Symposium organized in conjunction with Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon: It Only Happens All of the Time, with presentations by Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, James Merle Thomas, and Branden W. Joseph on March 29, 2014.
Description It Only Happens All of the Time: A Symposium will bring a number of scholars to discuss the notion of “control” as it relates to embodied experiences of space, architecture, and sound. Artist Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon will give an artist’s talk on her work, her interest in the affective qualities of sound and space, and her research on acoustics, architecture, and the history of communication technology. Art historian James Merle Thomas will discuss the relationships between a Los Angeles-based “Light and Space” artistic movement and “habitability,” a spatial term initially developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to describe the physiological suitability of outer space for human exploration. Focusing on a series of immersive “environmental” installations, Robert Irwin and Larry Bell produced between 1970 and 1974, this lecture will chart the simultaneous technical, aesthetic, and political importance of “habitability” to both the 1970s and our current era. Art historian Branden W. Joseph’s lecture reviews the first theorization of “control” found within Williams Burrough’s Yage Letters text from his time spent in Colombia. Seeking to broaden and deepen an understanding of control out from Gilles Deleuze’s well-known but fairly brief mentions of it, Joseph’s research provides an examination of the notion of “control” not only in its origins but in its contemporary operation and understanding. The three talks will be followed by a roundtable moderated by Ceci Moss, YBCA’s Assistant Curator of Visual Arts.
1-1:30 PM: Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon Artist’s Talk
1:30-2 PM: James Merle Thomas
2-2:10 PM: Break
2:10-2:40 PM: Branden W. Joseph
2:40-3 PM: Roundtable discussion moderated by Ceci Moss
James Merle Thomas is an art historian and curator based in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. He is currently the Chester Dale Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and is completing his PhD in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University, where he focuses on modern and contemporary art. A study of the aesthetics, politics, and science of the Apollo era, his dissertation explores abstract art, experimental architecture, and radical design of the 1960s and 1970s avant-garde, as related to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Thomas was previously a Daniel C. Guggenheim Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, and is now preparing an exhibition about Robert Rauschenberg’s interests in NASA and spaceflight. Previously, Thomas was assistant curator of the Second Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville (2005) the Seventh Gwangju Biennale (2007), and executive editor of publications for the Third Paris Triennale (2012)
Branden W. Joseph is the Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Joseph’s area of specialization is post-War American and European art, focusing particularly on those individuals and practices that cross medium and disciplinary boundaries between visual art, music, and film. He is the author of Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage (2008), The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe (2012), and Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde (2003), which appeared in French translation in 2012. Joseph’s writings have also been featured in such periodicals as Artforum, Art Journal, October, Critical Inquiry, and Texte zur Kunst, as well as the catalogues CTRL [SPACE]: Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother (2002), Angela Bulloch: Prime Numbers (2006), The Anarchy of Silence: John Cage and Experimental Art (MACBA, 2009), Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties (2012), and Mike Kelley (2013). Joseph is also a founding editor of the journal Grey Room as well as editor of Kim Gordon’s Is It My Body? Selected Texts, released this year on Sternberg Press.