Still from forthcoming book 2 Billion Years of Animal Sounds Sutra: Selected Writings and Lectures of Peter Warshall

Parker Hatley is finalizing a book project featuring unpublished writing and selections from the personal archive of Peter Warshall (1943-2013), the late maniacal naturalist, bio-gladiator, and land-use editor for the “Whole Earth Catalog.” A capsule biography and testament assembled in Peter’s writing cabin in the Sonoran Desert, the book explores the constitutive affinities and tensions between environmentalism, science, technology, and poetics at the heart of the country’s fateful experiments with communalism, systems thinking, and holistic philosophy. Tentatively titled “2 Billion Years of Animal Sounds Sutra: Selected Writings and Lectures of Peter Warshall,” this book was originally conceived of with Julia Sharpe as the first in a series of publications in the “Later USA Almanac,” a CMP Collaborations project.

Forthcoming Summer 2022. CMP Projects and Edition Hors-Sujet.

“Off-Site” is a practice-based research initiative that curates the production and distribution of diasporic knowledge on art, architecture, and urban studies through alternative forms of exhibition, archivation, and image-making. Employing methods in visual anthropology, cultural heritage studies, and environmental humanities, “Off-Site” explores embodied, material, and spatial forms of change to land, place, and belonging. Centering diaspora as an infrastructure that renders an epistemic edge, “Off-Site” contours new modes of thought, practice, and material urgency. 

The first phase of the project, “Off-Site: Diasporic Imaginaries of the Balkan Edge” frames a series of exhibits that expand outwards from Bulgaria and across other geographies and histories to re-negotiate relationships between states of change—edges, borders, diaspora, migration, and the environment. To date, we have invited eighteen artists affiliated with a diasporic praxis and generated six prompts: “Building Affects, Body in/of the Archive,” “Practices of Care,” “Sonic Knowing,” “Physics of Entropy,” “Liquid Ecologies,” and “Brick Dust Matter.” Each prompt, carefully curated from content to location, centers around a material relationship to Bulgaria. From the gathering of herbal tea, sound recording, video documentation, plant specimen, and material culture, the prompts not only establish a tangible proximity to site but also stage the next phase of the project, one that will invite artists to animate these locations on site. 

“Off-Site” is an initiative led by Pauline Shongov, Maya Shopova, and Boris Angelov. This work is supported by Harvard University through the CMP-Mellon Collaborative Grant and the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative. A special acknowledgment to the Harvard Herbaria for mounting and packaging plant specimens for the prompt “Physics of Entropy.” We want to thank the following artists for participating in this initiative: Alen Agaranov, Nicolas Kisic Aguirre, Anna Ulrikke Andersen, Katarina Burin, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Ganavya Doraiswamy, Sam Ghantous, Elitza Koeva, Nicole L’Huillier, Eric Maltz, Mariangela Mihai, Noha Mokhtar, Manar Moursi, Lucas Odahara, Zeynep Toraman, Nancy Valladares, Zhe Wang, Anya Yermakova

CMP Student Javier Nueno presents at the Harvard PSL Workshop

The next deadline to apply for the Critical Media Practice secondary field is Monday, Nov. 8.

The Graduate School in Arts and Sciences offers a secondary field in Critical Media Practice (CMP) for Harvard PhD students who wish to integrate media creation into their academic work. CMP reflects changing patterns of knowledge dissemination, especially innovative research conducted or presented using media practices in which written language may only play a part. Students interested in creating original interpretive projects in still or moving images, sound, installation, internet applications, or other media in conjunction with their written scholarship may apply to pursue the CMP secondary field, which will connect them with courses, workshops, and advising on production of media in different formats. Critical Media Practice is overseen by the Film Study Center.

More information and the application can be found here. Please contact the CMP program coordinator with any questions.

Emilio Vavarella solo show “rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me): Sourcecode” marks the conclusive act in a trilogy of exhibitions based on Vavarella’s project “rs548049170_1_69869_TT” (The Other Shapes of Me) and curated by the cultural organization Ramdom. The idea of the source code permeates the body of works exhibited in the gallery, and forms the basis of the conceptual and technical infrastructure of the exhibition. A source code is simultaneously an origin and an elaboration, a source of life and the effect of life’s digital processing. The show is the result of Vavarella’s research into the origin and current applications of binary technology: from weaving to programming, algorithms, software, and automation processes, up to the complete computerization of the human being.

The exhibition opened at GALLLERIAPIÙ in Bologna last May and will close on September 8th. It follows the exhibitions “Ideas, Hypotheses, Assumptions and Objects” (July-September 2020, Gagliano del Capo), and “Errors, Limits and Malfunctions” (January-February 2021, Shanghai). Whereas the previous two exhibitions in this series were focused respectively on Vavarella’s research process and on his work methodology, the current show will unveil Vavarella’s new project in its entirety. The fulcrum of the show is the installation “rs548049170_1_69869_TT” (The Other Shapes of Me). The title refers to the first line of text resulting from the genotyping of Vavarella’s DNA. This piece is based on the translation of his genetic code into a large fabric, through the labour of his mother, using one of the first modern computational machines from the late nineteenth century: the Jacquard loom. The result is a monumental work composed of a grayscale fabric, a loom, and a video. The use of the nineteenth-century loom led to the production of a grayscale textile sixty centimeters wide and eighty-two meters long, thus pushing the technical possibilities of this early computational machine to their furthest limits. This work has become part of the permanent collection of MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna.

Stills from by rs548049170_1_69869_TT (The Other Shapes of Me) Emilio-Vavarella-1-6

The show also includes a new series of works entitled “Sections (The Other Shapes of Me):” medium- and large-scale tapestries, eight of which are on view, that explore the weaving possibilities of contemporary digital looms. Every single piece corresponds to a section of Vavarella’s DNA. Pushing the technical possibilities of these more modern machines, Vavarella has produced polychrome tapestries whose vertical dimension corresponds to his own height.

The exhibition is closed by the series “Samples (The Other Shapes of Me):” nine small- and medium-sized tapestries that correspond to a DNA sample of the artist, woven through heterogeneous digital processes.

Finally, the show is accompanied by the artist book “rs548049170_1_69869_TT” published by MOUSSE and edited by Emilio Vavarella, Claudio Zecchi, and Paolo Mele. This publication highlights and extends the aim of Vavarella’s project through the contributions of other fourteen thinkers and practitioners from the fields of art, philosophy, bioengineering, media theory, and the history of science and technology: Lorenzo Balbi, George M. Church, Francesco Giaquinto, Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Sabine Himmelsbach, Paolo Mele, Stephen Monteiro, Carla Petrocelli, Davide Quadrio, Eugene Thacker, Ed Regis, Devin Wangert, Ursula Wolz and Claudio Zecchi.

More info on the project here:


FLAHERTY 2021 Poster

The Film Study Center and Critical Media Practice program are delighted to announce our 2021 Flaherty Film Seminar Fellows, who will attend the seminar in July.

Parker Hatley (CMP student and 2021-22 FSC-Harvard fellow)
Chrystel Oloukoï (CMP student)
Julia Sharpe (CMP student and 2021-22 FSC-Harvard fellow)
Daphne Young Xu (2021-22 FSC-Harvard fellow)

This list includes our fellows from 2021 and 2020 as last summer’s seminar was canceled.

Programmed by Janaína Oliveira

Uncertainty, fragmentation, opacity. We live in a time when the transparency of convictions and definitions and the desire for total understanding of differences that historically guided the Western world of images no longer holds. In cinema, the boundaries between center and margin have been loosened and dissolved. Today, the critical issue may no longer be to relocate the center but our perceptions of the margins. More than ever, the traditional geographical boundaries of cinemas have proven unsatisfactory, as cultural and historical connections are continually reworked. Moving images require both filmmakers and viewers to negotiate what is not understood: there is no such thing as a blind spot; there never was. The spots are opaque, and they compel us to shape new tools for describing what we see, feel, and think.

The 66th edition of the Flaherty Film Seminar will inspire us to look defiantly at the opaque places of cinema. As suggested by the writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant, the works presented will “clamor for the rights to opacity for everyone” in their irreducible singularities. Opacity is an unfolding force that creates openings and endless possibilities of cinematic existence, especially for subjects that have been excluded or are less valued on conventional screens. The Seminar will be an opportunity to experience the moving image in its power, beauty, and, most of all, ordinariness. As an invitation for displacement or provocation, it points to an open future, to cultural, formal, aesthetic freedoms, where questioning is prioritized over finding answers.