New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement presents “Ensayos: Passages,” its first online artist residency, foregrounding the department’s year-round commitment to contemporary art and pedagogy centered on personal and social growth. The international collective Ensayos (translated as “inquiries,” “essays,” or “rehearsals” in English) will develop and present new work through this digital residency.
Ensayos is a collective research practice enacted by artists, scientists, activists, policymakers, and local community members. Sustaining their focus on the ecopolitics of archipelagos for the past decade, they have developed distinct inquiries into extinction, human geography, and coastal health. Their New Museum residency will be multifaceted, including a web series, podcasts, public programs, and an experimental performance.
Initiated in Tierra del Fuego, Chile, an archipelago known for its remoteness, biodiversity, and extreme conditions, Ensayos first focused on past and present issues impacting the region at the southern tip of Patagonia. In recent years, various configurations of Ensayos practitioners have explored the shared and localized extremes of the land, water, and life of archipelagos on three additional continents, including inquiries in Eastern Australia, Norway, and New York.
During their New Museum residency, Ensayos will open their intimate methodologies to a larger public. Their deep investigations consider collective identity, colonial history, multispecies communication, Aboriginal law, and the ethics of care in relation to wetlands, the sea, and coastlines. In order to contemplate ecological health from the microscopic to the global, the New Museum program will focus on how storytelling can offer possibilities for connection across remote geographies and diverse ways of experiencing the world.
Through a series of private online rehearsals, Ensayistas are developing the ecofeminist drama Cucú and Her Fishes. The New Museum will premiere Act I, an online production, in September. Several scenes of Ensayos’s speculative play will unfold simultaneously, as performers and participants find sensual and poetic methods of connecting and communicating about ocean health. The title and format are inspired by Fefu and Her Friends, a feminist play written and originally produced in 1977 by iconoclastic Cuban-American playwright María Irene Fornés (1930–2018).
Each month Ensayos will share a different practice and mode of storytelling with the public, including the Season Two premiere of the webseries DISTANCIA, a short-form, episodic reflection on property, representation, and belonging set in Tierra del Fuego; a divination card reading with contributors to a new issue of their periodical Más allá del fin/ Beyond the End, #3.5; and the release of their first series of podcasts Hydrofeminist METitations, three audio works that blend journalism, fiction, and guided somatic exercises.
Lead Ensayistas for the New Museum residency are Ensayos founder and director, curator Camila Marambio (Papudo, Chile) and artist Christy Gast (Amenia, New York), with Aboriginal legal scholar Dr. C.F. Black (Gold Coast, Australia), artist Ariel Bustamante (La Paz, Bolivia), artist Caitlin Franzmann (Brisbane, Australia), educator Sarita Gálvez (Naarm/Melbourne, Australia), artist Søssa Jørgensen (Skiptvet, Norway), art historian Carla Macchiavello (Santiago, Chile), sociologist Denise Milstein (Harlem, New York), Selk’nam activist Hema’ny Molina (Santiago, Chile), artist Randi Nygård (Oslo, Norway), dance-artist Amaara Raheem (Black Range, Australia), ecologist Bárbara Saavedra (Santiago, Chile), artist Carolina Saquel (Paris, France), curator Karolin Tampere (Lofoten, Norway), anthropologist Michael Taussig (Brooklyn, New York), artist Geir Tore Holm (Skiptvet, Norway), ichthyologist Lynne Van Herwerden (Magnetic Island, Australia).
“Ensayos: Passages” is organized for the New Museum by Emily Mello, Associate Director of Education, and Andrew An Westover, Keith Haring Director of Education and Public Engagement.
DISTANCIA Season Two
Premieres Monday, June 15
DISTANCIA, a short-form video series, is created to be broadcast online and uses fictive and sensual qualities to illuminate connections between humans and a fraught landscape. DISTANCIA, Season Two, contemplates life in and with Tierra del Fuego, countering narratives that presume meaning should be sought primarily through scientific observation, ethnographic documentation, and geographic analysis.
Ecofiction at the End of the World
Tuesday, June 23, 2pm EDT
This conversation on DISTANCIA, Season Two, will focus on ethical dimensions of storytelling and situated identity in relation to the landscape and feature Carolina Saquel and Camila Marambio, who imagined and realized the web series set in Tierra del Fuego; Ariel Bustamente, sound artist; and anthropologist Michael Taussig.
Hydrofeminist METitations Listening Series
New episodes launch July 20, July 27, and August 3
Drawing from Ensayos’s transdisciplinary work, this podcast series will focus on waters in different archipelagic regions, including Tierra del Fuego, New York, Eastern Australia, and Norway. The episodes are structured in four movements that mirror different aspects of Ensayos’s field research: fiction, fact, somatic exercise, and water care ethics. Each concludes with a song.
Fortunes of the Forest: Divination, Dance, and Story
Tuesday, August 18, 8pm EDT
Fortunes of the Forest is a participatory performance that encourages slowness, plant knowledge, movement, listening, observing, and response-ability. Drawing from her divination card deck (created with collaborator Man Cheung’s botanical photographs of plants, rocks, and insects found in the urban forest of Karawatha, Australia), artist Caitlin Franzmann is joined by aboriginal legal scholar Dr. C.F. Black and dancer Amaara Raheem to respond to the cards and audience questions, respectively. This program celebrates the launch of Ensayos’s online periodical, Más allá del fin/ Beyond the End, issue # 3.5.
Cucú and Her Fishes, Act I Premiere
Tuesday, September 1, Screenings at 6am, 2pm, and 8pm EDT
Ensayos’s experimental ecofeminist drama Cucú and Her Fishes casts their undisciplined research methods into cyberspace. Sharing a passion for ocean advocacy, nine characters drive the performance as they plan a second expedition to the bottom of the sea.