January 27, 2018, 1–7pm

Beyond Binaries: Towards New Constructs of Personhood and Gender

The Beyond Binaries symposium approaches the challenge of deconstructing two central binaries of Western culture: binary gender and the human-animal divide. How are the cultural constructs of gender and humanity/animality manifested and reified in science and law? How are these constructs intertwined with struggles to dismantle current day racism and cisheterosexism—bias that reinforces gender-normativity—and how can we form new ways of understanding? These questions are addressed from the vantage points of visual art, theory, and activism, by four speakers.

The first session of the symposium’s three-hour seminar will focus on politics of gender through the practices of new media artist Ryan Hammond and political theorist Heath Fogg Davis. The second session will address the notion of humanity and animality through presentations by artist Terike Haapoja and researcher and author Syl Ko.

The seminar will be followed by a workshop led by Ryan Hammond, in which participants will perform genetic modification of plants to introduce genes for human steroid hormone production as part of their ongoing project, Open Source Gendercodes. The workshop will be accompanied by music, drinks and snacks. It is free and open to the public.

This event is organized by Terike Haapoja and Ryan Hammond and co-produced by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and ISCP.


1pm: Opening remarks

1:15pm: Presentation, Ryan Hammond
1:45pm: Presentation, Heath Fogg Davis
2:05pm: Audience Participatory Gender Audit, Heath Fogg Davis
2:35pm: Discussion, Ryan Hammond + Heath Fogg Davis

2:45pm: Coffee break

2:50pm: Presentation, Terike Haapoja
3:20pm: Presentation, Syl Ko
3:50pm: Discussion, Terike Haapoja + Syl Ko

4:10pm: Coffee break

4:20pm: Discussion with panelists and Q&A
4:50pm workshop, buffet and music

Speaker’s biographies

Ryan Hammond is a new media artist living and working in Baltimore. Their work explores the myth of scientific objectivity by focusing on the often-unseen interplay between scientific advancement and cultural production, technological progress and desire. They will present research into the historical development of hormone production technologies, and their entanglements with efforts to eliminate queer, gender non-conforming, non-reproductive behaviors—as well as increase heterosexual prowess and enable lifelong performance of sanctioned masculinities and femininities.

Heath Fogg Davis is the author of Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter (NYU Press, 2017), a book that offers practical guidance to individuals and organizations on how to develop trans-inclusive policies that are institutionally smart. He is a professor at Temple University, where he teaches and conducts research on antidiscrimination law and policy. He also consults with businesses, schools, healthcare providers, and non-profits on trans-inclusion.

Syl Ko is an independent researcher based in Portland, Maine and is one-half of the vegan activist duo Aphro-ism. Along with her sister Aph Ko she co-authored Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism and Black Veganism. Ko studied philosophy at San Francisco State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her work focuses on the co-presence of marginalized human populations, nonhuman animals and sentient landscapes in racial oppression.

Terike Haapoja is a visual artist based in New York. Haapoja’s large-scale installation work, writing and political projects investigate the mechanics of othering with a specific focus on issues arising from the anthropocentric world view of western modernism. The Museum of Nonhumanity, a recent ongoing project in collaboration with Laura Gustafsson examines the way the human / animal boundary and dehumanization has been used to justify abuse.

The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York operates in the fields of contemporary art, design and architecture, creating dialogue between Finnish and American professionals and audiences. FCINY and ISCP have an ongoing partnership with the Alfred Kordelin Foundation that enables residencies at ISCP for Finnish or Finland-based artists.

This program is supported, in part, by Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, The Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, New York City Council District 34, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Download Press Release

Participating Residents

January 23, 2018, 6:30–8pm

belit sağ, Tomáš Rafa and Siddhartha Mitter on Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary

This event, held in conjunction with the exhibition Concrete Truth: Art and the Documentary, will begin with a screening of New Nationalism in the Heart of Europe by Tomáš Rafa, who has invited Siddhartha Mitter to respond to this work, followed by a screening and introduction of disruption (aksama) by belit sağ.

Siddhartha Mitter works on arts and culture, creative communities, cities, and political and economic issues, mostly in the United States and West Africa. He is a regular contributor to the Village Voice (since 2016) and Boston Globe (since 2004). Previous outlets for his work include Al Jazeera America, The Atlantic, BL Ink (India), Daily Beast, MTV, The National (UAE), The New Yorker, Paste, The Oxford American, and Transition. Mitter attended Harvard University for both undergraduate and graduate school. He is trained in political economy of development, with an emphasis on West Africa. Mitter lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Tomáš Rafa’s creative areas include reportage videos (such as New Nationalism in the Heart of Europe, ongoing since 2009), which reflect the problems of new nationalism in Central Europe, and projects including (Eg in Michalovce, Sečovce, Veľká Ida and Ostrovany), through which he attempts to eliminate some of the barriers between the Roma community and the majority population in Eastern Slovakia. The common denominator in Rafa’s participatory reportage videos and realizations are social and political engagement and activism. Rafa won the Oskar Čepan Prize in 2011, and recently had a solo exhibition at MoMA PS1, New York.

belit sağ is a visual artist with a video background in video-activist groups in Turkey. Her work was presented at MOCA, Taipei; Tabakalera, San Sebastian; EYE, Amsterdam; the Toronto, Rotterdam and New York International Film Festivals; and documenta 14, Kassel. She was a resident at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam and ISCP, New York.

This program is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection, Ltd., National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Council District 34; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.



Participating Residents

December 19, 2017, 6:30–8pm

Salon: Søren Thilo Funder and Christian Falsnaes

Søren Thilo Funder will present recent works, highlighting notions of authoritative and collective history writing. Working with narrative constructions that negotiate between fiction and reality, references to history and recollection appear throughout Funder’s work.

Christian Falsnaes will speak about the role of audience participation in his work. Falsnaes employs a multitude of visual forms, including painting, video, music and dance, to develop situations with the active participation of the audience. Recurrent themes are the relations between the individual and the group, and those between the artist and his audience.

This program is supported, in part, by The Beckett Foundation, Danish Arts Foundation, Den Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Stiftelse, Knud Højgaards Fond, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.