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Hello from a New ICI Intern!

Monday, June 22nd, 2015




My name is Lizzy, I will be a junior at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, New York, this Fall. I am a Studio Art Major and am making pieces using the laser cutter at school in combination with the printing press and more traditional printmaking processes. This Summer I will be working here at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry as an AIDS Chronicles Intern! This will be my first time working closely on a project of such depth; the AIDS Chronicles have been in the making for over twenty years.

In addition to working at the ICI I have an internship with Libertine, a fashion label and clothing line by Johnson Hartig. I will mainly be helping with preparations for New York Fashion Week.

In the spare time I’m hoping to catch up on some fiction reading this Summer. I’m making my way through Everyday is for the Thief by Teju Cole, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino and Dave Eggar’s You Shall Know Our Velocity! so far.

More to follow on my work at ICI!



Meet Rachel

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Archival Intern

aka “Wilson”

As the newly-minted archival intern for the Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Rachel is just starting to break into the crazy world of alternative archiving.

When she isn’t busy being jealous of people who can grow facial hair, you can often find Rachel cooking elaborate meals for herself or standing in a museum waiting for you to ask her what she thinks.  While a full-time student and part-time renaissance woah-man, Rachel enjoys watching British television, eating baked goods, reading Lucky Peach, traveling the world, and cataloging the world’s ephemera.

In the future, you can expect to find Rachel tending bar at her very own dinner sinema and feeding you the best damn apple pie in the Northwest.  And if she isn’t making you happy with food, spirits, or genre film, you can bet she’s camping somewhere in the Black Forest with her best friend, a German vintner with a crude sense of humor.  Because that’s the kind of future Rachel imagines, the best kind.


Seeing is not Perceiving

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

“[T]hey may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding” — Parable of the Sower, Mark 4:12 (NIV)

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting an artist’s studio in preparation for ICI’s upcoming spring exhibition. Without giving too much away, upon seeing the works, and speaking with the artist, I have been left to philosophize on the line between truth and perception or rather between sight and reality; a curiosity that has been further intensified by a recent visit to PHENOMINAL at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

In conjunction with the theme, “phantom worlds,” this quandary is especially intriguing. Is what we see around us genuine? Do we perceive the true form of our surroundings? Is there a secondary reality that we are being denied access to as a result of limited knowledge or access? How much do we really know about our world or anything else for that matter?

In the words of The X-Files, “the truth is out there”, but whether or not we’ll know it when we see it is yet to be seen.

Opening my eyes and mind to new ideas of perception


Minutia to Meta

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The last few days have been spent editing and archiving video from our 1991 AID’s Bottle Project. The footage had been broken up for storage purposes, loosely labeled, and (being an older format) most of the footage made it hard to capture a clean still. But, I’ve discovered, the ICI looks kindly on the rough and worn down edges of our cultural record. After deciphering a few new editing tricks I was able to pull together some short, (hopefully) coherent, and neatly labeled videos chronicling the AIDS Bottle Project. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to review and engage this footage, never having seen the event myself. It gave a better sense of the sentiment and interaction sought by these projects. In editing new videos I tried to be cautious about cleaning, organizing, and adding to the record without tainting the existent aesthetic of the original videographer. The videos were constructed with the aesthetic of an insightful pedestrian’s, a filming technique that I wanted to respect and uphold. As I sifted through the clips I continuously returned to passages in Johnnie Graton and Michael Sheringham’s “Tracking the Art of the Project”. One in particular significantly contributed to my self-orientation while editing, “The project is frequently a lure, a device designed not to achieve a particular end, but to allow something unforeseen to happen.” It made me think of the balance needed between control and chaos; the desire to catalogue and create systems of organization in an attempt to better understand and control the untenable and overwhelming. However a true project embraces the inevitable leaks of chaos that serve to check, complicate and humanize our systems.

Thus far working at the ICI I have felt variably like I am wandering through a maze and standing on a bluff; between minutia and meta. A little lost at times but actively trying to develop a more comprehensive outlook.



ICI Field Trip

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Last week, my fellow Fellows (Elaina and Elisa) and I, along with the ICI director Lise Patt, took a field trip to Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station Arts Center.  None of us outside of Lise had ever been to this fine establishment, so we were all quite excited.  The field trip had two main goals: to visit a store full of hand-made paper and book-binding supplies called Hiromi Paper and to pass out fliers for the ICI 100/10∆10 project coordinated by Elisa and me,  Mappa Mundi: The Earth Project.  Of course, since all of us happen to also be great art enthusiasts, the overarching mission of this field trip was to simply enjoy ourselves within one of the greatest arts establishments in Southern California.

We began our afternoon at Bergamot in the paper store.  Elaina was searching for the perfect hand-made cotton fiber paper to compliment her final essay for ICI’s 100/10 catalog box-set.  Needless to say she found it, along with a slough of other breath-taking hand-made papers.  Being in that store was incredibly inspiring, as they had paper in all sizes, as small as my pinky nail to large scale paper the size of my bedroom wall.  They also had paper in every variety, as delicate as lace or as sturdy as wood (yes, actual paper with wood grain running through it).  Being in this store gave me so many creative ideas, it was hard holding back my wallet and my imagination.



After the paper store, the Fellows and I wandered through a few Bergamot galleries with the hope of checking out some artwork and leaving our Earth Project fliers.  We went into every gallery open that afternoon, including Tag Gallery, Luis de Jesus Gallery, Lois Lambert Gallery, FIG Gallery, and the Robert Berman Gallery.

After a delightful lunch at the Bergamot Cafe, the Fellows and I wandered over to the Santa Monica Museum of Art to see its most current exhibition, Marco Brambilla: The Dark Lining.  This is a video artist whose pieces are truly an experience, my favorite being two 3-D video collages that “combine hundreds of clips from genre films that re-enact historical moments as grand spectacle.”  I was mesmerized by these two pieces (not to mention Brambilla’s other video installations), and would highly recommend viewing this show before it leaves SMMoA August 20.

Bergamot Station is definitely worth visiting if in the Los Angeles region.  The history dates back to 1875 when it was a trolley stop for the Red Line, making it a truly unique space within the land of strip malls.  I plan on taking a trip back there soon, maybe even checking out Brambilla’s 3-D video installation one last time before it’s over.