Memory, Monuments, and Urban Space: Alliyah Allen ’18 on Monument Lab

Memory, Monuments, and Urban Space: Alliyah Allen ’18 on Monument Lab

This semester, Alliyah Allen ’18 is working with Writing Fellow Paul Farber on Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia, a massive public art and urban research project he co-curated that is taking over Philadelphia’s City Hall starting May 15th.  Through a series of art installations, public events, and community-sourced maps, the project asks a central guiding question: What is the appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? Supported by the Hurford Center’s Tuttle Fund for the Development of Visual Culture across the Curriculum, Alliyah is one of a number of Haverford students, staff, and faculty working on the project.  Below, she shares her thoughts on Monument Lab, its timeliness within current national discourse on race, class, and the usages of public space, and how her work fits into her larger academic projects at Haverford. HCAH: How did you become interested in monuments and involved in the project? What is your role in Monument Lab? ALLIYAH ALLEN ’18: Last semester I took Professor Paul Farber’s Memory, Monuments, and Urban Space class for my Haverford Writing Seminar, and since then my perspective on the relationship between public art, monuments, and history has shifted drastically. I am from Newark, New Jersey and have been immersed in urban culture for the majority of my life. Prior to my work in this course and participation in the lab, I didn’t have much of an appreciation for public art or monuments. The deterioration and lack of resources had given me the impression that success was not welcomed in my community and that history could not be made there. However, taking this course and my participation in the Monument...
Student Arts Fund Support: Voice of Witness Oral History Reading and Workshop

Student Arts Fund Support: Voice of Witness Oral History Reading and Workshop

Storytelling is the central theme of my academic work as a Religion major. I consider how the narratives we create give us a sense of identity, shape power dynamics, and imbue our perceived realities with meaning. On the most fundamental level, to me, narrative is a way of engaging with others. Because of my deep passion for storytelling and all of the ethical conundrums and practical challenges it entails, I was very excited to hear that oral history educator and publisher Voice of Witness (VOW) was willing to facilitate a workshop and a reading at Haverford.  The events took place earlier this spring, (on what seemed like the coldest weekend of the year!), through the generous support of the Student Arts Fund, the CPGC, and Collection Committee.  Despite the devastatingly frigid temperatures, a wonderful group of Tri-Co community members came to the Friday night reading. VOW Narrator Ashley Jacobs told her story, as recorded in Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons,a collection of oral histories detailing the human rights abuses women experienced in the U.S. prison system. Ashley spoke about her experience of pregnancy while incarcerated, one that included a forced C-section and shackling during labor, two practices she is working to end. Ashley, along with VOW Managing Editor Luke Gerwe and Education Program Associate Claire Kiefer, shared their thoughts about the criminal justice and prison systems, about oral history, and about hope for change during the Q&A that followed the reading. One of the most impactful moments for me was when Ashley noted that somewhere, sometime, it won’t be raining. You just have to keep going until you locate that place, find...
John Muse on STRANGE TRUTH

John Muse on STRANGE TRUTH

STRANGE TRUTH is a film series at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and Haverford College that starts this very Wednesday. The series is organized by Professors Vicky Funari (Artist in Residence), Joshua Moses (Anthropology), and John Muse (Independent College Programs). John Muse, currently teaching “Film On Photography,” took the time to answer a few questions about Wednesday’s program, featuring the work of the late Harun Farocki. 1. Are you teaching any of Farocki’s work in your classes? These very films plus essays on Farocki by Kaja Silverman and D.N. Rodowick. 2. Would you categorize these films as documentaries? Why or why not? Neither are documentaries per se.  “Images of the World…” is what’s known as an essay film.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essay#Film  Essay films are typically pointed, argumentative, but can also be searching and reflexive.  Or they can be personal, more like journal entries or meditations on a theme than presentations of the facts.  “Images of the World…” is more like the former, Engaging as it does with history, politics, and technologies in a reflexive mode, one that asks viewers to think about seeing and what they’re seeing.  “An Image” is stranger.  Lacking narration, a fly-on-the-wall methodology, or interviews, it’s structured more as a fiction film where the characters just happen to be real people all of whom are engaged in careful but seemingly ridiculous work.  The film reveals what the photographic image will hide: the labor required to produce it. 3. What are the connections between a film about a Playboy shoot and a film about reconnaissance of Auschwitz? Both films teach us how cameras and the technical systems within which...

Checking in with Nick Kahn ’14: A Skee-ball Anniversary Interview

Almost exactly one year ago, Haverford College’s Exhibitions Program entered all 1,920 Haverford students, faculty, and staff into a single-elimination skee-ball tournament called And the Winner Is… After over a month of competitive games, Nick Kahn ’14 won the tournament and a trip to Greensboro, North Carolina, in addition to a whole slew of other prizes ranging from a meeting with a chemistry professor to blow things up to a solo violin concert courtesy of another student. Studying abroad right now in Paris, France, Nick was kind enough to share a few anniversary words with me. Emma: So first off, if I didn’t know what skee-ball was, how would you describe it to me? Nick: I would describe skee-ball as a carnival game. There’s really not much to it; it’s a simple game. You roll a very dense wooden ball (or plastic, but I preferred the wood ones–in the tournament I always made sure mine were wood) up a ramp, aiming for the smallest of the scoring holes that you dare. The scores possible per roll range from 10 (or technically 0 of you miss the table) to 100; my strategy was to shoot for sustainable 50s and 40s. The 100s, for me, were only for use in emergency, if I really NEEDED 100 I would have gone for it, but that never happened. E: Had you ever played skee-ball before? N: Only at Chuckee Cheese. And I can’t remember being particularly good. E. Can you talk a little bit about tournament/gallery space? Had you been to the gallery prior to Winner— what did you think about its transformation...

On “White Boys” /// Conversation with Brendan Wattenberg ’06

As part of the exhibition White Boys currently on view in the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, the Creative Residencies Program and the Hurford Center are hosting a panel discussion with four artists from the show and curator Natasha L. Logan this Wednesday, 4/17 at 4:30 p.m. in Stokes 102. Moderating the panel will be Brendan Wattenberg, Director of Exhibitions at The Walther Collection Project Space in New York and Haverford Class of 2006 (While a student at Haverford, Brendan was also one of the first to get involved with the Hurford Center’s student programming). In advance of the conversation, CFG Gallery Assistant Pia Chakraverti-Wuerthwein ’16 checked in with Brendan to get his thoughts on White Boys and his own time at Haverford. How do you know White Boys Co-Curators Hank Willis Thomas and Natasha L. Logan? When I was in graduate school for Africana Studies at New York University, I had a class with Deborah Willis, Hank’s mother, who is one of the most renowned historians of African American photography. Through Dr. Willis, I met Hank and I began to learn about his work, particularly after his exhibition “Pitch Blackness,” which was shown in 2009 at Jack Shainman Gallery. This winter, Hank, Natasha, and I participated in an amazing conference in Paris, co-organized by NYU and Harvard, called “Black Portraiture[s]: The Black Body in the West.” At one point during the conference, as we were rushing around between events, I ran into Natasha and she said: “Remind me – we have to talk about White Boys.” And at first I thought, “white boys”? Like, in general? Were there any pieces...