2018 Projects & Talks

Curatorial Statement by Nato Thompson, Artistic Director
Here explodes the Wunderkammer
A room of research, the early Wunderkammers, or cabinets of curiosities, or Kunstkammers, or even wonder rooms of the 16th and 17th centuries, presented an architectural prodigious display of artifacts garnered and pilfered from across the seven seas. Wrapped up in natural history, a high dose of colonialism, aesthetics, alchemy, a pinch of theology... >>


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Saturday, August 4 | 11:30am
Artist and robot maker Mark Pauline and science fiction author Bruce Sterling discuss their mutual interest in the good, the bad, and the ugly of a technological future. With each artist operating at the forefront what was once called cyberpunk and industrial culture, they bring their insights to the table to discuss their evolving thinking, their current work, and their dreams of a future still be written.
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Sunday, August 5 | 1:30pm
Artist C. Davida Ingram is known for making social inquiries that show how we relate to power and difference. Join her for a look at her recent project that examines Seattle's global economies past, present and future, through the lens of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the WTO protests. Ingram will be in conversation with local scholars, artists, and community organizers including Alix Chapman, Chris Jordan, Soya Jung, DK Pan, Charles Mudede, and Matt Remle.
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Rootsystems and Ley Lines is a multi-media installation that considers Seattle’s changing cultural landscape as it evolves in the global economy. The two-channel video installation will be a poetic revisitation of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests nicknamed “The Battle of Seattle.” This fictive reimagining poses indigenous, black, and otherwise displaced interlocutors as the central players in the Battle of Seattle of past, present and future.
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Saturday, August 4 | 3:30pm
A conversation by Anishinaabe women on cultural specificity, embodied sound in public spaces, and futurity, led by performance artist duo Charlene Vickers and Maria Hupfield with Wanda Nanibush, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s first curator of Indigenous Art.
Charlene Vickers and Maria Hupfeld are bi-coastal collaborators working between Vancouver, Canada and Brooklyn, USA. They have been creating performances together ever since Rebecca Belmore introduced them in 2007at Grunt Gallery in Vancouver. Their first collaborative project Vestige Vagabond was initiated through the 2010 Not Sent Letters Project by Jeremy Todd, and commissioned in 2011 as part of the exhibition Counting Coop, by Ryan Rice, Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, during The Annual Santa Fe Indian Market.
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Presented with Fazakas Gallery

This new performance with monumental jingles builds on Vickers and Hupfield’s collaborations with hand sewn cardboard megaphones. Inspired by the work of the ground breaking Anishinaabekwe artist Rebecca Belmore, whose work Ayum-ee-aawach Oomama-mowan: Speaking to Their Mother (92-95) featured a large megaphone for people to speak into, the duo seek to both honor their forbears while expanding their investigations into the megaphone as an object to speak to history, to landscape, and the socio-political conditions that draw people together and apart. The lightweight cardboard and paper object becomes an activated prosthetic that speaks to jingles worn in Anishinaabe women’s jingle dress dancing.


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Presented with Gagosian Gallery
Chris Burden’s Scale Model of the Solar System (1983) will be on view, spanning the distance between Gagosian’s booth at the fair (featuring the sphere representing the Sun), and the Seattle Art Museum, with the various planets on public view in relative scale between them.
Map and location details forthcoming.
A scale model, both in size and distance, of the solar system. The sun (865,000 miles in diameter) is represented by a sphere 13 inches in diameter and 40 inches in circumference. The planets of the solar system, constructed to the correct scale, are placed at the correct scale distance across the city. The distance from the sun varies from 36 feet for Mercury, the closest planet, to almost a mile away for Pluto, the farthest planet.
-       Chris Burden
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Presented with Fridman Gallery

Probably Chelsea consists of thirty different possible portraits of Chelsea Manning algorithmically-generated by an analysis of her DNA. Genomic data can tell a multitude of different stories about who and what you are. Probably Chelsea shows just how many ways your DNA can be interpreted as data, and how subjective the act of reading DNA really is.

Suspended at a variety of human heights, Probably Chelsea evokes the form of a diverse crowd or mass movement standing with Chelsea. It is a refutation of outmoded notions of biologically inscribed identity and a testament to the commonality of all, a molecular solidarity that is clearly present even at the cellular level.

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Presented with Adams and Ollman
In this animated short film, Philadelphia-based artist Jennifer Levonian features a bizarre journey of a single mother in a rundown gentrifying hipster neighborhood attempting to raise a daughter, go to yoga, and simultaneously steal a goat from a paint ball petting zoo.
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Artist and Survival Research Laboratory founder Mark Pauline will produce several demonstrations during the Seattle Art Fair. The word “analogue” is too mild to describe the truly massive force and sound that erupts from the work of this wildly imaginative pioneer of industrial performance. Visceral, hypnotic, and freakish, the performance of these machines gives the viewer much to consider, and feel, in regards to the technological future to come.
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Friday, August 3 | 3:30pm
A group conversation on what a future cultural platform could look like. In 2017,  Nato Thompson joined Harry Philbrick to work toward the construction of Philadelphia Contemporary, a new art institution in Philadelphia. As part of the new organization's journey, Thompson invites different thought leaders to consider what creates and drives a civically engaged cultural platform. He talks with Seattle Art Museum’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Catharina Manchanda, and Philadelphia-based entrepreneur and activist Tayyib Smith.  
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On view will be a model for Trevor Paglen’s upcoming satellite launch put together with the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art. Orbital Reflector is a sculpture constructed of a lightweight material similar to Mylar that will be a non-functional aesthetic object. Once in low Earth orbit at a distance of about 350 miles (575 kilometers) from Earth, the CubeSat infrastructure opens and releases the sculpture, which self-inflates like a balloon. Sunlight reflects onto the sculpture making it visible from Earth with the naked eye — like a slowly moving artificial star as bright as a star in the Big Dipper. Ultimately, this satellite will accomplish something long important to the work of the artist, a telescoping mirror of ourselves.

Orbital Reflector changes our sense of the interstellar by transforming “space” into “place.” It makes visible the invisible, thereby rekindling our imaginations and fueling potential for the future

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Sunday, August 5 | 3:30pm
This talk will focus on Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector, a space satellite project set to launch this fall with the Nevada Museum of Art. Paglen’s second satellite project, it works on a continuing theme of using the orbiting realm to produce aesthetic ventures that tell viewers on earth something about themselves.
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Presented with Joshua Liner Gallery
This new work by artist Wayne White features two 14-foot tall puppets of Seattle pioneer women, Mary Ann and Louisa Boren. Using large ropes, the public is able to move these puppets and participate in a recollection of the hard work done by these early female settlers.
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