March 9: in conversation with artist & linguist Furen Dai

STAND UP: Women* You Should Know
Salon conversation hosted by Silvi Naçi with Furen Dai
Thursday, March 9, 2017 | 6:30–8 pm
Mills Gallery at BCA
Free and Open to the Public

Continuing the third season of Gertrude’s Artists Salon on the topic STAND UP: Women* You Should Know hosted by Silvi Naçi in conversation with video performance artist, sculptor and linguist Furen Dai. In this conversation we will be exploring the interdependent themes of language and cultural politics and class, in regards to economic conditions and performance art. With a background in linguistic study, and working as interpreter for several years in China, Dai’s practice centers on language and the culture built through it, reflecting on various forms of interpretation. In her previous work as interpreter, Dai was often in a position between two cultures attempting to examine where these two cultures met, overlap and where they differentiate. However, in her artistic practice, her voice as artist, as individual comes through in the interpretation of image making and documentation of both traditional and contemporary cultures in China, and ultimately giving voice to the women in the cultures she emphasizes in her work.

Furen Dai is a multimedia artists based in Boston, Massachusetts, working mostly in video, performance, sculptural installation as well as painting. Dai has presented exhibitions nationally and to a wide range of audience internationally in Italy, Argentina, Russia, China, Vietnam, Spain and beyond. She holds a Masters in Fine Art from The Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (Boston, Massachusetts) and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio Art, a Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurial Management from Boston University School of Management (Boston, Massachusetts), and a Bachelor of Russian from Beijing Foreign Studies University (Beijing, China). Forthcoming, Dai will be part of the Listhús residency program in Iceland, Art Omi residency in New York, along with presenting her work in numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally. She is currently a Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow at School of The Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

To learn more about Furen’s work visit furendai.squarespace.com or follow on IG @furendai

CHAMBERS Performance | Dance Complex

CHAMBERS 

Dancers: Stephanie Bellissimo, Shoshana Moyer, & Lonnie Stanton
Music: Maria Finkelmeier | Art Director: Silvi Naci

"As a collective we are interested in ideas of gender, power structures, identity, personal and public boundaries. The performance investigates feminist ideas, personal struggles, the body as landscape and its role in society throughout history, specifically examining internal and external pressures and moments of release and emancipation. There are internal pressures within each dancer, their relationship to each other and lastly with the spectator. These layers of individual and collective pressure and release refer to personal and collective memory of resistance and triumph. In working with strenuous concepts, we aim to engage with the spectator in a personal level." – MM Collective

GERTRUDE’S Artists Salon at the Mills

STAND UP: Women You Should Know
Salon conversation hosted by Silvi Naçi with Dell M. Hamilton

Thursday, December 8, 2016 | 6:30–8pm
Mills Gallery at the BCA
Free and Open to the Public

Dell M. Hamilton, Reina #6, from the series Fallen Angels: Making Sense out of Nothing

Dell M. Hamilton, Reina #6, from the series Fallen Angels: Making Sense out of Nothing

We’re kicking off the third season of Gertrude’s Artists Salon with a conversation on the topic “STAND UP: Women You Should Know” hosted by Silvi Naçi in conversation with interdisciplinary artist, writer and curator Dell M. Hamilton. We need YOU to add your voice to a wide-ranging evening discussing interdependent themes of photography, performance and persona in relationship to identity, class and gender roles in contemporary art.

The artist lounge and lab at the Mills is the site of informal, artist-generated/artist-hosted conversations. Join us for idle conversation, heated exchange and the sporadic, sometimes-thematic exploration of ideas that grow out of and into art.

About Silvi Naçi: Naçi’s work investigates identity, family dynamics, cultural identity, sex, class and the consequences of patriarchal power. Naçi, who was born and raised in Albania (a former communist country), engages in the dialectic between the aesthetically beautiful and historical genealogy as well as identity and socio-political structures. Her work is deeply rooted in feminist ideas, family structures and historical and contemporary social constructs. Naçi works with photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, found historical imagery, collage, video and performance.

About Dell M. Hamilton: Hamilton’s work draws not only on the historical conventions of photography and performance art, but also on the history of black theater, the written and oral traditions of black and Latina women writers and the contradiction and exuberance of drag performance. Her latest series, Fallen Angels: Making Sense Out of Nothing, investigates the relationship between persona, performance and photography through the conflation of characters inspired by Central American folklore, personal memory and family history.

Dell’s artist talks, solo performances, scholarly lectures, and collaborative performances have been presented to a wide variety of audiences in Boston and New York as well as in France, Italy and Chile. Born in Spanish Harlem (New York City), and with ancestral roots in Belize, Honduras and the Caribbean, her practice wrestles with the social and geopolitical constructions of memory, gender, race, language and history through the mediums of photography, video, drawing, installation and performance.

To learn more about Dell’s work, please visit www.dellmhamilton.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @dellmhamilton

Interviews with Paul Ramirez Jonas + Public Trust Performers

In full essay: To Be Is To Be Perceived: Inside Public Trust on BR&S
by Silvi Naci

“…the problem lies not whether to reach for either larger or more selective audiences, but rather in understanding for ourselves our own definitions of those groups we wish to speak to, and in making conscious steps to reach out to them in a constructive and methodical way”. (Art Scenes, The Social Scripts of The Art World, 2012, Pablo Helguera)

Public Trust table with promise made in Kendall Square.

Public Trust table with promise made in Kendall Square.

SN:  I recall you saying: as long as the work is meaningful, and has an impact, it doesn’t matter who calls it “art”. Can you speak a little about the individual authorship that is suppressed in favor of facilitating the creativity of the public? 

“The visual, conceptual and experiential accomplishments do the respective projects are sidelined in favour of a judgment of the artists’ relationship with their collaborations”. (Artificial Hells, Participatory Art and The Politics of Spectatorship, 2012, Claire Bishop)

PRJ: I started to notice this when I did Key to The City, there’s a thing that I say to myself all the time: “if a monument works no one cares who made it”. People don’t go to see the Statue of Liberty because it was made by the French sculptor (Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi), or see Mount Rushmore because of its author. Monuments almost cease to be artworks as we accept them as representing something communal. Their authorship peals away. When a monument works, when it is accepted into the culture, no one cares about who the artist is; that’s why I like monuments. 

SN: Can you talk about the discourse in participatory art and the models we create for a reciprocal exchange that allows us to think outside our own experience and establish more compassionate relationships with others? 

PRJ: The models that I find most useful are modernist or even not pre-modernist; but rather pre-modern. Even in the idea of modernity there is already separation. When I think of useful artworks to guide me as models, I think of the fountain, not the contemporary fountain that is an artistic component of our environment; but the functional fountain that used to give water to the city. There was a time when art was part of the architecture. I imagine that no one said: I am going to see the art, they said instead: I am going to the Temple of Zeus, or to fetch water in the square. The art experience was integrated into public life and public space. 

SN: I find public wells extremely fascinating. I think of all the conversations that would happen at various times of the day when women in the villages in Albania would go and fetch water for their homes. This structure build for survival needs, this monument that shifts the way of thinking and our understanding of what art is and how we interact with and around it, beyond our own individual experience and towards the discursive exchange that happens. 

RPJ: Yes, I have a fantasy of building a functional well inside a contemporary art building, and in this way expose the foundation of the building: reveal that if you go deep enough you will encounter water, and that this water is free. But this is a fantasy. 

SN: Right, I have similar fantasies, and unless you are Doris Salcedo (Shibboleth At Tate Modern, where she breaks open the floor of the museum, exposing a fracture in modernity itself) or Chris Burden (Exposing the foundation of the museum, LAMOCA) a curator won’t will let you dig into the foundation of their space.

As both artist and curator, I am interested to know where do you relinquish control?
In my own work I think a lot about what to keep and what to let go.

PRJ: It has to do with personality. For example, I have a hard time letting go of the mechanical things of this project; but I am more tolerant with the way each performer is speaking and the inflections in the conversation, and I like it. As a fellow long distant runner, you know you end up thinking in advance and pacing yourself. You correct small imperfections in your stride and the movement of your arms, making yourself more efficient but also more relaxed. It is both about exerting control but also about relaxing at the same time. It’s interesting and I think this loss of control, this relaxing into it, is the future of social practice and how we keep work alive. 

SN: It seems to be harder sometimes to collaborate with artists than say how musicians collaborate together in an album or song. There’s a lot of ego, and control that comes to play with visual artists, but it also has to do with different personalities coming together.

PRJ: I agree with you, and I have noticed when teaching that collaboration between students is difficult with the visual art students. Nate (Paul’s assistant) was telling me that there was an artist who came to the piece who was very critical of it, and was concerned with how each of the performers were contributing and if they were able to affect the piece in their own way. Only visual artists get caught up with this narrow understanding of collaboration; it wouldn’t be the same if we were working together on a play. Each of our roles would be considered a contribution. As visual artists we weren’t trained to work in groups or as collaborators. And yet, the idea of the artist working in the studio alone is a myth. During the Renaissance, studios would have someone working on hands or only on the faces, someone working on the background etc. In the contemporary art system now you have studios with multiple the assistants, the accountant, the administrator, the one mixing paint etc. There’s this great quote about Jackson Pollock, I think it comes from Mierle Laderman Ukeles and I am butchering it: “imagine Jackson Pollock the genius, but imagine the pyramid of support under him”. Why is this support structure not part of the work, or share in the authorship of the work? And how do you make work that shows these social contracts? I want to make them visible. 

SN: I love the moment when all of the sudden the roles switch. So far I have been working as a performer, and this morning I sat to make my promise and sat across from Deniz. My entire body shook and my heart felt so heavy. I knew I couldn’t escape this moment, I had witnesses and I would not back out of making this promise. It felt extremely powerful to switch roles, and have Deniz hold a safe space for me.

PRJ: : (mentioning Ebay and how you can be the seller and the buyer and switch back and fourth) I am interested in a mechanism that permit a switch in the role. If I could make a piece where you can make that switch, where that little girl (making a promise) takes Graham’s (performer taking the girls promise) place, that would be mind blowing. How do you create a pedagogical moment where the student becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the student. Its the switch that is full of possibility.

My fantasy for this project is that someone who came, goes back home and puts the drawing up on the wall, and at some point they look at it, and say, “I made the drawing”. This is why, I have placed all the conventions of drawing on the able, yes, its their signature, it is their words, and on the paper there is everything that a drawing would have, and there’s no sign of us, it is mostly them. The magic will be when that switch happen, when they say, “I made the drawing”. 

SN: What makes an artwork successful for you? Having 500 people experience it, or having a handful of important interactions that change your life or perspective.

PRJ We know that art can change people’s lives. It changed mine. In this historical time, we are wedged between philanthropy and the market. We have to support ourselves from one or the other, and behind philanthropy and the market are essentially the same people. There must be a third door to making work, having an impact in culture and public, as well as supporting yourself. This is why I often think about Tania Bruguera’s piece Immigrant Movement International, and how it was conceived so the community takes over the work, and that is how it achieves sustainability. 

SN: For some of us that have really taken some of these stories to heart, do you have any advice to letting go or separating yourself from the stories? You seem to be so good at listening and being present and at the same time letting go and moving on?

PRJ: When you say that I don’t find it to be a strength, but that I’m a horrible person instead. Because I can compartmentalize it! but paradoxically I think that’s what makes me a good teacher as well. I can be present and there with you, sympathetic; but then I have the ability to disassociate, let go and move on to my own thing. In the beginning, I used to think about my student’s non-stop; but then I created the ability to let go. I often and ride my bike from work for an hour on my way home… that helps. 

Prticipant in front of her promise in Copley Square.

Prticipant in front of her promise in Copley Square.

SN: The power of this project for me lies in its structure and the context, which allows people to put down their guards and have an opened hearted conversation while making an oath to a stranger.

Can you share an impactful moment during your performance?

PRJ: I would like to say that they are all impactful, but that is not quite true. Some were more impactful that others. The problem is that having been there all the time they are all jumbled up. I remember the person who taught me their special handshake, and then he made the promise using the handshake. I remember the very old lady promising to remember “you are forgiven”. What did she mean? That she forgave someone? That someone forgave her? Or was she talking to all of us, that we are all forgiven? I remember the angry man in Dudley and the angry woman in Copley, first they screamed, then they left for two days, then they came back, then they calmly made a promise. His was sweet, hers was hateful. I noticed the similarities but slight variations of some of the promises. Some promises got to me in inexplicable ways, like the 19 year old man who promised that some day he would obtain freedom in his life. He as so young and so sad at the same time.

Will: Speaking to a young and impassioned Palestinian American woman I was caught in the electrically charged moment.  She spoke of 60 years of occupation and how so many don’t know the plight of the Palestinians.  I asked if she had heard of the book The Lemon Tree” telling the story of the occupied land through the eyes of Israeli and Palestinian occupants of one house.  We shared a moment of understanding and yet I knew that her depth of experience was much vaster than mine. Her Pledge: “I Promise to Stand for Palestine.” 

Later that afternoon a young bearded African American man came with his promised already formed.  He said: “I pledge to be the solution not the problem.”  Having the chance to asking what this meant to him and hear his response was profound.  He spoke gently of not having the answer to the ails of the world, but committing to work. Of what it means to be human, in a world fraught by so much violence and destruction and look for ways to make the world better and to make a difference.  Again, I felt lucky to have shared the moment and witnessed his pledge.

Zayde: The most significant and impactful moment for me occurred on the last day of the project (in Copley) while I was assisting Paul Ramirez Jonas at a promise table and he said to a participant: “You are inside of an artwork”. Just the way he said those words...spoke volumes to me.

SN: At times I felt like a conductor, and the participants were both the musicians and the spectator, in the end we were all making music together and I was simply guiding them. What other term would you use to describe our work as “performers”?

PRJ: Facilitator, Scribe, interlocutor, respondent. In Spanish: Escribano publico.

Lidia: Accoucheuse (midwife in French), a caretaker, a treasurer.

Deniz: Promi-sitter.

Jimena: Listener.

Zayde Buti:  Production worker.

Heather: I feel like promise development cannot be condensed into an easy phrase. We are going through a spelunking process with people. They feel strongly as if there is something they need to make a commitment to, but they can't put their finger on exactly what it is. Then we circle around it together like a bird or a plane looking for somewhere to land. I ask them questions, they blush and confess to things they wish for but have been scared to verbalize elsewhere. Sometimes I push them harder until they admit to a thing behind the thing they first said, which is even more difficult to say. It is a little like discovering the unique desires of a new lover – a process that I could never condense into a word.

SN: What made this process for the public alive is the vibrancy and transparency of words. The central motivation to listen, undivided attention and patience, is what fueled the model for this public platform. It circles back to the temporality of public programs, and the instant community as alternative space for the public to embrace more emphatically. 

Has this experience made you think differently about your own art practice, collaborations, and your audience? 

Heather: I've been especially moved by the thoughtfulness of Paul's rotation of our roles. Moving through what I think of as "The Stations of Public Trust" has felt like a ritualistic, meditative way to keep the magic of the piece alive for each of us over the course of each day.

Lidia: I felt like for the first time I sensed with all my senses, mind, body and heart, this connection with people who live or visit. I felt like art can really engage and respond to a certain hunger for values and for more true contact with others in a way that is independent from culture in a sense, from our background, ethnicity, heredity, education, age, etc.

Will: Being a part of Public Trust, has reaffirmed in a way the value of art that can give voice and opportunity to artists and non-artists. We hold each other up and allow a flowering that could not happen alone. 

Chanel: What continued to amaze me was seeing the change in body language and demeanor of each person who came to make a promise as we moved through different parts of the process.

Maria: I feel so lucky to have bonded with the communities at Dudley, Kendall, and Copley in such a unique way. I feel that understanding these communities will allow me to perform in a much more meaningful way - that I will be able to connect with the audience in a new way. The project has also allowed me to think more broadly and deeply about interactive public art. I am so inspired by Paul's focus on the one-on-one exchange, something that gets so lost on our society. Many times, I too get caught up in the fast pace, in the thought that "more is better." Public Trust is about the slow, methodical ritual of a personal conversation. It doesn't get much more beautiful than that. 

Deniz: I spoke with people face to face, then I would write their words, as if only their words mattered, then I would erase them regardless of their meaning, and finally, the clock; isolated from human connection, falling into the absurdist cycle of time, staring at the clock caring about every flying minute. Since these rotations were in the order above, the entire process for me was a gradual movement from human connection into isolation and mechanization of modern life.

“A public program lives a short and happy life, affirming the integrity and individuality of art and ideas, without the need to multiply or be given an artificial, extended, afterlife”. (Art Scenes, The Social Scripts of The Art World, 2012, Pablo Helguera)

"I Wish I Could Eat You Alive" Solo Show


“I Wish I Could Eat You Alive” Solo show by Silvi Naci

I love working with copper because I feel that I am bringing fourth an image that lies beneath its surface.

Human boundaries deeply concern me, both the physical and mental. I am interested in history both written and unwritten. I bring breathing and existing worlds together: a meshed environment without physical, social, emotional or tangible boundaries. I reference art history and mythological stories in an era of rapidly changing technology. The images within the environment that I’ve created provoke different human responses. The images play off each other’s energy, origin and different stages of  mortality.

Humans constantly abuse nature. Our collective ego gives a false sense of empowerment. We assume that we can control but ultimately we are destined to destroy. My work juxtaposes this idea with that of the female body as a creator of life. A woman devoured by nature is a recurring theme. It is my way of thinking about beauty, mortality and life cycles. This tension between beauty and corruption is central to how I view the world. 

Featuring over 30 works: copper engraving, KM photopolymer prints, transfer prints, drawings, letterpress prints, and copper plates.

Opening Reception Friday May 16th 7-9pm
Show dates: may 4th-june 8th
silverymachine.com | Voltagecoffee.com 295 3rd Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142


The Joining Project

THE HEART OF THE JOINING PROJECT

“The Joining Project” was conceived in the heart of an artist and runner as a wish to connect the Boston and Cambridge communities in a positive heartfelt experience. Using the Harvard Bridge as a psychical connector between the two cities, The Joining Project will stage various events that both uplift and knit the wishes for our cities together. This day-long event connects runners and artists, dancers and musicians, and MIT technologists from various communities to gather and link fresh, inspiring and positive experiences with The Boston Marathon.
 
The Boston Marathon brings together over 20,000 participant and over 500,000 spectators. In addition, the citizens of Cambridge and Boston host the marathon in a variety of exciting ways. The Joining Project wants to create fresh memories and associations with marathon day by creating a celebration between the two cities. The connection that knitting and crocheting artists make are beyond warmth and comfort, they are personal and joyful. Joy, personal connections, and thousands of wishes are what we want to offer the participants and spectators of the Boston Marathon 2014.
 
The Harvard Bridge connects Boston and Cambridge and has thousands of people walk, run, bike, and drive this bridge daily. The bridge views are spectacular, making it a perfect spot for the celebration. The event will have artists, crocheters, knitters, light performance artists from various communities start at each end of the bridge on the sidewalks covering the railing with thousands of wishes and expressive knitting. The artists will work next to the railing and not disturb normal foot traffic. Passers by will be invited to participate along with everyone else. Letterpress “wish” tags will be available by our volunteers to race participants, bikers, runners, artists and all citizens, and will be encouraged to participate in joining our city, our people, and our hearts for a happier, stronger Boston.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

When:  Late May (early June) – September 2014
Where: Harvard Bridge, Massachusetts (Mass Ave Bridge)
 
May installation of knit and crochet artists + hanging "wish" tags on the bridge
Morning run with November Project crew + hanging "wish" tags on the bridge
Dance performance from The Dance Complex, traveling musicians, + “wish” tags and light performances.

Night Performances:
Lighting performancet
Dancing and music
Tying “wish” tags

BIO

When the Naci family moved to Boston from war-torn Albania in 2001, Silvi neither spoke English nor was familiar with the life in America. Most families come to the States looking for a better life, and education, yet Silvi was looking for a world that appreciated free expression. Despite obvious barriers Silvi immediately began working and volunteering for The City of Boston Mural Crew that revitalized and inspired entire neighborhoods, attended Boston Arts Academy high school, and obtained a dual degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Suffolk University. 

Community has always been in the forefront of Silvi’s mind while growing up: every art project, curated art show and personally-led social mission has been to bring people from different disciplines together to create something greater, with a bigger impact for our community and inspiration for a better city. From curating shows in different galleries in Boston (Fourth Wall Gallery, Blanc Gallery, and the Distillery in South Boston) to being Partner in the Wellness company Domo.io, Silvi strives to not only impart others with great revelations, but also the motivation to create other amazing experiences for the community. Silvi sees the beauty in her city and only wants to enrich it with inspirational art and memorable experiences.

TEAM

Art Director: Silvi Naci
Lead Designer: Laia Albaladejo 
Outreach: Martha O’Connell (Artist, Youth Arts Program Manager)
Website: Alex List (MIT, C.O.O. at ExoMachina and CEO/Owner at List Consulting)
Social Media: Silvi, Martha, Laia, David Tolmei, Alex List
Volunteers: Art students, runners, bikers, citizens, friends

Please email me your info and images of your work if you would like to "Join" the project!

Everyone is invited to participate and join the project!

PLEASE CREATE KNIT ART THAT REFLECTS CONNECTIVITY, WARMTH, LOVE AND JOY!

See below specs of the bridge and examples of knit art. Email me if you have further questions.

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Suzuki Bean

Today I went to visit my dear friend Joji who owns and runs Suzuki Bean Vintage shop in Somerville, also a very talented stylist in the city. The shop holds rare jewels which you might love to gift this holiday season or a nice xmas gift for your self. Suzuki Bean carries vintage furniture, vintage clothing and some wonderful pieces by her daughter (a fashion designer), jewelry by local artists and plenty of original artworks by local artists as well ( now a few of my print posters as well :)

Be sure to stop by to buy some rare beauties and say hello to wonderful Joji. 

Suzuki Bean
99 Beacon Street, Somerville MA

Suzuki Bean Online Shop

Joji haning my posters

Joji haning my posters

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Fourth Wall Project Interview

Great interview with Oliver from Fourth Wall Gallery. Also featuring some photos from Street Diamonds II show. 

www.frank151.com

Boston’s Bodega went from an upstart to a world-renowned streetwear boutique in just a few years. Some time around their third anniversary, the owners, Dan Natola, Oliver Mak, and Jay Gordon, took a unique step: they opened an art gallery. And not just in any old place—they snapped up a spot about a thousand feet from Fenway Park, Boston’s most lasting, recognizable landmark. In a city known for its artists but not its own art scene, establishing Fourth Wall Projectwas no small feat.

The reasons for such an unorthodox step run deep. The Bodega guys might be crazy—near or even ahead of the curve of the relationship between art, culture, and fashion—and have taken this approach to curating Fourth Wall. Founded in 2009 as a way “to turn dormant commercial spaces into pop up gallery spaces reclaiming urban space for public art projects and progressive exhibitions,” the project has grown into a permanent 3,000-square foot gallery that has exhibited both international and local artists and cultural events.

Oliver, a.k.a. DJ Gucci Vuitton, was cool enough to talk about the gallery while drawing in his spare time. He had a mouthful to say about Boston, art, and geometry.

Nineta & Lego

Nineta & Lego

Skies, Water & Death

SILVER ORIS & THE DISTILLERY GALLERY PRESENT:

"Skies, Water & Death" writes a new story on human boundaries. The show brings together existing and hidden worlds together with mortality, delicacy, flow and uncertainty: a collapsed environment without physical, social, emotional or tangible boundaries. "Skies, Water & Death" looks closer into the tension of physical and mental worlds created in this inviting collision through drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. 

Featuring:

Chris Cavallero
Martha Oc
Max Rose
Joo Lee Kang 
Debra Weisberg 
Dan McCarthy 
Jacob Bannon 
Chad Chesko
PT Sullivan 
Sarah Gay 
Joyce McDaniel 
Celine Brownin
Melanie Peterson

Source: https://www.facebook.com/events/4891710411...