working. since 2004  
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An ongoing conversation between Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Ashley Hunt, Maryam Jafri, Kara Lynch, Ulrike Müller, Valerie Tevere , David Thorne and Alex Villar
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As an artist I have always understood my work as a combination of differentpractices. One of them is the ongoing discourse that I have with my colleagues around working, teaching, politics, theory and of course the challenges of every day living. By its nature this discourse is rarely public. Being invited by Carlos Motta, to contribute to artwurl in form of an interview, I suggested that instead of generating a new conversation, I would invite some of my colleagues to formalize some of the already existing dialogues that we have and have had over the years to be contributed to the magazine. What brings this group of artists together, I think, is a shared agency in our work that I hope will become visible in some of its layers over the course of this conversation. Formally we decided to each ask one question which will be answered by everybody else. We will publish the questions in succession over the course of the next issues of artwurl. I would like to thank you, Carlos Motta, for his invitation giving us the opportunity to develop this dialogue. This is an ongoing project. andrea geyer 3/2005.

round #1. question by andrea geyer. 3/2004:
Has the current political situation in this country lead to a different understanding of your practice as an artist/cultural producer? If so, how?

round #2. question by Sharon Hayes. 7/2004:
In our last conversational sequence, thewords/phrases “fissure,” “insertion,” “fracture,” “breaks in the concrete,” “repositioning,” “resignification,” and “détournement” came up repeatedly to name a collection of strategies that we engage in our work that, I would say, come from and move toward a desire to locate spaces or instances that open up the possibility of individual agency and collective transformation. I am interested in asking more specifically about this notion of fracture. How do you take up and/or create these spaces of fracture in your work and what do you feel are the limitations and possibilities offered by such action?
round #3. question by Ashley Hunt. 7/2004:
I'd like our discussion of fracture to hone in more specifically on the position of the speaker/author, its coherence, its fracture, its historical/material specificity. So far, Kara is the only person who's really been asking us to be specific about “subjects,” their constitution and its relation to our strategies. But since many of our own backgrounds as artists were touched somewhere along the line by identity politics (if not actually formed within it), wherein, among so many other things, the meaning of a given work was more or less contingent upon the identity of its author, how does it figure into each of our work today? I'm of course NOT asking for us each to explain our own “identity,” but I am wondering instead, at a time when critique of identity politics is in some ways theoretically sound and important, and in other ways racist, sexist and homophobic reaction, what roles do identity, identity formation and subjectivation, questions over the authority to speak, narrate, and not be spoken for play within our practice and methodology today? How do the various modes of privilege and domination experienced by differently positioned subjects figure into our choices or sites of struggle and our vision of change/solutions? And how does the question of identity complicate the dichotomy of Truth/relativism that we flirted with in the second round, a dichotomy that might force us to otherwise valorize or obliterate the person in the position of speaking?
    round #4. question by Maryam Jafri. 12/2004:
I’m sure everyone has been following the Steve Kurtz story. Recently on Democracy Now, they revealed that the CIA infiltrated a conference they deemed suspicious at the University of Texas Law School, organized by a Muslim woman on gender and the law in Islam. The irony is that a lot of the talks presented were from a feminist, very anti-fundamentalist point of view, but in today’s hyper-surveillance society, in the shadow of the Patriot Act, this was deemed suspicious.
How has the harassment of Steve Kurtz (along with another professor of public health in Pennsylvania), the Patriot Act, the terror warnings (NYC has yet to grant a permit for anyone to march in protests during the upcoming RNC), the library surveillance, hostility at the airport because one travels a lot, etc., how has this affected our practices AND research as cultural workers, as well as our everyday thoughts and movements (i.e., taking the subway, not taking it when possible).
to be continued...