the vera list center for art and politics at the new school and the center for imagination in the borderlands at arizona state University announce inaugural borderlands fellowship


The fellowships will seek to support and apply an indigenous lens to reflect on questions of borderlands


Left to right: Carolina Caycedo, and Maria Hupfield. Courtesy the artists. .

New York, June 26, 2020 -The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University (ASU) proudly announce the inaugural Borderlands Fellowship to be awarded biennially to two artists, scholars, or thinkers. 

The first two fellows selected are artist Maria Hupfield and artist Carolina Caycedo, following a rigorous selection process from a pool of invited applicants who were nominated by a small group of experts in the field. Their appointment begins in Fall 2020 and runs through Spring 2022. 

The Borderlands Fellowship pairs the distinct institutional resources of the Vera List Center in New York City and the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, in order to support research projects that create communities across different geographical, cultural, and political landscapes. The fellowships will focus on the relevance of place, thus seeking to support and apply an Indigenous lens to reflect on questions of borderlands. 

Guided by the vision and principles articulated by project co-director Natalie Diaz (Mojave, Akimel O’odham), this joint initiative provides an arc of joint research, encounters, and experiences set in motion by two related research projects on notions of borderlands and place. 

“The Center for Imagination in the Borderlands uses a lens of Indigeneity which centers our connection to the land and waters of the borderlands, what exists beneath and around the man-made borders, and the connections--through body, language, ceremony, care-taking of land body and water, and movement--that honor both autonomy and our relationship to one another as people and also as non-human living beings,” says Diaz. 

Jointly appointed by the VLC and ASU for a two-year cycle, the fellows are invited to create a research project, and each receives a research award of $15,000. As part of a low-intensity residency, the fellows will spend time together and independently in Tempe, Arizona, and New York City over four semesters. The outcome of their research will be presented at both sites, curatorially, and financially supported by the two host institutions.

"We are very lucky and grateful,” says Carin Kuoni, senior director and chief curator of the Vera List Center. “The Borderlands Fellowship is one of our most important initiatives in the last few years, probing urgent questions regarding ‘borders’ that are relevant for today’s political and civic realities. It is set up precisely to defeat any notion of insurmountable separation of people, communities, and lands, and will support inclusive artistic research projects that thrive on intimate personal relationships but span vast political, cultural, and geographical landscapes. The inaugural Borderlands Fellows, Carolina Caycedo and Maria Hupfield, will be the perfect guides as we partner with ASU."

Carolina Caycedo’s project The Collapsing of a Model advances the artist’s work on the construction of “borders” as an extractive infrastructure serving multiple corporate and state interests, from homeland security to the oil industry. Her examination within the framework of fair energy transition focuses on local, popular, and self-sustaining energy production alternatives that challenge the current mining-energy model. She will work with Indigenous and other communities impacted by extractivist and borderland infrastructures and with scholars to think through alternative energy models and energy models under environmental justice, Indigenous, and ecofeminist frameworks.

Maria Hupfield’s Breaking Protocol will embody Audra Simpson's theory on the politics of refusal and Indigenous feminist scholarship on ethical collaboration. Using performance art and museum display strategies, this project will visualize Native women, non-binary, and transgender people as the decolonial heart of art-making in North America. Centered around a series of public and private activities and activations, Hupfield will draw from current Indigenous knowledge-based research protocols that prioritize land-based knowledge, and Indigenous-led spaces within institutions and online. In addition to workshops with students at ASU and TNS on land protocols in performance, Hupfield will develop a custom T-shirt as everyday art wearables with Tempe-based designer OXDX.  

The Vera List Center Fellowships support individuals whose work advances the discourse on art and politics. The appointments provide the opportunity to research and develop a project drawing from the curatorial, academic, and professional resources of the Vera List Center and The New School, and to bring the research and resulting work to the public through the Vera List Center’s interdisciplinary public programs and organizational networks. The Center for Imagination in the Borderlands is an Indigenous space at ASU where students, faculty, and guests catalyze and constellate stories, knowledge systems, and language within and across our many borderlands through conversation and performance.

Carolina Caycedo is a London-born Colombian multidisciplinary artist known for her performances, video, artist’s books, sculptures, and installations that examine environmental and social issues. Her work contributes to the construction of environmental historical memory, as a fundamental element for non-repetition of violence against human and non-human entities. Among others, she held residencies at the DAAD in Berlin, and The Huntington Libraries, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California; received funding from Creative Capital, California Community Foundation, and Prince Claus Fund; participated in the Chicago Architecture, São Paulo, Istanbul, Berlin, Venice, and Whitney Biennials. Recent and upcoming solo shows include Care Report at Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland; Wanaawna, Rio Hondo and Other Spirits at Orange County Museum of Art; Cosmoatarrayas at ICA Boston; and From the Bottom of the River at MCA Chicago. Caycedo is the 2020 Wanlass Artist in Residence at Occidental College in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Los Angeles Tenants Union and the Rios Vivos Colombia Social Movement.

Maria Hupfield is a transdisciplinary artist working in performance and media arts. She was awarded the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist (2018) and a Lucas Artists Fellowship in Visual Arts, Architecture & Design, Montalvo Arts Center (2019-2020). Hupfield is a Guest Curator for the Artists of Color Council, Movement Research at Judson Church, Winter 2020, and an inaugural resident of the Surf Point Foundation Residency 2020. Her solo Nine Years Towards The Sun at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, (2019) focuses on exhibiting performance as living culture and follows her first major institutional solo exhibition in Canada, The One Who Keeps on Giving, a production of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. Her work has shown at the Museum of Arts and Design, BRIC, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, represented Canada at SITE Santa Fe (2016) and traveled nationally with Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012-14); with recent performances at the National Gallery of Canada. Hupfield is an off-rez citizen of Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, Anishinaabe Nation, and the recently appointed Canadian Research Chair in Transdisciplinary Indigenous Arts at the University of Toronto

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