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International Distinguished Artists Symposium and Exhibition

Fiction, Fabulation, Futurity: Contending with Environmental Degradation, Racial Injustice, and Pandemics.

Fiction, Fabulation, Futurity stems from a desire to engage artistic production with both images and words. These three modes of storytelling is a radical elaboration of the truth. The truth as a kernel of knowledge embedded within these forms is mutated into new configurations that create new structures of knowing. Through fictions, fables, and futurist propositions, readers are both creating images in their mind's eye as well as beholding new visions that the writer or artist is sharing. The reader/viewer is always caught in this spectacular loop of dual image production that distracts from, but eventually reaching the truth within.


Exhibition: October 25-December 5, 2021

  • Lynda Barry
  • Amy Franceschini and the Futurefarmers
  • Nicholas Galanin
  • Chitra Ganesh
  • Gintare Minelgaite (Dr. GoraParasit)
  • Gabriel Rico

Symposium: October 28-30, 2021

Lynda-Barry-CREDIT-Lynda-Barry-300-dpi.jpegPanel 1—Oct 28, Thursday

  • Viet Thanh Nguyen - Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer
  • Nicholas Galanin - 2019 Whitney Biennial Artist
  • Gabriel Rico - 2019 Venice Biennial Artist
  • Moderator: Karin Aguilar-San Juan, Professor and Chair, Asian American Studies

Panel 2—Oct 29, Friday

  • Giannina Braschi—NEA Fellow, Author of United States of Banana
  • Chitra Ganesh—Artist and recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship and Joan Mitchell Fellowship
  • Gintare Minelgaite—Artist, Performer, Methodologist, 2015 Kaunas Biennial (Lithuania) Artist
  • Moderator: TBD.

WonderTale.a3Tall_Page_04.jpgPanel 3—Oct 30, Saturday

  • Lynda Barry—Cartoonist and Author, Recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship
  • Amy Franceschini and the Futurefarmers—Artists, designers, architects, anthropologists, writers and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of "not knowing"
  • Kim Stanley Robinson—Author of New York 2140, and The Ministry for the Future
  • Moderator: Ricardo J. Reyes, Edith Dale Monson Gallery Curator and Director

Workshops (TBD)

  • Lynda Barry
    Drawing Words and Speaking Pictures: This Mysterious Thing We Call Comics
    Lynda Barry leads a lively drawing jam for anyone who is interested in making comics. You don’t need any artistic ability to be part of this class, but you must be willing to draw bravely. We’ll be learning fast drawing techniques that anyone can do to create instant characters, story lines, and the spook-house kind of excitement that comes about when people who don’t know each other get together in a single room and suddenly have to start making pictures together.
  • Amy Franceschini and the Futurefarmers
  • Nicholas Galanin—sculpture
  • Gintare Minelgaite (Dr. GoraParasit)—IMA and Sound Art (The Hartt School) 
    Things Will Never Be the Same” are video interpretations resurrecting six pagan goddesses based on Lithuanian Folklore. Each portrait depicts one ‘updated’ goddess, based on historical individual cults surrounded with Lithuanian pagan rituals (individual tales, myths, songs, visual) . With this project, I am re-imagining Lithuanian nostalgia in search of identity, through practicing alien old/new traditions. With a carefully recreated portraits I am continuing a dialog about the contemporary development of Lithuanian multi-identity: old religion & traditional practices; post-Soviet remains; sports; the processes of globalization, euro-integration, geopolitical alternation, westernization, digitalization among other issues. Students and workshop participants will be placed in one of two teams: performers, and technical crew. Working with the Dr. Goraparasit, participants will help create videos for her exhibition.
  • Gabriel Rico—Glass



picture1.pngKarín Aguilar-San Juan, Professor of American Studies, holds a PhD in urban sociology from Brown University (2000). Together with Frank Joyce she co-edited The People Make the Peace: Lessons from the Vietnam Antiwar Movement (Just World Books 2015) featuring reflections by prominent U.S. antiwar activists and an interview with five U.S. ex-combat veterans now living in Viet Nam. During Fall 2015, the book was featured on CSPAN3. 

Prof. Aguilar-San Juan’s interview with the legendary philosopher/activist Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies. Her other books include a monograph, Little Saigons: Staying Vietnamese in America (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and the edited volume, The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s (South End Press 1994). She wrote the Foreword to Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire (South End Press 1997), edited by Sonia Shah. She has also published book chapters, journal articles, book and movie reviews in City & Community, Amerasia Journal, Nature and Society, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and Sojourner: The Women’s Forum (Boston), and Gay Community News.

picture2.pngAs a first-time director, writer, and cinematographer, Prof. Aguilar-San Juan is currently working on a short documentary film called “Rice: A Filipino Love Story.” Created as an homage to the French feminist Agnes Varda, the project is based on a small farm in the Philippines where the rice plays a central role in the drama of everyday life.


picture3.pngLynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher and found they are very much alike. The New York Times has described Barry as "among this country’s greatest conjoiners of words and images, known for plumbing all kinds of touchy subjects in cartoons, comic strips and novels, both graphic and illustrated." She earned a degree from Evergreen State College during its early experimental period (1974-78), studying with painter and writing teacher Marilyn Frasca. Frasca’s questions about the nature of images and the role they play in day-to-day living have guided Barry’s work ever since.


picture5.pngGiannina Braschi is a Puerto Rican writer. She is credited with writing the first Spanglish novel YO-YO BOING! (1998), the postmodern poetry trilogy Empire of Dreams (Yale, 1994), and the explosive new work of philosophical fiction United States of Banana, (Amazon Crossing, 2011), which chronicles the Latin American immigrant's experiences in the United States.

"For decades, Dominican and Puerto Rican authors have carried out a linguistic revolution, Giannina Braschi, especially in her novel YO-YO BOING! testify to it.”  - The Boston Globe

Having written classics in Spanish, Spanglish, and English, Giannina Braschi is considered the most revolutionary voice in Latin American literature today. Braschi is the author of the postmodern poetry classic Empire of Dreams and the bestselling Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing! Her latest project, a graphic novel adaptation her work, United States of Banana, celebrates the cultural journey of the nearly 50 million Latinx living in the US and explores the shifting powers in the Americas from the “tippy top of the Ukon to the tippy toes of Tierra del Fuego.”


picture7.pngIn 1995, Amy founded Futurefarmers, an international group of artists, activists, researchers, farmers and architects who work together to propose alternatives to the social, political and environmental organization of space. Their design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residence program and their research interests. Futurefarmers use various media to deconstruct systems to visualize and understand their intrinsic logics; food systems, public transportation, education. Through this disassembly they find new narratives and reconfigurations that form alternatives to the principles that once dominated these systems. They have created temporary schools, books, bus tours, and large-scale exhibitions internationally. 

Amy received her BFA from San Francisco State University in Photography and her MFA from Stanford University. She has taught in the visual arts graduate programs at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Stanford University and is currently faculty in the Eco-Social masters program at the Free University in Bolzano, Italy. Amy is a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, a 2019 Rome Prize Fellow and has received grants from the Cultural Innovation Fund, Creative Work Fund and the Graham Foundation.

picture8.pngFuturefarmers is a group of diverse practitioners aligned through an interest in making work that is relevant to the time and place surrounding us. Founded in 1995, the design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residence program and our research interests. We are artists, designers, architects, anthropologists, writers and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of "not knowing".

While we collaborate with scientists and are interested in scientific inquiry, but we want to ask questions more openly. Through participatory projects, we create spaces and experiences where the logic of a situation disappears - encounters occur that broaden, rather than narrow perspectives, i.e. reductionist science.

picture9.pngTlingit/Unangax̂/ Multi-Disciplinary Artist

Nicholas Galanin’s work engages contemporary culture from his perspective rooted in connection to land. He embeds incisive observation into his work, investigating intersections of culture and concept in form, image and sound. Galanin's works embody critical thought as vessels of knowledge, culture and technology - inherently political, generous, unflinching, and poetic.

Galanin engages past, present and future to expose intentionally obscured collective memory and barriers to the acquisition of knowledge.

His works critique commodification of culture, while contributing to the continuum of Tlingit art. Galanin employs materials and processes that expand dialogue on Indigenous artistic production, and how culture can be carried. His work is in numerous public and private collections and exhibited worldwide. Galanin apprenticed with master carvers, earned his BFA at London Guildhall University, and his MFA at Massey University, he lives and works with his family in Sitka, Alaska.

picture10.pngArtist Statement

Culture is rooted in connection to land; like land, culture cannot be contained. I am inspired by generations of Tlingit & Unangax̂ creative production and knowledge connected to the land I belong to. From this perspective I engage across cultures with contemporary conditions. 

My process of creation is a constant pursuit of freedom and vision for the present and future. Using Indigenous and non-Indigenous technologies and materials I resist romanticization, categorization and limitation. I use my work to explore adaptation, resilience, survival, active cultural amnesia, dream, memory, cultural resurgence, connection to and disconnection from the land.

picture11.pngIn her drawing, painting, installation, text and film works, Ganesh excavates histories that typically have been excluded from the canons of literature and art. She draws from a broad range of material including the iconography of Hindu, Greek and Buddhist mythology, 19th-century European portraiture and fairytales, song lyrics, as well as contemporary visual culture such as Bollywood posters, anime, and comic books. Through a process of automatic writing, Ganesh probes these sources and narratives to uncover moments of absence and submerged desire. 

In Architects of the Future, Ganesh integrates the visual language of 60s and 70s science fiction with imagery loosely inspired by the Amar Chitra Katha–a long-running comic series that portrays traditional Indian epics, history, and mythology.  The four prints form a nonlinear narrative of “unforeseen desire and untimely loss” that occur in an alternate world in an imagined past and a distant future.  Within this retro-futurist universe, bodies, like time, are fluid.  They are doubled, dismembered, as well as exceeding their limits and extending into their surroundings. By exploring bodies, space, and history through disparate visual languages, Ganesh asks her viewers to seek and consider alternate narratives of sexuality and power.  There are always untold stories trying to rise to the surface.

picture12.pngChitra Ganesh is a Brooklyn-based artist who works–often collaboratively–in many disciplines, including drawing, painting, film, and text.  She holds her BA in Comparative Literature and Art Semiotics from Brown University and an MFA from Columbia University.  She is also an alumnus of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and a 2012 recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in the Creative Arts.

picture13.pngGintare Minelgaite is a performance & theatre artist, methodologist. Gintare was born in 1984 in Kaunas, Lithuania. In 2005, she completed a bachelor’s in Acting at Lithuanian Theatre and Drama School, where she was a part of two theatre collectives: Keistuoliai and Arviras Ratas Laboratory. Since moving to London in 2006, she graduated with BA in Graphic Design, worked in companies such as Future Shorts and Secret Cinema as visual art director, and completed a master’s degree in theatre directing. Whilst studying her Masters at Royal School of Speech and Drama, she began collaborating with the avant-garde theatre director Robert Wilson.

Gintare finished her script and getting ready for her debut feature film - a collaboration with Dieter Meier. During 2013 she directed & produced a number of successful stagings - ‘1001 nights in America’ (Watermill Center, NYC; Berliner Festspiele), ‘Bein Particular’ (Nettle house, London); collaborations with Norwegian composer Steinar Yggeseth - ‘TUK TUK ANAMNESIS’ (Kaunas Biennial), ‘LOVE’ (CAC, Vilnius; Siaullai Art Gallery, Sialiai; POST Gallery, Kaunas), ‘SELF-FLES’ (Siaullai Art Gallery, Siauliai; POST Gallery, Kaunas) and very recently, Just Like In The Movies project part 1 ‘PSYCHO’ (POST Gallery, Kaunas). Her conceptual interest lay in the synthesis of performance art, cinema and theatre; synthesis between neuroscience and art.


Gintare’s next intellectual endeavor is a PhD that will focus on the synthesis between neuroscience and art.

picture15.pngViet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association.


picture17.pngBorn in 1980 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico

Lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico 

Gabriel Rico’s work is characterized by the interrelation of seemingly disparate objects. A self-proclaimed “ontologist with a heuristic methodology,” Rico pairs found, collected, and manufactured materials to create sculptures that invite viewers to reflect on the relationship between humans and our natural environment. He frequently uses neon, taxidermy, ceramics, branches, and more personal pieces of his past to create an equation or formulation, achieving a precise geometry despite the organic, roughly hewn character of his materials. His installations ironically and poetically combine natural and unnatural forms, insisting on a necessary contemplation of their asymmetry as well as our own cultural and political flaws.


picture19.pngCalled the “greatest political novelist” of our time by the New Yorker, Kim Stanley Robinson has infused his science fiction with real-life political, sociological, and ecological concerns for decades. He’s a writer who does his research. His work is often pegged as “hard” science-fiction for the level of detail with which he writes about social and technological advances. But he’s equally known for his optimism. His 2017 novel New York 2140 depicts a New York City half-submerged by rising seas, but by the story’s end, the city’s collective action suggests that a more just and sustainable future lies ahead.

Robinson returns with themes of climate change and hope in his latest, the tremendously engaging The Ministry for the Future. It opens in the very near-future with a gut-wrenching scene set in India during a heat-wave. From there, it follows several firsthand accounts of how the world’s political leaders and policy-makers worked together (or not) to take action on climate change by 2025. The book is rife with complex characters and clandestine government agents, but it also draws on real-life policies and economic theories to form a picture of a very possible future. (from Yale Climate Connection)

picture20.pngIn Kim Stanley Robinson’s anti-dystopian novel, climate change is the crisis that finally forces mankind to deal with global inequality. – Bill McKibben, New York Review

From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades. The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us — and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face. It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written. - Hachette