2017 REEF Residency 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.