Skagen Conference 2021, In Iceland

After a haitus from the pandemic, The Skagen Institute for Transgressive methods once again held an annual conference and writing retreat in 2021. This time in Iceland! Over three days in the chiaroscuro of the South Iceland region in mid-December, researchers gathered to discuss transgressive media and to engage in creative practice around a sense of how we frame places. December 19-21, 2022.

We planned to meet in Iceland because it was conveniently located between the two participating teams. But the misty dimness of these days, punctuated by swirling rivers of blue-green light of the Aurora Borealis created a liminality we could not ignore.

Performance and photography workshops were led by Laine Rettmer, a North American visual artist and opera director. Their work explores performance, gender, desire, and methods of social control. Rettmer’s work has been presented nationally and internationally at the Vizcaya Museum; Manifesta; MoMA Public, curated by Mel Logan and Jakob Boeskov; the Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum for the exhibition, Hot Steam; the Illuminus Festival; the Boston Independent Film Festival; the Yuan Art Museum; Yve Yang Gallery; Perkins and Ping; Present Company; NADA NY, NADA Presents; and AREA gallery, among others. Rettmer’s opera productions have been praised as “wickedly smart” and “devastatingly funny” by The New York Times, and “not only profound but also shattering” by the Observer.

Performance workshops were led by Andrea Merkx. In addition to many years of experience as a professional stage performer, Merkx is Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute of Design in New York City and also an artist working in computer animation, traditional and experimental opera, and and video design. She has specialized in building collaborative frameworks for interdisciplinary experimentation in group-exhibition-cum-music-video-set production.

Multi-modal production was faciliated by special guest Mary Elizabeth Luka. M.E. Luka is a long time television producer and now Assistant Professor of Arts & Media Management at University of Toronto, where she examines modes and meanings of co-creative production, distribution and dissemination in the digital age for the arts, media and civic sectors. Dr. Luka holds a Connaught New Researcher Fellowship examining creative networks in Canada (see Dr. Luka is a founding member of the Critical Digital Methods Institute at University of Toronto Scarborough.

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