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Press Releases Can We Agree to Disagree? The Walker Art Center and Northern Lights.mn Present the Symposium Discourse and Discord: Architecture of Agonism From the Kitchen Table to the City Street

Minneapolis, March 14, 2012—The Walker Art Center and Northern Lights.mn present the symposium Discourse and Discord: Architecture of Agonism from the Kitchen Table to the City Street, April 12–14. In an era of cultural conservatives and the liberal elite, Occupiers and Tea Partiers, civil uprisings and government crackdowns, perhaps the one point of agreement today is there’s no shortage of disagreement. But if that’s true, then why isn’t there more debate—not online flame wars, not the televised jockeying of political candidates, but live, in-person dialogue?

That question was a starting point for this three-day symposium on agonism in the public sphere. A term unfamiliar to many, agonism describes an approach to politics that embraces difference and disagreement as an important part of democracy. As a series of talks, workshops, actions, and playful experiments, Discourse and Discord aims to explore the structures or “architectures”—whether it’s the built environment, online technologies, songs, or recipes—that can draw people together for genuine dialogue and debate. It also reinforces the notion that democracy thrives on and even requires an agonistic foundation: the friction of varied publics and participation by people of different minds, views, and beliefs. Join with a range of other unlike-minded people to debate and discuss, disclose and expose—and find out what happens when you move beyond agreeing to disagree. Explore Discourse and Discord in the context of a slate of other agonistic programs copresented by the Walker and Northern Lights.mn, a collaborative media-oriented arts agency from the Twin Cities. To register for workshops, call 612.375.7600. A complete listing of symposium activities follows.

Discourse and Discord: Architecture of Agonism from the Kitchen Table to the City Street

April 12–14

Tickets for free events are available at the lobby desk one hour before each program.

Voices in Residence: Prairie Fire Lady Choir

Featured throughout the Symposium

Jacquie Fuller and Molly Balcom Raleigh are the Voices in Residence for Discourse and Discord. As cofounders of the Prairie Fire Lady Choir—a Twin Cities singing group that marshals the collected skill of its singers to operate—Fuller and Balcom Raleigh draw on their experience in “creating harmony through discord” to lead informal vocal and choral expressions with participants of the symposium.

Jacquie Fuller is a poet and the host of Teenage Kicks on 89.3 The Current. Molly Balcom Raleigh makes participatory performance and installation, often using food and eating as the media of engagement with her audiences. She is currently working on a participatory installation on food memory and personal banking for Seattle Storefronts, and with her colleagues at Forecast Public Art to create a “commensal portal” for Northern Spark 2012.

Mack Lecture: In Dialogue: Krzysztof Wodiczko and John Rajchman

Thursday, April 12, 7 pm, Free

William and Nadine McGuire Theater

Join a conversation on art, design, and agonistic democracy with artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and philosopher-theorist John Rajchman.

This lecture will be webcast live and archived on the Walker Channel channel.walkerart.org

Krzysztof Wodiczko

Krzysztof Wodiczko (born 1943, Warsaw, Poland) has been creating sitespecific slide and video projections both within galleries and using architectural facades and monuments as backdrops for nearly 30 years. These politically-charged works of art, which have been shown in over a dozen countries around the world, speak to issues of human rights, democracy, violence, alienation, and inhumanity, and using sound and motion often include testimonies of the people whose plights they address. Complementing these projections are Wodiczko’s nomadic instruments, designed to empower marginalized members of society such as immigrants, the homeless, these who lost their closest to street violence and war, women, and children-survivors of domestic abuse, the war veterans and others.

Wodiczko emigrated twice, from Poland to Canada and then from Canada to the United States. He now shares his time between New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a head professor of Interrogative Design Group, and a director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and the at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Since 1980, he has created over 70 public projections of still and video images that critically animate historic monuments and civic edifices. Public projections with still images include: The Grand Army Plaza Memorial Arch, Brooklyn, NY (1983); The South African Embassy, London (1985); The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. (1988); The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989), The Lenin Monument, Berlin (1990) and Arco de la Victoria, Madrid (1991). public projections involving sound and motion began with City Hall Tower, Krakow (1996) and later engaged the following monumental city symbolic structers: Bunker Hill Monument, Boston (1998); A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima (1999); El Centro Cultural, Tijuana, Mexico (2001); facade of the National Gallery in Warsaw (2005) and the Kustmuseum Basel, Switzerald (2006). The Hiroshima Projection, was organized after Wodiczko was awarded the Hiroshima Art Prize.

Throughout his career, Wodiczko has also developed a series of tools and devices for urban interventions, such as Homeless Vehicle (1988-89), Poliscar (1991), as well as portable and wearable communication instrumentations such as Alien Staff (1992), Porte-Parole (1994), A Egis (2000) and Dis-Armor (1999-present). Dis-Armor, which was first developed for the City of Hiroshima, then was on view in the Triennial exhibition at the International Center of Photography and more recently in the exhibition The Interventionists at MASS MoCA.

Wodiczko’s work has been exhibited in numerous international festival and exhibitions including: Paris Biennale (twice), Biennale of Sao Paulo (twice), The Sydney Biennale, Documenta, Germany (twice); The Kwang-ju Biennale, South Korea; The Venice Biennale (twice); The Biennale in Lyon, France, The Helsinki Biennale, Whitney Biennial, Kyoto Biennale, the Yokohama Triennale and the International Center for Photography Triennial in New York.

Wodiczko’s work can be found in numerous public collections such as: The Fundació Tapies, Barcelona, Spain; Museum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland; The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Artbank, Canada; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France; FNAC, and FNAC Ile de France, Paris; FRAC Pays de la Loire, Nantes, France; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; The Jewish Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art; The Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; MACBA, Kunstmuseum Basel; and Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona.

A major retrospective exhibition is planned for 2012 at Rena Sofia National Muzeum of Contemporary Art in Madrid, Spain.

John Rajchman

John Rajchman (born June 25, 1946) is a philosopher working in the areas of art history, architecture, and continental philosophy. Rajchman is an Adjunct Professor and Director of Modern Art M.A. Programs in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. He has previously taught at Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, and The Cooper Union, among others. He is a Contributing Editor for Artforum and is on the board of Critical Space. Rajchman received a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Conversation: Structures for Discord Featuring the D+D Tweet Choir

Friday, April 13, 10 am–12 noon, Free

William and Nadine McGuire Theater

Four practitioner-theorists discuss agonism as a political philosophy and the channeling of discord: Carl DiSalvo, Marisa Jahn, Warren Sack, and Mark Shepard.

This lecture will be webcast live and archived on the Walker Channel channel.walkerart.org

During the Structures for Discord conversation, the D+D Tweet Choir— Jacquie Fuller, Molly Balcom Raleigh, and their team of volunteer singers—will translate selected tweets from the audience into song lyrics, forming a critical and comic response to the speakers’ dialogue.

Carl DiSalvo

Carl DiSalvo is an assistant professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned a Ph.D. in Design from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 and was a postdoctoral fellow at The Center for the Arts in Society and The Studio for Creative Inquiry (also at Carnegie Mellon) from 2006-2007.

His research is rooted in the humanities and arts and might best be characterized as a kind of design inquiry. He is particularly interested in understanding and describing the social and political uses of technology in cities. As part of this research, he designs technology platforms and participatory programs that engage and enable urban communities. Much of his current work in this area is funded by the National Science Foundation and Intel Research.

DiSalvo is also deeply committed to the development of design theory and criticism. He is currently working on projects that examine information design as a social practice and the role of design in the construction of publics.

In addition to academic pursuits, DiSalvo has extensive professional design experience, most notably working at MetaDesign (2000-2001) and as a consultant to the Walker Arts Center’s New Media Initiative (1997-2000). In 2006 he co-founded DeepLocal, a design and software company specializing in interactive mapping and location-based services.

Marisa Jahn

Marisa Jahn is an artist, writer, and community organizer. Her work has been presented at venues such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, MIT Museum, The Power Plant (Toronto), ICA Philadelphia, The National Fine Art Museum of Taiwan, The Walker ArtCenter, New Museum, Harvard University, ISEA/Zero 1. As an activist, Jahn has worked with groups such as Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center, NYC Park Advocates, I-Witness Video, and more. She is the editor of two books about culture and politics; Recipes for an Encounter (2010) and Byproduct: on the Excess of Embedded Art Practices (2011). A graduate of MIT and 2007-9 artist in residence at MIT’s Media Lab, Jahn has been recognized as a leading educator by UNESCO and has been a CEC Artslink cultural fellow in Tajikistan, Estonia, and Russia. Her work has been written about in media such as The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Clamor, Punk Planet, Art in America, and Discovery Channel. In 2009, she co-founded REV-, an organization dedicated to socially-engaged art, design, and pedagogy; she is the Executive and Creative Director at People’s Production House, a journalism training and production institute that works with low-wage workers, immigrants, and teens to produce nuanced stories seen and heard on BBC, PBS Newshour, The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and more. In 2011, she co-founded Newsmotion, a web-based platform for public art, civic media, and documentary reportage.

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard is an artist, architect, and researcher whose post-disciplinary practice addresses new social spaces and signifying structures of contemporary network cultures. His current research investigates the implications of mobile and pervasive media, communication, and information technologies for architecture and urbanism. Recent work includes the Sentient City Survival Kit, a collection of artifacts for survival in the near-future sentient city; and the Tactical Sound Garden [TSG], an open source software platform for cultivating virtual sound gardens in urban public space, both of which have been presented at museums,festivals, and arts events internationally. In 2006 he organized Architecture and Situated Technologies (with Omar Khan and Trebor Scholz), a symposium bringing together researchers and practitioners from art, architecture, technology, and sociology to explore the emerging role of “situated” technologies in the design and inhabitation of the contemporary city. In 2009, he curated Toward the Sentient City, an exhibition of commissioned projects that critically explored the evolving relationship between ubiquitous computing and the city. He is the editor of Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture and the Future of Urban Space, published by the Architectural League of New York and MIT Press.

Warren Sack

Warren Sack is a software designer and media theorist whose work explores theories and designs for online public space and public discussion. He is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media; affiliated faculty with the Computer Science Department; affiliated faculty with the History of Art and Visual Culture Department’s Ph.D. program; affiliated faculty with the Community Studies Department; and a member of the graduate faculty for the Digital Arts and New Media Program (housed jointly by the Arts Division and the School of Engineering) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also an external faculty affiliate at the Center on Organizational Innovation of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University. Before joining the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Sack was an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information. He earned a B.A. from Yale College and an S.M. and Ph.D. from the MIT Media Laboratory.

Sack’s writings have been published or presented in the venues of anthropology, architecture, art, art criticism, art history, computer science, design, education, film, feminist studies, geography, linguistics, literature, media studies, philosophy, science studies, sociology, and political science. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, Rhizome.org, the Walker Art Center, and the Jerome Foundation. His art work has been shown at the ZKM|Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the artport of the Whitney Museum of American Art; and, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Embodying Agonism

Friday, April 13, 12:30–2:30 pm

Gallery 8

$10 ($8 Walker members)

Warren Sack leads a workshop that uses bodies and chairs to enact discourse and discord. Lunch included.

Pecha Kucha: From the Table to the Streets

Friday, April 13, 3–5 pm, Free

William and Nadine McGuire Theater

A rapid-fire presentation of projects oriented to public space, including recent recipients of Art(ists) on the Verge 3 commissions, and a range of artists and academics:

Wing Young Huie

Photographer and Director of The Third Place Wing Young Huie

Photography Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ariana Jacob

Artist, Portland, Oregan

The American Society for Personally Questioning Political Questions

Amoke Kubat

Founder of YO MAMA! The Mothering Mother’s Institute

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired Chair

Kristine Miller

Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota

Designs on the Public The Private Lives of New York’s Public Spaces

Carl Skelton

Director, Brooklyn Experimental Media Center and the Integrated Digital

Media programs of NYU’s Polytechnic Institute


Piotr Szyhalski

Interactive Designer and Professor of Media Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Class in Residence

Aaron Westre

AOV3 Artist, Minneapolis, Minnesota

City Fight!

This lecture will be webcast live and archived on the Walker Channel channel.walkerart.org

Artists on the Verge (AOV) is an intensive, year-long, mentor-based fellowship program for emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture with a focus on networkbased practices that are interactive and/or participatory. Previous exhibitions of work by AOV fellows have been at the Weisman Art Museum (2009) and the Spark Festival at the University of Minnesota (2010). Northern Lights.mn presents the third edition (AOV3) at The Soap Factory through April 15.

Harmony from Discord

Saturday, April 14, 10 am–4 pm

Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab

$10 ($8 Walker members)

Join Jacquie Fuller and Molly Balcom Raleigh for a workshop inspired by the collaborative working process of the Prairie Fire Lady Choir—a group well-versed in creating harmony from discord. The outcome of this workshop is to channel ideas from the symposium into a chorallyexpressed, consensus-shaped statement on collaboration and agonism to produce a song. Participants are required to work as a group to write, learn, and perform a song in a public space. You do not need to know how to read sheet music or be a good singer to participate. Lunch included.

Engaging the Avenue: Agonistic Tactics for Social Design

Saturday, April 14, 10 am–4 pm

Gallery 8

$10 ($8 Walker members)

This workshop will explore ways that ideas about agonistic democracy translate into design tactics. Using Hennepin Avenue as a site, we will conceptualize and prototype a series of agonistic interventions that engage the physical and media spaces of the street, where debates about the future of this urban corridor are unfolding.

Activities include rapid research into the history of Hennepin Avenue and its planning process, brainstorming, lo-fidelity prototyping, and the presentation of concepts. Participants from all backgrounds are welcome. The only requirement is a willingness to engage in radical imagination and hands-on political design. Led by Carl DiSalvo, assistant professor in the Digital Media Program in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Lunch included.

Inciting the Street

Saturday, April 14, 10 am–4 pm

Barnes Conference Room

$10 ($8 Walker members)

Neighborhood banners often bring to mind inspiring images and colors that mark the street as a prosperous and inviting place. Frequently used as products of urban decorating schemes, banners dress up a neighborhood and make it feel like a friendly place, ready for consumers, [no comma here] and free from controversy.

In this workshop, participants will learn about signs that incite, rather than sugarcoat, the streets and neighborhoods they represent. “Banners on Broadway,” for example, is an ongoing public art project of Juxtaposition Arts that uses the banner to stir dialogue and debate and to express the hopes and concerns of North Minneapolis residents. Using these case studies as models, participants will conceptualize and prototype their own neighborhood banners. Key questions to prompt dialogue and design ideas include: What messages do you think people need to see on your street? What worries or inspires you? How would you graphically represent your idea at a scale legible to passing cars and pedestrians? How would you argue for your message when decision makers thought it was too controversial or inappropriate?

Led by Banners on Broadway partners; Kristine Miller, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota; and guests from Juxtaposition Arts. Lunch included.

Copresented with Northern Lights.mn. Mack Lectures are made possible by generous support from Aaron and Carol Mack. Additional support is provided by the Jerome Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and US CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative.

Discourse and Discord

Text courtesy Carl DiSalvo