“Occupations,” Exhibition of MFA Student Work Opens Friday, February 17, 5-7pm

Occupations, the first public exhibition of works by members of the inaugural class of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts (MFAEDA) will be on view from February 17-March 15 in the Corridor Gallery of the East Duke building on Duke’s East Campus. 

After the dispersion of many of the Occupy Movements, seven students in Duke’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary arts have compiled a body of work that explores various conceptions of occupation.  From calls for social change to depictions of the quotidian, Occupations looks at the spaces of interaction, intervention, and at times, profound solitude. Through each artist’s individual documentary approach, these works deal with a range of topics that expands the personal to the political and vice versa. The variety of styles and arts practices on display in Occupation—video, photographs, cell-phone photos—speaks to the multiple interests and concerns of these MFA students.  Participants are Wolfgang Hastert, Peter Lisignoli, Annabel Manning, Lisa McCarty, Jolene Mok, Natalie Minik, and Talena Sanders.

Occupations is made possible in part with generous support from the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies.


February 17–March 15, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, February 17th, 5-7pm

East Duke building, Duke East Campus, 1304 Campus Drive

For a searchable map, click on http://www.maps.duke.ed



Participants and their descriptions of their work:

Wolfgang Hastert

Tom Was Your Friend

2012: Social media sites are occupied by searchers, trolls, brilliant minds, and lonely dreamers. “Tom Was Your Friend” makes a visual comment on “friending” in cyberspace.  Imagery interspersed with one-liners and cyber truisms reveals portraits of a cyber generation that wants to hook up but gets caught up in romantic anxiety.


Peter Lisignoli

Palimpsests of Public Space

Immediately after the Oaxaca City protests in 2007, city employees painted over graffiti in a vain effort to erase memories of public dissent. Perhaps it was poetic justice or cosmic irony, but before the paint dried, monsoon rain hit the city, leaving superimposed images layered with paints, stencils, and posters.


Annabel Manning

Occupy Charlotte

As I interact with people marginalized by this country, I need to express visually, as a demonstrator and an artist, how they are invisible and being denied basic human rights.  In these photographs of “Occupy Charlotte” I use blur and movement to explore the pathos and indeterminacy of the situation.


Natalie Minik


The series “Solitude” – taken in Athens, Georgia – is an examination of how the camera can capture and prolong moments of reflection.


Lisa McCarty

Commuter Portraits

A five-year photographic study documenting the distances traversed by commuters on the Washington, D.C., Metrorail. Carrying on the tradition of capturing unsuspecting subway riders by covert means, these images were made with a hidden cell phone camera from the perspective of a fellow passenger on her way to and from work.


Jolene Mok


This is an on-going visual ethnographic research-creation. I started to take photographs of my work desks in 2010. Through this simple and personal exercise, I try to study my daily practices from the way I occupy my work desks.


Talena Sanders


Coherence refers to a consistent and overarching explanation for all facts. To be coherent, all pertinent facts must be arranged in a consistent and cohesive fashion as an integrated whole. Coherence is the most potentially effective test of truth because it most adequately addresses all elements. Some standards are sufficient, while others are questionable.

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