Public Program:
Skowhegan & White Columns present CONVERSATION #3: Cauleen Smith and Greg Tate
January 15 2012
CONVERSATION #3: “Cauleen Smith and Greg Tate Present The Association For The Advancement of Creative Cinematic Maladjustment” is a conversation in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his less well known advocacy for an international Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (A.A.C.M.). Creative maladjustment, Dr. King declared, was a rational and productive response to the status quo of dysfunctional and toxic cultural environments. This conversation will explore ways to think about cinema in the twenty-first century that are not solely dependent on the industrial language and commercial values of classical narrative movies, perhaps even contributing to the creative maladjustment of future conversations about the time-based moving image as an affective experience.

Cauleen Smith produces multi-channel film and video installations that incorporate sculptural objects and text. Her interests roam from her roots in structuralist filmmaking to afro-futurist narrative strategies. Materials and form are central interests, which are applied to projects as each project itself demands thereby making the body of Smith's work unpredictably varied and diverse. Smith’s narrative, low-budget, feature-length film drylongso earned her a 2001 Movado Someone To Watch Award from the Independent Spirit Awards, as well as awards from many festivals including SXSW and Urbanworld. Her screenplay adaptation for the Martha Southgate novel Third Girl From The Left is being produced by Washington Square Films, with George C. Wolfe attached to direct and Kerry Washington as executive producer. Her experimental narrative video The Fullness of Time was commissioned and executive produced by artist Paul Chan and Creative Time and focused on the dislocation of mind, body, and land in post-Katrina New Orleans. Creative Capital sponsorship enabled Smith to produce, “Remote Viewing,” a series of digital videos that re-enact historical instances in which traumatic human gestures of negation resemble earth sculpture or land arts projects from the early seventies, which premiered at The Kitchen. Smith is producing a series of films (of which Fullness is a part) that explore the psycho-geography of American cities in which the intersection of black cultural production and the urban landscape created significant and global musical innovation. Smith currently lives in Chicago and is in production on “The Solar Flare Arkestral Marching Band Project” (working title), a series of films, objects, texts, and LP's influenced and inspired by Sun Ra's process of "becoming."

Greg Tate is a writer and musician who lives in Harlem. He was a staff writer for the Village Voice between 1987-2004. His books include Flyboy In The Buttermilk, Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and The Black Experience, and Everything But The Burden: What Black People Are Taking from White Culture. He is currently working on a book about James Brown, The Godfather of Soul for FS&G. An anthology of his writings, Flyboy 2:The Greg Tate Omnibus, will be published by Duke University Press next year. Tate also leads the very large Conducted Improv ensemble Burnt Sugar, The Arkestra Chamber. Burnt Sugar has released 15 disks on their own Avant Groidd label since 1999 and regularly tours the States, Canada, and Europe. In 2010, the group was the stage band for a revival of Melvin Van Peebles opera Sweet Sweetback's Badass Song in Paris. Burnt Sugar are also co-creators of Indomitable, a stage musical based on the life and music of James Brown, with director Patricia McGregor and actor Brandon Victor Dixon. This work debuted at the Apollo Theatre in 2010. Tate is co-editor of the literary arts magazine Coon Bidness: The Critical Ass Issue with poet Latasha N. Nevada Diggs.

CONVERSATIONS is a collaborative discussion series between Skowhegan and White Columns that celebrates the significance of the dialogue that takes place outside of the studio, the classroom, and the gallery. Many generative moments at Skowhegan happen between formal discussions, critiques, and lectures, when participants and faculty have the opportunity to delve deeply into the topics that inform their work and practices. These moments happen while lounging after dinner, on the lawn in the afternoon sun, and in a myriad of other landscapes and times when boundaries are dissolved, and real discourse can take place. CONVERSATIONS is designed to offer the same casual discussion on the topics and research processes that inform a studio practice, but might not be directly accessible when viewing work in more formal environments. Skowhegan and White Columns share a commitment to offering artists sites dedicated to experimentation and the discourse that surrounds the creative process.
Courtesy the artist and New Museum, New York