REEF Residency Artists

2019 Artists

  • Rosa Boshier (Critical Studies MFA 18) is a writer whose work spans multiple genres. Her work can be found in publications such as Entropy, The Acentos Review, The Rattling Wall, Necessary Fiction, and New Delta Review, and has been staged at The Getty Center's LA/LA Pacific Standard Time and The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Art in San Francisco. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at The California Institute of the Arts, where she now teaches Latinx Studies. She has received generous support for her work from the Rainin Foundation, Zellerbach Foundation and Bill Graham Foundation.
  • Alyssa Manansala (Critical Studies MFA 18) is an essayist and poet, interested in experimental nonfiction that engages critical race theory, decolonial politics, and desire. She was a featured artist in the 2017 APAture Festival's Literary Art Showcase; a 2018 fellow of the Interdisciplinary Writers Workshop for Emerging Writers of Color, hosted by Kearny Street Workshop and the Asian Art Museum; and an editorial assistant for Sublevel Magazine's inaugural issue, "Contagion," edited by Janice Lee and Maggie Nelson. She teaches Asian American studies as a Teaching Fellow in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts, and she is the founder and co-curator of inter/subject, an art-thought workshop series. Her writing can be found in Tayo Literary Magazine, Hyphen Magazine, and Agape: A Journal of Literary Good Will.

    Boshier and Manansala will use the REEF residency to develop an aesthetic, intellectual, and political discipline they have coined Decolonial Ekphrasis—a framework for decolonizing how art is viewed and understanding the reverberating effects of colonial trauma in intellectual and creative work. They will hold workshops and readings during the residency, with the aim of honoring, archiving, and studying decolonial and POC writers and scholars. Informed by this research, they will engage in interdisciplinary writing and visual arts projects around Asian American and Latinx media representations, along with memory, translation, gender, mythology, and power. By combining both archive and practice of radical POC and decolonial thought, Decolonial Ekphrasis attempts to investigate colonial histories within ourselves as a means of healing, empowerment, and artmaking.
  • Cynthia Velasquez (Critical Studies MFA 18) is a queer woman of color of Chilean-Guatemalan descent. Born in Northeast Los Angeles, California, Velasquez’s work centers the ‘home’ as a formative space shaped by queerness and Latin-American diaspora. Her practice uses multi-media as a conceptual tool that aesthetically explores spaces of survival through memory; using space as the architectural space of her childhood home toward an imagined home. Her work builds on a non-linear historical formation through a womxn of color perspective potentially understanding diasporic experiences within the limits and/or expansiveness of Los Angeles as an immigrant community.

    Velasquez reorientates photographic images into new objects that document a diasporic journey of border travel, not only between nation-states, but across language, class, race, ability, gender and sexuality. Mediums include multimedia painting, ink, clay,  photography, and theory. She studied at CalArts in the Aesthetics & Politics Program, School of Critical Studies. Velasquez is currently a lecturer at CSUDH and a Teaching Artist for CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership and the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA). Velasquez has participated in several solo and group shows and film festivals in Southern California; Phoenix, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Chicago, Illinois and San Antonio, Texas.
  • Jinal Sangoi (Art MFA 18) is an interdisciplinary artist who creates links between art, life and pedagogy. Through her performative interventions, she creates temporary spaces for healing memories of violence, exploitation and segregation, while also using art-teaching as a collaborative process to bring about alternative modes of activism and resistance. Deconstructing the female body as a subject of normative ethics, her work counters patriarchal hegemony in the postcolonial world. Sangoi moves between culturally hybrid spaces, exploring the intersectionality between social inequality, gender construction and destruction of nature or motherhood.

    Sangoi is a recipient of the Gender Bender Grant from Goethe Institut-Bangalore (2018), Tim Disney Prize for the Storytelling arts (2017) and Chiquita Landfill Found Art Scholarship (2017). She has developed and facilitated projects for children in schools and other organizations in India and US. She is a member of the core team of Centre for Arts and Social Practice (India) since 2013, and recently started her own organization Beej, which aims to promote arts education and integrated learning practice. Sangoi has exhibited in India, US, Austria, Romania, and Bangladesh. She lives and works in Los Angeles and Mumbai.
  • Hannah Kim Varamini (Art MFA 18) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. She was born in Washington, D.C. to first-generation Korean immigrants. She received her BFA from Cornell University and MFA from the art program at CalArts. Her work employs language and symbology to examine ideologies of nationalism, and personal histories of diaspora and cultural hybridity. She spent time in Namibia on a Fulbright fellowship in 2008, which propelled an ongoing interest in postcolonial discourse. She has presented work in various contexts including the Santa Cruz Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection, and the National Art Gallery of Namibia.
  • brd (Art MFA 18) is an artist interested in understanding rhetoric and logic, and how the perception of understanding determines use, exchange, and gift value. She considers fictive and propositional possibilities as well as instances where forms of communication combine, depart, or fail one another. She also investigates notions of empathy and the limits of how the subjective experience can be inhabited or embodied (by another or by displacement). Slippages, conflations, and circular reasoning commingle with persistent preoccupations around the burdens and desires threaded between care and love. She holds a dual BA and BS from DePaul University and MFA from CalArts.

    Together, brd and Varamini will embark on an exploration of an ethics of dedication and sharing, through co-facilitating a series of interconnected collaborations. Mobilizing emotional and immaterial labor, the artists will spend the next year extending invitation, nurturing relationships, and developing projects with undetermined outcomes. They envision an evolving, permeable, and inclusionary group of artists exploring the establishment of trust and the risk of vulnerability, both at the intimate and institutional level. The resulting conversations, events, and material objects will intertwine temporally-related forms, weaving personal process with shared endeavors.

2018 Artists

  • Amanda Choo Quan (Critical Studies MFA 17) is a Trinidadian-Jamaican writer, performer and organizer currently based in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she earned Brodber-Pollard prize, and of CalArts' MFA in Creative Writing, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She has attended Callaloo and Cropper Foundation workshops, the Juniper Summer Institute, the Scottish Universities Summer International School, and was most recently granted a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship. Her work can be seen in Callaloo, in STAY MAD Zine, or on various stages across LA. In terms of weather, she prefers heat; in terms of work, she enjoys writing about displacement, intimacy, and evil. 
  • Giovan Alonzi (Critical Studies MFA 17) is a poet and musician from Van Nuys, CA. His writing has appeared in VOLTPANKEntropyThe Believer, and other publications. At CalArts, his thesis was awarded the Emi Kuriyama Memorial Thesis Award. He currently teaches writing composition at East Los Angeles College and creative writing at Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory. Once, he heard poetry was theft.

    Amanda and Giovan share their space at the REEF residency together, working on a multi-tiered project that examines the relationship between racism, cognition, and language. They are particularly interested in how white and black people perceive “whiteness” and “blackness,” what group acts of racism suggest about an individual perpetrator's negotiation with their own identity, how academic concepts of race affect everyday language, and how American racial dynamics influence the way racism is spoken about throughout the African diaspora. During their time at the REEF, they will be hosting readings and presentations, as well as putting together a small publication.
  • Sichong Xie seeks to be a cultural organizer who utilizes body-based sculptural forms (masks / costumes / objects) transforming discarded materials and disregarded spaces by using the tools of humor and absurdity. By placing traditional sculptural forms within new sites, materials, and social constructs, she investigates these forms and movements within global communities to reconsider and re-envision shared spaces and performative practices.

    In the summer of 2016, she was a fellowship artist in the Watermill Center for Performance in Long Island, NY. During the six-week intensive workshops and practices, she collaborated with five other actors and dancers, creating a piece called Everyday Objects, a three-hour endurance performance integrating dance, experimental theatre and installations. In the summer of 2017, Sichong Xie has been chosen to participate in the Hauser & Wirth Somerset exchange residency at Bath School of Art & Design, Bath Spa University. She also did a five-hour endurance performance Walking With The Disappeared at the Hauser & Wirth Somerset gallery. 

    Her practice deals with issues of identity, politics, cross-culturalism, and the surreal characteristics of her body in the ever-changing environment. Her current body of work explores Chinese culture versus American culture, her female gender versus the patriarchy that is reflected in municipal sculptures in China, and Chinese Communist politics versus the “only one child” generations. 
  • Find Dany Naierman at the juncture of analysis, media production, and performance. His projects reassemble narratives through original research that result in making. The themes of his work encompass body identity within landscapes overtaken by industrial automation, and the reactivation of inherent archives within landscapes. Often a performance lecturer within his academic path, Dany is also 50% of DANyDANY, a musical duo. He served as art director, technical director and producer with the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, and holds an MA in Aesthetics and Politics degree from CalArts. A Venezuelan artist, he was born in Caracas and is currently based in Los Angeles.
  • Matt Town was born in Florida on November 30 1989. Town’s work considers a sense of community and one’s role within it, a sense of justice, the significance of family, issues of racial tension and a sense of social class and place, and what it takes to question these. 

2017 Artists

  • Carmen Amengual (Art MFA 16) grew up in Argentina and moved to Los Angeles five years ago. She has a degree in Literature, with a focus on Literary Theory, from the University of Buenos Aires. Carmen is interested in the narratives and rhetorical devices that build the ideas of the self and reality, from the personal to the historical. Through painting, sculpture, installation and writing she explores the ideas of critical and poetical reconstruction of identity and memory. Probing Literary Theory concepts such as "structures of feeling" (Williams) and "the effect of the real" (Barthes), Carmen's pieces revisit her own visual archive to inquire about the links between memory, biography and history. Similarly, she is interested in the history of the image, visual regimes and the formation of subjectivity. Inspired by feminist politics, Carmen sees her art practice as a form of micro-resistance, and thinks of poetics and play as possible means to re-empower the political imagination, reclaiming their meaning from their trivialized capitalist version.
  • Artur Silva (Art MFA 16) was born in Brazil and moved to NYC after completing his BFA at Escola Guginard. Based in extensive research, Artur's video installations, sculptural works, and performances explore notions of semiotics as the role of symbols in shaping our reality, the tension between signifier and signified and the process of representation. Growing up in Brazil during a dictatorship sponsored by the U.S. anti-communist "Condor Plan" in South America, Artur's experience of childhood was one imbued in the American culture that was promoted through the Brazilian media. His perception of the world was shaped by images that didn’t correspond to his reality. These circumstances increased his interest in postcolonial theory as one of the means to understand neocolonial dynamics. Along this line, Artur investigates objects that stand in for multiple identities or ideas such as the syncretic action between Afro descendent religions and Catholicism (Santeria in Cuba and Candomblé in Brazil) as platforms to articulate ideas about internal politics, disguise, resistance and subversion.
  • The Laboratory for Latin American Art/Thinking, LATlab is a collaborative art initiative created by Carmen Amengual and Artur Silva that arises from shared experiences and interests, and a mutually felt urgency to delve into their Latin American background.

    LATlab is conceived as a self-organized educational and creative critical platform that seeks to investigate the particularities of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art, inquiring into the alternative articulations of ideas about arts and politics that emerged in the Latin American experience. It aims to approach experimental ways of making art beyond the museum/gallery axes, and seeks a learning experience that goes beyond the mainstream art history canon.

    During the duration of the residency LATlab aims to develop a range of activities including a study group on Latin American art history, a laboratory for experimental making, screenings, guest speakers, and more.

    LATlab is an attempt to embrace the paradoxical situation of the Latin American artist is the U.S., reflecting on the liminal space between the colonial heritage and the experience as immigrants. It wants to risk naming what is lost in translation, inhabiting the double wound of coloniality and immigration as a space of political and creative potential. It is LATlab's utmost desire to create a space where we can redefine the nuances of our heritage through critical thinking and modes of making that do not ignore our culture. LATlab wants to create a space where we can take a chance to name ourselves avoiding preconceived categories of identity. LATlab is an exercise in intellectual emancipation and collaboration, seeking to develop creative practices that embrace the complexities of our world and resist hegemonic nomenclatures.

    LATlab is presented as an invitation to critical thinking and art making from a Latin American perspective. It is in itself a seminal political act seeking to build a community that, from a peripheral position, gathers to produce new cultural outcomes and articulations.
  • Will Eley (Critical Studies MA 14) is a theorist and thinker who has actively sought redress via political organizing, the United States Marine Corps, and academia over the past decade.

    While completing his master’s thesis, “Leaking Fog: a report on civil disobedience and the aesthetics of preventive war”—written during his time in the MA Aesthetics and Politics program at CalArts—Will began to identify as a critical historian of the present, seeking to theorize the frontier that is post-9/11 political thought and action, particularly the concepts and practices of freedom, sovereignty, patriotism, and insurgency.

    After leaving CalArts, he continued to pursue similar questions at The University of Chicago, where he became critically engaged with the Chicago Text Lab and the departments of Social Sciences and Visual Arts. The bulk of his research and writing in Chicago assessed constitutional and aesthetic impediments to the mobility of political bodies and knowledge, specifically the relationships, or lack thereof, between public transportation, micro-historical praxis, and voting rights in the American South.

    Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Will now serves as the deputy political director for The Public Interest Network in Los Angeles, where he lives with his fiancée, and fellow Calartian, Erica Palmiter.

    During his residency at the REEF, he intends to collaborate with the CalArts community to deploy its aesthetico-politcal fluencies to produce new ecologies of contribution and action. That is to say, he and his partners hope to influence political outcomes with the launch of an “independent expenditure-only committee” that will be dedicated to the cultivation of new rights to the city and institutions of direct democracy. This project is tentatively titled Critical Majority PAC.
  • Quinn Gancedo (Critical Studies MFA 16) is a writer from Southern California. His work interrogates alienated sociability, the junction of the erotic and the ordinary, eccentric forms of empathy, and the ways that communal experience is crystallized through cruelty. Some recent work can be found online at 3:AM and Potluck Mag. He currently lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the school of critical studies at CalArts.

    He intends to use his time at the REEF to continue to co-curate Trophy World (in collaboration with Sophie Reiff), a reading/performance series that aims to provide a place for writers to experiment with performances that play in the murky space between reading, musical revue, stand-up comedy, and performance art. Additionally, he will initiate Half-Munson Press, a small publishing project focused on producing small, hand-stitched chapbooks of uncommon writing. The goal of the project is to provide a home for writing that slips between irony and sincerity and between absurdity and stone-cold sobriety— writing that exhibits an investment in narrative expectations and while simultaneously failing to meet those expectations. Finally, he will work towards finishing his collection of short stories, tentatively titled To Explain My Fear of Driftwood.

2016 Artists

  • Beatriz Cortez is an artist and a writer. She was born in El Salvador and has lived in the United States since 1989. Her work explores simultaneity, the existence within different temporalities and different versions of modernity, particularly in relation to memory and loss in the aftermath of war, the experience of immigration, and in exploration of possible futures. She has exhibited her work in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts and a doctorate in Latin American Literature from Arizona State University. She teaches in the Central American Studies Program at California State University, Northridge. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

    During her REEF Residency she will produce a video installation titled Camera Obscura that will metaphorically turn the building into a travelling vessel that will move through different time/space virtual realities. This installation will denaturalize the spectator’s traditional understanding of reality and question how we conceptualize, interpret, and assign meaning to an image, as it will invite the viewers to see the world as difference, as a manifestation of other possible worlds.
  • Stephanie Deumer is an artist from Toronto, Canada, who currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She completed her BA at the University of Guelph in 2011, and her MFA at CalArts in 2015. Her work has been exhibited in Ontario, Nova Scotia, California, and New York.

    As artist in residence at the REEF residency, Stephanie Deumer will be focusing on site specific and process-based video installation. Her installations are informed by the physical boundaries of the space in which they are exhibited, and she employs strategies that reveal the equipment, architecture, and audience that create it. Deumer intends to create an installation that acts as a room in a room and a room of a room, constructing a layering of space that is both rooms and neither room at the same time. She aims to create an environment where the objects, subjects and space shift indefinitely, blurring their definitional boundaries.
  • Meg Whiteford is a writer from New York now living in Los Angeles. Her book, The Shapes We Make With Our Bodies, was published by Plays Inverse in November 2015.

    Her writing for performance has appeared at REDCAT Theater, MAMA Gallery, Pieter Performance Space, Coaxial, Last Projects, and 356 Mission in Los Angeles; Pocket Utopia in New York City; Living Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark; and The Institute for Sociometry in San Francisco. She is also an active member of several Los Angeles feminist communities, maintaining ongoing collaborations with The Women’s Center for Creative Work and Barbara Grossman’s Breakfast Club. She is currently a visiting writer and educator for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, a Los Angeles critic for Artforum, and is working on a book about female contortionists.

    During her REEF Residency, she will develop her second book, a movement-based work written from the perspective of a remote control flipping through TV channels. The goal is to write a novel that is enacts the vaudeville format: a series of unrelated acts on the same bill, yet, together form a story. In addition, she plans to develop a long form radio play from her shorter produced pieces from KCHUNG while also planning the production of her first published work, The Shapes We Make with Our Bodies, a bacchanalia dark-comedy exploration of mischievous women.

2015 Artists

  • Elliot Vredenburg, originally from Toronto, now lives in Los Angeles. He holds an MA in Aesthetics and Politics from Calarts, and his written work emerges largely as an extension of his training at OCADU, where he studied graphic design. Currently, his research investigates the human implications of technological high modernism, the political consequences and capabilities of the digital image, nature made by people, and the weird intersections of branding and marketing practices with social control and surveillance.
  • Emerson Whitney is the author of Ghost Box (Timeless Infinite Light, 2014), and Nascent Body (forthcoming). His work has appeared most recently in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, Cream City Review, Bombay Gin, Jupiter 88, ENTER>text: 3 years, and &NOW AWARDS 3: The Best Innovative Writing. Emerson is a kari edwards fellow and a professor at Los Angeles City College.

    In residency at the REEF, Emerson will host a durational, text-based project and performance that he has planned in collaboration with the CalArts-founded, LA-based art collective, “Best Friends Learning Gang.” They will create a pop-up psychic shop that is not a “shop,” but actually, a book in progress about Emerson's Romani (Gypsy) ethnicity, exoticism and mythos around occult practices, and around ideas of outsourcing intuition. Experiences from the “shop” will become source for the text.
    Emerson will also work to complete a large prose experiment in autobiography that takes on questions of identity and its relationship to childhood occurrence, to nurturing and its failures, to the formation of a queer/trans body.
  • Danielle Bustillo is part of neverhitsend, a group of artists that performs and discusses issues around communications ideology; a member of the Best Friends Learning Gang, a pedagogical initiative that explores collective, decentralized learning; and a co-host of L.A. crypto events, designed to unpack the ideologies embedded in encryption with classes and guest lectures from artists and privacy activists. Danielle is interested in power, anonymity, and deception tactics. Danielle holds an AA from Miami Dade College, a BA from Hunter College and an MFA from the Art & Technology program at California Institute of the Arts.

    During this residency, Danielle will coordinate a series of events: several ‘Amateur Hours’ with the Best Friends Learning Gang, crypto talks, and workshops. Danielle will use this time to further current research on the erotics of war; namely the similarities between unconventional warfare and unconventional sex, in light of medieval folklore and witchcraft. In practice, this might mean a lot of letter writing, maybe a grimoire, and possibly some sex toys.
  • Eve-Lauryn Little Shell LaFountain is a Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Jewish multi-media artist. Her work explores her mixed heritage and history through various lenses. She has shown nationally and internationally and will have films screened on occasion of the Venice Biennale this year. LaFountain is a co-op member, film teacher and curator at the Echo Park Film Center. She holds a BA from Hampshire College and graduated from CalArts in 2014 with an inter-school dual MFA in Photography/Media and Film/Video.

    During her REEF residency she will be working on her Waabanishimo (She Dances Till Daylight) series, which will be installed in a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico this fall. This multi-media project investigates indigeneity, ceremony, tradition, landscape, spirits, light, and photographic mediums in the contemporary world. LaFountain performs dances with lights for cameras, which create ghostly images, using long exposures to burn the pathway of the dance into the frame. Other images use long and multiple exposures of landscapes in which the movements of celestial bodies are traced on the film. Along with the images and films she is also developing mutli-projector collaborative performances that deal with similar ideas. Most of the titles are Ojibwe (her tribe's traditional language) with English translations. LaFountain is extremely honored to be selected as one of the inaugural CalArts Alumni REEF residents.