Alumni Events Around the World

Exhibition / Germany

Island of Freedom

March 8, 2019 - May 10, 2019

In addition to a number of scientists and artists, the Japanese artist and activist Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, an ACC alumni, was invited to design the central island of freedom for the ZU. Since Kaihatsu's works are always based on a cooperative formation and reinterpretation of a concrete social environment, his island of freedom will by no means correspond to the cliché of the lonely island. Rather, the Japanese activist creates a space that looks like a futuristic extra-terrestrial living room and invites you to grapple with questions of freedom in the 21st century in various formats. The result is a spaceship of free speech.

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Grantee: Kaihatsu Yoshiaki

Exhibition / United States

DINH Q. LÊ: TRUE JOURNEY IS RETURN

September 14, 2018 - April 7, 2019

The largest solo exhibition in the United States in more than a decade of the work of internationally-renowned artist Dinh Q. Lê, this exhibition of five major video and photography installations entwines rarely heard narratives of war and migration from people in North Vietnam, the Vietnamese diaspora, and refugees who, like Lê, have returned to live in their home country. Assembling these obscure stories through the collection of found photographs, artists’ war sketches, and oral histories, Lê presents a multifaceted story about Vietnamese life before, during, and after the Vietnam War. In the process, he questions the viability of collective memory and reveals the effects of trauma on the cultural imagination.

ACC has provided support to the San Jose Museum of Art for this exhibition.

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Grantees: San Jose Museum of Art, Le Dinh Q.

Exhibition / United States
February 1, 2019 - March 29, 2019

Somnath Bhatt | Issam Kourbaj | Firoz Mahmud | Qinza Najm | Sahana Ramakrishnan | Sa’dia Rehman | Mohsin Shafi | Marcelino Stuhmer | Saira Wasim
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Curated by Atif Sheikh

“Take it like a ...”; contemporary trends in the aesthetics of violence takes a look at violence as methodology and/or aesthetics in contemporary art, and the exploration of its connection to similar aesthetics in ancient art.

The show, curated by Twelve Gates’ Atif Sheikh, brings together a group of artists whose work responds to and explores the many aspects of violence in contemporary society. By referencing the aesthetics of the past, each in their own way, the tradition of depicting violence in art becomes evident; as applied to contemporary issues, the aesthetics call into question the tradition itself. As we as a global society become increasingly aware of the destructive, divisive outcomes and less convinced by the narrative in favor of the necessity of engaging in conflict, the tradition of depicting violence in art reflects this almost traumatized, fragmented reckoning. The pieces seem to seek to slow down the process of conflict enough to understand it and perhaps choose a different conclusion.
Sheikh says, “Ancient art offers a valuable insight into ancient societies and their aesthetics of violence. This is especially the case in the classical and medieval representation of the ‘Other’ as either monstrous or feminine (e.g. the ancient Greek representation of the masculine hero in juxtaposition to the feminine Barbarian enemy). Whereas war was considered noble in ancient times, it still needed justification through the representation of the enemy in art. Today, as we live in a time of multiple, simultaneous wars, violence is similarly justified by painting the ‘enemy’ as vile in the media, thereby engendering a sense of righteousness.
By exploring the resonances between the ancient and the contemporary world, the aim of my project is to stir up conversations about issues that are otherwise complacently accepted.”

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Grantee: Firoz Mahmud

Exhibition / United States

PLACE: MIGRATIONS & INTERVENTIONS, ARTWORK BY ELLIE IRONS & JENNY ODELL

February 21, 2019 - March 17, 2019

This two-person multimedia exhibition will explore ideas of place - both the physical and the conceptual. San Francisco-based artist Jenny Odell’s collages of Google Satellite image cutouts - views of landfills, waste ponds, parking lots - force viewers to step back and consider fundamental questions of humanity, our presence and impact on the Earth. California-born, Brooklyn-based artist and ACC alumna Ellie Irons foregrounds ecology and Anthropocene in her diverse projects, two of which will be featured in the gallery space. Her series Flight Lines, a collaboration with her husband, Dan Phiffer, documents aerial landscapes, recording and reinstating movements of both living and non-living entities - from birds and bugs to drones and floating plastic bags - through video and abstracted animation. Irons’ Invasive Pigments focuses on relationships between humans and plants, bringing to mind ideas of migration and proliferation across place and time. For this show, pigments made from ‘unintentional’ plants (AKA weeds) gathered from the local Humboldt environment will be placed along with Irons’ “Handbook for Painting with Weeds” at stations in the gallery. Visitors will be invited to create their own paintings, allowing them to actively engage with and experience their local environment from a new angle. This show will challenge viewers to interrogate ideas of place - near and far, abstract and personal - both actively and passively, in new and complex ways.

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Grantee: Ellie Irons

Performance / Thailand

Play Around , Object Theatre

March 8, 2019 - March 17, 2019

Object Theatre

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Grantee: Nikorn Sae Tang

Special Event / United States

Ways of Learning: An Apprentice Boatbuilder in Japan

March 8, 2019

When people think about Japan, they usually have in their minds images of manga and anime, busy urban centers, and an economy based on innovations in electronics. Most people do not know that there is also a “second Japan” wherein lies a rich history of traditional arts and crafts, many of which are fast disappearing. ACC alumnus Douglas Brooks has apprenticed with seven boatbuilders in Japan since 1996, building over a dozen types of traditional boats. In this slide talk he will share his experiences with traditional crafts drawn from twenty-two trips to Japan since 1990. Brooks’ research in Japan focuses on the techniques and design secrets of the craft. These techniques have been passed from master to apprentice with almost no written record. His most recent book, Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding (Floating World Editions, 2015) is the first comprehensive survey of the craft, spanning his first five apprenticeships and including a chapter on Japan’s last traditional shipwright. Brooks will sell and sign copies of his book after the talk.

Brooks will also talk about the nature of craft education in Japan; an ethic that is largely at odds with our notions of teaching in the West. The apprentice system produced craftspeople with incomparable skills, yet it required an intense devotion and seriousness from participants. Brooks has experienced first-hand what it is like to learn when the apprentice is forbidden from speaking. At the core of this process is the belief that one learns by observation and perseverance.

Last year Brooks apprenticed in Gifu, Japan, where he built a 42-foot cormorant fishing boat working alongside an 85-year old boatbuilder. These boats are still used by a handful of fishermen who continue a thousand-year old tradition of fishing with cormorants. In 2015 Brooks apprenticed with the last boatbuilder active in the region struck by the 2011 tsunami. There he documented the most common small wooden fishing boat of the Tohoku region, and area that saw 90% of all boats destroyed in the disaster.

Japan’s last generation of traditional boatbuilders has almost disappeared. Brooks’ teachers were all in their seventies and eighties when he worked with them. He is the sole apprentice for six of his seven teachers. In a 2003 nationwide study sponsored by the Nippon Foundation, Brooks was listed as the sole foreigner capable of building wasen, or traditional Japanese boats. The average age of the 300 boatbuilders listed in the survey in 2003 was sixty-nine. His first book, The Tub Boats of Sado Island; A Japanese Craftsman’s Methods, was honored by the Japanese Ministry of Culture for its contribution to maritime preservation.

Douglas Brooks is a boatbuilder, writer and researcher who specializes in the construction of traditional wooden boats for museums and private clients. He worked in the Small Boat Shop at the National Maritime Museum in San Francisco from 1985-1990 and has since built boats at museums in Japan and across the United States. He teaches classes in boat building and has written regularly for magazines like WoodenBoat, Classic Boat (UK), and KAZI (Japan). Brooks attended the Williams Mystic Seaport Program in American Maritime History, and he is a 1982 graduate of Trinity College (B.A. Philosophy) and a 2002 graduate of the Middlebury College Language School (Japanese). In 2014 he was awarded the American Craft Council’s Rare Craft Fellowship Award. He lives with his wife Catherine in Vergennes, Vermont. To see photos of his boats and learn more about his research, please visit: www.douglasbrooksboatbuilding.com.

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Grantee: Douglas Brooks