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Cathy Byrd, the Founder and Artistic Director of Fresh Art International, is an influential advocate for cultural literacy and an internationally recognized curator, educator, and writer. Her hybrid platform features a podcast, live stream radio shows, and a free digital archive. Since 2011, the audio program has transported listeners to sites of creativity around the world, infusing conversations about today’s art, design, and film with sonic experiences. Connecting listeners with voices from the field, Byrd heightens public awareness and understanding of contemporary culture as she investigates vital issues and ideas.
During her residency, Cathy planned to engage at the center and fringe of St. Petersburg’s contemporary art scene, to curate nuanced narratives that delve into the cultural life of the city.
Luisa Caldwell is a multi-disciplinary artist whose projects range from mixed-media art pieces on paper to architecturally based installations. The work reflects her interests in patterns as cultural tropes and the upcycling of materials.
Luisa’s latest solo exhibitions appeared at Smack Mellon and Humanities Gallery at Long Island University in Brooklyn. Her recent residencies include Polenovo AIR in Tula, Russia, Guild House at Guild Hall in East Hampton NY, and Back Apartment Residency in St. Petersburg in 2019. During a follow up Back Apartment Residency, Luisa collaborated with the St. Petersburg-based artist Zhenya Machneva. Their shared interests in traditional arts drew attention to the disappearance of antique stained glass from residential buildings and their replacement with cheap plastic frames and glass. They collaborated on an immersive installation to inform and encourage the public to resist the destruction of the cities’ beauty and history.
Tyler Coburn is an artist and writer. Spanning writing, sculpture, performance, furniture, and sound, his artwork considers how notions of “subjectivity” and “the self” are defined and refined in scientific, legal, political, and technological contexts. Coburn continued his project Remote Viewer (2017 – ) which looks at the psychic arms race between the US and the USSR during the Cold War. To date, his research has focused on the US, particularly the military “remote viewers” who mentally travelled to foreign sites for the purpose of intelligence gathering. The residency provided an opportunity to shift attention to St. Petersburg, an important site of Soviet parapsychological experimentation. Tyler’s research culminated in training workshops to introduce the public to “remote viewing” and generate discussion about its resonance with disinformation campaigns of our age.
David J. Diamond is a curator of La MaMa Umbria International programs for theatre artists in Spoleto, Italy. As a theatre artist, he has directed plays, produced live performances, and co-created the theatre company The Barrow Group in New York. He was the Back Apartment Residency fellow in 2017.
David built on the connections he developed during his previous residency and met with new theatre artists to share a variety of approaches to creating live performances. He delved into St. Petersburg’s theatre education system to examine the best practices of the artists who are helping the next generation of theatre-makers develop their skills and shared his experience with students at St. Petersburg’s leading universities.
Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively through creative experiences that he helps unfold within the quotidian. He is the founding director of The Interior Beauty Salon, an organism living at the intersection of creativity and healing. Nicolás is a Senior Lecturer and Social Practice Artist in Residence in the Art and Art History Department at The University of Texas, Austin; and a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow.
Nicolás has exhibited or performed at Madrid Abierto/ARCO, The IX Havana Biennial, PERFORMA 05/07/21, IDENSITAT, Prague Quadrennial, Pontevedra Biennial, Queens Museum, MoMA, Printed Matter, P.S. 122, Hemispheric Institute of Performance Art and Politics, City as Living Lab, Princeton University, Anthology Film Archives, El Museo del Barrio, Center for Book Arts, Longwood Art Gallery/BCA, The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Franklin Furnace, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Nicolás has received mentorship in art in everyday life from Linda Mary Montano, a historic figure in the performance art field.
Residencies attended include P.S. 1/MoMA, CEC ArtsLink, The Performance Project, Soaring Gardens, Jentel, Henry Street Settlement, Center for book Arts, Lower East Side Printshop, Artists Alliance Inc, Yaddo, and MacDowell. Nicolás holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where he studied with Coco Fusco; and an MA from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Born in Santiago, Dominican Republic, he was baptized as a Bronxite in 2011.
Lily Gold is an artist working in dance, sound, sculpture, and painting. Her work aims to elevate the culturally marginalized intelligence of our emotional and intuitive selves, the parts of us withered from residual poisons of patriarchal and capitalist values. Using movement, song, and weaving, she strives to identify and heal personal and societal taboos, approached through her earth-based Judaism lineage. Lily’s work has been presented in various venues throughout New York City, and has been supported through residencies across the United States and in Moscow.
Lily returned to western Russia where she has ancestral roots, to connect with the spirits of the land and share practice with local artists. At a time when the dangers of hollow hierarchy are painfully evident, especially inside the current US-Russia political relationship, the impulse to form compassionate alliances is urgent. During her residency, she planned to develop her practice of performance weavings through workshops with the local community.
Samuel Hertz (born in Washington, DC) is a composer, researcher, and sound artist working at the intersection of Earth-based sound, sonic sensualities, and climate change. His work spans many genres – through-composed music, multi-media electronics performances, large-scale speaker installations, IMAX and standalone films, and performative installations, among others. Samuels’ background as a dancer influences his sound work in numerous collaborations, touring productions and international performance companies.
A researcher informed by collaborative investigation within Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s Anthropocene Curriculum, Samuel is the author of six essays on sound’s relationship to geography, climate, and social ecologies. He continued a long-standing collaboration with the choreographer Anya Kravchenko at SDVIG and developed new solo material based on his research in acoustic ecology.
Manuel Molina Martagon is a multidisciplinary artist working in performance, video, and social engaged projects. He is interested in food as a vehicle to engage in a multisensorial dialogue on current topics such as immigration, labor, tradition, and access. His work has been exhibited in Mexico, Spain, China, Cuba, and in the US. He has also developed socially engaged projects in New York related to the food and service industry.
Manuel explored how the Georgian cuisine became an integral part of St. Petersburg’s culinary landscape. His investigation focused on the roles of culture, tourism and the food industry.
Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi is a writer and curator. In the past decade, he has been involved in research and curatorial projects at Park Avenue Armory and Asia Society in New York and Devi Art Foundation and Raqs Media Collective at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. His solo curated projects include Missing Hue of the Rainbow and Dissent Library (2019) at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College / Hessel Museum of Art, New York; and In the Presence of Others (2016) at Korean Cultural Centre, New Delhi.
Srinivas was the Curatorial Advisor for When Artists Enter the Factories exhibition at Brooklyn Army Terminal, New York (2019). His writing has appeared in numerous publications. Mopidevi is currently finishing his doctoral dissertation at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
A New York-born and London-based independent contemporary art curator, Georgia Muenster focuses on urbanism, the future, archives, and collectivity. She has produced projects at a variety of galleries, pop-ups, museums, and theaters in the US, UK, France, Denmark, and Bulgaria. She is a longstanding member of the arts collective Flux Factory in New York.
Georgia undertook curatorial research for the ongoing project Architectonics, which explores deep geographies in the built environments. Architectonics aims to document the reality of the city and its alternate visions, going beyond the clichés of “psychogeography.” By looking closely at both private and semi-public places, the project brought to light hidden layers of the metropolis, a particularly apt concept in St. Petersburg, steeped in complex histories.
Matt Parker is a Sonospheric Investigator researching the resonances between things. His multimedia works are influenced by the practice of listening to unsound vibratory ecologies and the economies of noise. His research engages with sound studies, media ecology, field recording and geohumanities through a critical and spatial art practice. He is currently a Research Fellow with the Sonic Art Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, UK, and Director of the media infrastructure research collective, The People’s Cloud.
For his Back Apartment Residency, Matt was interested in studying practice-based research methodologies engaging with energy, frequency, resonance, and vibration within the socially engaged and sonic arts communities of St. Petersburg. His wider research is concerned with the relationship between the crystal, mineral and mining industry; the introduction of newly emerging network topologies such as the experimental 5G testbed deployed by Beeline in St. Petersburg’s city center.
Shahpour Pouyan’s work is a commentary on power, domination, and possession through the force of culture. His artwork seeks to transform historical or political issues into a monument of poetic and visual forms. Shahpour investigates recurrent patterns of mistakes and errors. He uses historical aesthetics and mediums, reinventing extant artifacts like chainmail, helmets, and Persian miniatures.
His work does not announce a political agenda. Instead, Shahpour grapples with materials from the political world and historic documents. The poetic qualities of power and the human condition inspire him. His recent works and projects are influenced by science, archeology, and the poetry of architectural forms that bridge past and present. He has participated in Lahore Biennial in Pakistan; Yinchuan Biennale and Beijing Biennale in China, British Museum in London; Mykonos Biennale in Greece and Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kochi Island. Shahpour’s work is in many prominent private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The British Museum, The Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art, and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.
William J. Simmons is an essayist, poet, and art historian. He is Provost Fellow in Humanities in the PhD program in Art History at the University of Southern California. His writing has been published in numerous international magazines, journals, edited volumes, and monographs, including books by Judy Chicago, Laurie Simmons, Sarah Morris, and Toyin Ojih Odutola. His work focuses on cross-genre explorations of queer and feminist memory, longing, and activism. He co-edited the Spring 2020 issue of Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media.
William worked with queer and feminist artists in St. Petersburg to create international, cross-generational dialogues on the poetics of gender and sexuality. He also gave lectures at the After Post-Photography conference and the Gender Studies program at the European University in St. Petersburg.