Center for Art,
Research and Alliances
July 17 – September 03, 2023

Voluminous Arts Study Program

Publication Cover

bloom how you must wild until we are free is an invitation to the visionary organizations The Octavia Project and Voluminous Arts. Founded by Gavilán Rayna Russom, Voluminous Arts is a transgender liberation project and record label which creates space for trans people to explore expansiveness through music, sound, community and experimental art. Voluminous Arts operates a community resource hub in New York, and provides employment for trans people in a supportive environment.

Co-developed by Voluminous Arts’ Director Russom and the CARA team, the Voluminous Arts studio & study program will nurture the practices of six artists from the label's roster: Mercury Symbol, Anka Raczynska, Omari Love, Rat Porridge, Ris Gumpert, and Yvonne LeBien. The study program aims to guide the artists towards exploration outside formal restrictions, allowing for intimate and regenerative encounters with art and scholarship. In bloom how you must, wild until we are free, each artist is encouraged to re-imagine their creative practices through interactions with guest faculty that includes Victoria Cruz, Anaïs  Duplan, devynn emory, Silvia Federici, Che Gossett, Isadora Neves Marques, S.J Norman, and McKenzie Wark, and through workshops, research, and group discussions. Structured activities are intentionally complemented by generative open time, building upon what Russom calls “drift continuities”: situations where meaning and structure are created improvisationally in the passage from one pre-planned event to another, without  scripting time or planning for how that might occur.

The study program will connect the resident artists’ concerns and creative vocabularies with other sources of knowledge drawn from communities that have long practiced creative world-building. This pedagogy is rooted in the belief that the imaginative and experimental activities of artists, especially trans artists, have the potential to transform social organization and rituals of togetherness. In this space for study, kinship and critical thought will act as fertile soil for transformation.

Learn more about our summer programming here.

Visiting Faculty

Victoria Cruz
is an American LGBT rights activist and retired domestic violence counselor. A contemporary of activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, she is featured in the 2017 documentary "The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson."

Anaïs  Duplan is a trans* poet, curator, and artist. He is the author of the book I NEED MUSIC; Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture; Take This Stallion; and the chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus. He was a 2017-2019 joint Public Programs fellow at the MoMA and the Studio Museum in Harlem, and in 2021 received a Marian Goodman fellowship from Independent Curators International for his research on Black experimental documentary. In 2016, he founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, based at Iowa City’s artist-run organization Public Space One. He is the recipient of the 2021 QUEER|ART|PRIZE for Recent Work, and a 2022 Whiting Award in Nonfiction. Duplan is a professor of postcolonial literature at Bennington College, and has taught poetry at The New School, Columbia University, and Sarah Lawrence College, and others.

devynn emory is a choreographer/dance artist (devynnemory/beastproductions), dual licensed bodyworker (sage), Spirit channeler and registered nurse- previously practicing in the fields of acute/critical care, hospice, COVID and currently gender affirming surgery and integrative health.  emory's performance company devynnemory/beastproductions finds the intersection of these fields, walking the edges of thresholds- drawing from their multiple in-between states of being, holding space for liminal bodies bridging multiple planes of transition, finding reciprocity practice as a constant decolonial practice. they are currently working on a trilogy centering medical mannequins holding the wisdom of end of life experiences. (deadbird + can anybody help me hold this body 2021, Cindy Sessions: Grandmother Cindy + Cindy Sessions LOVE, LOSS, LAND 2022, boiling-rain tbd). emory is a research group fellow at danspace 2020-2023, a recipient of the Onassis Eureka award, and 2022 Art Matters Artist2Artist awardee, a 2023 FCA award recipient and a 2023 USA Fellowship awardee. born on Lenape Land, emory is a reconnecting descendent of mixed Lenape/Blackfoot/settler ancestry.

Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, writer, and a teacher. In 1972 she was one of the cofounders of the International Feminist Collective, the organization that launched the Wages For Housework campaign internationally. In the 1990s, after a period of teaching and research in Nigeria, she was active in the anti-globalization movement and the U.S. anti–death penalty movement. She is one of the co-founders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa, an organization dedicated to generating support for the struggles of students and teachers in Africa against the structural adjustment of African economies and educational systems. From 1987 to 2005 she taught international studies, women studies, and political philosophy courses at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. All through these years she has written books and essays on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education and culture, and more recently the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons. Her main work is is Caliban and the Witch, Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation, now published in more than 20 languages

Che Gossett is a Black non binary femme writer and critical theorist specializing in queer/trans studies, aesthetic theory, abolitionist thought and black study. They are the Racial Justice Postdoctoral Fellow at the Initiative for a Just Society, Columbia Law School.  They are also a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School's Center for Animal Law and Policy. Che received their doctorate in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University, New Brunswick in May 2021. They received a BA in African American Studies from Morehouse College, an MAT in Social Studies from Brown University, an MA in History from the University of Pennsylvania and were a 2019-2020 Helena Rubenstein Fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program.  Che received a Ruth Stephan Fellowship from Beinecke Library at Yale University for the summer of 2022, to research the papers of queer feminist filmmaker Barbara Hammer. Che has been a fellow at the Centre for Life Writing at Wolfson College, Oxford University, as well as the Centre for Visual Culture and Corpus Christi College at the University of Cambridge.

Currently Che is finishing two manuscripts for Duke University Press -- the first being a political biography of AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya, and the second emerging out of their dissertation, theorizing the ways in which abolition is activated in Black contemporary art.  Che has co-edited a special issue of TSQ "Trans in a Time of HIV/AIDS" with Professor Eva Hayward, and their syllabus on trans and non-binary methods for art and art history co-authored with Professor David Getsy won the College Art Journal Award for Distinction

Isadora Neves Marques is a film director, visual artist, and writer working across poetry and critical writings on art and theory. The role of intimacy is a defining element of her storytelling work, where narratives of science fiction, technology, ecology, gender, and sexuality often disturb expectations on the past and the imagination of possible futures. They were the Official Portuguese Representation – Portugal Pavilion at the 59th La Biennale di Venezia in 2022, and have been awarded a Special Prize at the Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize in 2022 and the Present Future Art Prize at Artissima in 2018. Her films have been screened at major film festivals, including Toronto and New York, receiving numerous awards, including the prestigious Ammodo Tiger Short Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2022. Her artworks have been exhibited globally, including the High Line, e-flux and Anthology Film Archives (New York), CA2M (Madrid), CaixaForum (Barcelona), Castello di Rivoli (Turin), Gasworks (London), Pérez Art Museum of Miami (USA), Berardo Museum Collection (Lisbon), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Tate Modern Film and Serpentine Galleries Cinema (London), HOME (Manchester), Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum and Guangdong Times Museum (China), as well as at the Gwangju Biennale, Guangzhou Image Triennial, and Liverpool Biennial. She is a co-founder of the film production company Foi Bonita a Festa and of the poetry press Pântano Books, through which she published her poetry collection Sex as Care and Other Viral Poems (2020) and poetry collections by CAConrad, Serubiri Moses, and Odete. Her critical writings are published regularly in e-flux journal and have been included in publications by museums and publishers such as MIT Press, Sternberg Press, and Verso. She was born in Lisbon, Portugal, and has lived in London, São Paulo, and New York for the past fifteen years.

S.J Norman is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and cultural worker. He is a trans-masculine Koori, born on Gadigal country. His maternal ties are to north-western Wiradjuri and Ngyiampaa-Wailwan Country (the community of Nyngan, NSW) and his paternal ties are to West Yorkshire, UK.

Norman is the recipient of numerous awards for art and literature. He was the recipient of the 67th Blake Prize, a 2018 Sidney Myer Fellowship and a 2019 Australia Council Fellowship. Recent exhibitions include the 22nd Biennale of Sydney and the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial. His first work of fiction, Permafrost (UQP, 2020), won the 2017 Kill Your Darlings Prize for Unpublished Manuscript. It was listed for 6 major literary awards, including the Australian Society for Literature Gold Medal, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2 categories, and the Stella Prize. His forthcoming essay collection, Skin in the Game, won the 2022 Peter Blazey Prize for Non-Fiction. He works extensively as a freelance performance, music and public programs curator, principally in his role as co-organiser of the Indigenous-led interdisciplinary arts and pedagogy platform Knowledge of Wounds, which he has been running with his collaborator Dr Joseph M. Pierce (Cherokee Nation Citizen) since 2019.

McKenzie Wark is the author, among other things, of Reverse Cowgirl (Semiotexte) and Raving (Duke). She teaches at Eugene Lang College, The New School.