Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community
 

Under One Roof: Coco Gagnet ’18 at International Studio Curatorial Program

This quarter, I’m co-oping with the International Studio & Curatorial Program. For over 25 years, ISCPhas been supporting the development of emerging to mid-career artists. Each resident receives a private,furnished studio space, with 24 hour access to communal facilities. The growth of residents is abetted by organized studio visits with visiting critics, participation in professional development workshops, salons,field trips, Open Studios, and the ceaseless dialogue of a host of artists and curators working under one roof. ISCP offers a network of support provided by the administration, the outlying community, and fellow residents that truly cannot be paralleled. ISCP is a microcosm of the potentiality of artists working symbiotically. Bringing together perspectives and practices garnered under widely differing circumstances, the diversity of the residents is what helps sustain such a vibrant, spirited environment.

My days at ISCP have held no consistent shape. I am the development intern, so my tasks thus far have included researching grants & funders, writing drafts for said grants, editing proposal letters, assembling requests for donations, collecting artist’ bios, the list ensues… While I often find myself engaged with my work, sometimes my favorite part of the day is having my lunch on the second floor. There’s a communal kitchen, and a bright atrium with high ceilings, it’s peaceful, and you’re always likely to encounter a resident who will happily begin conversation with you. I like to watch The Swede, Karl, make an onion &brie sandwich on dark rye bread. Then you will look at him and he will smile.

On my first day I was able to attend the last of a series of readings based on the exhibition Aqueous Eartha photographic and sculptural exploration of New York’s ecological landscape. The readings all focused on the relationship between art and ecology, and the artist’ role in grappling with climate change. The last session was hosted by Dylan Gauthier, creator of the incredibly cool, incredibly inspiring, Sunview Luncheonette. I was only given the readings shortly before the event, so I was barely able to skim them,and clueless as to specific content, I know one was by Ursula Le Guin. However, what I experienced was about a dozen international artists synergistically contributing to a discussion, despite, and perhaps because of, diverging experiences and world views. From what I can gauge, the texts were scientific, and philosophical, they posed questions that were both pragmatic and poetic. The conversation they engendered reflected this, making for a nuanced discussion. The ability to communicate ideas that sometimes seem so ethereal and out of grasp, in a way that allowed them to be grounded in practice, or ideas about practice rested us at the nexus of duality that I feel I am always reaching for.

This event helped to confirm that my primary passion might be creating accessible spaces in which this dialogue can occur. Working in the development aspect of a non profit has brought up a lot of questions for me in regards to the relationship between corporate, and privatized wealth and philanthropy. One day I was sent to TheFoundation Center to research potential funders, ironically located on Wall Street. It reminded me how we are so intrinsically implicated in the systems we simultaneously reject and are attempting to dismantle. This is another question of duality, and maybe one I am not as comfortable reconciling with.

Photo credit: ISCP – Rethinking Residencies Panel

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Coco is a coordinator, organizer, facilitator, and poet. She is a student of Philosophy at Antioch college, and is particularly interested in the intersection of hospitality, space, food, subjectivity, and community. She is currently the assistant food coordinator at the college, and was formerly space coordinator. Both roles that work to facilitate relationships between students, faculty, staff, administrators, in the hopes of strengthening community ties and development. She has had co-op experiences in the Pacific Northwest and New York. Working for an independent small press, an artist residency, a bakery, and a land trust.

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