Posts in establishment
a found exhibition

A - ...a found exhibition

B - Like a found object

A - Yes but without placing it in a gallery. This is a real space unmediated.

B - So like drawing people through the terrain of art and visual culture to certain places or sites?

A - Yes. The curator says 'Here! this is it. Here it is,' opposed to the fabrications of facsimile exhibitions.

B - But why Lucienne?

A - He was an artist with far reaching ideas about the future function of art in society and he was disgusted by the bourgeois world of galleries and the art market. As a pioneer of kinetic art he was the first artist to make interactive sculptures. He himself termed his art 'cybernetic art' because, for him the essence of the work...

B - …if we can talk of essence...

A - was not the mere fact of movement, but the composition of the movement, the programme controlling or conditioning it. 

B - okay

A - He designed many projects for interactive sculptures and for light environments in public spaces, to intervene in real space

B - Installations

A - In cooperation with several leading film directors he made a number of films based on the shadows and projections of his sculptures. He also made the first experimental video work to be broadcast on television provoking violent reactions from the French audience.

B - This was broadcast from the studio

A - Yes. Also his ballet mécanique style works provide us with a metaphor for life and performance

B - such as man as a soft machine or wet engineering?

A - as well as movement, light and sound...

B - ...and fury, signifying nothing

A - Exactly.

B - So this is the site...

A - The artist is a site, as is the studio, which was also the scene of the artist's death in 1992. The site as un-fabricated, as an endeavour and as a site of contestation

B - and also the site of the first Centre of Attention found exhibition...

A - There's more to Montmartre than a poke in the eye with a paintbrush

B - I suppose, to predict the future you must change the past.

writing a thesis statement for the institutional archives?


The New York Times was sharply criticised when its obituary of a rocket scientist began by mentioning her "mean beef stroganoff". It was re: written.[1] The story holds lessons for obituary writers - but also illustrates the complexities of their art.

O n e  of those at the New York Times engaging in a post mortem investigation into the controversial obituary of Yvonne Brill was the paper's public editor, Margaret Sullivan. She spoke to obituaries editor William McDonald, who, she says in her blog, had never imagined that it would be seen as sexist. He said the opening re: ferences to her being a good cook, wife and mother were "an effective setup for the 'aha' of the second paragraph", which re: vealed that Brill was an important scientist.

Sullivan disagrees. The obituary undervalued Brill's "groundbreaking scientific work" by placing so much emphasis on her domestic life, she writes. "If Yvonne Brill's life was worth writing about because of her achievements, and all agree that it was, then the glories of her beef stroganoff should have been little more than a footnote." [2]

But what about the idea of beginning an obituary with a puzzling statement, followed by an "aha" moment? "Jokes like that don't really work in obituaries, unless the subject is a jokey character," says Nigel Starck, author of Life After Death, a history of obituaries. "It surprised me that such a conservative newspaper would write an obit with such a trivial lead. The stroganoff could have been worked in later."

However, good obituarists agree that the goal is not just to provide an account of the subject's CV, but to convey their personality. Seen from this perspective, the "mean stroganoff" may have been a tempting line. But Ann Wroe, obituaries editor for the Economist, agrees with Sullivan and Starck that it had no place in the first paragraph. "If someone is a great scientist or pianist that is what I will talk about," she says. "Whether they can cook a good meal will come much further down. The art or science will always come at the top and I will leave the gender aside, unless they have had to fight all their lives because of it."

Going through a life chronologically is not her style either. She prefers themes, and looks for ways to illustrate the person's good and bad sides. Both she and Starck like to work from autobiographies and interviews given by their subjects, "to get inside the head of the person" as Wroe puts it. "I try and write it from their point of view. I use words they would have used," she says.

She adapted this approach for an obituary in 2009 of a huge female carp, called Benson, which had been caught and photographed over its 25-year lifespan by dozens of anglers in Britain.


Wroe on Benson and Bin Laden

Benson: "In her glory days she re: minded some of Marilyn Monroe, others of Raquel Welch. She was lither than either as she cruised through the water-weed, a lazy twist of gold. Her gleaming scales, said  o n e  fan, were as perfect as if they had been painted on... Greed probably undid her in the end. She was said to have taken a bait of uncooked tiger nuts, which swelled inside her until she floated upwards."

Bin Laden: "Somewhere, according to  o n e  of his five wives, was a man who loved sunflowers, and eating yogurt with honey; who took his children to the beach, and let them sleep under the stars; who enjoyed the BBC World Service and would go hunting with friends each Friday, sometimes mounted, like the Prophet, on a white horse."


"I decided to do it when it was a quiet summer week. I wrote it from the view point of the fish from the bottom of the muddy pond where she lived. It was great fun and I talked about the number of times she had posed with people," Wroe says.

De Quetteville points out that some people are much easier to write about than others. "I think - and this is where the New York Times may have had trouble as well - that scientists are very difficult to write about, partly because it's very hard to get your head around what they're doing," he says. Wroe, in turn, adds politicians, musicians and artists to the list of tricky cases. Politicians because of the often chronological nature of their careers and the others because it is difficult to get across in words what they did. "With the baritone and conductor Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, I put a little snatch of a Schubert song in the obit so that those who knew his music would get it in their minds. I also put poetry in for poets," she says.

The New York Times's obituary of Yvonne Brill is certainly not the first piece of its kind to cause a controversy. Wroe's obituary [3]of Osama Bin Laden was another. But she defends the approach she took. "I think we should do bad and good people. I wanted to show there was a human side to him and that he was not just a monster," she says. "There is also a family man who took his children to the beach, who went out hunting and liked eating yoghurt and dates. I wrote it from his point of view and his growing crusade to kill as many infidels as possible, as he saw it.

"Our American readers didn't appreciate that." And the author of the New York Times' obituary of Brill is also unrepentant. "I wouldn't do anything differently," he told Margaret Sullivan. Writing obituaries may not be rocket science, but it can certainly be a tricky business.


[1] Lucienne, Essa. “Re:” The Vessel, 30 Mar. 2018,

[2] Vennard, Martin. “How to Write the Perfect Obituary.” BBC News, BBC, 7 Apr. 2013,

[3] Wroe, Ann. “Osama Bin Laden.” The Economist, The Economist Group Limited, 5 May 2011,

neat find

this blog is a collection of art, writing, music, and films by sino and diasporic sino creators in history. sinθ magazine is an international print-based creative arts magazine made by and for the sino diaspora.

visual, establishmentEssa Li
re: Lowell

re:verse (image search)


Portrait of John Lowell, Jr., 

C. Gleyre 

(Swiss (active in France), 1806–1874) 1834

Watercolor over graphite pencil

Lent by the Trustee of the Lowell Institute, William A. Lowell. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


American Travelers on the Nile –  

Early U.S. Visitors to Egypt, 1774–1839


Andrew Oliver 

English edition  | January  2015
424 pp. 34 color illus.Hardbound  15X23 cm
$44.95LE300 ISBN 9789774166679

For sale worldwide

Crimson Article: The Vessel in Construction


2 days ago
SOURCE UPDATED: October 1, 2017 at 4:33 p.m.


“There is an absence of open, flexible, and inclusive social spaces for students at Harvard college, especially in the arts. The organization and initiatives we currently have are oftentimes highly discriminatory and do not prioritize the interest or voices of the artists. So while a lot has changed since “Clubbies” of 1958 , some parts of the Harvard art scene holds to this sort of past. Not to mention the engagement of the greater student body with the arts is minimal at best... Change starts local. I hope to build a place fill that void.”

Vessel –a receptive holding device for ideas and discussions a canal to support conversation and exchange
a conduit to navigate and explore new territory

– is the name and philosophy of the new art establishment on campus founded by Essa L. 

The student-centered experimental art space shares the roof with Linden Street Studios, an eclectic VES building that previously housed a cluster of indoor gallery squash courts . This fact is not lost on the vessel’s founder, who hopes to adopt the unconventional nature of the space, and attract visitors from next door to stop by at see what’s happening.

Essa admits that the studio-exhibition space is limited, but does not mind that works may overflow into the rest of the building as well as the open-air courtyard, “it will be a great gathering place for art-enthusiasts or undergrads curious about what their peers are doing throughout the semester... sharing ideas directly and cross disciplines, in a casual setting and outside institutional walls.”

As the ausstellungsmacher , she will be directing and operating the venue as a  o n e -woman-show. And while she looks to the work of star-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and his now famous inaugural Kitchen Show – which was held in his apartment’s kitchen over the course of three months and visited only by a handful of rather influential people – Essa expects her own inaugural show to accommodate a greater public. 

Part of that effort would be to render the space more open and accessible – she will be operating the gallery in three hour segments, four days of the week. The other part is to ensure that works are shown in their best light, made site-specific and placed in a relevant context, meaning that works are placed in conversation with  o n e  another and the space of the vessel. This is also the extent of the “curatorial” role she considers to be in her practice. Rather than excluding, she seeks to include all artists and in the best of her ability to show all feasible works. She also looks to engage visitors directly in the exhibition space; specifically, through organizing a series of participatory pop-up shows.

Taking inspiration from Walter Hopps and his 36 Hours show at the Museum of Temporary Art, Essa will assemble a string of pop-up shows – where anyone can directly contribute and participate in the exhibition. These open-to-all shows will be spontaneous, interspersed amongst the more formally organized shows throughout the year, which are  o n e, Work in Progress, In-Person, The Second Harvard Society of Contemporary Art, and RE:. Together, these shows form the core exhibition structure of Vessel Gallery. The very last year-end show will take place in the Carpenter Center and consist of a retrospective of these past show, ultimately culminating in a performance involving audiences in the space.

In addition to the exhibition portion, the vessel will host a range of additional components and scheduled programming. For instance, the Sharing Shelf will be a community-based library that allows visitors to freely browse, borrow and lend books within the honor code. The main gallery space, also known as the Living Room, will host student-produced sound works and music listening sessions “Soundscape” every evening Tuesday through Sunday.

Much in the vein of Walter Zanini’s project J ovem Arte Contemporânea which promoted the living experimental methods of young artists, the Vessel will embrace new media and unconventional modes of art-making, whether that be audio works, performance art, virtual reality or more. The space will also hold an assortment of small scale recurring events such as film screenings, poetry readings, artist talks and other performances, often directly corresponding to the works on view. These measures borrow from the events at the heart of the 1955 San Francisco Beat Generation at King Ubu Gallery .

With community at center stage, the Vessel will be home to a loose affiliation of members who want to have greater input into the operations of the place. The group will be known as The Corporation and consist of a President, a league of Fellows and a Treasurer. Specifically, they will engage with questions of long-range strategy, policy, and planning as well as transactional matters of unusual consequence.

The collective around the Vessel will look to model itself on the 1950’s New York group known as Studio 35 , a community in which “participants grappled with questions about the conception and completion of their works, institutional and public reactions, artistic responsibility, interest 

or antagonism concerning mass culture, personal disclosures, professionalism, unions, emotional investment, and other issues fundamental to the act of creating and presenting work...”

The integration of these additional activities and functionalities at the Vessel embodies a broader trend in the museum and gallery world. Unlike profit-seeking establishments however, this student-run art center operates purely on a noncommercial basis and therefore may be better positioned to discover more genuine ways to building relationships with artists and thereby a community surrounding the arts. Essa believes that the expanded definition of the gallery space as well as processes of art-making together will welcome a wider public to stop by at 6 Linden Street.

To be comparable to real art establishments, the Vessel will also maintain a vital digital presence through two main platforms. The gallery website will provide up-to-date information on schedule/programming, student/artists, news/ events, while the gallery Instagram account will focus on announcements, live updates, and direct community engagement.

Both platforms will take part in documenting the transformation of the space over the course of the year, and therefore act as a form of a digital archive. In fact, rather than transcribing exhibitions in the form of a traditional catalogue text, each exhibition will be captured by videos, photographs, and other digital means from the perspectives of both the exhibition-makers as well as the public. This assemblage of collective experiences and viewpoints will together form the recorded history of a given show.

An ongoing experiment that challenge the distinct divide between individual exhibitions will be the gallery’s departure from the customary “clean slate” method. Instead, each show will retain certain visible pieces or traces from previous shows, with varying duration for certain pieces accordingly. For instance, a fragment of a sculpture from the first show “ o n e ” will act as a stand-in for its previous presence, and may remain for several weeks fading into the next show. This gesture may strengthen the flow, sequencing, and sense of continuity within the space while transitioning between exhibitions.

“The unilateral act of wiping out the previous show is not reflective of my experience in galleries. I find that I am always looking at the new show with a frame of reference to the past  o n e ... This accumulation of experiences and memories in the same space is important to me. Perhaps I can bring that back to the gallery setting.”

Essa looks forward to working closely with artists on shows which, to varying degrees, confront the norm. This can mean anything from disrupting conventional methods of mounting wall text, labels, and artist biographies, to unusual ways of installing artworks, since the Vessel will be  o n e  of the few places where undergraduates have unprecedented freedom to stage the presentation of their works.

With minimal bureaucracy and a spare touch, she hopes to fill the air with a liberating spirit reminiscent of that of Hopps at Ferus Gallery, and Harald Szeemann in his now legendary 1969 show “When Attitudes Become Form,” especially with respect to his approach in collaborative and nonconformist exhibition-making.

Like Szeemann, Essa will be taking on the role of artist-director. She too will make works to be shown alongside that of her peers. According to her, these works will concern the practices of curation, challenging...

  1. viewers to evaluate their role as spectators and co-producers of artworks

  2. institutions to reevaluate their role and responsibility to the public and to the past

  3. her own performance and persona in acting as a curator in contemporary context

Her background in image-making – working with light and form in relation to aesthetics – will be helpful in her new endeavor of exhibition making, which involve “filtering, enabling, synthesizing, framing, remembering” in the words of Obrist.

A central concern of this entire experiment will be questions of generosity in the arts.
Can art be truly generous? What are the parameters of definition that must exist for that statement to be true?
Is it possible to build an inclusive social space that houses an authentic collective around the arts? What does that look like in the context of Harvard?
When and why do barriers fail? Alternatively, what is the internal structure of an “open” space? How does  o n e  construct or deconstruct it?

In a campus environment where selectivity dominates as a primary driving force, and in a political climate where the artistic community is increasingly marginalized, the answers to these questions have never been more urgent.

Looking at the recent initiatives and new directions taken by the leadership of the Carpenter Center and the Harvard Art Museums, Essa is hopeful. “I have utopian visions. Coming together at this time of crisis, and really seeing and hearing each other in a tangible way – I think that is  o n e  of the most critical things we can do right now.”


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Frankfurt has gained an unusual museum in December 2005: DialogMuseum.  



^ essa will visit on 12.9.17

It is unusual because the exhibition focuses on human social topics. 

It is unusual because the ambassadors of the museum are blind and visually impaired people.

It is unusual because it combines social responsibility with economic trade.

The idea of this enterprise follows the principle that humans learn through encounter.

It follows the experience that platforms for the encounter, where we could learn from each other respectfully, are missing.

DialogMuseum wants to create this platform and at the same time wants to create workspaces for disabled and disadvantaged people.

DialogMuseum wants to encourage dialogues between people with and without disabilities.

It wants to surprise, touch, have a lasting effect in a relaxed and playful way.

The creation of DialogMuseum is tightly connected to the history and the development of the exhibition “Dialogue in the Dark.” Dialogue in the dark is a global franchise system. Dialogue Social Enterprise Ltd. (DSE) is a social enterprise operating worldwide headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. Their mission is to facilitate social inclusion of disabled, disadvantaged and elderly people on a global basis. DSE`s goals are to raise awareness about the contribution to society by people with disability and elderly people, leading to an inclusive behavior, and to improve the social economic condition of handicapped people, especially blind, visually and hearing impaired people.
To achieve these goals they operate exhibitions, such as “Dialogue in Silence”, “Dialogue with Time”, “Dialogue in the Dark”, and workshops and events worldwide. Since 1989, “Dialogue in the Dark” has been visited by 6, 5 million visitors in more than 60 countries.  
establishmentEssa Li
incongruous extravagance

"Can art be used to address the economic exploitation of the plantation economy that plagued Africa for centuries without, on some level, being a source of exploitation itself?"

"Reverse Gentrification"

The IHA aims for a reverse gentrification program. While on the one hand much new art deals with all kinds of economical issues, and wants to be very critical of them, on the other hand the economic return of such art is hardly in the same places as what is critiqued. Art may expose the need for change in say Nigeria or Peru, but in the end it generates an economy not in the places it critiques, but improves living conditions and real-estate value in Berlin-Mitte or in the Lower East Side.
Rather than ignoring this current state of affairs or treating it as an unwanted side effect, art can accept the terms and conditions of its production and forge a new, more radical criticality, which turns art’s potential for gentrification into a progressive and effective tool. Therefore, the IHA seeks to make capital accumulation a core strategy for artistic intervention
digital pictures

(event took place at Sever 202 Friday afternoon)

Just Another System is a visual band and picture making team that performs live with a homegrown suite of creative software instruments. Radical Digital Painting Manifesto

Presented by the Harvard Student Art Collective

audio, visual, establishmentEssa Li
online collection of art talks

don't have time to listen to this podcast much, but seems to be v. high quality content! powerful art-people, and immense archive of art stuff you know

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is a weekly, hour-long interview program featuring artists, historians, authors, curators and conservators. While the program is typically studio-based, it has taped live-audience episodes at nearly a dozen American art museums, such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center. The program has published new episodes each Thursday since 2011.

audio, artworld, establishmentEssa Li
art in boston "please elaborate"

artist talks in the Boston area what an incredible resource, grateful~

Please Elaborate was started by Kevin Frances, an artist who lives in Boston.
Boston has an amazing wealth of artistic activity happening every day. What we need more of is enthusiastic boosters, and resources to discover what is going on. This project is an attempt to contribute in a small way, by focusing on one thing, the artist talk.
artworld, establishmentEssa Li