November 14, 2016 by: Natalie Fleming
Roundtable Discussion: What Does It Mean To Be Human?
Featuring RPI Department of Art Professor Kathy High,
UB Department of Transnational Studies Professor LaKisha Simmons,
and UB Department of Art Professor Jasmina Tumbas
What does it mean to be human? Has the philosophy of humanism lived up to its promises of making the world a safer, more inclusive place for humankind? What are our alternatives? What if we reconsidered the worth of the subhuman, nonhuman, and even the non-animal and material?
In conjunction with the exhibition The Measure of All Things: Rethinking Humanism through Art, Please join curators Natalie Fleming and Van Tran Nguyen in the Department of Art Gallery for a roundtable discussion beginning with presentations by RPI Department of Art Professor Kathy High, UB Department of Transnational Studies Professor LaKisha Simmons, and UB Department of Art Professor Jasmina Tumbas. Speakers will present on their work for about 10 minutes each to begin an extended and open group discussion.
Kathy High is an interdisciplinary artist and Professor of Video and New Media in the Department of Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a 2016 artist-in-residence for UB’s Coalesce: Center for Biological Arts. Her most recent project, The Gut Love project, arises from questions concerning gut microbiota and the immune system. As a patient with Crohnʼs disease, Highʼs interest in gut microbiota started with her own diseased body. The recent developments in medical research concerning this area create a paradigm shift in the treatment of patients, extending beyond our bodies to include ecological system.
LaKisha Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Global Gender Studies at the University at Buffalo. She recently published the book Crescent City Girls: The Lives of Young Black Women in Segregated New Orleans, which blends social history and cultural studies, recreating children’s streets and neighborhoods within Jim Crow New Orleans and offering a rare look into black girls’ personal lives. Simmons argues that these children faced the difficult task of adhering to middle-class expectations of purity and respectability even as they encountered the daily realities of Jim Crow violence, which included interracial sexual aggression, street harassment, and presumptions of black girls’ impurity.
Jasmina Tumbas is an Assistant Professor in the Visual Studies program in the Department of Art. Tumbas’s teaching and research fields focus on modern and contemporary art and theory, histories and theories of performance, body and conceptual art, art and activism, politics of contemporary visual culture, feminist art, and critical theory. She is currently working on the completion of her manuscript, which analyzes how artists used performance and conceptual art in former Yugoslavia to highlight socially suppressed aspects of sex and gender and questioned what the public could do to resist the normative parameters of social relations, civic engagement, and political consciousness. Tumbas’ second book project engages with the question of ethnic Roma in East and Central Europe, the largest and most discriminated minority in Europe predominately left out of histories about avant-garde art in the region.