Past Lectures


OVERWHELMICA                                                                                                                                  by Andrea Spaziani

A performative lecture on the choreographic gesture of expansion: LOOKING UP.
By looking up, we will rediscover the night sky, and grapple with existence against the scale of the observable galaxy, and its dark pockets.
By looking up, we will participate in the technology of the spine with a tilt of the skull, and discuss speculative anatomy as fictional postural evolution.
We will physically transcend familiar planes of perception, and introduce the constellations to our moles.
This lecture knows nothing about astronomy, and dodges astrology. It squirms in the gap, where expertise is detached from value, and facts become as transient as satellites. We will mine unanswerable questions by projecting into their surrounding immensity.
This lecture is about seeing beyond the capacity to look. We will dance into physical blind spots by simultaneously overwhelming, and intensifying our steps in an intimate moment under the massive sky.
Fragmented and idealistic, we will reconsider the incompatibilities between art, science, and pseudo-science. We will stretch our thinking and produce a network of disparate lines of research, from Heraclitus to Donna Harroway, Alfred North Whitehead to Eckhart Tolle, Brian Massumi to bell hooks, and Gestalt Psychology to Martha Graham. We will affirm to the corpse of Spinoza that we still don’t know what a body can do, but the very concept of knowing is overrated.

After this lecture we’ll have a late night screening of Georges Méliès‘ THE HAUNTED HOUSE with live music performed by Allen Ferguson, Ella Misché’s TOUTE LA VIE & Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES.

Wed. May 10th, 1 pm, Emory Peak, Big Bend State Park
Seeing the Mountains for the Seas

Rachel Wright Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology

Darwin proposed in flesh what geologists had already accepted in stone: incremental changes over incomprehensible timescales generate modern forms. This lecture is a quantitative effort to emphasize the role of chance in creative forces that takes advantage of the landscape to push our imagination beyond biological timelines. We’ll explore the maths and theories that allowed Fisher to tidy up Darwin’s thoughts (via Mendel’s meticulous gardening), Haldane to recognize the limits of human minds to conceive the universe’s queerness, and Kimura to irritate scientists still sneakily clinging to a sense of intent in their own design.
Readings, etc:
(At 1 pm we’ll arrive in Chisos Basin and being our ascent with Rachel, which means an early-ish morning as the drive is 4 or so hours)

In between we’re gonna try to stop by Terlingua and check it out.

Wed. May 10th, Evening back at the ranch, 10 pm
Cinematographer David Vlasits
I don’t think he has a degree, but he’s Emmy-Nominated


This is a mystery event, even to us, the curators. It will however be a full moon and take place on our ranch after dinner. [it turned out to be a screening of Peter Greenaway’s A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS – and a talk by David].

After this lecture we’ll have a late night screening of JUNG IN THE CATSKILLS directed by Lucas McGowen followed MAN BITES DOG by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoît Poelvoorde followed by CONTEMPT by Jean-Luc Godard.

Thursday May 11th, 2 pm.
Music and Meaning

Joseph Palmer, D.M.A. in Guitar Performance

An interactive performance/presentation featuring instrumental works performed on solo guitar. We will explore aspects specific to the music as well as more subjective topics relating to our psychological/emotional response from music (I.e. its capacity to communicate meaning, evoke images/memories, create a specific mood, or convey a story. For some works, I will highlight excerpts and certain features from the music that will provide a conceptual frame and starting point to help listeners get more out of the music on a first listen. In contrast, I will also perform certain music selections without introduction, giving an opportunity to reflect and share your own personal responses from the music free of context and to hear the similarities and differences between the responses of others.
The program will include works by Joseph V. Williams II, George Rochberg, Joaquin Rodrigo, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Sergio Assad, and Domenico Scarlatti.

In the evening we’ll have a double feature screening: Clement Cogitore’s NEITHER HEAVEN NOR EARTH & Michaelangelo Antonioni’s L’AVVENTURA.

Friday May 12th

1 pm. 6 hours long.
No One Knows What Lies on the Ocean Floor

Chris Danowski, PhD

This workshop is designed to help artists to access deeper levels of consciousness as experiential knowledge from which to make works of art.
Guided meditations and rituals designed to connect with the local spirits are accompanied by presentations and discussions, accessing subtle forms of altered states of consciousness.
Wear loose clothing, and bring a notebook for writing or sketching.

We’ll have a screening of Aleksei Guerman’s rarely screened impossible masterpiece, HARD TO BE A GOD after dinner. This is a durational day.

Saturday May 13th, 1 pm.

Rosina Ivanova, Embodied by Andrea Spaziani, Double MFA

MOAN Moansession from Trondheim, Trondheim, Norway Hilde Pitkowsky, Prerna Bishnoi, Rosina Ivanova, Susanna Barlow A sound wave of multiple voices will be traveling from Trondheim, Norway and wandering in the skies over the Chihuahuan desert in El Paso,Texas. During this live gathering, at the center of our moan circle, a group of women, meet collectively in the dark. We lay down to experimenting with our voice, bodies and breath, while making some serious sampling of the inaudible and the background noise. We refer to this activity as ‘moaning sessions’. Out sessions invoke waves of coughing, wailing, weeping, screaming, whooping, sobbing, groaning, gasping for air among others, crucial to this asynchronous cohort, moaning its way through. Within the vulnerability and possibilities we encounter deeply within the body, we uncover clear and not yet know connection to these fluid states. We exist in the common sonic of our voices simultaneous’ overlapping, in the more unconscious moments alike when laughing, and in the small moments of silence. We took off from the idea of ‘loosing one’s control over the voice’ in defiance to the ways in which we are expected to choreograph our voices in public space. We create a clear intent for our collective utopian effort that such moments of public soundness and inarticulate utterings can reoccur in our future for moan. We will voyage through inside out our bodies to invite and discover more involuntary galaxies for our free voices to occur. Our latest sessions end in voiceless consonants, air whispers, wild chirping, and political chatters. We will stream our moan activities and lengthy gentle periods of silence.

Monday May 15th:

We’ll leave after a long brunch and head to Balmorhea State Park and swim in the cold springs. From there the highway is easily accessible and everyone can head out.

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