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About the Arts Research Institute

Run With It, Dee Hibbert-Jones

About the Arts Research Institute

The mission of the Arts Research Institute is to support and promote arts research, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and elevate the public profile of the arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz. We are committed to supporting the diverse artists and scholars of our campus in an environment of respect, support, innovation and exploration.  [more]

2021 ARI Individual and Collaborative Major Awards

March 29, 2021

The UC Santa Cruz Arts Research Institute (ARI) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Individual and Collaborative Major Awards. These highly competitive grants support specific projects that will enhance the national and international prominence of the arts at UCSC and increase the quality and vitality of research or creative work in theory, scholarship, and/or practice in the arts.


Platform 6, a virtual Platform of documenta11
Mark Nash, Arts Division

With [the late Okwui Enwezor]’s encouragement, we developed the idea of a conference ‘Platform 6’, featuring the voices of artists, curators, critics and intellectuals formed by the experience of documenta11 [which was created as a series of platforms addressing key political and social issues… described by the New York Times (Apr 2007) as “the erudite 11th edition, organized by the Nigerian Okwui Enwezor in 2002, which propounded a global art ecosystem with Europe no longer at the center”].  The spirit of the event will be that of reculer pour mieux sauter, “looking back to look forward,” using the event to reformulate the issues most urgent to our practices just as documenta11 itself enabled us to rethink our political, cultural and aesthetic engagements. 

Open Source Afro Hair Library
Aliah Darke, Arts Division

Existing 3D marketplaces are lacking in Black representation.  It is difficult to find any accurate depictions of Black hair, much less any diverse range, while Blackness more broadly is depicted through a lens of misogyny and racial caricature evocative of Jim Crow era minstrelsy.  The Open Source Afro Hair Library (OSAHL), a feminist, anti-racist database for 3D models of Black hair textures and styles, offers a counter-narrative: a powerful, pro-Black vision for Black virtuality. 

Irene Lusztig, Film and Digital Media Department

Hanji Work: Hanji Translated – A group exhibition at the Joenbuk Museum of Art in Korea
Jimin Lee, Art Department

Celebrating 1000 years of the rich history of Hanji, Korean traditional handmade paper, the exhibition will present Hanji works by ten internationally invited artists and will focus on Hanji as a medium for contemporary art relating to social and transcultural communication and issues of history, identity, migration and memory.  For this exhibition, I wish to produce two large-scale pieces in collaboration with a traditional Hanji crafts master, Kim Hemija.  I will also work with other Jonju paper masters to deepen my research in the medium. 

Unseen California
Karolina Karlic, Art Department

Unseen California’s objective is to fuse research topics (Four major themes: Photographic Technology and Visualizing Ecology, Interpreting Land Use – Nature, Wilderness, Reserve, Experimental Approaches to Site Specific Art Practice, and Cultural Ecology) through the lens of the arts and sciences to better understand California’s future cultural and ecological landscape… This platform will inform and challenge what we know about California’s ecological systems through site-specific and practice-oriented research while also addressing the urgent historical canon of western photography. 

Life in the Tinderbox
Elizabeth Stephens, Art Department

‘Life in the Tinderbox’ documents California’s recent historical fires alongside massive protests erupting in Northern California and beyond, revealing their connections to envision ways to navigate these precarious times while maintaining hope.  The film explores how the consequences of climate change are deeply embedded in our colonial past. 

Technothriller: Film, Difference and the Technological Imaginary
Soraya Murray, Film and Digital Media Department

‘Technothriller: Film, Difference and the Technological Imaginary’ is the first dedicated book-length critical examination of recent films classified as “thrillers” that view technologies like computers, robotics, biotech, the Internet, military weaponry, and digital surveillance through the lens of anxiety, dread or paranoia.  In Technothriller, I continue my exploration of the visual culture of science and technology, and how popular media representation has reflected, shaped and guided our possible technological futures. 

Power of Presence: creating human portraits with algae (working title)
Jennifer Parker, Art Department

“Power of Presence” is a living bio art + technology project that continues to merge the past to the present as an interactive archive of human portraits grown by algae.  These algal images will be collected and displayed as part of The Algae Society’s year-long exhibition (Sept. 2021 – June 2022) at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Museum visitors, both in person and virtually, will be invited to create a living portrait with algae to be displayed and projected onto the walls of the museum. 


Statues Never Die
Isaac Julien, Arts Division

A new multi-screen film, “Statues Never Die” will premiere in Philadelphia at the Barnes Foundations’ 100th anniversary in June 2022.  It centers on one of the most important African American thinkers of the black arts, Alain Locke, who is widely regarded as the “father” of the Harlem Renaissance.  Locke visited the Barnes in 1924 and facilitated for a number of black intellectuals and artists access to Barnes’ unrivaled collection of African and European art.  I will explore Locke’s engagement with the collection, aiming to both honor Locke and his contribution to the arts and to open up critical conversations about the objects that influenced him. 

Reciprocal Ecologies: A Trans-local, Collaborative Research Inquiry into Condition of Contamination, Vulnerability, and Precarity as they connect Bodies with Lands
Laurie Palmer, Art Department

Focusing on the themes of contamination, vulnerability, and precarity as conditions shared by living bodies and bodies of land, Reciprocal Ecologies will generate conversations and connections across distance and other boundaries among diverse practitioners who are working for environmental justice in and with their communities.  Beginning with three “sites” – Central California, Brazil, and Mexico – we plan to invite one artist/speaker in each place to act as a magnet for convening a local conversation with other practitioners in their region, accessing forms of knowledge which are specific to those sites and investigating the themes proposed by this project through a collective approach. 

Surge: Multidimensional and Transcultural Afrofuturism Festival
Karlton Hester, Music Department

Surge is a 2021-2021 arts program on the theme of Afrofuturism, spearheaded by composer/performer Karlton Hester, choreographer Gerald Casel, and Rachel Nelson, Director of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS).  The programming will introduce broad audiences to notable artists, musicians, poets, filmmakers and scholars working within Afrofuturist traditions.