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BEING ALONE, SHARING: Conversations on Survival Comes to Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The School of Survival: Learning with Juan Downey, curated by Javier Rivero Ramos and Sarah Watson, on view at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery through May 6, 2018.

Drafted in his sketchbook, the phrase "school of survival" echoes Juan Downey's belief that educators and artists have a responsibility to work towards societal change. Addressing the urgencies of the material realities of the 1970s, Downey's work foreshadows the ever-evolving crisis we find ourselves in today. Considering our current ecological and political moment, this conversation series invites artists, educators, and activists to share how their creative process, approach to education, and daily life respond to and define survival.

Participants include: Stephanie Alvarado, Javier Rivero Ramos, School of Apocalypse (Tal Beery, Catherine Despont, Eugenia Manwelyan, Adam Stennett), Brooke Singer, smudge studio (Elizabeth Ellsworth, Jamie Kruse), Dior St. Hillaire, Tattfoo Tan, Pili X.

Moderators include: Dylan Gauthier, Alida Jekabson, and Sarah Watson.

Conversations will be followed by: a reading by Lila Zemborain and Mónica de la Torre, organized by Jocelyn Spaar; performance demo of Datagarden's MIDI sprout; reception.


STEPHANIE ALVARADO is a queer Afro-Indigena Latina feminist born and raised in the Bronx, NY by way of Guayaquil, Ecuador. She is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and reproductive justice scholar and activist. Alvarado is currently the Director of Advocacy and Partnerships at 596 Acres, NYC's only community land access advocacy organization.

Founded in 2011 by Joe Pattucci and Alex Tyson, DATAGARDEN is an arts organization and zero waste record label. DataGarden builds community and connection to nature through experiences that extend human perception using sound, including releasing downloads on plantable artwork; producing installations and events; and using plants to play electronic music with their bio-sonification MIDI Sprout device.

DYLAN GAUTHIER is an artist and educator who creates platforms and social infrastructure around ecology, community, landscape, and social change. Gauthier is a founder of the boat-building and publishing collective Mare Liberum and of the Sunview Luncheonette, a co-op for art, politics, and poetics in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He teaches in the Film and Media Department at Hunter College.

ALIDA JEKABSON is a M.A. candidate in the Art History program at Hunter College and is the spring Gund Curatorial Programming Fellow for the Hunter College Art Galleries. Alida's research interests include public art and museum history with a focus on modern and contemporary art from the Americas.

JAVIER RIVERO RAMOS, co-curator of the exhibition The School of Survival: Learning with Juan Downey, is a second year PhD student at Princeton University's Department of Art and Archeology studying modern and contemporary art with a specific focus on Latin America. His research interests include international networks of artistic exchange, art under duress, and Pan-Americanism. He has worked in the curatorial departments of Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, MX; Museo Jumex, Mexico City, MX, and the Hunter East Harlem Gallery, New York.

SCHOOL OF APOCALYPSE--founded in 2015 by Tal Beery, Catherine Despont, Eugenia Manwelyan and Adam Stennett--is a radical learning community organized around a notion of school broadly defined as a FRAMEWORK and container for the emergence of shared knowledge. The school invites a range of thinkers, artists, and scientists to present programming on themes connecting creative practice and notions of survival. Subjects of study are theoretical as well as hands on, and emphasize the integration of observational and material practices found in mystical traditions, creative modalities and scientific field work.

Brooke Singer engages technoscience as an artist, educator, nonspecialist and collaborator. Her work lives "on" and "off" line in the form of websites, workshops, photographs, maps, installations, public art and performances that often involves participation in pursuit of social change.

JOCELYN SPAAR is a poet, translator, and artist, living in New York and working at the Hunter College Art Galleries. She is the poetry editor of STILL magazine, based in Berlin and New York.

SMUDGE STUDIO is a collaboration between Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse that started in 2005. smudge studio designs and cultivates embodied practices that support humans in paying nuanced attention to the fast and intense material realities that are now emerging on a planetary scale.

DIOR ST. HILLAIRE is the owner of GREENFEEN, an environmental consulting firm that uses Hip-Hop to teach sustainability as a lifestyle through green technology and compost education. Through exclusive partnerships, zero waste events, and organics collection, GreenFeen uses this triple bottom line theory to teach a holistic lifestyle.

TATTFOO TAN is an artist who collaborates with the public on issues relating to ecology, sustainability and healthy living. His work is project-based, ephemeral and educational in nature.

MÓNICA DE LA TORRE is the author, most recently, of The Happy End/All Welcome. She teaches in the Literary Arts program at Brown University. Her translation of Defensa del ídolo, the sole book of poetry by the Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres, is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse this summer.

PILI X is a multidisciplinary artist, radical urban planner, and Director of Community Partnerships at the North Philly Peace Park. His work focuses on community development and place-making using ecology, design, education, and art as a vehicle to implement radical change. He was named one of "12 People Of Color Leading The Social Impact Charge In Philadelphia" in 2017 by Generocity.

Sarah Watson is Director of Exhibitions & Chief Curator of the Hunter College Art Galleries and is co-curator of the exhibition The School of Survival: Learning with Juan Downey. Her curatorial interest is in creating experimental sites for education, collaboration, and action, with a focus on time-based works including film, sound, video, new media, performance, poetry and literature. In addition to organizing exhibitions and programming, Watson oversees the gallery component of the Advanced Certificate in Curatorial Studies at Hunter College.

Poet and critic LILA ZEMBORAIN (Argentina) is the author of eight poetry collections including Guardianes del secreto (2002), translated into English as Guardians of the Secret (2009); Malvas orquídeas del mar (2004), translated into English as Mauve Sea-orchids (2007); Rasgado (2006), translated into French as Déchiré (2013). From 2009 to 2012 she directed the NYU MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish, where she continues to teach.

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