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  • Bauhaus Dances

    Feb 07| Screening
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    Bauhaus Dances, 1986 presented by Debra McCall
    Sunday, February 7, 4pm, Otis Forum, Free

  • Jillian Mayer is an artist and filmmaker living in South Florida. Her video works and performances have been premiered at galleries and museums internationally such as MoMA, MoCA:NoMi, BAM, Bass Museum, the Contemporary Museum of Montreal with the Montreal Biennial (2014) and film festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, and the New York Film Festival. She was recently featured in Art Papers, ArtNews and Art Forum discussing identity, Internet and her artistic practices and influences.
  • York Chang (b. 1973, St. Louis, MO) is an interdisciplinary artist who uses forensic and archival information systems as supports for poetic gestures and alternate histories, in order to interrogate the aesthetic conventions of authority which often serve to blur the line between fiction and reality. He earned both his BFA (1996) and Juris Doctorate (2001) from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). York Chang lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, and is represented by Greene Exhibitions. 
     
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    Feb 15| Academic Dates
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    Otis offices are closed for the Holiday.

  • Oliver Kellhammer is an independent artist, writer and researcher, who seeks, through his botanical interventions and social art practice, to demonstrate nature’s surprising ability to recover from damage. His recent work has focused on the psychosocial effects of climate change, cleaning up contaminated soils, reintroducing prehistoric trees to landscape damaged by industrial logging and cataloging the ecology of brownfield ecologies. He currently works as a lecturer in sustainable systems at Parsons in New York City.
     
  • In this performance I try to summarize In search of past time with my own words, as a story of another time which reveals itself contemporary. I deliver my own intimate and personal perception of this book which radiates in my life. Each performance is another opportunity to explore different zones of the book, proceeding at random, inspired by an aleatory and fickle memory. 
     
  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at Otis College of Art and Design is pleased to announce the George H. Scanlon Foundation Lecture REDUX.4 by IÑAKI ÁBALOS

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Literary L.A.

May 12, 2014
Spotlight Category: Faculty

Memory and Daily Life in the Invisible City

By Paul Vangelisti, Founding Chair, Graduate Writing

 

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A.

 

I must begin by mentioning the debt of gratitude I owe the Parisian poet Mohammed Dib, who consistently made me aware that L.A. was indeed the Invisible City, borrowing from me, as it were, the title for my literary magazine, Invisible City, which I edited with John McBride from 1971–82. During his stay in L.A., Dib would often smile capriciously and ask, as the afternoon began to cool, if it weren’t time to set off in my Datsun sedan and visit our invisible city, so that we might add to our “petites histoires.”

Poetry, for me, then, issues from the invisible city, the big nowhere that is L.A. Ours is a city of “theatrical impermanence,” as Christopher Isherwood called it, the home of tautological architecture where hot dog and hamburger and donut stands take on the shape of hot dogs and hamburgers and donuts, where at any given time only a little more than onethird of the population has lived there for more than five years. L.A. is blessed, in Tennessee Williams’ words, with “wonderful rocking horse weather, and a curious light so mesmerizing that, as Orson Welles once noted, ‘You sit down, you’re twenty-five, and when you get up, you’re sixty-two.‘” It functions, according to the poet Thomas McGrath, as the “Asia Minor of the intellect,” a place where, in the immortal words of the legendary producer Irving Thalberg (namesake for the Academy’s Oscar for “life-time achievement”), the writer is no less than “a necessary evil.” L.A. is also a place that has afforded writers and artists, to borrow a phrase from long-time resident Igor Stravinsky, “splendid isolation.” Memory in so willfully forgetful a place is critical, defining an almost palpable dimension of daily life, which is all the more vivid in contrast to the perpetual elsewhere that best describes one’s writing practice there.

Time and place operate curiously in the daily and often dull ineptitude of a grammar that might describe such as fictive utility as L.A. Time, for instance, may function as a property of light, a perpetual present or “timelessness” in close relationship to the peculiarly isolate and meditative light that is the single most distinguishing characteristic of our city. “Lots and lots of light–and no shadows,” notes artist Robert Irwin, “Really peculiar, almost dreamlike.”

I am suggesting that a preoccupation with our daily bread is a poet’s attempt to ground his or her work if not exactly in some form of realism, at least in a realistic attitude or position within this wacky environment. Lacking the public occasion and certainly the public form for serious literature—museums and other educational and public institutions in our city are hardly more than specimen boxes in today’s cultural marketplace—some poets instinctively employ the daily to create a context for their work, social, dramatic or otherwise. In a city where the image is considered truthful, and entrepreneurs the likes of (fill in the name of whatever current pop culture boss) are discussed in university and college classrooms as creative geniuses, a poet may look to his or her own isolated daily life to fashion a background against which language may be given room for serious play.

 

Editor’s Note:
This piece is excerpted from a longer essay that first appeared in Seeing Los Angeles: A Different Look at a Different City, edited by Guy Bennett and Beatrice Mousli; Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2007 Graduate Writing faculty member Martha Ronk’s poems also appeared in this publication.

 

Image: Sumi-e drawing by Les Biller

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