Names are a key aspect to our identity(s), both personal and cultural. They are what we have been called in our communities, what we call ourselves, what is sometimes assigned to us and they ultimately determine how we live and move through the world. Whatever their cultural origins, names determine whether we are understood or misunderstood, nurtured or repressed, elevated or eradicated. They are how we are inscribed, documented by others, and are used by disciplines and institutions to define, categorize, attempt to discipline, and sometimes control the world. Our names carry knowledge of our Mother Tongue, or the loss of knowledge through attempted eradication of it. They embody how Native peoples inhabit and name Native homelands/reservations/reserves and non-Natives inhabit and name colonized lands and the processes of decolonization now attempted by both. They move with us and can invoke connections through time and space when (re)called. Names are highly personal, at the same time as being wholly political. How is it that we rarely explore, investigate and face what it means To Be—Named?
Application Deadline: July 1, 2021
Notification: mid to late August, 2021
To Be—Named is a multi-site new media art exhibition focused on how names are created and used to shape, reshape, and sometimes mis-shape, our worlds and identities. We are calling on artists or artist collectives of any legal status, from all cultural backgrounds and orientations—Indigenous, Latinx, BIPOC, LGBTQIA2+, cisgender, persons with a disability, and beyond—working in digital-based artworks such as video, photography, performance documentation, sound, animation, computer games, etc. to consider and express their personal experience surrounding names and being named, and place names; what are the personal, cultural, social and political effects surrounding names and being named that you’ve experienced? We are particularly interested in a cross-cultural dialogue focusing on the effects of colonization on naming in both Native and non-Native communities. We especially encourage applications from Native/Indigenous/First Nations artists, including Native artists in the United States who are enrolled in a federally recognized tribe or are certified as an Indian artisan by their nation.
Our approach is cumulative with an international traveling exhibit that incorporates local engagement and artists work as it travels, as well as a website. It is part of a larger project (https://coling.al.uw.edu.pl/to-be-named/) linking Indigenous and diverse communities, art and scholarship across the globe. By exploring the social and political aspects of naming, To Be—Named endeavors to deeply consider the central role that experimental artistic practices might play in helping to build common ground and understanding between different cultural groups at both local and global levels.
Our first exhibition site will be in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York at iPark 84 in the summer of 2022 and subsequently travel to six of our international partners (https://eh.bard.edu/ehcn/) through 2023. Therefore work must be adaptable to being exhibited in this diversity of venues and locations around the world. Please be mindful that the ongoing pandemic may further structure the display and transfer of materials.
This exhibition is possible through the support of the Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network (EHCN) sponsored by the Open Society University Network (OSUN) and is in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Recovering Voices program and CoLing.
Curated by Krista Caballero, Christian Ayne Crouch, Gwyneira Isaac, Marta Ostajewska, Bently Spang