Interdisciplinary Arts MFA coordinator and Associate Professor Sarah Kanouse will perform the latest iteration of her multimedia storytelling project “My Electric Genealogy” at the 2017 Clark Art Institute conference on “Ecologies, Agents, Territories,” May 5 and 6, 2017. Convened by Rebecca Zorach and Christopher Heurer, the conference brings together scholars, activists, and artists for an interdisciplinary exploration of how art and its histories can contribute to broader conversations in the environmental humanities.
In “My Electric Genealogy,” artist and filmmaker Sarah Kanouse performatively explores the intangible inheritance of cultural capital and carbon debt from her grandfather. For nearly 40 years, Ed Kanouse was intimately involved with the planning, design, and management of the vast network of high-voltage transmission lines connecting Los Angeles to its distant sources of mostly coal-generated power.
An engineer who helped power the explosive growth of Los Angeles in the twentieth century, Ed Kanouse assumed leadership of the city’s infamous Department of Water and Power at the dawn of the modern environmental movement. Part biography, part personal essay, this iterative, experimental work combines documents, family photos, performance vignettes, and images of LA’s electrical infrastructure to consider not just the artist’s personal inheritance from her grandfather but also the broader cultural and ecological forces with which his life was intimately and unwittingly entangled.
Last summer, Professor Kanouse participated in a planning meeting in which the major themes of the interdisciplinary gathering were established and the commitment to diverse practices and alternative presentation forms was reinforced as a central and unique contribution of the conference. Participants included Jamie Nesbit, Sonya Lee, Robert Felfe, and Jessica Horton, as well as Kanouse, Zorach, and Heurer.
The Clark is one of only a handful of institutions globally with a dual mission as an art museum and a distinguished center for research and higher education, dedicated to advancing and extending the public understanding of art. For more information see http://www.clarkart.edu/rap/about.