Torolab: One Degree Celsius
Torolab: One Degree Celsius
See the Walkthrough and Colloquium at our Media Gallery
One Degree Celsius is part a series of projects called Molecular Urbanism developed by Torolab, a Tijuana-based consortium of artists, architects and designers. For USFCAM the artist collective morphs the gallery space into an actual proposal and a laboratory for creative experiments investigating the multiple uses of a garden. The exhibition includes beautifully drawn proposals for large-scale architectural interventions (on the USF campus and downtown Tampa), displayed with functional sculptural elements. Illustrating a system of insertions and communications, the artists envision the creation of multiple bio-ecological environments within specific architectural urban voids, intended to have a transformative long-term positive impact upon the local climate, human interaction and disposition, and the city’s physical and socio-cultural condition. This commissioned museum installation is staged in conjunction with the colloquium Art as a Catalyst for Social Transformation. Curated by Izabel Galliera.
Film Screenings: Socially-Engaged Artistic Practices
The selected series of three films: Park Fiction – Desires Will Leave the House and Take to the Streets (1999) directed by Margit Czenki; THIRD WARD TX (2007) directed and photographed by Andrew Garrison; and Water Water (2005) by Navjot Altaf, illustrate various socially-engaged art projects. Each work manifests diverse artistic interventions and collaborative methods employed by artists to engage specific communities and address particular social, economic and political issues. Whether in Houston’s Third Ward Texas, Hamburg, Germany, or Bastar, India, artists actively engage various constituencies, aiming to improve quality of life.
Screenings held at USFCAM East Gallery | August 25 – October 4, 2008
Park Fiction – Desires Will Leave the House and Take to the Streets (1999)
Third Ward TX (2007)
Water Water (2005)
Accompanying Documentary Material: Interviews with local residents and three Adivasi artists Rajkumar, Shantibai, Gessuram in Kondagaon, Bastar, Central India (2005)
Colloquium: Art as a Catalyst for Social Transformation
The USF Institute for Research in Art hosts scholars, curators, artist collectives, architects, and social scientists in a one-day colloquium on art as catalyst for social transformation in contemporary society. Structured more as a platform for questioning and debate and less as a lecture series, the discourse is meant to focus on the multifaceted implications of socially-engaged art. The colloquium is meant to address the aesthetic considerations and implicit cross-disciplinary collaborations that such projects entail, as they take form within the broader socio-political and economic contexts. Ultimately, colloquium participants attempt to address the role of the artist and the contemporary art institution in formulating a sustained relationship within communities.
9:00 – 9:30 | Welcome & Introductions
10:00 – 10:15 | Respondent: Wendy Babcox, Assistant Professor of Photography, USF School of Art and Art History. British born multi-media artist, Wendy’s work examines language and spectacle through a variety of ploys. Wendy is a member of 6+Women’s Collective, whose goal is to explore different possibilities for artistic cooperation across great distances, both geographic and cultural, finding connections between apparently distant locations and experiences, while at the same time creating a space for difference. She will respond to Raul’s presentation, addressing issues of border crossing and complex negotiations across different cultural contexts from the perspective and her working experiences as a member of the 6+Women Collective.
11:00 – 11:15 | Respondent: Dr. Margarethe Kusenbach, Assistant Professor, USF Department of Sociology. Her current research focuses on urban and community sociology, social psychology and social problems. In 2007 she received a major grant to conduct an interdisciplinary study of community resources and disaster resilience in Florida mobile home parks. Dr. Kusenbach will respond to Rick Lowe’s presentation by speaking about urban communities and people’s interactions in their home territories from a sociologist perspective.
2:30 – 3:00 | Respondent: Shannon Bassett, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the USF School of Architecture and Community Design. She has a research interest in cultural and regional landscapes and dynamic topographies and how they interface with urbanism. Her work intersects with the theoretical exploration of alternative methods and practices in designing and reading the city.
Respondent: Dr. Elizabeth Strom, Director, Urban and Regional Planning and Associate Professor, Department of Geography. Her current work examines cities that have developed cultural facilities as part of their downtown revitalization strategies. She also has a research interest is in universities and cultural institutions as urban political actors.
3:30 – 3:45 | Respondent: Dr. Alan Moore, has spent most of his life in New York City, writing about art, making it (videos), organizing shows, and studying art’s histories. During the 2007-2008 academic year, he taught Critical Theory and Contemporary Art, here at the USF School of Art and Art History. As he travels to teach, he explores local cultural communities and their geographies. He has recently completed a book manuscript, “Collectivities” on New York City artist groups.
Wendy Babcox is currently Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of South Florida. He received her MFA from the University of Florida. Babcox’s work looks largely at the visual politics of women’s laughter and female transgression. Her photography, video, and performance, often engages notions of carnivalesque, vaudeville-style performance, surveillance, masquerade, and the role of the tourist in contemporary culture. Recent exhibitions and performances include Miami Beach Cinematheque and Transmodern Festival, Baltimore. Babcox is a member of 6+ a Women’s Art Collective whose mission and work is about “finding connections between apparently distant locations and experiences, while at the same time creating a space for difference.”
Dr. Margarethe Kusenbach is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of South Florida. She received a Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA in 2003 and began teaching at University of South Florida the same year. Her current research focuses on issues of community and on social aspects of hurricanes. In 2007 she received an NSF grant to conduct an interdisciplinary study of community resources and disaster resilience in Florida mobile home parks. Dr. Kusenbach’s other areas of interest include urban neighborhoods and culture, emotions, and qualitative research methods. She has published papers in the journals City & Community, Symbolic Interaction, Qualitative Sociology, Forum Qualitative Social Research (FQS), Ethnography, and Studies in Symbolic Interaction, as well as several book chapters. She is also working on two co-authored books.
Rick Lowe is the founder of Project Row Houses, an arts and cultural organization located in Houston’s historically significant and culturally charged Third Ward neighborhood. Lowe has also participated in exhibitions and public art projects internationally. He collaborated with arts consultant Jessica Cusick on the Arts Plan for the Rem Koolhaus designed Seattle Public Library; worked with artists Suzanne Lacy and curator Mary Jane Jacobs on the Borough Project for Spoleto Festival 2003, in Charleston, South Carolina; was lead artist on the Delray Beach Cultural Loop, Delray Beach, Florida, and in 2005, he worked with the British architect, David Adjaye, on a project for the Seattle Art Museum in their new Olympic Sculpture Park. Lowe’s own work has been exhibited at the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; Contemporary Arts Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, Korea; and the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan. Lowe has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including the American Institute of Architecture Keystone Award; the Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence; the Brandywine Lifetime Achievement Award; the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Governors Award. Lowe was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University from September 2001-June 2002, and an Osher Fellow at the Exploratorium, in San Francisco. Lowe serves on the board of the Menil Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Raúl Cardenas Osuna is the founder of Torolab, a Tijuana-based collective workshop and laboratory of contextual studies that identifies situations or phenomena of interest for research. Established in 1995, Torolab creates projects that address the politics and poetics of various social phenomena, urban spaces and artistic languages. Osuna received a BA in Architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana, in Tijuana and a MFA from the University of California at San Diego, in California. Torolab’s work has been shown nationally and internationally at various venues including: Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; LAXART, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; PS1, New York; Center of Architecture, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City; The Tijuana Cultural Center, Tijuana; Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; Liverpool Biennial 2004, Liverpool; Beijing 2004 Biennial of Architecture, Beijing; Havana Biennial 2003, Cuba; and the 2002 Montreal Biennial, Canada.
Laurie Palmer is currently Associate Professor and Chair of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received a BA from Williams College and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Palmer’s interdisciplinary practice includes sculpture, public art, and writing, and a long-term collaboration with the artists' collective Haha. Recent projects question the privatization of land and other shared resources through collective acts of imagining and initiations of public discourse. Most recently, she has been visiting and writing about sites of industrial mineral extraction in the U.S. and is working on a book organized around this research. She has exhibited both individual and collaborative work in the US and in Europe, and published her writing in journals and catalogs. She has received invaluable support from the Illinois Arts Council, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Driehaus Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute, among other grantors. A book documenting Haha's work, With Love from Haha, was published in June 2008 by WhiteWalls Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press.
Dr. Elizabeth Strom’s past research has analyzed urban planning decisions in Berlin after Germany’s reunification as well as the economic development challenges facing the industrial cities of the United States. Results of her Berlin research have been published in Building the New Berlin: The Politics of Urban Development in Germany’s Capital, published by Lexington Books in 2001. Her current work examines cities that have developed cultural facilities as part of their downtown revitalization strategies, and she has carried out case studies on downtown redevelopment in a number of US cities as part of a larger project funded by the Knight Foundation. She is also interested in universities, cultural institutions and other nonprofits as urban political actors. Dr. Strom holds a BA from Swarthmore College, a Masters of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and both an MA and PhD from the City University of New York. Her work has been published in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Urban Affairs Review, the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, German Politics and Society, and European Urban and Regional Research, and Review of Policy Research. Before joining the USF Department of Geography, Dr. Strom was Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University-Newark.
In Houston, Art is Where the Home
The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents (pdf 160KB)
One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity (pdf 1.8MB)
Conversation Pieces: The Role of Dialogue in Socially-Engaged Art (pdf 176kB)
State and Lake (pdf 67KB)
Torolab: One Degree Celsius
American Center Foundation
with material support from the
and the Members and Corporate Partners
The USF Contemporary Art Museum would like to thank all the colloquium panelists for their participation and insightful contributions.
The electronic images available on this site are subject to copyright and may be covered by other restrictions as well. The images are made available to the general public as a representation of USF Contemporary Art Museum’s programs. Copy or redistribution in any manner for commercial use is not permitted. Anyone wishing to use any of these images for commercial use, publication, or for any purpose other than personal fair use must first request and receive prior written permission from the University of South Florida Institute for Research in Art. Please contact Associate Director Alexa Favata at 813.974.4324 for more information.