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GIDEST Seminar, December 1—Tanya Kalmanovitch

The GIDEST lab (Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought) is hosting a discussion with 2017-18 GIDEST Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor at Mannes School of Music, Tanya Kalmanovitch, of her multimedia theatrical performance “The Tar Sands Song Book.” It will take place in room 411, 63 Fifth Avenue, on Friday, December 1.

Seminar participants are asked to prepare by viewing a video of the piece that can be reached from at:

In her documentary play The Tar Sands Songbook, musician and ethnomusicologist Tanya Kalmanovitch uses strategies from the creative and performing arts, ethnography, and design to invite participants into an imaginative, critical process of unnerving the intricate relationship of oil to modernity. The work reflects Kalmanovitch’s transdisciplinary engagement in the social sciences and creative practice, and offers an artistic practice reflecting deep political, social, theoretical, and historical engagements.


She writes: “In July 2016, I returned to Fort McMurray for the first time since my childhood. I interviewed dozens of people — Elders, engineers, activists and members of my own family — whose lives are marked by intimate relationships to oil development. I fashioned these interviews (along with research from oral histories, archives, media reports) into a script. The narrative arc follows me as I return home to renegotiate my relationship to  a changed and challenged landscape. In my fieldwork, my violin often grants me access to intimate social spaces. In the play, as in my life, music serves as a literal and figurative vehicle: connecting my life as a working-class citizen of a remote northern mining town to my life as an artist-scholar in New York City.”

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