About Change Encounters

“To speculate” derives from the Latin speculat-, meaning “observed from a vantage point.” Responding to the Vera List Center for Art and Politics’ 2009-10 theme, Speculating on Change, Change Encounters offers multiple complementary and conflicting vantage points on the nature and process of change. Change is an encounter with difference that requires opening oneself to the unknown. Similarly, to engage with this project is to enter a relationship with the unpredictable.

The website is designed to access an archive through a random number generator based on the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching, the classic Chinese book of wisdom, which is considered both an oracle and a philosophy. The archive parallels this predictive system that is ever changing, where meaning is mutable and constructed by the viewer/user. The 64 web pages collect an assortment of cultural and historical predictive devices, appropriations from popular culture, historical sources, academic scholarship, and personal interviews with people occupying diverse professional positions.

Judith Butler describes Michel Foucault’s understanding of self-transformation as “prompted by a form of knowledge that is foreign to one’s own.” In this spirit, we bring together and against one another, knowledges and practices that form a prism, casting different angles of light upon the state of our economy, psychic life, and physical surroundings. With Obama’s slogan receding yet still resonating into the second year of his Administration, we wonder what kinds of change we can still believe in, who or what might be called upon as agents for change, and what the ramifications of change are for whom. These inquiries contemplate the conditions for constructive future thinking within a climate of economic, environmental, and psychological instability, and set the stage for how we might anticipate today what is at stake tomorrow.

 

About Lin + Lam

Inspired by a particular site, historical incident, or political issue, Lin + Lam (Lana Lin and H. Lan Thao Lam) collect research in the form of interviews, archival materials, and found objects. Their collaboration brings together their backgrounds in architecture, photography, sculpture, installation and time-based media. Their work has been exhibited at international venues including the Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, The Kitchen, and the Queens Museum, New York, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Arko Arts Center (Korean Arts Council,) Seoul, the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany, and the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, China. Their work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts, among others.

Lin received her MFA from Bard College. She is currently faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Jacob K. Javits Fellow in the Media, Culture, and Communication doctoral program at NYU. Lam received her MFA from CalArts, and is faculty at Goddard College, MFA-IA program.

Lin + Lam are 2009 -10 Vera List Center for Art and Politics Fellows.

Contact: syzygy@change-encounters.com

Credits: Project concept and research: Lin + Lam, with the support of The Vera List Center for Art and Politics. Web design: Wei Chao

Interviewees:

Claudia Bader
Lopamudra Banerjee

Gregg Bordowitz
Andrew Culver
Orit Halpern
Rachel Harris
Benjamin Lee
Colleen Macklin
Cate Owren
Henry Weingarten
Robert Wosnitzer
Margaret R. Zellner

The artists wish to thank all the participants, and Alison Cornyn, Carin Kuoni, Lize Mogel, Annie Shaw, Aleksandra Wagner for their valuable insights and collaboration.