Franklin Furnace Fund Recipients 2013-14

Panel Biographies

Kara Lynch

kara lynch is a time-based artist living en exilio. Awards for her video and performance work include individual artist grants from NYFA, NYSCA, Paul Robeson Fund, and Franklin Furnace. She participated in various artist residencies: Arts International Residency in Moscow; the Banff Centre for the Arts; el Laboratorio Fronterizo de Escritores/Writing Lab on the Border; and the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy. Recent works include: Invisible – an episodic, speculative video/audio installation project; Mouhawala Oula – a trio performance for oriental dance, live video and saxophone; P.S. Odysseus – a video love-letter; Xing Over – a multi-channel audio piece; Black Russians – a feature-length documentary; and The Outing – a video travelogue. She’s published in XCP Streetnotes, Ulbandus Review, BFM, contributed audio to Cabinet Magazine, video to PocketMyths, and drawings/writings to the Encyclopedia Project v.II F-K. She served as juror for Outfest, MIX: New York, and the New Festival; and serves on advisory boards for The Mountain School, Clockshop, and the Board of Directors of Denniston Hill. She’s an active member of Interdiciplinario, La Lìnea, a feminist artist collective on the Tijuana/San Ysidro border. Kara completed her MFA in Visual Arts at UCSD, a Permaculture Design Certification from the Center for Bioregional Living, and currently is an Associate Professor of Video and Critical Studies at Hampshire College.

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller is the director and founder of Circus Amok, New York’s only one-ring, no-animal queerly situated, political, circus spectacular. She had a seven-year stint at Coney Island Sideshow by the Seashore. Her solo shows Morphadyke and Free Toasters Everyday have toured here and abroad. She is the author of Cracked Ice or The Jewels of the Forbidden Skates and The Golden Racket. She is an Associate Professor of Performance at Pratt Institute. Her work with Circus Amok was awarded a "Bessie" (a New York Dance and Performance Award) in 1995 and an OBIE in 2000. She is the recipient of the 2008 Ethyl Eichelberger Award.

Mendi Obadike

Mendi Lewis Obadike is an interdisciplinary artist. She is the author of Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press), which won the Naomi Long Madgett Prize, Phonotype (writings on audio art), and the forthcoming books Big House / Disclosure and Four Electric Ghosts (1913 Press). Mendi collaborates with her husband Keith Obadike. Their 2001 work Blackness for Sale has been widely cited in the press and in new media art surveys. Their opera-masquerades include The Sour Thunder and Four Electric Ghosts. Recent installations include Big House / Disclosure, American Cypher (Studio Museum in Harlem & Samek Art Gallery of Bucknell University), and African Metropole (MoCADA & Pascal Gallery of Ramapo College). Other conceptual media artworks have been commissioned by and exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the New Museum, Yale University, Electronic Arts Intermix and the New York African Film Festival, among other institutions. Their albums include The Sour Thunder, an Internet Opera (Bridge Records, 2004) and Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records, 2008). Mendi has been awarded a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, Tribeca Performing Arts Fellowship, and a postdoctoral fellowship in Race and Ethnicity from Princeton University, as well as fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation for Poetry, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Mendi is a poetry editor at Fence Magazine and an Assistant Professor in Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute. She earned a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in literature from Duke University.

Xaviera Simmons

Xaviera Simmons produces installations, sculptures, photographic, and video and performative works. She received a BFA from Bard College (2004) after spending two years of walking pilgrimage retracing the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade with Buddhist monks. She completed the Whitney Museum’s ISP in Studio Art (2005) while simultaneously completing a two-year actor-training conservatory with The Maggie Flanigan Studio. Xaviera has exhibited nationally and internationally: the Museum of Modern, MoMA PS1, Nouveau Museum National de Monaco, the Studio Museum In Harlem, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Public Art Fund and the Sculpture Center. Simmons is a recipient of numerous awards including The David Driskell Prize, the Jerome Foundation Travel Fellowship, an Art Matters Fellowship and a SmARTPower Fellowship. Simmons was a 2012 Artist in Residence at the Studio Museum In Harlem.

Chin Chih Yang

Multidisciplinary artist Chin Chih Yang was born in Taiwan, and has resided for many years in New York City, where he studied at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design. Among other honors, he has been a recipient of fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Franklin Furnace, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s “Swing Space” residency on Governor’s Island. Yang’s interests in ecology and constructed environments have resulted in interactive performances and installations that have been exhibited widely in North America, Europe, and Asia, in such spaces as Rockefeller Center; the Chelsea Museum; the Godwin-Ternbach Museum; Exit Art; Flux Factory; Miami Art Fair; Accident Gallery; Eureka, CA; Five Flavours Film Festival, Warsaw, Poland; and at the Taipei Art Fair. A great proponent of public art, Yang enacts projects in outdoor spaces such as the United Nations, where he infamously projected a giant Taiwanese flag onto the building, and Union Square Park in Manhattan, the site of events Burning Ice and World Peace that drew audiences in the tens of thousands.