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Eye See The Future

Friday, December 16th, 2011

This week, my Archivist Fellowship at the ICI comes to a final close. It has been an eventful journey, filled with friendships, inspiration and excitement, with so much to be thankful for.

I first started at ICI during the thrill of the 100/10 project, when it swept steadily through its many iterations until finally halting at ∆10, some five months into my internship. When I was asked to coordinate this final iteration with another ICI fellow, I was thrilled. 100/10∆10: Mappa Mundi: The Earth Project embodied the value of process in art projects, teaching me to let go of expectations, to move with the ebbs and flows of a project’s lifespan, and to trust the mind and its creative instincts.

Since the conclusion of ∆10 in August, my fellowship has involved me in new ICI endeavors. Our latest project, Forget Foucault, aimed at shedding new light on AIDS awareness and remembrance in the 21st century.  Done on December 1st – World AIDS Day, this event was indeed a collaboration between ICI’s curatorial fellows Sue-Na Gay and Kaylie Wilson, ICI Director Lise Patt, Social Media consultant Kelly Barrett, Library intern Eliana Ruiz, and myself, along with a number of other ICI associates and collaborators. My biggest task for this project was digitizing ICI’s AIDS Archive and preparing these materials so they would be available to view electronically the day of the event. It was a great feat getting all this material prepared, and I felt a huge sense of satisfaction knowing a large portion of ICI’s collection had finally been digitized.

But now, we wind down. The end of the year is near, another round of internships and fellowships is drawing to a close, and ICI progresses forward. Where will it take me next?

‘The future’s not set. There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.’ – John Connor, Terminator 2: Judgement Day





Beginnings at the ICI…..

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I began my path towards the ICI as an undergraduate student at Pomona College where I double majored in Art/Art History and Political Philosophy, and constantly worked to unite the two disciplines. My sophomore year I began curating at our student gallery and pulled together about 30 shows, most of which addressed local politics, such as the Coachella workers movement lead by Lideras Campesinas, a female laborer advocacy group. I later worked as a photographer and archivist at the Pomona College Museum of Art, and am currently a curatorial intern at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

When I told my father that I got a curatorial fellowship at the ICI and that I would be aiding in the curation of a project with personal, political, and aesthetic significance he responded with the usual congratulations followed by a deluge of questions. What is the ICI? What are the group’s goals? How do you fit into their project? How are they not a museum, not a gallery, not quite a collective and not quite a cooperative? Are you lapsing back into your ill-advised romp with the anarchist syndicalists or is it communists this time? My father everyone. I answered the best I could while maneuvering the aura of well-fashioned mystique that permeates and sustains the ICI. I could tell that this was going to be a challenge. I was realizing that the ICI is quite different from the galleries I have run and the museums I have interned at. It has all the best characteristics of a studio practice, while dressing like a complex installation, publishing like a theorist, and carrying itself like a speaker at a protest.

Having now spent a few days in the library, talking with Lise, strategizing for our upcoming project, and constantly being sidetracked by the cultural ablution carefully tucked into every corner of the building, I am finding my bearings. Thus far I have found the ICI is an exercise in pulling together and reconciling the practical and theoretical questions of art, politics, and agency, and I am excited to engage it fully over the next few months.



Continuing the Journey at a New Home

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

My name is Sue-Na Gay (pronounced “soon-ae”) and I am both proud and excited to be starting out as a Curatorial Fellow here at the Institute.

My Journey to the Institute has been a long one. Prior to arriving here, I studied at UC Santa Barbara where I received my Bachelors Degree in both Art History and East Asian Cultural Studies. After graduating, I spent time abroad furthering my language skills at a Summer program at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea and re-exploring Europe.

After returning from my travels, I began the steps that would lead me to my current career path. I had the pleasure of working as an intern in the vault of the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War in Culver City, CA, organizing their fine art collection and helping to standardize the museum’s catalog. In addition, I also had the opportunity to work as an Educator at the Long Beach Museum of Art conducting art lessons and workshops aimed at furthering both understanding and appreciation of California based artworks. These positions help to foster my interest in working in a cultural institution full time and in part led me to my decision to undertake at a Master’s Degree in Gallery Studies and Critical Curating at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

Once enrolled in the Curatorial Program, I got to delve first hand, into the many tasks of curating a gallery show. From conception to design to production and PR my first show entitled “Socially Active,” in 2009, along with a separate publication the same year entitled “Project Biennale” taught me both the skills and the unconventional methods of curatorial approach and display that would later endear me to the mission and projects of the ICI.

Since returning to the US, I have once again had the pleasure of interning throughout Los Angeles as a Production Intern at LACE, a Special Project intern at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, a Curatorial Intern at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and now, finally, here at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry.

This Fall, I will be utilizing my skills by working alongside my fellow Curatorial Fellow, Kaylie, to assist our Director with this year’s World AIDS Day project. Though the project itself is being kept hush-hush for now, I can definitely say that I’m eager to see all of the pieces fall into place and I’m even more eager to see how it will all play out.

Looking forward to working, learning and further exploring the depths and limits of visual culture.


A Look into the Past, Present, Future

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Approximately a year ago, I first began my journey with the ICI as the Public Imaging/Social Media Intern.  I am now back for the summer as the Social Media Fellow, and it feels very strange (in a good way) to be writing on this blog again, seeing as how it was my final project last year.

In my recent discussions with Lise, we talked about how the ICI’s relationship with the Internet has come a very long way over the course of a year.  In the beginning of my internship last year, there were many debates over which social media networks to use and how to go about the transition to the web.  Now, the ICI not only has active Twitter and Facebook pages, but it has also incorporated various Internet tools for its projects.  The ninth iteration of the 100/10 project is coming up and will be livecasted via the ICI website; the tenth iteration of the project will be fully online-based!

In the past year, I have also gone through many internal changes.  Upon the completion of my first summer with the ICI, I went on a study abroad endeavor in Wales for my undergraduate junior fall semester.  As I encountered a culture that, at first glance, seems very similar to America yet has so many subtle differences, I was constantly challenged to reflect upon my ways of thinking and ponder upon new ideas.  The exposure I had to the ICI – and all that I learned from it last summer – encouraged me constantly to exercise my critical thinking skills, to put new cultural concepts I encountered into my own laboratory to be probed and analyzed.


I feel so lucky to be back here in the ICI again.  I missed the place so much – I sincerely look forward to the challenging and stimulating visions, concepts and ideas that we will surely encounter in my 2 months here.