A dog will bark at deer in the woods beyond the fence to protect her home, disturbing the neighbors on an early Sunday morning. She does not know that the deer pose no threat, only that they encroach on the territory she understands to be hers to guard. The family inside the house will scold the dog, shouting for her to cease her barking and come inside. They worry more about what the neighbors will say if the dog is allowed to continue barking than they do about the urgency with which this loving beast is driven to keep them safe. The deer will buck and start to run, only to slow as they realize the dog can not leave the bounds of the fence. They will carry on grazing on what slim fronds slip out from under the snow. This seemingly simple moment runs deep with complexity. Each perspective, unknown to any but the being to whom it belongs, colors the events of the moment in its own way, obscuring the true intentions or understanding of the others.
Dalida Maria Benfield was interviewed in October from Helsinki, Finland where she has been frequently traveling and working alongside her partner who works at Aalto University. Together they co-founded the Center for Arts, Design and Social Research and have created an outpost for the project in Helsinki. Benfield is also busy on a series of projects, many of which are connected to the Center. She considers pedagogy and research part of her practice and has always included these avenues in her work. One project which she created after her MFA studies concluded found Benfield working with the Community Television Network, a grassroots activist project. Benfield worked with Latinx youth to produce weekly cable access TV news programs and experimental video artwork. To hear more about this work, other projects and the Center for Arts, Design and Social Research, listen to the complete interview.
Forrest Gander spoke to Praxis in early October when he had just handed in a manuscript to his editor for a book primarily about lichen. Working from a biological theory that lichen doesn’t die, and with the knowledge that this organism changes its individual properties to combine with others, Gander uses lichen as a metaphor for intimacy. Working alongside an artist, Gander has been examining ancient trees and the lichen thereon. While the trees themselves live out their lives and die, the lichen carries on. Gander is the winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. To hear more about his work, including live readings of some of his poetry, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Although we have eyes that see and ears that hear, we cannot know what is in the minds of those around us. Perspective is unique and easily misunderstood. Communication is the only way to truly see each other clearly.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Dalida Maria Benfield read The Question Concerning Technology in China: an Essay in Cosmotechnics by Yuk Hui. Forrest Gander’s books can be found here.
Residencies Odyssee is an opportunity for foreign artists, researchers and cultural professionals not living in France who wish to interact with French cultural centers within heritage sites. Hundreds of artists from dozens of countries have participated in the residency spanning fields from art to architecture, photography, animated film-making and more. For complete details, visit the website. Deadline for applications is December 15.
Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.