Tabaci Memoriae

Suzanne Anker: Astroculture (Eternal Return), 2015.
Vegetable producing plants grown from seed using LED lights. Installation view at
The Value of Food, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, NYC.

Tabaci Memoriae

Mana BSMT artist-in-residence Michael Clemow presents his project, Tabaci Memoriae, through a symposium and site-specific installation that explores our relationship with tobacco from the pre-colonial era to the present day. The symposium will feature five guest presenters who will speak about a range of topics, including bio-art, tobacco as a raw material, the intersection of art and community engagement, and labor in art. Clemow will close the program with a presentation of his tobacco research at Mana, followed by a reception and walk-through of his exhibition, including original artworks, archival ephemera, and tobacco plants on display in Mana’s Lobby and front steps.

Intrigued by Mana Contemporary’s former life as a cigarette manufacturing plant of the Lorillard Tobacco Company, Clemow embarked on researching the historical implications of this legacy. Through growing and harvesting tobacco in his basement studio during his residency, Clemow traced the history of tobacco, studying the complex, wider issues connected to the plant: the tobacco industry, colonialism, slavery, labor structures, genocide, and the health of the world. Clemow will present these themes and share his research process at the symposium.


Michael Clemow is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. His work is manifested in performances and installations using sound and objects, often dealing with concepts of site and history, and rooted in historical and environmental research. He graduated from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program in 2009. His work has been shown at Issue Project Room, River to River Festival, Eyebeam, Spectrum, Exit Art, Diapason, AC Institute, and Festival MOD (Guadalajara, MX), among others. He was awarded the Sonic Mmabolela sound art residency in Limpopo, South Africa in 2013 and 2015. He is currently an artist-in-residence at the Mana Contemporary BSMT Residency in Jersey City, NJ.

Jonathan Durham is a sculptor, performance artist, and curator based in New York. Taking ecological, social and personal points of reference as inspiration, he creates enigmatic works exploring the intersection of libidinal economies, capitalism, and the body. He received his MFA in sculpture from UCLA and in 2007 completed a two-year residency at the CORE Program Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His work has been exhibited internationally including Zachęta–National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Recess, NY, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Galerie für Gegenwartskunst, Bremen, Germany, among others. He is the recipient of an Aunspaugh Fellowship from the University of Virginia where he received a dual BA in Studio Art and Psychology. From 2004–2007 he taught Sculpture, Drawing, and Performance courses at the University of Virginia, Rice University, and the University of Houston.

Z Behl, b. 1985, is a New York-based visual artist and filmmaker who works in sculpture, performance, and installation. She has received awards from NYFA, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. She has exhibited at ArteBA, Kai Matsumiya Gallery, the HVCCA, and CAC New Orleans. Z has been artist-in-residence at ESKFF, Pioneer Works, and MOCA Tucson. Her work has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, Artnet, and Interview magazine. She has been teaching art to children for 12 years. A graduate of Wesleyan University (2007), Z is a founding member of the filmmaking collective Court 13 and is currently in production on her first feature film: a female artist creation myth.

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an interactive performance artist. She is the director of IDEA (Interactive Digital Environments Alliance) of New Rochelle and has curated new media and performance art around the world since 2005. She founded the DBRS Innovation Lab, which used applied AI to explore projects in creative technology. She was an assistant professor of Time Based Media Art, Film, and Performance Art at Vanderbilt University from 2008–2014, she is also the co-founder of the Stupid Hackathon.

Suzanne Anker is a visual artist and theorist working at the intersection of art and the biological sciences. She works in a variety of mediums ranging from digital sculpture and installation, to large-scale photography, to plants grown by LED lights. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally in museums and galleries including the ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Phillips Collection, P.S.1, the JP Getty Museum, the Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité in Berlin, the Center for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, the Pera Museum in Istanbul, the Museum of Modern Art in Japan, and the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

Doors Open

Michael Clemow
Opening Remarks

Jonathan Durham
Potlatch and the Ceremonial Commodity

Z Behl
Something for Lagniappe: An extra-academic ethnography of a transcontinental term, or: how a word ceases to have meaning

Amelia Winger-Bearskin
Mythic futures: Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality from an Iroquois perspective

Coffee Break

Suzanne Anker
Fuchsia is the New Green

Mike Clemow
Tabaci Memoriae

Cocktail Reception

Tabaci Memoriae

A Symposium and Installation
Presented by Michael Clemow

June 24, 2017

Mana Contemporary
888 Newark Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07306