Visiting Artist Colloquium – Fall 2018

Fall 2018

The UCSB Department of Art and College of Creative Studies present Spring 2018 Visiting Artist Colloquium. The program offers a wide range of voices in dialogue, exploring the topics of contemporary art, theory, and cultural production by emerging and established visiting artists, as well as members of UCSB’s faculty and graduate students.


Presentations will take place each Thursday, from September 27th through December 6th, 2018.


All lectures are free and open to the public, held each Thursday from 5:00 to 6:50pm in UCSB’s Embarcadero Hall in Isla Vista. For directions to location, please visit UCSB campus map.

12.6.2018: Stephanie & Jimmy Miracle





A 2014/15 German Fulbright Fellow in the Performing Arts, Stephanie Miracle has focused her research on the embodied practice of tanztheater. Examples of her field work include intensively studied Jooss-Leeder technique, learned repertory from Pina Bausch with the Tanztheater Wuppertal, studied Inner Suspension with Susanne Linke, and worked on a new creation with Reinhild Hoffmann. Her research is searching for intersections between Klein Technique™ and European tanztheater specifically in dynamic use of space and expression through the body.




As a performer she has had the privilege of dancing for Deganit Shemy, Elizabeth Dishman, Shannon Gillen & Guests, David Dorfman Dance, Joseph Poulson, Susan Marshall and Company, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Graham Brown, PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER, and Deborah Hay. In 2015 she joined as a full-time company member with the Folkwang Tanzstudio/FTS. In addition to dancing with the ensemble she works in collaboration with Carla Jordao (PT), Ana Farfan (MX), Paola Ponti, (IT) and Anna Shchkleina (RU).


Stephanie’s choreography has been described as “iconic and nuanced…with an irreverence that makes you smile unconsciously” (Rick Westerkamp review of GROOVE,2014). Often in vivid Technicolor, Miracle’s works are crafted with a cinematic sensibility and often involve diverse populations of dancers and non-dancers. In addition to creating choreographies for traditional proscenium theaters her unique aesthetic finds special significance in common spaces for example, parking lots, bus stops, women’s prisons, hallways, staircases, and rooftops. Her projects have been presented in Germany, Mexico, Russia, New York City, and Washington DC by various institutions including MetLife Foundation, Exchange Festival, Dance Place, Supernoval Festival, Open Look Festival, Performatica, Belhaven University, ES WIRD SOGAR SCHĂ–N, Barnes Crossing, Fiktiva Festival, kunstOrteleven, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Other awards include the Smith Scholarship Grant to attend ImPulsTanz in 2012, dance artist-in-residence at OMI International Dance Residency 2012, Guest Mentor of Omi Dance in 2016, DC Innovation grant in 2013, Bates Dance Festival Merit Scholarship 2013, Goldhaber Travel Scholarship 2014, and NextNOW new work grant 2014. Her collaborative piece “Drafting Plan” was awarded Best Duo at Barnes Crossing Festival 2015 in Cologne and at the 2016 SzoloDuo Festival in Budapest.



She has received multiple commissions in 2017, including a State Department individual artists grant by the US Consulate in Yekaterinburg, Russia for the creation of Paper Piece with Anna Shchekleina, choreographic residency from Companhia de Danca da Almada, Portugal for Cut, Fold, Paste in collaboration with Carla Jordao, and the creation of new solo Anywhere by the Dingle Arts Council in Ireland. This past year Stephanie was the 2017/18 season Guest Choreographer for Folkwang Tanzstudio in Essen, Germany. She is the artistic director of Fakers Club, a live-cinema public performance experiment. Fakers Club was most recently in residence at kunstort_eleven just outside of TĂĽbingen, Germany.





Jimmy Miracle is an American visual artist working across the genres of installation, painting, drawing, and sculpture using both traditional and non-traditional forms of investigating perception, memory, observation, and awareness. born in Ohio in 1983 and receiving a B.A. in studio art from Belhaven College in 2004 in Jackson, MS, Miracle has lived and worked in New York City, Washington DC, Germany, and now he currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA where he is a current teaching fellow at The University Of California, Santa Barbara. Miracle received the humanities in the community grant from the Interdisciplinary Humanities Council in 2018 where he exhibited and co-created along with artists suffering from mental illness and his choreographic collaborator, Stephanie Miracle. He has had solo and group shows in New York, Berlin, London, and Washington, DC exhibiting at Ziehersmith, Outlet Fine Art, Hkjb, The Islip Art Museum, Castle Gallery, The Elizabeth Foundation For The Arts, and Flashpoint Gallery among others as an installation artist and painter. He also worked as a studio assistant for Jeff Koons, and studied classical drawing, painting, and sculpture at the Art Student’s League Of New York and Chelsea Classical Studio with Michael Grimaldi, Brandon Soloff, Dan Thompson, Rick Piloco, and Steve Perkins. he has also received The Cultural DC Creative Communities Fund Grant, The Maryland State Art Council Individual Artist Grant, The Howard Fenton Award For Painting among others and has lectured at The Smithsonian Museum Of American Art and University Of California Santa Barbara.




Alma Ruiz-Furlan

Independent curator, former senior curator at MOCA, Los Angeles



Alma Ruiz is Senior Fellow at Sotheby’s Institute of Art/Claremont Graduate University, and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation in Miami. She is former senior curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles where she curated numerous exhibitions focusing on the postwar period in Italy and Latin America and presenting the work of Magdalena Atria, Maurizio Cattelan, Lygia Clark, Carlo Cruz-Diez, Gego, Magdalena Fernández, Carlos Garaicoa, Julio LeParc, Piero Manzoni, Ana Mendieta, Ernesto Neto, Hélio Oiticica, Gabriel Orozco, Damián Ortega, Rosângela Rennó, Mira Schendel, Francesco Vezzoli, and many others.

In addition to having served as the curator of the 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz in Guatemala City, she has been a guest curator at the FundaciĂłn Jumex, Mexico City; the FundaciĂłn TelefĂłnica, Buenos Aires; the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; and the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles. Ruiz has acted as a juror for numerous exhibitions and biennials in the United States and Latin America and as a panelist for The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and Creative Capital Foundation in New York, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in Philadelphia, and the U.S. Fund for Culture in Mexico City.



James Benning



James Benning is an independent filmmaker who has been exploring the medium for more than forty years. More recently, Benning has branched out to work with photography, archival materials, installation, and multimedia works, and he has perfected the art of stillness and meditative imagery in his often landscape-oriented works. As a major figure of American cinema, in the late 1960s, he directed his first short films in the experimental-cinema tradition, retaining its formal rigor and taste for conceptual constraints while pioneering the notion of “figurative narrative.” His films rest on an experience of time and perception in their relationship to space. They also approach the notion of place from autobiographical, cultural, political and historical viewpoints. Beyond formalist explorations, it is at (and to) America that he has always kept “looking and listening.


Look. Listen. Pay attention. Be alert, attuned, patient. Heed your own senses; hone them, heighten them. Focus, engage the moment, be here now – and notice how anyway thoughts, memories, expectations, presumptions and self-distractions come teeming in. James Benning’s movies pose an idealistic challenge, a spur to unattainably pure observation, but this recognition of the subjectivity of experience is also part of their plan.


casting a glance (2007)


To newcomers, Benning’s cinema can come as a shock, even intimidate. The spartan rigour of its design makes most narrative movies look like victims of attention deficit disorder (and their audiences victims of informational spoon-feeding). Harking back to the actualities of early, pre-story cinema, it extends their direct gaze – exploring the properties of both the world and our perceptual apparatus, typically with a static camera – into increasingly extreme duration.


One Way Boogie Woogie (1978)


One Way Boogie Woogie (1978), an early marker of Benning’s maverick formalism, deployed shots uniformly 60 seconds long (while carving up the frame in a flat tribute to Mondrian). The three parts of his California Trilogy – El Valley Centro (2000), Los ( 2001) and Sogobi (2002) – each presented 35 shots two-and-a-half minutes long, the running time of a 100-foot roll of 16mm film; 13 Lakes (2005) and Ten Skies ( 2005) captured their titular subjects in ten-minute takes, or the larger 400-feet rolls.


Benning grew up in a blue-collar Milwaukee, Wisconsin community which tore itself apart in the race battles of the 1960s; he recalls being beaten up by former neighbors when he became a civil rights organizer. He studied math on a baseball scholarship at the local university, and won note as a rare Midwesterner in the 70s American experimental film scene with his early contributions to the structuralist movement in the 1970s.


Grand Opera (1979)


In addition to his groundbreaking cinematic work, Benning deals with the conditions of technological developments and their social consequences. The ambivalence of the great American dream of (technological) progress, unlimited possibilities, freedom and independence, is reflected in his installations as well as in further works produced in a wide range of media.


Benning draws inspiration from the life and history of outlaws like the philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) or the mathematician Theodore Kaczynski (b. 1942), also known as the Unabomber. Thoreau’s 1849 essay “The Resistance to Civil Government,” about disobedience against the state, questions authoritarian structures and influenced the American protest movement of the 1960s, as well as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Kaczynski terrorized the United States from 1978 to 1995 with his letter bomb assassinations and drafted a manifesto in favor of resistance against the increasing permeation of technology in society, while secluded in the mountains of Montana. Thoreau, too, was attracted by the solitude of the forest, and Benning addresses this proto-American moment of independent self-determination in his exhibition in Hamburg by presenting replications of the self-made houses of Thoreau and Kaczynski. Both cabins were originally signs of fear of the loss of freedom, which isn’t new but is currently being rekindled and, above all, revaluated.


RR (2008)


In film installations, Benning continues his ongoing process of empathizing and replicating, while confronting relic and replica and pushing the question of originality and autonomy to the extreme. By copying the paintings of the outsider artists Black Hawk, Bill Traylor, MartĂ­n RamĂ­rez, Henry Darger, Jesse Howard, Joseph Yoakum, William Hawkins, and Moses Tolliver, and by linking them to an extract of Kaczynski’s diary, Benning interrogates further the myth of the autonomous artist who practices off the civilizing spectacle. Benning’s most recent work is a three-part installation consisting of a reproduction of a quilt by Missouri Pettway. She made the original patchwork quilt in 1941 out of pieces of clothing of her deceased husband. Benning expands his sample by the family history of the woman, who lived as a slave on a cotton plantation in Alabama—at one and the same time as Mondrian painted Broadway Boogie-Woogie, which is varied by Benning and translated into a glass work.


Benning lets the histories collide, not negotiating them in a documentary manner, but developing a geography of spirit. The emphatic atmosphere is created by the quality of Benning’s view, which is highly concentrated and directed by the obsession to exceed mere narration.


Kota Ezawa



For the past 15 years Kota Ezawa has transformed films, videos, photographs and paintings into digital animations, light box installations and outdoor sculptures. In this talk Ezawa will show examples from his ongoing body of work, including his animation of the OJ Simpson Verdict, the re-construction of 13 artworks stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and his most current project, a watercolor animation of football players kneeling during the national anthem. Along with his own work, Ezawa will present an introduction to the intersecting histories of animation and image sampling that inspired his practice.



Kota Ezawa’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe (2017), Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2013), Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite (2012) and Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2007). He participated in recent group exhibitions at Hamburger Kunsthalle (2018); MusĂ©e d’art contemporain de MontrĂ©al (2017); Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain (2017); and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016). Ezawa’s work has earned a number of awards, including the SECA Art Award of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation (2010) and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2003).


His work is included in renowned collections such as: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunsthalle Bremen among others.


Ezawa lives and works in Oakland, California.


Kota Ezawa: The Crime Of Art
opens November 20, 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara



Rafa Esparza



Rafa Esparza is a multidisciplinary artist who was born, raised, and is currently living in Los Angeles. Woven into Esparza’s bodies of work are his interest in history, personal narratives, and kinship. He is inspired by his own relationship to colonization and the disrupted genealogies that come forth as a result. Using live performance as his main form of inquiry, Esparza employs site-specificity, materiality, memory and (non)documentation as primary tools to interrogate and critique ideologies, power structures and binaries that problematize the “survival” process of historicized narratives and the environments wherein people are left to navigate and socialize.



Esparza has performed in a variety of spaces including AIDS Project Los Angeles, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, Human Resources, SOMArts, Vincent Price Museum, LACE and various public sites throughout Los Angeles. He is a recipient of an Emerging Artist 2014 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Arts, a 2014 Art Matters grantee, and a 2015 recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. Esparza was recently part of the 2016 Made in L.A. Biennial at the Hammer Museum and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. For his participation in Made in LA, Esparza created “Tierra,” a field of adobe bricks created from the dirt from Los Angeles. The artist’s sculptures and objects were buried and unearthed in Elysian Park a historical site of displacement of early Latinx communities, Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bushop awhile creating the bricks were exhibited on the expanse of adobe bricks.


An interview with Rafa Esparza about his June 2018 street performance, “de la Calle”, is featured in the LA Times:


Young Joon Kwak crosses Olympic Blvd for de la Calle, LA fashion district street performance,
2018 (photo: Carolina Miranda)


Bashir Naim + Shamu Azizum, de la Calle, LA fashion district street performance, 2018
(photo: Carolina Miranda)


Jane Mulfinger

Professor, Department of Art, UC Santa Barbara



Professor Jane Mulfinger‘s interest in phenomenology—as it relates to the art-making process, the environment, and the philosophical— is reflected in her installations, time-based work, and sculpture. The work teases out sensorial passages of emergence in transient qualities of light and sound and human responses to these phenomena to reflect on how memories blur or come into focus in relation to life unfolding before us. In this talk, she will focus on hidden taboos of collective thinking and on the role of photography in personal and cultural memory.


Jane Mulfinger was recently an artist in residence at Beaconsfield Gallery, London, and early this month opened an installation at the Zentrum für Interdisciplinare Forschung (ZiF) in Bielefeld, Germany, in conjunction with a research study group who are pondering the question of whether or not guilt is productive. Mulfinger’s work has been shown at Franklin Furnace Archive NY, Ars Electronica Linz, Mayor Gallery London, Beaconsfield Gallery London, Camden Art Center London, Microsoft Research Cambridge, CCA Glasgow, Orchard Gallery Derry, Palazzo Bricherasio Turin, and Ben Maltz Gallery LA.


Shana Moulton

Professor, Department of Art, UC Santa Barbara



With a savvy fusion of humor and poignancy, Professor Shana Moulton’s multidisciplinary work in video and performance explores contemporary anxieties though her filmic alter ego, Cynthia. Moulton’s cosmology of symbols, everyday objects, and altered states coalesce to form an alchemical snapshot of ambivalent self-awareness in trying times. Moulton, widely considered to be a leader in the field, has been broadly exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Palais De Tokyo, Paris, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland, Art in General, New York, Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Galeria ArsenaĹ‚, BiaĹ‚ystok, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, La Loge, Brussels, and The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Group exhibitions include Migros Museum FĂĽr Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado, Lisbon, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth, Göteborgs Konsthall, Göteborg, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and Wiels Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels. She has performed at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, The Kitchen, New York, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, The Getty, Los Angeles, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, South London Gallery, London and Cricoteka, KrakĂłw among many others. Moulton’s work has been featured in Artforum, The New York Times, ArtReview, Art in America, Flash Art, Artpress, Metropolis M, BOMB Magazine, and Frieze among others. Her work is distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix and she is a featured artist on Art21’s New York Close Up.


Lisa Jevbratt

Professor, Department of Art + Media Arts + Technology, UC Santa Barbara



Lisa Jevbratt is a Swedish born artist and a professor in the Art Department and in the Media Art Technology program at University of California, Santa Barbara. For more than a decade she explored the expressions and exchanges created by the protocols and languages of the Internet and the Web, often manifesting as visualization software. She is now applying her understanding of these unintentional collaborations onto exchanges with animals of other species and their experiences of the world around them. In her ongoing endeavor “Interspecies Collaboration” she invites students to collaborate with individuals of other species and her current software-art project Zoomorph is software generating simulations of how non-human animals see.


Jevbratt’s work has been exhibited extensively in venues such as The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), The New Museum (New York), The Swedish National Public Art Council (Stockholm, Sweden), and the Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); and it is discussed in numerous books, for example “Internet Art” by Rachel Greene, “Digital Art” by Christiane Paul and “Art + Science Now” by Stephen Wilson (all Thames and Hudson). Jevbratt also publishes texts on topics related to her projects and research, for example “Inquiries in Infomics”, a chapter in the anthology “Network Art – Practices and Positions” ed. Tom Corby (Routledge) and “Interspecies Collaboration, Making Art Together with Nonhuman Animals” in Tierstudien [Animal Studies] Issue 1 (Neofelis Verlag, Berlin, Germany). Her current project Zoomorph is supported by a Creative Capital grant.


Kip Fulbeck

Professor, Department of Art, UC Santa Barbara



Kip Fulbeck is a pioneering artist, spoken word performer, and filmmaker exploring multiracial identity, personal narrative, and Japanese tattooing. He has been featured on CNN, MTV, PBS, The TODAY Show, The New York Times, Voice of America, and various NPR programs, and has performed and exhibited in over twenty countries and throughout the U.S. He is the author of six books including – 15 years of the hapa project; Part Asian, 100% Hapa; and Permanence: Tattoo Portraits, as well as the director of a dozen short films including Banana Split and Lilo & Me.



In recognition for his work promoting multiracial awareness, he was awarded the inaugural Loving Prize at the 2009 Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival and also named a Cultural Pioneer at Harvard University. In 2014, he was named a Local Hero by Southern California’s KCET Public Broadcasting Service and also received the Community Builder Award at Vancouver’s Hapa-palooza Festival. Here at UCSB, he has a long relationship with the Men’s and Women’s swimming teams, where he has served as a volunteer Assistant Coach for over a decade. He is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and has been named an Outstanding Faculty Member five times by the Office of Residential Life.


A complete overachiever despite being only half-Chinese, he is also an avid surfer, guitar player, ocean lifeguard, and multiple-time national champion in U.S. Masters Swimming.