What were the craziest presentations at this year’s Creative Capital retreat in Troy? In my first installment I provided a brief overview of the arts granting agency’s conference—it’s several days in an auditorium listening to amazing artists give seven minute presentations on their projects—and discussed the work of three stand out artists: Lorraine O’Grady, Brittany Nelson and Narcissister. This week I highlight three more. Let’s get this started.
Dan S(chneidkraut)’s documentary Vore King tracks Raymond P Whalen, a 40-something fetish-filmmaker who lives in his parent’s attic making monsters. Whalen tells the audience that Vore fetishists get off watching people either consuming things or being consumed—basically, it’s stuff that would cause zero arousal in most people. The next shot: an oversized plush cartoon monster waddling through a garden. There’s nothing erotic about this creature, but it’s enormous cartoonish mouth are apparently a turn-on to some when devouring a women whole. The preview doesn’t ask any questions of Whalen, but here at the AFC office we concluded that Vore wasn’t a naturally occurring fetish. In other words, without the internet to give people the idea this might be a turn on, we don’t believe this subculture would exist.
Normally basket weaving wouldn’t make my list of highlights, but leave it to Creative Capital to find the truest bad ass weaver out there. Teri Rofkar uses indigenous Tlingit weaving techniques to create baskets and robes. This means heading out to the forest to collect roots and mountain goat wool and then using a loomless frame to create her work. It’s an ancient method more than 6000 years old, and Rofkar is the only living artist creating new work using this technique. “We’re not dead yet, but almost.” Rofkar noted of the craft.
For her creative capital project, Rofkar is updating the robe for the modern world: this new work will be bullet proof. Apparently this requires a lot of wool, which can be a problem since the hunting season is short. But she lives in Sitka, Alaska, and since everyone there knows what she’s working on she often receives boxes in the mail containing mountain goats.
“The body can do almost anything. It’s the mind that needs training.” Anja Garcia, Dailyburn.
If there’s anybody that demonstrate the truth of the above quote it’s Heather Cassils (AKA Cassils). A transgendered body builder, Cassils has transformed their body into a sculptural mass designed to challenge societal norms. I wasn’t entirely sure what their final work would be, but I was impressed enough with the work they’d done to transform their body alone that I thought the presentation was worth highlighting. And for what it’s worth, the stills of Cassils beating the shit out of mounds of clay are pretty impressive. Back in the day, Matthew Barney got a lot of press for testing the body’s limits while drawing. I always liked the work, but he could learn a thing or two from Cassils.