ISCP Talk
February 14, 2019, 6:30–8pm

Silvia Federici on Women and Witch-hunting

Silvia Federici will present a lecture in conjunction with the exhibition Chiara Fumai: LESS LIGHT. She will discuss the social and political significance of the 16th and 17th century witch-hunts in Europe and the Americas and particularly their relation to the developing capitalist organization of life, the colonization of the American populations, and the impact of witch-hunting on the social position of women in Europe and the “New World.”

The evening will begin with a brief viewing of the exhibition Chiara Fumai: LESS LIGHT by Kari Conte and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi.

Federici’s lecture will be live streamed on ISCP’s Facebook page through Facebook Live.

Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, teacher and writer. In the 1970s, she was one of the founders of the International Campaign for Wages for Housework. She was also one of the founders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa and the Radical Philosophers’ Anti-Death Penalty Project. She is the author of books and essays on women’s history and feminist theory, political philosophy and education. Her published works include: Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation; Revolution at Point Zero; Witches, Witch-hunting and Women, and Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the politics of the Commons. Federici is Emerita Professor at Hofstra University.

This program is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection Ltd.; Hartfield Foundation; 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; Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Church of Chiara Fumai; and The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University.

6:30–8pm

Participating Residents

Exhibition
Through May 17

Chiara Fumai: LESS LIGHT

February 12, 2019, 6–8pm: Opening Reception and reenactment of the performance The S.C.U.M. Elite (2014)

The International Studio & Curatorial Program announces the opening of LESS LIGHT, an exhibition by Chiara Fumai (1978–2017), a 2017 ISCP alumna. The artist’s first solo exhibition on this continent, LESS LIGHT brings together two of Fumai’s pioneering works, The Book of Evil Spirits (2015) and Dogaressa Elisabetta Querini, Zalumma Agra, Annie Jones, Dope Head, Harry Houdini, Eusapia Palladino read Valerie Solanas (2012-13), as well as a reenactment of the performance The S.C.U.M. Elite (2014) at the opening reception.

Fumai’s hybrid practice was deeply rooted in performance and her interests were far-reaching—encompassing radical feminism, chaos magick, terrorist propaganda and Italian Autonomist Marxism. In her work, she frequently deconstructed ideologies that have impeded women’s empowerment. Fumai performed as marginalized historical figures, transmitting occult messages that revived forgotten or discarded narratives.

This is the case in The Book of Evil Spirits, an expansive installation reminiscent of a psychic parlor that includes a suite of fifteen automatic drawings and photographs, performance props and a video in which Fumai channeled Eusapia Palladino, a nineteenth century Italian clairvoyant whose séances were attended by the likes of Nicholas II of Russia and Nobel laureates Marie and Pierre Curie. In turn, she conjures the spirits of a powerful group of women who also appeared throughout Fumai’s oeuvre since 2010. These women—Zalumma Agra, Ulrike Meinhof, and Annie Jones among them—transcend historical periods and geographies, united by their own desire to revolt against the conditions of oppression. Speaking to each other, they vocalize the veracity of Palladino’s séances and recite Carla Lonzi’s Manifesto di Rivolta femminile (1970) as well as other texts also quoted in Fumai’s prior live acts.

In Dogaressa Elisabetta Querini, Zalumma Agra, Annie Jones, Dope Head, Harry Houdini, Eusapia Palladino read Valerie Solanas, Fumai embodies the six people named in the work’s title in photographs. Some of the characters are shown reading from the S.C.U.M. Manifesto and others have it at hand, with a phrase from the manifesto, “A Male Artist is a Contradiction in Terms,” appearing on the wall in each image. The manifesto, published in 1967 by Valerie Solanas, ironically calls for a violent overturning of the patriarchy and the establishment of the Society for Cutting Up Men (S.C.U.M.) as the means to do so. The extreme struggles of Solanas, who is perhaps best known today for having shot Andy Warhol in 1968, are reanimated in each of Fumai’s photographs.

LESS LIGHT is curated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions, ISCP and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, directors of the Chiara Fumai archive.

A 30-page publication will accompany the exhibition, with commissioned texts by Stefano Collicelli Cagol and Kari Conte, an interview published in English for the first time between the artist and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, and a new introduction by the interviewers.

On February 14 at 6:30pm, Silvia Federici (feminist activist, writer, and teacher) will discuss her research on witch-hunting in Europe and the Americas, with reference to both historical events and the development of a capitalist society. The evening will begin with a brief viewing of the exhibition.

On March 12 at 6:30pm, Micki Pellerano (artist and frequent collaborator of Chiara Fumai) will present a lecture at ISCP on the use of occult symbolism and ritual practice in Fumai’s work.

Chiara Fumai’s (Rome, 1978–Bari, 2017) work will represent Italy at the Venice Biennale in 2019, along with two other artists. Solo exhibitions include: Rosa Santos, Valencia (2016); Museion, Bolzano (2015); Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2013); A Palazzo Gallery, Brescia (2013); Futura – Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague (2013); MACRO Testaccio, Rome (2011); and Careof – DOCVA, Milan (2008). Group exhibitions include: Tatjana Pieters, Gent (2017); David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2015); Contour 7 – A Moving Image Biennale, Mechelen (2015); Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2015); Whitechapel Gallery, London; De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; Nottingham Contemporary; Fiorucci Art Trust; SongEun Foundation, Seoul (all in 2014); MUSAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); and the Nomas Foundation, Rome (2011). She won the Furla Art Award (2013) and the Premio New York (2016). International residencies include: International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York (2017); Art Omi, Ghent, New York (2016) and Wiels, Brussels (2014).

This exhibition is a collaboration with The Church of Chiara Fumai, an organization which  preserves the artist’s memory, archive and estate. It is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection Ltd.; Hartfield Foundation; 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; Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF); The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Church of Chiara Fumai; and The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University.

Opening Reception: Feb 12, 2019, 6–8pm
Open Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6pm
Download Press Release (PDF)

Participating Residents

Exhibition
Through May 10

Living Room: UIT (Use it together)

“It is an experimental ‘campus,’ a kind of taba, where all human experiments will be allowed–human ones, concerning human species possibilities. It is a kind of mythical place for feelings, for acting, for making things and constructing one’s own interior cosmos–so, for that, ‘open’ propositions are given, and even raw materials for the ‘making of things,’ that the participator will be able to do.” Hélio Oiticica about Eden, 1969

The International Studio & Curatorial Program announces Living Room: UIT (Use it together)[1] a collective site-specific proposition by resident curator Amanda Abi Khalil, organized in collaboration with ISCP’s community. This exhibition includes a television channel with videos that comment on the aesthetics of participatory approaches in social art practices. Inspired by artist Hélio Oiticica’s discussions of Eden and theorist Stephen Wright’s concept of Arte Útil, Living Room takes over an exhibition space that usually triggers modes of spectatorship. Turning ISCP’s Project Space into a room for living, a shared space—by altering its function to a space of usership, created, used and activated (together) by the people who inhabit it—transforms its capacity to frame what is displayed inside it as art.

Living Room is firstly a temporary user-friendly space for ISCP’s residency program that is created through various types of collaborations meant to activate the room during a period of three months. Contributors were invited to propose existing works or suggest new works of 1:1 scale, which were not representations of anything, but could be understood as “practices of what they are and propositions of what they are,” in the words of Stephen Wright.[2] All the seemingly domestic elements which comprise the Living Room have a double ontology: they are artworks from which the art coefficient is removed or to which the usership value is restored so that they can serve a potential function.

Contributing artists include Danilo Correale with Reverie, on the Liberation from Work (2017), Simone Couto with Rest in Peace (2018), Johannes Heldén with The Green Room (2019), Samuel Henne with untitled (proposition #I, II, III) (2019), Thiago Honório with Exchange exchange (2019), Becky Kinder with Little Trees (2018), Ilaria Lupo in collaboration with Paed Conca and Sarigama with Overseas Ensemble (2015), Yann Pocreau with Diffraction 1, 2 (2018), Ian Swanson with Style options (2013) and Daniel Wagener with yellow fellow with plant (2016).

Wendy’s Subway, a non-profit reading room, writing space, and independent publisher located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is contributing a selection of bookstands designed by Tyler Polich & Hannah Wilentz as well as artists’ books that grapple with being both artworks and books.

Living Room also features a television channel showing six videos of participatory art projects that took place in different contexts in Lebanon, Germany, Bahrain and the United States. These videos introduce innovative formats of collaboration, addressing issues of hospitality and reciprocity. The channel presents Miziara Architects (2014) by Vikram Divecha, German for Newcomers (2016) by Stine Marie Jacobsen, Nocturne for Pit Orchestra (2017) by Ilaria Lupo in collaboration with Rabih Beaini, Sewing Borders (2018) by Mohamad Hafeda, Mathaf Mathaf Chou Hayda (2018) by Annabel Daou, and The Art of the Deal (2019) by Franziska Pierwoss.

Putting Stephen Wright’s Toward a Lexicon of Usership to test in a context where art is produced resonates with the curator’s interest in social and particularly participatory art. How can these 1:1 practices outlive the engaging and relational contexts of their production without being commodified?

Amanda Abi Khalil is an independent curator based in Beirut. Her curatorial projects are focused on socially engaged practices and exhibitions that critically address modes of production and exhibition in the art world today. She is the founder of Temporary Art Platform, a curatorial platform that aims to shift artistic and curatorial discourse towards social and contextual concerns in Lebanon through residencies, research projects and commissions. She is the Jane Farver Curatorial Resident at ISCP from December 2018 to February 2019.

Public Programs:

  • February 26, 6:30-8pm: Dream Homes and Heartache Panel Discussion: Phantasmagorias of the Interior, organized in collaboration with the “On Being Human” Seminars at New York University.
  • March 29, 6–8pm and March 30, 1–7pm (ISCP Spring Open Studios): Annabel Daou will perform her Fortune project during ISCP’s Open Studios as part of the Living Room. In this ongoing project, members of the public are invited to partake in an intimate interaction in which they present their palms and receive their fortunes transcribed onto paper for a small fee. The reading and writing is entirely silent.

This program is supported, in part, by Greenwich Collection Ltd.; Hartfield Foundation; Jane Farver Memorial Fund; Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; 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; and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). The panel discussion is supported by New York University and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

[1] UIT is part of the lexicon in Stephen Wright’s Towards a Lexicon of Usership, 2013, published by the Van Abbemuseum

[2] Ibid.

Opening Reception: Feb 12, 2019, 6–8pm
Open Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6pm
Download Press Release (PDF)Download Exhibition Booklet (PDF)