Conferences & Publications

The Hothouse Archives: Plants, Pods and Panama Red.

poster of The Hothouse Archives

Presented by SVA BFA Fine Arts and the University of Graz, Austria, this conference brings together artists, architects, art historians, gardeners, scientists, philosophers and cultural critics to discuss the role of plant life in contemporary culture. Organized by BFA Fine Arts Chair Suzanne Anker and Chair of Art History at Univeristy of Graz, Sabine FlachRSVP here.

“Is it possible to be a revolutionary and like flowers?” asks the artist Camille Henrot in one of her recent artworks. Continuing in that vein of wonder about the revolutionary power of plants, Taryn Simon has applied floral bouquets as a form of institutional critique. Both artists’ works are examples of the political and cultural implications of plants. They are signifiers for the recurring representation of plants in contemporary arts and culture.

The symbolic meaning of plants, their relevance for religion and the metaphorical provocations in the order of knowledge, culture and political power underline the role of plants as something more than passive objects. The symbolic meaning of plants changes over time, according to cultural developments. In the origins of Western thought in particular, nature has been represented as both the embodiment of good and the epitome of evil. In Ovid’s telling of humanity’s golden age, the earth is an abundant source of nourishment and pleasure, while in Christianity, a snake tempts Eve into eating a forbidden apple which precipitates the fall of mankind from the Garden of Eden.

Such signification of plants and nature became intensified during the Industrial Revolution. In general, religious implications were discarded to favor images of plants and animals as savage entities. For example, the jungle in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness becomes a character of its own that expresses dark and fierce forces in opposition to the concepts of light and order in European sensibilities. Human nature was characterized as a civilizing force while fauna and flora were seen as the wild and degenerative.

In the current climate, plants are undergoing radical changes due to environmental alterations and laboratory practices. From genetic selections to indoor farming, from foodstuffs and medicinal uses, plants are being re-evaluated as living entities. As sentient creatures they protect their own and engage in masquerading their identities. It has been noted that they are more like animals, only slower. They are sources of nourishment and wonder while at the same time contain healing powers and even psychoactive properties.


Program

Friday, November 16, 2018

5:00pm – 5:45pm
Conference Registration (Bio Lab open for Tours)

6:00pm – 6:30pm
Introduction
Suzanne Anker & Sabine Flach

6:30pm – 7:30pm Keynote
Lynne van Rhijn: Herman de Vries: Shaman of Science
Moderator: Frank Gillette

7:30pm – 8:30pm
Reception: Wine and cheese (Bio Lab open for Tours)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

9:00am – 10:00am
Conference Registration and Continental Breakfast (Bio Lab open for Tours)

10:00am – 11:30am  
Panel I: Weeds and the Unrequited
Elaine Ayers: Storehouse of Nature: Nineteenth Century Exotic Flora and the Disappointment of the Tropics
EPA: The Emergent Plantocene: Weedy Vegetal Agency, Radical Embodiment, and Ruderalism X Action(ism)
Ellie Irons: The Next Epoch Seed Library
Moderator: Eva Klein

11:30am – 12:30pm
Keynote
Melodie Yasher: Greenhouse on Mars
Moderator: Suzanne Anker

1:00pm – 2:00pm
Lunch (Bio Lab open for Tours)

2:00pm – 3:30pm
Panel II: Submergence
Eva Klein: Winterwald: Concealed political fields in the depths of the forest.
Jonathan Cane: Kikuyu Grass: Decolonial Readings of the Lawn in Southern Africa
Natasha Christopher: Welkom to Johannesburg: A Tale of Two South African Cities
Moderator: Kristopher Holland

3:30pm – 4:00pm
Coffee Break (Bio Lab open for Tours)

4:00pm – 5:30pm
Panel III: Out of the Garden
Kristopher Holland: Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Botanique: Philosophy as the Pedagogy of Romanticism & Counter-Enlightenment
Noel Anderson: The Lady’s Knife: George Washington Carver Recovers the Mother Within
Sabine Flach: Unfortunately the plants did not speak Greek: Plants, Politics, Poetics
Moderator: Mark Harris

5:30pm – 6:30pm
Psychedelic Pandemonium
Frank Gillette in conversation with Sabine Flach

6:30pm – 7:00pm
Wine and Conversation

Sunday, November 18, 2018

9:00am – 10:00am
Continental Breakfast (Bio Lab open for Tours)

10:00am – 11:30pm
Panel IV: The Social Order of Plants
Karoline Walter: The Potential of Ruderal Societies and Perfectly Provisional Areas in the Works of Lois Weinberger
Teresa Castro: Queer Botanics: From Anthropomorphic Expressiveness to Plants as Queer Players in Twentieth-Century Visual Culture.
Mark Harris: Songs the Plants Taught Us: A “Bad Music” Seminar
Moderator: Sabine Flach

11:30pm – 12:30pm
Keynote 
Giovanni Aloi: Sorely Visible: Plants, Roots, and National Identity
Moderator: Suzanne Anker

12:30pm – 1:30pm
Lunch and (Bio Lab open for Tours)

1:30pm – 3:30pm
Panel V: Flora
Suzanne Anker: The Blue Rose
Mathias Kessler: After Nature, Coding and Reading Plant Life
Anne Percoco: Parallel Botany: The Study of Imaginary Plants
Carolyn Angleton: Propagating Desire
Heide Hatry: Not a Rose
Moderator: Suzanne Anker

3:30pm – 4:00pm
Closing Remarks
Suzanne Anker & Sabine Flach

Molecular Cuisine: The politics of taste

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On Friday February 13th, 2015, Suzanne Anker and Victoria Vesna hosted “Molecular Cuisine: The Politics of Taste” in conjunction with Leonardo’s Education and Arts Forum (LEAF) for the College Art Association, CAA. This event was a sit down dinner investigating the various ways cultures approach the concept of food.  From molecular cuisine to sushi to miracle berries, we explored the intricacies between taste and value, employing food as a filter and as an art material.

 

Naturally Hypernatural: Visions of Nature

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International Conference, SVA NYC. November 14-16, 2014

http://naturallyhypernatural.sva.edu

Naturally Hypernatural: Visions of Nature is an interdisciplinary conference investigating the fluctuating “essences” of “nature” and the “natural” in the 21st century. Each of these terms carries with it an enormity of philosophical questions ranging from the alteration of life itself to dialogues concerning the notion of the Anthropocene, a term used to describe man’s intervention into the natural world. The talks presented here will focus on contemporary issues in the visual arts as they intersect with the biological and geological sciences, confirming that nature remains an intrinsically mysterious, ever more mutable entity.  At the present time, cellular parts are being remixed in laboratories to create synthetic organisms while geological transformations are forecasting wild swings in weather conditions. Human reproduction regularly occurs in Petri dishes while cucumbers are grown in space. The artificial and the natural now combine to form novel entities, never before seen on earth, while animal species dwindle down to extinction every day.  Animals and plants are exhibited as contemporary art, while the real is conflated with the imaginary. Technological advances and their theoretical undertones have migrated into art practice producing New Media installations, Bio Art exhibitions and a global community of art practitioners adapting novel productions to cultural resources.   In addition, visual art has become a social practice platform with projects that intersect with urban farming, DIY biology and extremes in performance art.  Naturally Hypernatural: Visions of Nature brings together artists, historians, curators, philosophers and scientists to examine and comment on these ideas.

Naturally Hypernatural:
Visions of Nature

NOTE: THIS IS A PAST EVENT
Please subscribe to our newsletter for future workshops, conferences and events.


International Conference, SVA NYC
14-16 November, 2014
naturallyhypernatural.sva.edu

Naturally Hypernatural: Visions of Nature is an interdisciplinary conference investigating the fluctuating “essences” of “nature” and the “natural” in the 21st century. Each of these terms carries with it an enormity of philosophical questions ranging from the alteration of life itself to dialogues concerning the notion of the Anthropocene, a term used to describe man’s intervention into the natural world. The talks presented here will focus on contemporary issues in the visual arts as they intersect with the biological and geological sciences, confirming that nature remains an intrinsically mysterious, ever more mutable entity.  At the present time, cellular parts are being remixed in laboratories to create synthetic organisms while geological transformations are forecasting wild swings in weather conditions. Human reproduction regularly occurs in Petri dishes while cucumbers are grown in space. The artificial and the natural now combine to form novel entities, never before seen on earth, while animal species dwindle down to extinction every day.  Animals and plants are exhibited as contemporary art, while the real is conflated with the imaginary. Technological advances and their theoretical undertones have migrated into art practice producing New Media installations, Bio Art exhibitions and a global community of art practitioners adapting novel productions to cultural resources.   In addition, visual art has become a social practice platform with projects that intersect with urban farming, DIY biology and extremes in performance art.  Naturally Hypernatural: Visions of Nature brings together artists, historians, curators, philosophers and scientists to examine and comment on these ideas.

In addition, there will be an exhibition of work by students, alumni and faculty, generated through SVA’s Bio Art Laboratory, the first of its kind in the U.S.A.

For more information, complete program and speakers, please visit http://naturallyhypernatural.sva.edu/

School of Visual Arts
Fine Arts Department
335 W 16th St
New York, NY 10011

logos

Rainbow Loom

Rainbow Loom / 彩虹幻象

Rainbow Loom
 / 彩虹幻象
SUZANNE ANKER / 
苏珊 安克个展
10/11-11/25, 2014
V Art center / 视界艺术中心
No.50 moganshan Rd./ 莫干山路50号
building 6,floor 1 / 六号楼一层
Shanghai, China / 中国上海

10/9-10/25, 2014
SNAP
33 middle sichuan Rd./ 四川中路33号
room 901/ 901室
Shanghai, China / 中国上海

Curated by: Hu Renyi / 策展人: 胡任乂
Organized by: Chao Jiaxing / 統筹人: 巢佳幸
Translation and Design: Zeng Weixi / 翻译和设计: 曾维希

Rainbow Loom, two solo exhibitions by American artist Suzanne Anker, addresses the intersections between nature’s products to those manufactured by science and industry. At V Art Center, specimens from nature are accompanied by those of synthetic origin. The installation, in accord with the color wheel and its variations of chroma, points to the wonder of life’s diversity. Tomatoes, spices, herbs, eggs and insects and other specimens are juxtaposed with steel wool, beads, and paper among various industrial products to produce small still life configurations.  Each arrangement is displayed in a petri dish, a glass apparatus commonly employed in scientific laboratory experiments. The installation is an array of 400 elements exposing the rich and luminous colors inherent in the contemporary world. The exhibition opens on October 11 and runs through November 25, 2014.

The exhibition begins at SNAP, where projected video and photographs on silk document a coral research laboratory in Florida in the USA.  Mote laboratory is a research institute experimenting on restoring coral and developing a genetic seed bank to classify these animals. Coral reefs, which create habitats for numerous plants and animals, are under siege throughout the world. These images present indoor tanks, as healing factories, for these beautiful creatures, which at a later time will be released into the wild. This exhibition opens on October 9 and runs through October 25, 2014.

LECTURES
Cut, Paste, Print: Transforming Reproductive Limits
October 10, 7-9pm
Minsheng Art Museum
Minsheng Video Room, Floor 2, Bldg.F No.570 West Huaihai Road
Speaker: Suzanne Anker; Guest: Hu Renyi

Where is the Art in Bio Art?

October 15, 7-9pm
Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai
Gate 7, People’s Park, 231 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai
Speaker: Suzanne Anker; Guest: Hu Renyi

From the Laboratory to the Studio: Intersections of Art, Design and Technology

October 13, 10:30-11:30am (lecture); 1:30-3:30pm (workshop)
Shanghai Institute of Visual Art
2200 Wenxiang Road, Songjiang Shanghai,
Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, Building 4( Yifei Building )
Speaker: Suzanne Anker; Guest: Hu Renyi

 

Molecular Cuisine: The Politics of Taste International Conference

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Molecular_Cuisine

October 19-21, 2012
New York
http://molecularcuisine.sva.edu

Molecular Cuisine: The Politics of Taste is an interdisciplinary conference focusing on desire’s palette. Investigating the importance of taste from the perspectives of the culinary arts, sociology, art history and theory, anthropology, as well as the cognitive, material and biological sciences, the symposium targets intersections between taste and value. While taste is the key concept in new cooking technologies, it also connects to our passions, predilections and taboos. Researchers from the scientific and cultural spheres ask the questions, why we enjoy certain foods and not others, why we prefer certain styles and not others. Involving multiple discourses which emphasize the senses, emotions and sensory assets, the concept of taste, which is traditionally one pertaining to the fine arts or humanities, develops a renewed relevance in current cultural debates.

Embodied Fantasies International Conference

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embodied_fantasies

28-30 October, 2011
New York
http://embodiedfantasies.sva.edu

Conference
Embodied Fantasies, a concept central to art history, theory and practice is concurrently a topic debated in the fields of the neuro- and cognitive sciences, philosophy and phenomenology. This theme will be addressed in a transdisciplinary conference hosting scholars and artists from the fields of architecture, art history, visual art, history of science and psychology among others. Discussions will focus on concepts of embodiment as they relate to sexuality, aesthetics, epistemology, perception and fantasy itself. Approaches to the role of fantasies will be viewed beyond traditional conceptions to include complex thinking processes, subjectivity, and the inter-subjective. Prominent attention will be paid to fantasies and images as a form of knowledge production.

Speakers include: Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität, Berlin), Mark Dery (Cultural Critic), Frank Gillette (SVA), Dan Hutto (University of Hertfordshire, UK), Mitchell Joachim (TerreformONE), Arthur I. Miller (University of London, UK), Alva Noë (University of California and CUNY), Shelley Rice (NYU), McKenzie Wark (The New School), among others.