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Conjuring the Archive: An Artist Talk and Conversation with Jess Dobkin

Thursday,April 25, 2019 12:30 - 2:00 pm

*Live video broadcast will be available here starting at 12:30 pm (EST). RSVP on Facebook

In this conversation, Visiting Artist in Residence Jess Dobkin approaches the archive as both site and material to investigate the lifespan and spirit life of performance art. Building on her ongoing research in performance archives around the globe, Dobkin interrogates the relationship between live performance and documentation to explore the dynamic ways that performance can exist before and beyond the live event.

As she works with the Hemispheric Institute to finalize a digital collection of her materials, Dobkin invites us to consider: What happens when boundaries blur and the documentation becomes the performer? What happens when an audience creates an archive, or when an archive becomes a space for performance? How might artists use physical, digital, and energetic archival materials in the creation of new artworks?

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, fifth floor
New York, NY 10003

Jess Dobkin has been a working artist, curator, community activist, and teacher for more than 25 years, creating and producing intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, socially engaged interventions and performance art workshops and lectures. Her practice extends across black boxes and white cubes, art fairs and subway stations, international festivals, and single bathroom stalls. She’s operated an artist-run newsstand in a vacant subway station kiosk, a soup kitchen for artists, a breast milk tasting bar, and a performance festival hub for kids. Some of her projects include The Artists’ Soup Kitchen, The Artist-Run Newsstand and The Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar. Her recent performance, The Magic Hour, was developed and produced in a multi-year residency at The Theatre Centre with support of the Canada Council. She received a Chalmers Arts Fellowship to fund her international archival research in 2018-2019. She’s taught as a Sessional Lecturer at OCAD University and the University of Toronto, and was a Fellow at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. Her film and video works are distributed by Vtape and her performance work is held in performance art archives internationally.

The Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL) is the first major digital video library of performance practices in the Americas. Created in partnership with NYU Libraries and with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this growing repository guarantees historical preservation and free, online access to almost 900 hours of video through the Hemispheric Institute website. A trilingual profile (English, Spanish and Portuguese) is created for each collection, contextualizing the videos with detailed production information, synopses, image galleries, texts, interviews, bibliographies, and additional materials. Artists and organizations always retain the copyright to all their videos, as well as the original material, which is returned after digitization. With video documentation spanning nearly five decades, the collections seek to promote dialogue and a deeper understanding of performance and politics in the Americas.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings and 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible venue.