Francisco, Santa Fe, Boston, Los Angeles, Omaha, New York City, Washington D.C.,Cambridge, Mass. or Detroit, Michigan. It starts at the Rochester Central Library, and at Goddard College in Vermont. It starts wherever someone gathers their thoughts to write towards the truth, or where someone sits down and opens a book to read. Wherever the free exchange of ideas is suppressed or attacked, wherever writers and artists are silenced, or risk their lives to speak the truth through their work, there will be a place for them on al-Mutanabbi Street. – Beau Beausoleil, July 2014 In March 2007, a suicide bomber exploded his car in Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, Iraq, killing thirty people and injuring more than a hundred. The street, named after Abu at-Tayyib Al-Mutanabbi, a renowned classical …

IVC Presents: William Kentridge at the University of Rochester

InVisible Culture has partnered with the English Department to present a digital extension of William Kentridge’s visit to the University of Rochester in September of 2013. Kentridge, the renowned South African artist, filmmaker, and theater and opera director, was this year’s Distinguished Visitor in the Humanities at the University of Rochester. His visit comprised of four main events: Wednesday, 9/18 at 8 pm at the Dryden Theater – a screening of the entire series of Kentridge’s works of experimental animation, “Drawings for Projection,” followed by a talk with the artist. Thursday, 9/19, at 9:30 AM, in the Welles-Browne Room, Rush Rhees Library – a conversation with William Kentridge, led by Nigel Maister, about his decades-long career as a director of theater and opera. Thursday, 9/19 at 1:30 pm, in the Gowen Room, Wilson Commons – a panel discussion, led by Leora Maltz-Leca, focusing on Kentridge’s work in visual arts and film, with some focus on its South African context.1 Thursday, 9/19 at 4:00 pm, at the Interfaith Chapel – a public lecture initially entitled, “Everyone …

Rochester and Native Art in the 1930s

  When a young, pregnant woman fell through a hole near the uprooted Celestial Tree above the dome of the sky, no one knew where she would go. The world below was inhospitable to her, covered in water. As Sky Woman fell, duck-creatures carried her on their wings to rest on the back of a great turtle. A muskrat then emerged from the water carrying a bit of soil from the sea floor. Smearing it on the back of the turtle, the earth grew wider. Sky Woman walked across the expanding ground, beginning Seneca inhabitance of the earth.1 In 1936 when Ernest Smith completed his painting of the Sky Woman diving into a dark and watery world, many people believed Seneca culture continued a long fall. Centuries of encounter deeply affected pre-contact Seneca culture. The dispersal of land holdings, introduction of Christianity and flooding of Seneca world with new goods all impacted the character of daily life. Finding deep fault with the effects of settler society on the Seneca world, Director of the Rochester Museum …