COLLAPSE
CENTER FOR COMPLEXITY
4TH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM

This year’s in-person event takes place at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI on September 21-23, 2022 and will feature speakers, a series of panel discussions, and an exhibition of original works by RISD faculty and staff funded by the CfC inaugural Art & Inquiry grant program.

Join a dialogue among artists, designers, scholars and activists exploring phenomena of collapse. From 9/11 to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, from climate to finance and food production and distribution, collapse seems to define these fragile times. As we collectively confront the precarity of natural and human-made systems, how might we collapse the spaces that divide us to identify the insights, mindsets, and practices needed to move beyond collapse and achieve a sustainable, equitable and just future?




Speakers








Chef Michael Lomonaco



Chef Michael Lomonaco, Chef/Partner of Porter House Bar and Grill, Columbus Circle, Manhattan and former Culinary Director of the Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center’s North Tower. Lomonaco, who survived the attacks of 9/11 by a twist of fate and as a NYC restaurateur has been navigating the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, will give a talk and engage in audience Q&A. Lomonaco’s experience provides a unique perspective on adapting, adjusting, and responding to crises with creativity and compassion. These experiences have given him “an acute appreciation for humanity, courage and determination.”






Kameelah Janan Rasheed


THURSDAY SEPT. 22
5:00 PM
(JOINING REMOTELY)

AUDITORIUM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE
PROVIDENCE, RI 02903


Kameelah Janan Rasheed (she/they) was born in East Palo Alto, CA, currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She has an MA in Secondary Social Studies Education from Stanford University (2008) and a BA in Public Policy from Pomona College (2006). She was an Amy Biehl U.S. Fulbright Scholar at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa (2006–7).

“I grapple with the poetics-pleasures-politics of Black knowledge production, information technologies, [un]learning, and belief formation. I am interested in the rituals and technologies we use to generate, share, and conceal knowledge.”






Jack Halberstam


FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
10:00 - 11:30 AM

AUDITORIUM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE
PROVIDENCE, RI 02903


Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse

The term “collapse” derives from Latin and contains “col” meaning “together” and “labi” meaning slip. This etymology offers us a glimpse of the potential aesthetic folds hidden in the term. Collapse can refer to a system plagued by multiple failures, a mental break, a physical depletion, a structure giving way, a fall. But it specifically means many things falling together, and a fall created by a loss of support. An aesthetics of collapse might name a series of gestures that orient towards falling, that skew away from making, building, improving and that embrace the beauty of gradual and inevitable decay. Under the aesthetic heading of “collapse” we can gather together the hollowed out and split structures created by self-described anarchitect Gordon Matta-Clark as well as Rachel Whitehead’s infamous sculpture “House” (1993), a plaster cast of the inside of a house in East London slated for demolition, that required the actual house to be dismantled around it. While Matta-Clark’s cuts and incisions commented on the beginnings of New York City’s post-war wave of gentrification and real estate, Whitehead, twenty years later offered a temporary monument to the removal of low-income housing as preparation for gentrification. I will offer a look at art work from the 1970’s that orients towards dismantling, demolition and collapse and develop a queer and trans theory of collapse alongside a model of anti-anti-utopian unworlding!






These events are free and open to the public. 

This forum is not for the transmission of known knowledge, but for the construction of new knowledge.


—CFC FOUNDING DIRECTOR, JUSTIN W. COOK


The annual symposium presents an opportunity to explore provocative themes and unique modes of collaboration and facilitation in order to break from old models in pursuit of new ways of knowing. Each panel and breakout session will provide a unique path and process toward an understanding of collapse through collective inquiry and discovery. The public is invited to join in that process.






Panels, Breakout Sessions, and Film Screenings






Breakout Session: Reclaim / Occupy | Rebuild
by Bill Di Paola

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21
4:15 - 5:45 PM

AUDITORIUM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE



Longtime activist Bill Di Paola, founder of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on NY's Lower East Side, leads a participatory session on community change-making (past, present, future)—and squatting, community gardens,environmental activism, and the power of collective action.



Panel:
Conversations on Spatial Collapse:
The Straw, The Camel
by Jess Myers, Lorraine Barcant, and Zoe Samudzi

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
3:30 PM

AUDITORIUM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE


Collapse in spatial systems is rarely unforeseen. In fact, it can often be documented for years if not decades, if not centuries. Rather than asking “How could this have happened?” instead I would like to invite a series of interlocutors to show us how it did happen, what were the tools to prevent it, and as the cracks were widening who was and who wasn’t believed. I would ask my interlocutors to tell us a story of a collapse at several scales which identifies the networks around two objects, The Camel (the object of collapse) and the Straw (the last stress that broke it).



Film:
When Glaciers Go
by Corey Robinson

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
3:30 PM

AUDITORIUM
20 WASHINGTON PLACE



The Mustang region of Nepal is on the front line of our planet’s changing climate with glacial water shortages forcing families from their homes. Split between the tradition of the old village and a new life growing apples as a cash crop, the Gurung family finds a balance to endure. (17 minutes)





Full list of panels, breakout sessions, and screenings.


The program includes an exhibition of original artwork, essays and short fiction contributed by faculty and staff from twelve departments and centers across the College, from Sculpture and Landscape Architecture to the Nature Lab, the Library, the Museum, the Center for Social Equity and Inclusion, and Counseling and Psychological Services. The Collapse exhibition explores themes of material, ecological and spiritual decay—and conversely, renewal, restitution and repair. The exhibition is free and open to the public at 20 Washington Place, Providence, where it will be on view from September 20 - October 23, 2022.





Art & Inquiry
Grant Recipients






Lisi Raskin

Associate Professor, Sculpture
Scaffolded
(2022) 

Scaffolded is a suite of three painting assemblages made from fragments of large-scale installations exhibited between 2004 – 2016, the focus of which were themes of war and trauma. These new assemblages are created through material relationships like mutual support, touch, and tenderness. The assemblages are nested within hand-carved frames. The relationship between painting and frame questions conventional assumptions that cast the frame in a supporting role and the painting as vulnerable object in need of protection. Instead these compositions are interdependent. The frames literally touch and hold the internal compositions as the internal compositions reach outward toward and buttress elements of the frames. These non-animate forms ultimately nest and rest together in mutual support, regardless of the signs of collapse that surround them.




Christopher Roberts

Assistant Professor,
Theory, History of Art and Design; Experimental and Foundation Studies

Black(Art) as/in Black(Studies) as/in Blur/s as/in Collapse/s as/in Reforging/s as/in...
(2022)
We find ourselves in a world that needs to end, so that something otherwise may begin, again. In Queer Times, Black Futures (2019), Kara Keeling writes “When something happens differently than it has before, when something affects us, we reforge ourselves in response.” This essay elucidates black reforging practices in the artwork of Aaron Douglas, August Wilson, Kara Walker, and Kiyan Williams. My perusal attends to Aaron Douglas’ The Negro Spiritual (1930), August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson (1987), Kara Walker’s Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b'tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart (1994), and Kiyan Williams’ Ruins of Empire (2022). As Fred Moten asserts, “What whiteness seeks to separate, blackness blurs by cutting, in touch.” Perhaps in those blurs we may un/make what is and reforge ourselves anew, for we are always already amidst and/or inducing collapse/s.




Taylor Baldwin

Associate Professor, Sculpture
The Ground:
head of a prophet;

head of a saint;
partial body of an elder
(2022)
Taylor Baldwin’s symposium contribution is a body of sculptural work collectively titled The Ground exploring grief, industrial collapse and the reclamation of things we’ve thrown away. This project constructs funerary monuments to late-stage American capitalism using material reclaimed from industrial archaeological sites, shuttered retail businesses and the consumer recycling stream. Using a DIY version of forensic facial reconstruction techniques, the objects attempt to imagine the face of anonymous people who donated CT scans to the NIH to help study the cancer that was killing them. The materials used in these portraits are salvaged from a collection of connected sites of industrial/commercial collapse from across history, both large and small—from the 420-million-year-old Niagra Escarpment to styrofoam packaging from the recycling bins of COVID-era Queens, New York.






Full list of recipients.

 

Wednesday,
September 21



9:30 AM.   METCALF AUDITORIUM, CHACE CENTER/RISD MUSEUM 

Registration, coffee, and pastries 


10:00 AM.   METCALF AUDITORIUM, CHACE CENTER/RISD MUSEUM

Welcoming Remarks
Justin Cook, Founding Director
Center for Complexity


Keynote Presentation 
Chef Michael Lomonaco



12:00 PM - 1:00 PM.

Lunch Break



1:00 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Panel Discussion
“Some Freedom Now”: Liberatory Practice and Community—Building in the Face of Collapse
with Taylor Baldwin, Neftali Duran, Ellen Garrett, Damion Vania and the Social Critic, Writer and Community Activist, Ed Whitfield.




3:00 PM - 4:15 PM.  LOBBY OF 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Coffee Break and Gallery Talk with Art & Inquiry Grant Recipients with Taylor Baldwin, Andy Law, Caroline Gerberick, Shona Kitchen, Christopher Roberts, and Heather Rowe



4:15 PM - 5:45 PM

Breakout Sessions


AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

1. Reclaim / Occupy | Rebuild with Bill Di Paola
CFC STUDIO 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
2. Art as a Generator for Personal and Community Vitality with Laura Brown-Lavoie and Vatic Kuumba



5:45 PM - 6 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Reconvening and Closing Remarks



6:30 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Film
Collapse 

Director, Nelson Varas-Diaz



 

Thursday,
September 22




9:30 AM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Registration, Coffee, and Pastries 

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE.  ZOOM LINK

Mining Waste: Designing in a Broken World
with Billy Dufala, Ang Li, and Amy Seo

This presentation is made possible by a collaboration with RISD Architecture.


12:30 PM - 1:30 PM. 

Lunch



1:15 PM - 4:00 PM

Breakout Sessions
1:30 PM - 2:15 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
1. Inversion of Collapse: Three Provocations & A Prison Story with Judah Armani, Michelle Fisher, Erin Hersey, Elizabeth Suda, and Camille Hautefort

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
2. Collapse, Redesign, and So On with
Justin Cook

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM.  CFC STUDIO 20 WASHINGTON PLACE
3. Woven Behavior and Ornamentation with Felicita Devlin and Elizabeth Meiklejohn



5:00 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE 

Keynote Speaker
Kameelah Janan Rasheed (joining remotely)



6:15 PM.  AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Reconvening and Closing Remarks



6:30 PM. AUDITORIUM 20 WASHINGTON PLACE

Film 
Where Glaciers Go
Director Corey Robinson


Film
Hike the Line
Director Corey Robinson


SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2022
RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
SPONSORED
BY INFOSYS
COLLAPSE · CENTER FOR COMPLEXITY · 4TH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM
SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2022 · RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN