Night of Ideas: Department of Transformation

Friday, March 1, 2024, 7pm–midnight

With Andros Zins-Browne, Asad Raza, Naoco Wowsugi, and others
Hosted by Prem Krishnamurthy

Location: Hudson County Community College, 2nd Floor

How can art be transformative for individuals, groups, and society? What are ways to move beyond discourse and towards practice? And what, if anything, does karaoke have to do with this?!

Department of Transformation’s Prem Krishnamurthy and artists Andros Zins-Browne, Asad Raza, and Naoco Wowsugi explore these and other questions in an experimental, participatory event that unfolds over several hours. The multipurpose space at Hudson County Community College transforms to allow for different formats: interactive talk, sound healing bath, soil-making workshop, and experimental vocal practice—plus a session for practicing karaoke! Through conversation, mindfulness, small-group activity, singing, and more, the program intends to open up a dialogue around polyvocal ways of working in and on the world.

This event is presented by Villa Albertine, Centre Pompidou, and Hudson County Community College (HCCC). For the first time, this free and open-to-all event comes to Jersey City, one of the fastest growing and most diverse urban centers in the US, as well as the future home of the Centre Pompidou’s first American branch. Interactive, celebratory, and content-rich, the Night of Ideas invites thought leaders and the public to engage together around major global issues through a festival of debate, performances, readings, and more.

7–8pm Prem Krishnamurthy: Participatory talk
8–9pm Naoco Wowsugi: Collective gong healing
9–10pm Asad Raza: Soil-making workshop
10–11pm Andros Zins-Browne: Chaos opera (vocal workshop)
11–12pm Karaoke Practice!

About Department of Transformation

Andros Zins-Browne, born in New York in 1981, works at the intersection of performance and dance. His work extends choreographic notions into encounters with dancers, nondancers, singers, objects, and texts. Since 2016, his performance Already Unmade where he de-hearses previous works, ‘unmaking’ them, has been presented at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; and Lafayette Anticipations, Fondation Galeries Lafayette, Paris. In 2019, Atlas Unlimited, a series of exhibitions in collaboration with artist Karthik Pandian, was featured at the PERFORMA19 Biennial, New York, and as a series of music videos currently presented on the Criterion Channel. In 2020/21, his work was commissioned for online projects by Danspace Project, the Aspen Art Museum, and Triple Canopy. In 2022, Zins-Browne premiered color a body who flees, a collaborative sound installation and performance series at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Performance remixes include The Tony Cokes Remixes, 10th Berlin Biennale (2018), Dia Art Foundation (2023); See-Saw, MoMA, New York (2019) and Asymmetry 222, Getty Museum, Los Angeles by Simone Forti; as well as Jérôme Bel, 1995 (2020) KADIST, Paris, in collaboration with e-flux (2020). In collaboration with Ley, Kris Lee and a host of co-conspirators, Zins-Browne premiered duel c (River-To-River Festival, 2023) a performance that ascended Outlook Hill on Governors’ Island, in a choreography that stirs towards a commingling of care and violence. Zins-Browne is the recipient of awards from the Goethe-Institut; Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; Ministry of Culture of the Flemish Community; and New York State Council on the Arts.

Asad Raza’s polymathic practice represents an expanded approach to artmaking—encompassing installations, writing, curating, dramaturgy, filmmaking, pedagogy, and organizing. It often takes local ecosystems and planetary ecologies as a focus. Across his work, there is a strong emphasis on the participatory and the performative aspects of art, as well as an engagement with all of the human senses. His recent exhibitions and ambitious public art projects, such as Diversion (2022, Kunsthalle Portikus, Frankfurt), Absorption (2019–, Kaldor Public Art Projects, Sydney; Gropius Bau, Berlin; Ruhrtrienniale, Essen), and Root sequence. Mother tongue (2017 Whitney Biennial, New York; Rockbund Museum, Shanghai; Sifang Museum, Nanjing; TU Gallery, Dresden), all involve both scripted and improvised interactions with natural materials. Raza’s work is intrinsically collaborative, emerging out of multipart interdisciplinary dialogues. For example, each iteration of Absorption involves work with experts including soil scientists, horticulturalists, compost specialists, and organic farmers. Orientation, developed for FRONT International 2022, emerged out of dialogues with astronomers, physicists, architects, and musicians. In Raza’s practice, the artist is a director, a convener, a gatherer of beings who frames unexpected conversations between humans and more-than-humans alike.

Naoco Wowsugi is a community-engaged artist who lives and works in Washington, DC. Wowsugi’s cross-disciplinary projects range from portrait photography, participatory performance, and sound healing, to horticulture, exploring the nature of belonging and inclusive community building while they highlight and fortify everyday communal and interpersonal identities. Wowsugi’s art practice blurs the lines between being an artist and an engaged citizen.

Prem Krishnamurthy is a designer, author, and educator. His multifaceted work explores the role of art as an agent of transformation at an individual, collective, and structural level. This manifests itself in books, exhibitions, images, performances, publications, systems, talks, texts, and workshops. He received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Communications Design in 2015 and KW Institute for Contemporary Art’s “A Year With…” residency fellowship in 2018. He has curated several large-scale exhibitions including FRONT International 2022: Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows. In 2022, Domain Books published his book-length epistolary essay, On Letters. Previously, Prem founded the design studio Project Projects and the exhibition space P! in New York.

Photo: Prem Krishnamurthy