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Proximity Suitcase

September 2 @ 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Proximity Suitcase
August 16th – September 9th, 2019
Gallery E260, University of Iowa Visual Arts Building, 107 River Street, Iowa City

Participating Artists:
Jen P. Harris, CA
R. Kauff, CA
Paul Somers, IL
Ramyar Vala, NY
Maritt Vaessin, OH
Paloma Yannakakis, NY

Proximity Suitcase is an exhibition that focuses attention on the terminal (as a point of connection/station on a route of travel), bodies in motion, borders and processes of exchange.

6 writers and artists from across the US have contributed works to the exhibition that arrived to the gallery by way of one common carry-on suitcase. The works, traveling from NYC, LA, Chicago and the ACRE residency in Wisconsin will together be on display at the University of Iowa Visual Arts Building Gallery E260 from August 16th-September 7th, 2019 with a closing reception on September 6th from 6-8pm.

In use, and often in subtle ways, a suitcase operates as a signifier of mobility, class and identity. Under the current climate of US immigration law, border and domestic security, environmental and economic crisis, the movement of human bodies and their belongings in time and space is increasingly politicized. This first Proximity Suitcase project begins an exploration of the ways in which mobilized [art] objects function for these six artists, reaching into themes of personal practices towards connection, the corporeal, identity and ecologies. The carry-on suitcase has fulfilled several roles in the project: as a common carrier for the works, a stage on which the exchange of objects and texts are made, and as an object on display alongside the works it transported for the duration of the exhibition.  Moreover, the suitcase in this project, with its emphasis on process, shifts participation in the formal conventions of art shipping/handling and gallery installation. As organizer of this iteration of Proximity Suitcase, I’ve taken on a number of roles myself as an art handler/installer, fabricator and interviewer. I carried this case to each participant from plane, bus, train and car to their respective homes, studios, and neighborhood coffee shops. Each contribution from participants has impacted the course of the project as we collectively build insights into the affective and political realm of subjects/objects in transit.
All 6 exchanges made through the suitcase are archived with an audio recording (to be transcribed) and imagery documenting the process of its packing. These materials will be compiled into a catalog for the show, with a working print on display in the gallery.

Thank you to the participants and to the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History for making space for this project.

This information is brought to you from the University of Iowa’s Events Calendar

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September 2
8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Betsy Kosier
319 335-1376


Visual Arts Building, E260
107 River Street
Iowa City, IA 52246 United States
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