November 10-12, 2018
Crush Curatorial, Amagansett, NY
Organized by Mira Dayal, Katie Giritlian, beck haberstroh, and Josephine Heston
With Aaron Akira, Justin Chance, Lili Finckel, Karen Flatow, Sunny Leerasanthanah, Cloud Naj, Lai Yi Ohlsen, and Eliza Soros
rehearsal is a convening for artists and art workers to lead a group through a participatory experience to incubate an idea, question, or practice. This project was developed to support artists and art workers without graduate degrees through community, critique, and a shared platform, in response to a lack of resources for emerging artists to develop their work in a social context.
In August, we wrote eight artists and art workers, inviting them to spend a weekend with us. We asked each participant to prepare by considering their practice as a toolbox:
Which tool would benefit from being applied in a social context? How might others benefit from a demonstration of that tool? Share one of those tools with the group.
We workshopped each participant’s idea among the organizers before the retreat to begin making space for incubation. Several months later, on a warm November morning, rehearsal began. We boarded a train to Amagansett, seated in one car. For the next three days at Crush Curatorial, we remained together—cooking, sleeping in shared rooms, doing laundry—until parting ways again in the city.
We started the weekend by learning about curatorial and community organizing work from Karen. Then Mira asked that we empty the pockets of our packed bags and write narratives about the objects found there. Justin led us through an investigation of the complexities and histories of color and natural dyes. Afterward, Sunny asked us to consider the meaning embedded in our signatures. The next day, we walked the grounds with Cloud to contemplate the role of nature in activism. Lili prompted us to gather and archive our receipts. We made lunch and did the dishes before creating costumes from shared cloth, role-playing as elements of a painting for Kira’s video. Lai Yi asked us to create our own databases and then dance them out.
In quiet moments, we stepped inside a landscape revealed by a camera obscura built by Eliza and shared stories around a campfire. As the sun rose on Monday, we went on a walk with Horizon Tours, led by guides Katie and beck, to begin unlearning how to see the horizon. We reflected on our forms of critique and facilitation with Josie. Then we took the train back into the city.
While rehearsal is considered a platform for performances, it is also a performance in itself, an arena for play, one that has required choreography on the part of the organizers, and contributions from each participant.
Mira Dayal, organizer
Mira Dayal is an artist, critic, and curator based in New York. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Art Criticism, co-director of the collaborative artist publication prompt:, and an assistant editor at Artforum. Dayal’s studio work focuses on the routines and materialities of language, architecture, and the body. Extending and researching these interests, Dayal has previously curated programming and exhibitions on the subjects of intimacy, material residues, the politics of "sense," and commemoration. Dayal’s curatorial practice primarily engages the work of emerging and underrepresented artists, and often involves collaborations.
Katie Giritlian, organizer
Katie Giritlian is an artist and researcher based in NYC. Interested in actions of memorialization and the voice(s) of the image caption, she makes work, networks, and publications with images + text and organizes group listening exercises.
beck haberstroh, organizer
beck haberstroh is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and facilitator based in Brooklyn. haberstroh is a member of Soft Surplus and a co-founder of the nomadic learning community Millennial Focus Group. They’ve been included in group exhibitions at Small Editions, the School for Poetic Computation, Babycastles, Bullet Space, Knockdown Center, Flux Factory, and the Wassaic Project. haberstroh is a 2019 Media Arts Fellow at BRIC and was a 2018 Cuts and Burns resident at Outpost Artist Resources.
Josephine Heston, organizer
Josephine Heston is a curator, writer, and editor based in New York. She was previously the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Art Criticism, which published its third edition, Surface Tension, in Spring 2018. Her recent writing considers artists' use of biomatter through the lens of queer and affect theories. In the past year, she co-organized a series of artist-led workshops at Helena Anrather which sought to consider artists’ definitions of intimacy and to allow for strengthening bonds between artists and their communities.
Lai Yi Ohlsen
Lai Yi Ohlsen is an artist and project manager with a background in computer science and movement. Her past work has focused upon the algorithmic tendencies of improvisational movement, privacy in the public sphere and constructed narratives within data structures. She is currently interested in cloud computing, network protocols and digital proliferation of hip hop culture through mass media. She is currently Technical Projects Coordinator at eQualit.ie, with a creative practice based at Soft Surplus in Brooklyn.
Sunny Leerasanthanah was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and currently lives in New York City, where she is completing a master's degree in Arts Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior, she received a BFA in Film and Photography from Ithaca College. Her work often explores narratives of identity through photography, video, and installation. Most recently, she self-published Homes Against Tides (2018), a photobook that documents the intricately patterned shelters and cyclical lives of sand bubbler crabs in the South of Thailand. She is also working on a long-term photography project about home and forgetting, which explores her parents' aging, estrangement, and queered narratives of 'home' as examined in Sara Ahmed's writing.
Aaron Akira is a visual artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. His work is primarily created using tactile (oil and chalk media) on paper. Interested is in structural determinisms and the possibility of escape within a framed or structured space, these pieces, often compositionally landscapes, are drawn towards the imaginary horizon line, and evoke the unseen, difficult to identify or categorize, architecturally constructed. His work has been published in the Iowa Exchanges Poetry Translation journal and the new web publication Oneirocritica.
Lilian Wu Finckel (Lili) is a New York-based artist and zine-maker. Her mixed-media practice encompasses photography, drawing, and ceramics. In 2017, she co-founded Femme Mâché, a programming and curatorial initiative that supports womxn and POC artists and zine-makers. Femme Mâché has spearheaded over a dozen programs as part of the Legacy Residency at New Women Space, and curates Zine Soup, a permanent zine and print shop, at the non-profit gallery Chinatown Soup.
Justin Chance is an artist, writer and co-founder of the Collaborative Center for Storm Space and Seismic Research—an explorative platform dedicated to facilitating projects, exhibitions and publications by artists, writers, makers etc. His current research interests involve: distance, color, material culture, monster/science fiction and colonial theory. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BA in Visual & Critical Studies and a BFA in Fiber & Material Studies/Painting.
Eliza is an image-based artist based in NYC. Her work has been featured in Artsy, Document Journal, The Fader, Interview Magazine, Saint Heron, Vogue, and Wallpaper.
Cloud is an avid environmental advocate, artist, and educator and the founder and director of Earth Arts Initiative. She graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2016, with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Policy and Science. In addition to her formal environmental education, Cloud has been a working herbalist at Flower Power Herbs & Roots since 2013, offering plant identification courses and other ethnobotanical programs to the community by donation. Cloud is also an apprentice beekeeper, and has worked on several organic farms practicing regenerative agriculture since 2011. Her artistic work focuses on environmental advocacy, using an array of mixed media including cruelty free taxidermy in order to advocate for the beauty of the natural world. Cloud’s activism is a synthesis of environmental advocacy, community wellness, and creativity, which has manifested as the Earth Arts Initiative, and subsequently the Earth Arts Center.