Cascadia Now! to partner at Portland Institute of Contempary Art (PICA) 2012 Symposium

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The Cascadian Independence Project is excited to announce our involvement as a partnering organization for the 2012 PICA Symposium Bodies, Identities, and Alternative Economies from June 21st to June 24th in Portland, Oregon.

This event is a weekend of multi-disciplinary art and conversation that takes the work of Bay Area choreographer Keith Hennessy as a starting point and expands out in freewheeling, open discourse. It’s an update on the ancient sense of symposium for a pluralist culture. It welcomes all comers. It shifts away from the individual and embraces the collective. It’s driven by your involvement.

In late June, Hennessy and his company will spend a working residency in Portland developing his latest piece, Turbulence (a dance about the economy), for its US premiere at this September’s TBA Festival.

Turbulence is a bodily response to the economic crisis, and this symposium is a shared response to his practice and thinking. Over the course of the salons, rehearsals, lectures, and performances, PICA will create a forum for artists and audiences alike to debate and discover and participate in the messy and thrilling moment of artistic creation.

The weekend will foster an inclusive, all-on-the-table discussion of issues in contemporary art and society—ranging from identity politics to alternative economies—while also providing a window into live rehearsal excerpts from Turbulence. The symposium is an experiment in political participation and a search for the “queer” as practice, one that will help us reframe our current system.

The Symposium is an experiment in political and artistic involvement. With events ranging from intimate discussion groups to staged dances, it is a chance to play with the scales of conversation and to open up the artist residency process to audiences in an entirely new way.

The Symposium will feature a working open rehearsal and talkback session of Turbulence; a one-night-only performance of Hennessy’s Bessie-award-winning solo “Crotch”; Neal Gorenflo of online magazine; and artists A.L. Steiner and A.K. Burns, who will screen their sociosexual film Community Action Center.

Since 1995, PICA has championed the practice of contemporary artists from around the world, driving vital conversations about the art and issues of today. PICA presents visual and performing artists and embraces those individuals who exist at the borders of mediums and ideas. Through artist residencies and exhibitions, lectures and workshops, and the annual Time-Based Art Festival, PICA constructs a broad platform for contemporary art.

The keynote speaker for Sunday will be Professor Robin Hahnel, best known as a radical economist and co-creator of a post-capitalist economic model known as “participatory economics.” In addition to a dozen book chapters and more than three dozen articles in academic journals, he has published ten books, including Quiet Revolution in Welfare Economics and The Political Economy of Participatory Economics with Princeton University Press, Economic Justice and Democracy with Routledge, and, most recently, Green Economics: Confronting the Ecological Crisis with M.E. Sharpe.

Professor Hahnel taught in the economics department at American University in Washington DC from 1976 to 2008, where he is now a Professor Emeritus. He has taught as a visitor at The Catholic University in Peru, at the University of Manchester in England, and at Lewis and Clark College. He is currently a visiting professor in the department of economics at Portland State University.

This symposium marks the development of an ongoing form of public programming and engagement that uses PICA artists’ work to spark community conversations around urgent issues and difficult ideas. We aim to bridge gaps in conversation across art, activism, and academia and hope you will join us as an active contributor, expanding questions and conversations that start with art but have broader implications for local economies, politics of identity, and possibilities for collaboration and change.

 — From the PICA Staff


More information can be found on the PICA website:

A full listing of scheduled events and locations can be found here:



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