Monthly Archives: March 2009

Visual and Critical Studies Thesis Symposium 2009

Saturday April 4, 2009 10-5 p.m. Timken Lecture Hall, CCA San Francisco

Panel 1:  REVEALING CURRENTS

Rory Padeken, Collecting Chance: Snapshots of Memory in Tacita Dean’s FLOH

Jen Banta, What is the Mystery? Abstraction and the Path of Self-Enlightenment in the Life and Painting of Bernice Bing

Zachary Royer Scholz, Alternative to the Alternative: The Changing Face of San Francisco’s Independent Art Spaces

Liu Congyun, Challenge the Changes: Works of Four Young Contemporary Chinese Artists

Panel 2:  FANTASTIC PRODUCTIONS

Camellia George, The Future is Fabulous: A Critical Anthology of Fabbing

Molly Mitchell, American Tribal Style Belly Dance: Improvising a Feminine Subjectivity

Panel 3:  URBAN APPARITIONS

Adrienne Skye Roberts, Homesick: The Search for Belonging in New Orleans’ Landscape of Loss

Duane Deterville, Drawing Down Ancestors: Defining the Afriscape Through Ground Markings and Street Altars

Paola Santoscoy, Being-With-One-Another: Art as Enactment

Wandering Home, the introduction from Homesick: The Search for Belonging in New Orleans’ Landscape of Loss

The ride West from Tallahassee, Florida was a blur. A heavy tropical storm was directly over head and on the horizon was a gathering of ominous grey, green clouds, interrupted only by the pounding of heavy raindrops against the windshield. It was the middle of hurricane season and the traffic on highway ten was a slow crawl; the cars ahead were barely visible. Many had pulled over and parked beneath an overpass, their hazard lights blinking an incessant warning. People around here had learned to be wary of storms.

As a Northern California native, anything more than the drizzle of a foggy
rainstorm made me uneasy and so, for the duration of the five-hour drive to New
Orleans, I sat silently with my eyes closed and my body stiff with worry, despite
reassurance from my traveling partner that this weather was normal. The storms’ eventual passing made visible the tenuous relationship between the open road and the expansive and foreboding water of Lake Pontchatrain. From the car window a haunting landscape was revealed: cypress trees with trunks frozen horizontally, scattered debris, and abandoned car after abandoned car—evidence of attempts to flee a storm that began not unlike this one, yet ended with devastation.

New Orleans is a city I came to know only through the catastrophic aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. I arrived in New Orleans nearly one year after the hurricane to work as a volunteer with Common Ground Relief, a non-profit organization that emerged in response to the lack of government sponsored relief efforts. My trip to New Orleans was a pre-planned destination on a cross-country road trip. I was twenty-two years old, had recently graduated from college and had moved from the small California beach town of Santa Cruz to the city of San Francisco. Like many recent college graduates, I left behind a network of peers and a familiar place of belonging and was adjusting to the first time in my life when I was truly on my own. The cross-country road trip was a temporary solution to the restlessness of this time. It was an exploration into the unknown: geographically as I traveled through vast deserts, mountain ranges, small
country towns, and large cities and emotionally as the open roads provided space for reflection and the experience of travel encouraged self-knowledge. I was seeking an education that comes only with leaving behind that which is familiar, a perspective that comes with distance, and an education about the country in which I was born and yet knew so little about.

Continue reading