News & Events
Witt Visiting Artists
Roman J. Witt Visiting Artists
Roman J. Witt Visits are offered to bring a unique artistic experience to the Stamps community. Witt Visitors work at the school, give workshops for students, and participate in critiques and classroom visits. Visitors may be artists, designers, curators, critics, or scholars. As visitors are meant to enhance curriculum in a practical manner, nominations are exclusive to faculty.
Fall 2016 Witt Visitors
Katharina Smets is a radio producer with a background in philosophy, theatre and philology. She teaches radio documentary at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium. Currently Katharina works as a reporter and feature maker for Radio 1, KLARA (VRT in Belgium) and Holland Doc Radio (VPRO in The Netherlands). Recently, she has been coaching news reporters at VRT. She is the proud curator of In The Dark Belgium, supported by the Flemish-Dutch House deBuren.
Angela Washko is a New York-based new media artist and facilitator who works to mobilize communities and creates new forums for discussions of feminism where they do not exist. Washko has been creating performances inside the online video game World of Warcraft since 2012 in which she initiates discussions about feminism within the gameplay. She’s the founder of the Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft to bring attention to and protest the sexist language from players in the game.
Ruth Weisberg, artist, Professor of Fine Arts and former Dean at the University of Sothern California Roski School, is currently the Director of the USC Initiative for Israeli Arts and Humanities and the founder and President of the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California. She received the Printmaker Emeritus Award from the Southern Graphic Council International in 2015 and the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 50th Anniversary Cultural Achievement Award in 2011. Weisberg has had over 80 solo and 190 group exhibitions. Her work is in 60 major Museum collections including The Art Institute of Chicago; The Biblioteque Nationale of France, Paris; Istituto Nationale per la Grafica, Rome; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Aleksandra Janik is a Polish artist working in print media and new technologies. Her artistic and academic interests concentrate mainly on printmaking and photography – traditional as well as digital and experimental. She is currently Professor of Printmaking at the Studio of Digital and Experimental Printmaking and Vice-Rector at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wroclaw, Poland.
Hofshi creates large-scale mixed-media landscapes that examine the dark side of history and suggest parallels between natural and social upheaval. Kiefer’s 1988 exhibit featured vast and apocalyptic mixed-media works that critiqued cultural amnesia about Nazi atrocities. However, raised in a society actively bearing witness to the trauma of the Holocaust, Hofshi tempers her imagery with the patience and openness embodied in her devotion to craft. She explores the fragility of social and natural orders in a way that suggests greater space for empathy. Hofshi takes inspiration not only from direct observation, photography, and memory, but also from the materials and processes of printmaking.
Katy Collier is a Minneapolis-based artist. She works in multiple disciplines including printmaking, drawing, animation and text. Her work has been shown throughout the country including at the Hyde Park Art Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Detroit Artists Market and Women’s Studio Workshop. She has taught printmaking at Spudnik Press, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ox-Bow School of Art and Highpoint Center for Printmaking where she is currently Education Mentor in the Access/Print program, an after school program for high school students. In her WSW residency Katy created a series of woodcut prints of calligraphic marks. She then turned to images referencing traditional quilt patterns and printed the work both on paper and fabric, experimenting with color layering.
South African poet Gabeba Baderoon is the author of three poetry collections: A hundred silences (2006), which was a finalist for the University of Johannesburg Prize and the Olive Schreiner Award, The Dream in the Next Body(2005), and Silence Before Speaking (2005). She received the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry, and has held numerous fellowships internationally. Baderoon earned a PhD in English from the University of Cape Town, and is currently an assistant professor of Women’s Studies and African and African American Studies at Penn State University.
Glendalys Medina investigates structures such as architecture, character, language, image and culture. Through drawings, sculptures, videos and performance she pulls these structures apart, pieces them together, and makes them hers. Self-improvement and habitual practices such as incantations and mediation activate her work. Medina’s artistic practice is a spiritual one in which geometry reveals creative intelligence and daily practices cultivate personal growth. Hip-Hop, abstraction, and new age thinking also inform the work.
Selected Past Witt Visitors
Jem Alan Cohen (born 1962 in Kabul, Afghanistan) is a New York City-based U.S. film-maker, especially known for his observational portraits of urban landscapes, blending of media formats (sixteen-millimetre, Super 8, videotape) and collaborations with musicians. He is the recipient of the Independent Spirit Award for feature film-making. “Cohen’s films have been broadcast in Europe by the BBC and ZDF/ARTE, and in the United States by the Sundance Channel and P.B.S. They are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney, and Melbourne’s Screen Gallery.” He also makes multichannel installations and still photographs and had a photography show at Robert Miller Gallery in 2009. He has received grants from the Guggenheim, Creative Capital, Rockefeller and Alpert Foundations, and the National Endowment for the Arts among others.
Emma Raynes is the Director of Programs at the Magnum Foundation where she supports independent photographers to cover under-reported stories and imagine innovative means for distribution and engagement. She is also a member of the faculty at the International Center of Photography in NYC. Emma holds a BA in Art History and an MA in Cultural Anthropology from the New School for Social Research and received a Hine Documentary Fellowship from Duke University.
Sarah Lidgus is a writer and strategist from IDEO’s New York studio. Whether it’s print, audio, or film, storytelling has always been core to Sarah’s professional work and personal explorations. Sarah has worked in industries spanning from fashion to financial services, and has crafted stories in collaboration with American Express, Eileen Fisher, and Harvard Business Digital. Since joining IDEO in 2007, Sarah has earned two IDSA awards and her work has been featured in publications like The Boston Globe, Fast Company, and The New York Times.
Prior to IDEO, Sarah worked with the Discovery Channel, where she created audio tours and podcasts for the Guggenheim, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Alcatraz. She also worked as a freelance design and culture writer for over a decade, contributing to publications like I.D., Salon.com, and Design21, a web-based initiative dedicated to inspiring social activism through design.
Flora Lichtman & Sharon Shattuck
FLORA LICHTMAN is a science journalist and host of the new climate change podcast ‘The Adaptors.’ Her work has appeared on NPR, and in The New York Times, Popular Science and The Atlantic. Previously, Flora was the multimedia editor at National Public Radio’s Science Friday, where she made science videos for the web and chatted about them on the radio. She’s also the co-author of Annoying: The Science Of What Bugs Us (Wiley, 2011) and likes looking at sea life.
SHARON SHATTUCK is a documentary filmmaker and animator. Sharon’s first feature, From This Day Forward, about her transgender parent, premiered at the 2015 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and is in select theaters in
spring/summer 2016. She has animated several award-winning documentary films and shorts, including the Emmy-nominated feature, The City Dark, which premiered at SXSW and aired on PBS’s 2012 POV series, and The Search For General Tso, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was distributed through IFC/Sundance Selects, and the short film Truck Farm. Her short video and animation work has appeared in the New York Times, PBS, Slate, ProPublica, and Radiolab. She’s a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post and The Advocate, and has degrees in environmental science and journalism.
Lisa Biggs is a performing artist and performance scholar. Since 1993, she has developed and toured original performance works to venues across the United States, including Cultural Odyssey, Links Hall, Baltimore Theatre Project, Joe’s Movement Emporium, Shadowbox Theatre, the National Black Theatre Festival, and the National Hip Hop Theatre Festival. In addition to developing new work, Lisa has appeared in theatre productions at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Lookingglass Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, City Lit, Chicago Theatre Company, the African Continuum Theatre, and many more. She is a former member of the Living Stage Theatre Company, one of the preeminent Theatre for Social Change programs in the U.S., where, as a teaching artist she appeared in hundreds of improvisational theatre pieces and taught introductory performance making to students aged 3-103. A proud member of AEA, SAG and AFTRA, she is the founding artistic director of Drapetomaniac Theatre Productions.
Deke Weaver is a writer-performer and media artist. Experimental theater, film/video, dance, and solo performance venues have presented Weaver’s interdisciplinary performances and videos in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Russia and the United States. A resident at Yaddo, a three-time resident of Ucross, a five-time fellow at the MacDowell Colony, a three-time recipient of NEA regional film/video grants, a 2009 Creative Capital grantee, and a 2014-15 Guggenheim Fellow, his work, described as “explosive” (San Francisco Weekly) and “brilliant” (The Village Voice) has “handcuffed a secure storytelling knack to a performance style that pushes the energy envelope toward hyperventilating madness” (Sidewalk.com). From 1999-2005 he was the Senior Animator for the Showtime Networks’ Broadcast Design Group. He is currently an associate professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with appointments in the Department of Theatre and the School of Art and Design’s New Media Program.
Niklaus Troxler is a Swiss graphic designer who is a professor and design consultant to corporate and institutional entities with his most visible work being the posters he has designed for the Willisau Jazz Festival he has organized since 1966. His pioneering works for Willisau Jazz Festival have been benchmarks in the field of graphic and poster design for about forty years and are now in important museum collections worldwide. His work is represented in many important international museums among them The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA), Toyama Museum of Modern Art, Japan and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Greg Tom is the EMU Art Department Gallery Program’s Director. His work has been shown in Michigan, New York City, and Chicago among other places, and is represented in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum, and the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Collection.
Halima Cassells is a native Detroit artist and activists who exhibits widely, and has produced a number of important public works, including the Congressional Seal commemorating Rosa Parks.
Erin Falker is a mixed-media artist and Curator at the Carr Center.
Tylonn Sawyer is a figurative artist and is the Youth Program Producer at MOCAD.
Katie McGowan’s work includes performance, creative nonfiction, and is often essayistic in nature. She is a co-founding member of an amorphous education collective called FREE @RT Sch001.
Thea Eck investigates history through various projects including design work on the Lumina electronic drawing project, a public art installation composed of LED ‘canvasses’ programmed with a 20-minute animation sequence.
Emilia Javanica is an interdisciplinary performance artist, director and playwright. Her projects often incorporate exaggerated characters, costumes and puppets.
Trevor Stone is a member of the interactive performance group Spontaneous Art, a trio which casts the audience in skits that take place from sidewalks to the Smithsonian.
Conceptually his creative work, narrative fantasy, masquerades as reality with an emphasis on existentially absurd fictions and examines a wide spectrum of subject matter—–everything from dysfunctional relationships to marginalized populations to the deterioration of the body. Technically his research agenda is split between digital photomontage and the design and construction of handmade alternative/pinhole cameras. His photographs, drawings and paintings have been exhibited nationally. Professor Krueger’s teaching resume includes: all levels of Photography, Digital Hybrids, Experimental Camera, Senior Studio, Pedagogy, Graduate Critique, and Professional Practices and Presentation.
Pat Oleszko makes a spectacle of herself—and she doesn’t mind if you laugh. Following absurdity to its unnatural ends, her work includes elaborate costumes, props, and inflatables all incorporated into solo performances, film, installations, and street/walking—ever in heavy disguise. From personal to the political, the work is an exorcise through humor. Oleszko is a four-time recipient of an NEA grant, a three-time recipient of the NYFA fellowship, and has been awarded a Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a DAAD (Berlin), and a Bessie for Sustained Achievement.
Soon Mi Yoo
Soon Mi Yoo’s films embrace and expand avant-garde and essayistic modes of non-fiction cinema, reopening forgotten, often suppressed, chapters of modern history in order to explore the still unresolved conflicts and collective memories that continue to haunt and define the Korean Peninsula. In short works such as DANGEROUS SUPPLEMENT and SSITKIM: TALKING TO THE DEAD, Yoo defines a lyrical mode of essay film that uses poetic forms to mine the deeper archaeological and emotional levels that standard histories are unable to engage. Yoo’s films have screened at major international film festivals, including Locarno, DocLisboa, the Viennale, Rotterdam, Oberhausen as well as the the Harvard Film Archive, the Centre Pompidou and Museum of Modern Art. SONGS FROM THE NORTH won the prestigious Golden Leopard for Best First Feature at the 2014 Locarno Film Festival, and the prize for Best First Feature at DocLisboa 2014.
Kelly Gallagher is an animator and filmmaker exploring politically radical left histories through collage animation, found footage essays, and experimental live action. She is invested in exploring the ways in which experimental and handcrafted animation forms and techniques can be utilized to address political inquiries and concerns, and stories of resistance. Gallagher’s works have screened in film festivals, museums, and universities across the world, including screenings at: the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, ICA Artists’ Film Biennial, Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux de Paris, Bryn Mawr Film Institute, UC Berkeley, Northwest Film Forum, London’s Hackney Picturehouse, Berlin Mobile Kino, and Italy’s Lucca Film Festival.
Zak Rosen is a multimedia producer. His radio features have been heard on NPR, APM, PRI, the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Helsinki. He was a staff producer on NPR/PRX’s State of the Re:Union. Prior to that, he was a founding producer of WDET’s Detroit Today. He has written for Yes!, The Huffington Post, Model D, and The Red Thread.
John Biewen directs the audio program at the Center for Documentary Studies, where he teaches and produces documentary work for NPR, the BBC World Service, and other audiences. His reporting and documentary work has taken him across the United States and to Europe, Japan, and India. He reported for Minnesota Public Radio, covered the Rocky Mountain West for NPR News, and spent eight years as a correspondent with American RadioWorks, the documentary unit of American Public Media. Projects at CDS have included Five Farms: Stories of American Farm Familes; Travels with Mike, revisiting John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley journey; and Little War on the Prairie, with This American Life, exploring the forgotten story of the U.S.-Dakota War. His work has won honors that include two Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Awards for Outstanding Coverage of the Disadvantaged, the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s Radio Impact Award. At CDS, Biewen teaches undergraduate and graduate students as well as continuing education students in CDS’s Certificate in Documentary Studies program.
Sarah Geis is the managing director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the most important radio documentary conference and festival in North America. Before arriving at Third Coast, she was the founding manager of StoryCorps’ Bay Area recording and community outreach program, and spent several years prior with the organization as an interviewer and producer. Sarah has led workshops at community organizations throughout the United States, and presented at audio gatherings around the globe.
Ernst Karel is Lecturer on Anthropology, Assistant Director of the Film Study Center, and Lab Manager for the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University. In his audio projects, he works with analog electronics and with location recordings, sometimes separately, sometimes in combination, to create pieces that move between the abstract and the documentary.
Straddling the worlds of art, music, and performance, Joseph Keckler has garnered acclaim for his powerful 3+ octave voice and sharp wit. In his entrancing concerts, he delivers arresting, absurdist arias and haunting chamber pop ballads. He was recently featured on BBC America's The Nerdist and WNYC Soundcheck, and has appeared at Joe's Pub, SXSW, The New Museum, BAM Fischer Center, Issue Project Room, Amsterdam's Bellevue Theatre, and many other venues in the U.S. and Europe.
Borrowing the title from “Lasciatemi morire," the Monteverdi aria, Keckler's Let Me Die approaches the canon of tragic opera as a “body perfumed with death” as he ties together and performs fragments of a multitude of operatic death scenes in this work-in-progress preview of a new durational performance/installation piece.
Photo by Rosie Sharp for Knight Foundation Blog
The animation film artist Nikki Schuster was born in Austria in 1974 and lives and works in Berlin. In 2001 she founded her animation film label “Fiesfilm”. Her films have been successfully presented at international festivals and she has won several awards with her work.
Heather Nicol is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator based in Toronto. She has created site-specific installations across the globe. Her curatorial projects have often explored site-specific conditions as found in decommissioned, underutilized, repurposed and educational locations, and have fostered opportunities for large groups of artists working across a wide range of disciplines.
Ken Buhler’s paintings, drawings, and prints blend abstraction and recognizable imagery—often drawn from botanical or decorative forms—to explore the “terra incognita” of the natural world. Working with washes of bold color, meandering lines, stencils, and rubber stamps, Buhler creates images that feel at once new and familiar, revealing a world both luminous and layered.
Eva Wylie received her Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Tyler School of Art in 2003. Her work juxtaposes organic imagery with images that intimate how humanity and its detritus merge into the natural world. She currently serves on the board for Second State Press, a membership based printmaking studio located in Philadelphia, PA.
Signe Baumane is a Latvian animator, fine artist, illustrator and writer, currently living and working in New York City. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she was a 2005 Fellow in Film of the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Beili Liu is a multidisciplinary artist whose time and process based installations explore subjects of cultural specificity and overlaps, transient or persistent energy, and conflicting and confluent forces. Working with everyday materials like thread, paper, incense, wood, salt, water, Liu manipulates their intrinsic and bare qualities to extrapolate much more complex cultural narratives.
Roberto Sifeuntes is Associate Professor of Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Sifeuntes is an interdisciplinary performer whose work fuses highly charged cultural issues with a wild pop culture aesthetic. He is a founding member of La Pocha Nostra Performance Group, a multidisciplinary arts organization that provides a support network and forum for artists of various disciplines and ethnic backgrounds.
Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director, who over the past four decades has created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity through role-playing, costume transformations, and “invasions” of other people’s personae. In 1976 she also founded and continues to direct Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion and preservation of artists’ books, installation art, video, online and performance art, further challenging institutional norms, the roles artists play within society, and expectations about what constitutes acceptable art mediums.
Originally from Chicago, Sarah Geis is the managing director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival. She began her career in audio at StoryCorps, where she travelled the country recording conversations with their Mobile and Griot tours. Later, she shifted her focus to community outreach as the manager of StoryCorps’ San Francisco program. Most recently she completed a stint as an audio producer for This Land Press, a new media organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Colette Fu makes pop-up books using photographs from her travels around the world. She has designed for award winning stop motion animation commercials and free-lanced for clients including Vogue China, Canon Asia and Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton and the Disaster Research Center. Her pop-up books are included in the Library of Congress, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and many private and rare archive collections.
Leslie Fratkin is a freelance photographer, author and artist based in New York City. Fratkin’s work can be seen in many books and exhibitions and in publications in the US and abroad, including New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, National Geographic; and the Guardian, Observer, and Independent Magazines in the UK.
Nebojisa Seric Shoba
Shoba is an installation artist, photographer, sculptor, painter and performance artist currently living in New York City, originally from Sarajevo. He has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including The 50th Venice Biennale (2003), Venice, Italy; Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris; Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Austria; Creative Time, NYC, among many more.
Marcelyn Bennett-Carpenter’s work explores the phenomena of structures and spaces that relate directly to the body. She creates large-scale interactive elastic installations, wearable elastic structures, sculptures, wall panels, drawings and cross-cultural community-based projects centered on weaving.
Chido Johnson is a Detroit based artist originally from Zimbabwe. Living between these two cultures has led him to explore spaces identified as other and different in an attempt to find physical or narrative performances to transform and negotiate a new sense of self, place and belonging.
Katie McGowan explores empathy and affect through a variety of media including performance and creative nonfiction. In addition to her individual practice, which is often essayistic in nature, she is a co-founding member of an amorphous education collective called FREE @RT Sch001.
Matt Shlian is a paper engineer whose work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. He uses his engineering skills to create kinetic sculptures, which have led to collaborations with scientists at the University of Michigan.
Trevor Stone is a professor of art at Eastern Michigan University and a performance artist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is a member of the interactive performance group Spontaneous Art, a trio that casts the audience in skits that take place from sidewalks to the Smithsonian.
Carrie Morris is a director, puppeteer and performance artist based in Detroit, Michigan. Through her experimental and multimedia theater approach she aims to bring her audience to a higher understanding of the world.
Greg Tom is the Gallery Director at Eastern Michigan University where he curates upcoming exhibitions as well as manages the Art Department Lecture Series and the University Art Collection. Greg Tom received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Collin McRae-Leix combines her skills and interests in animation, music, filmmaking, and painting to ask questions about the nature of communication and its tenuous relationship with perception and understanding. She has recently started a media production company, Little Hill Studio, with husband, Peter Leix.
Flora Lichtman is a science journalist and co-founder of Sweet Fern Productions, a multimedia production company of filmmakers and science journalists. Her work has appeared on NPR, and in The New York Times, Popular Science and The Atlantic. Previously, Flora was the multimedia editor at National Public Radio’s Science Friday.