For Your Reference

Amant Residency x Hex House

November 21, 2023, 6:30pm
6:30–8pm at Amant
8:30-10:30pm at Hex House

For this edition of For Your Reference, Amant Studio & Research residents have invited a group of artists from Hex House, a neighboring artist-run organization and studio space, for an evening of practice-sharing and exchanging in-progress ideas.

Each Amant resident and Hex House artist will share a glimpse into their own way of making, interpreting, and sensing. Some artists will present their process for making and examples of their own artworks. Others will bring a single reference—whether a film, book, person, architectural object, plant, word, or art project—that informs their current interests and methods.

The first part of the evening consists of sharing individual references, and then we will walk to Hex House for a collective celebration with food, drinks, and music.

Participating artists include: Amant artists-in-residence Kriss Li, Shamica Ruddock, Sara Saleh, and Emilija Škarnulytė; and Hex House artists Cody lrvens Israel, Philip Errico, Char Stiles, and Melanie Hoff.

Cody lrvens Israel is a woodworker trained in Yoruba carving and a performance artist investigating the intersection of athletics and ritual within the Black diaspora. Their work intermixes the preservation of tradition in indigenous practices within the broader Black Atlantic found present in the Caribbean and Americas, most particularly in Haitian Vodun and Jamaican Maroon cultures. Through this framework, they explore the dialectics of agency, autonomy, and safety as a Black American born under the yoke of hyper-surveillance alongside their own family’s heritage. Currently, they work out of the East Williamsburg art studio and workspace Hex House.

Melanie Hoff is an artist, organizer, and educator. As co-director of the School for Poetic Computation, and cofounder of Hex House, they strive to cultivate spaces of learning and feeling that encourage honesty, poetry, and reconciliation for the ways we are shaped by intersecting systems of classification and power. Melanie engages hacking and performance to express the absurdities of these systems while revealing the encoded ways in which they influence how we choose to live and what choices have been made for us. They teach about sex, technology, and social cybernetics at the School for Poetic Computation, Yale University, New York University, and have shown work at the New Museum, the Queens Museum, and elsewhere.

Philip Errico is a musician, performance artist, filmmaker, and gardener from Flushing, Queens. They draw from their lived experiences as a gender-ambiguous shapeshifter and their explorations in stewarding land as a queer ecologist in urban New York settings. Philip’s practice is committed to embracing nuances between dualities, excavating complex emotionality, and cross-pollinating the visual and the sonic to create vivid environments. Currently, they are the resident Plant Teemer at Hex House, an artist studio and event space in East Williamsburg where they create ecological installations, study biodiverse adaptations, and embrace native permaculture.

Char Stiles is a computational artist, educator, and programmer. She works creatively in the lower levels of graphical computational systems & makes jokes about how computers work. She is currently at the MIT Media Lab’s Future Sketches group. She is a part of the collective, and she cofounded Hex House, an artist studio and event space in East Williamsburg.

Emilija Skarnulyte’s films consist of a series of politically active visions, in which she investigates human activity and invisible structures of larger systems of power. She explores questions of the beginning of the universe in relation to geological ungrounding processes, invisible structures, geo-traumas, and deep time. Through her films, Emilija looks at “truth-seeking voyages,” and examines the conceptual and technological methods that underpin them, as well as the abstract, mythological language they produce.

Kriss Li creates films, installations, and encounters that investigate structures of power: the ways that these systems condition us despite our intentions, and the hidden sites of possibility that we can exploit towards greater collective capacities. Kriss’s work is influenced by longstanding experience in community organizing, especially in prisoner solidarity work.

Sara Saleh’s contributions to poetry and prose have charted her experiences as a first generation Egyptian-born, Palestinian-Lebanese Muslim woman who is dispossessed and is currently a settler complicit in dispossession on stolen Aboriginal land. She is preparing her second full-length novel which examines and represents complex Arab-Australian Muslim women identities, gender and power dynamics in a Western Diaspora setting. She considers this project “an inherently political act, and as such, is about setting myself the broader socio-political goal of creating a new work of literature that is about interrupting and reclaiming spaces, uplifting our communities, and embodying the multiplicity of our identities in the face of constant erasure, our bodies, homes, and lands violated and exploited to uphold white supremacist power structures.” 

Shamica Ruddock works between sound and moving image to consider the ways Black diasporas are engaged and explored. In particular, they are interested in how Black technosonic production functions as a form of speculation, narrativizing, and worldmaking. They revisit traditional practices, such as Afro-Caribbean puppetry, masquerade, and oral folk storytelling traditions within a broader methodology of speculative worldbuilding and imagined futures, where paths connect ancestral and future kin.