Announcements for 2021 to come

Keynote Speakers

Sara VanDerBeek earned her BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1998. Sara is a contemporary artist working primarily in photography. Her photographs utilize a variety of formal strategies and references yet remain consistently engaged with issues of memory and the experience of time and space. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010); Hammer Museum, University of California Los Angeles (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2014); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2015); and the Baltimore Museum of Art (2015). She lives and works in New York.

Chelsea Spengemann is Director of the Stan VanDerBeek Archive. She has worked alongside Sara in the curation of VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek, a new exhibition which explores Stan’s experimental films and includes new works by Sara.

Keynote Address:Translating the archive and transposing the studio. Collaboration as a practice and as theme in the work of Stan and Sara VanDerBeek

For their keynote presentation Sara VanDerBeek visual artist and daughter of Stan VanDerBeek and Chelsea Spengemann, Director of the Stan VanDerBeek Archive, will present choreographed images and text, focusing on overlays of ideas, forms and actions shared between the two artists in the exhibition VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek.


Featured Performer

Max VanDerBeek, percussion artist and son of Stan VanDerBeek, will perform a live percussion response to the recently digitized footage Stan VanDerBeek created with Merce Cunningham as part of their larger collaborative work entitled Variations V. Friday, September 20th at 7PM {BMCM+AC at 120 College Street, Downtown Asheville}



Presenters + Performers

Eric Baden is a photographer, curator, and professor of art at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. He is the founding director of photoplus, a multidisciplinary arts event held in Asheville, NC that produced photo+craft(2016), linkingthe photography and craft communities and photo+sphere (2018)that merged photography and the climate sciences. He is currently at work with the organizing team on photo+shelter, slated for 2020.Baden has been awarded numerous grants and residencies and his photographs are included in the collections of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the International Museum ofPhotography/George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and the Westlicht Museum forPhotography in Vienna.

PRESENTATION: Moving pictures: photographs, intervals, and edges

This presentation considers the vitality, variability, and instability of photographs and film in the context of Black Mountain College. It explores antecedents and legacies and the work of students, faculty, and associates including Jonathan Williams, Stan Vanderbeek, Aaron Siskind, and Helen Levitt.


Joseph Bathanti is former Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2012-14) and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including This Metal, nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Oscar Arnold Young Award; Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; Concertina, winner of the 2014 Roanoke Chowan Prize; and The 13th Sunday after Pentecost, released by LSU Press in 2016. His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. His book of essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the Will D.Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is from Mercer University Press.The Life of the World to Come, a novel, was released from the University of South Carolina Press in 2014. Bathanti is McFarlane Family Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Education & Writer-in-Residence of Appalachian State University’s Watauga Residential College. He served as the 2016 Charles George VA Medical Center Writer-in-Residence in Asheville, NC.


This will be a Poetry Reading “about” BMC. Bathanti will be reading poems about Cage, Fielding Dawson, Joe Fiore, Fielding Dawson, Jonthan Williams and Charles Olson. A number of these poems are ekphrastic, a strategy of generating poems that is inherently interdisciplinary, conflating visual art with a poetic iteration of the medium in question. In this reading, this process is broadened to Textphrasis, accommodating other texts apart from what we think of as typical works of art.


Michael Beggs is an architectural designer and independent scholar whose wide-ranging research interests include architecture and cinema, art and design pedagogy, daylight simulation for architecture, color, and architecture in rural America. He was formerly employed at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, where he researched and catalogued Josef Albers’s photographic materials. His writing on Josef Albers has appeared in exhibition catalogues and journals, including contributions to Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 (Yale University Press, 2013) andJosef Albers: Interaction (Yale University Press, 2018). He has taught workshops and classes based on Albers’s pedagogy at Bauhaus Dessau, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation,The Exploratorium, and UC Berkeley. He is an associate at Loisos +Ubbelohde, an architecture firm specializing in energy modeling, lighting design, and daylight in Alameda,CA.

PRESENTATION: Color and Weltanschauung: General Education in Josef Albers’s Color Course

This presentation will examine the role that the interdisciplinary atmosphere of Black Mountain College played in the development of Josef Albers’s color class. It will begin by reconstructing the course content in its earliest years and, with photographs of objects from the Albers Foundation and the NC state archives, show the extensive changes it underwent between the mid 1930s and late 1940s.To give further context, Albers’ early career as an elementary school teacher and studies in color before and during his Bauhaus years will also be discussed.


Manuel Beltrán Alcántara: Architect by the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura of Sevilla in 2019 carrying out the research Black Mountain College. Analysis of learning spaces. Architecture to teach to see. He has previously participated in research and dissemination projects such as the III Ciclo Acciones Comunes. Estados de la materia in Menéndez Pelayo International University, Seville, in November 2017 or in the project Obras que Ceden, La idea de tiempo en las obras de arquitectura y arte en el territorio. Within the ETSAS Architecture and Heritage research group, through the Research Initiation Scholarship of the Universidad of Sevilla since 2018. He has also collaborated in participatory urban development projects, research for development and international cooperation in Chile, Seville, Dominican Republic and Haití since 2017, year in which he started participating as an Internal Student of the subject Architectural Projects I at ETSAS. He has collaborated with the architectural firm Lugadero and promoted projects of student participation and promotion of culture at ETSAS since 2018. He is currently studying the Master’s Degree at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura of Sevilla and continues to develop research projects and promote culture and architecture focusing above all on pedagogy and dissemination.

PRESENTATION: Black Mountain College: Architecture to teach to see

This presentation looks at Black Mountain College through the eyes of architecture, in an effort to try to find in this model the keys of an experimental teaching space.


Heidi Kelley is a cultural anthropologist and poet who does field work in Spain and Western North Carolina.  Ken Betsalel is a political theorist and ethnographer who has published in the fields of civic engagement and community. He has also exhibited is documentary photography. They are currently working on a project that makes use of poetry, photography, and collaborative ethnography to tell the story of community. 

PRESENTATION: For Love: Projected Verse and the Teaching of Ethnographic Poetry

This presentation argues that central to the BMC mission was the role that poetry and poetics could play in cultivating artistic imagination and the power of observation which in turn could be translated into a number of scholarly, artistic pursuits, including notions of democratic participatory citizenship of shared responsibility.


Adam Blair is a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University. He is currently writing a dissertation on “creative spectatorship,” which digs into what it might mean to be genuinely creative when we encounter works of art. His dissertation weaves together French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty with musings on Marcel Proust, Joan Mitchell, jazz music, Paul Cézanne, Josef Albers, and other creators. Other interests include the intersection of disability studies with museum curation and architecture. When Adam isn’t dissertating, he plays jazz piano, learns new board games, writes for musical theatre, attends the opera, and takes photos on walks in new places. IG: @adamtheblair

PRESENTATION: Creative Perception as Embodied: A Multi-layered Experience of Art

In this presentation, Blair defines creativity as an embodied phenomenon, one that engages the body rather than the mind. Using firsthand accounts of Black Mountain College personnel, such as Josef and Anni Albers, the de Koonings, Peter Voulkos and Robert Motherwell, Blair will show how they reflected upon their creative process as ones of “immediacy,” “responsiveness,” “automaticity,” and “getting [their] hands dirty.”


S. (Nick) Boone teaches American literature and writing at Harding University.  His dissertation—Truth and Method on Black Mountain: The Hermeneutical Stances of Charles Olson, Robert Creely and Robert Duncan—examines how the Black Mountain poets each depended on fundamental features of hermeneutic ontology (Heidegger; Gadamer) as a basis for their poetry.

PRESENTATION: The Black Mountain Poets are Dead. Long Live the Black Mountain Poets!    

The Norton Anthology of American Literature’s 9th edition, in one fell swoop, dismissed each of the famed faculty members from 1950s Black Mountain, from the its pages. General students of American literature will now have to find out about these men and their poems elsewhere.  Obviously, the editors of the Norton have decided that these writers, and the movement they spearheaded in literature and the arts, is no longer “canonical,” no longer worthy to be included in the larger narrative that is American literary history.  This essay interrogates the tacit assumption underlying Norton’s decision, and it will make a case for why Black Mountain poetry should live on as a key feature of our national literary narrative.


Candace Buck lives in Asheville and works in Administration and Finance at UNC Asheville. She is a 2016 MLAS Graduate of UNC Asheville, her Capstone focusing on photography and poetry inspired by Black Mountain College. 

WORKSHOP: Repurposing Fallen Woods of UNCA: Weaving on miniature looms. 

UNC Asheville recently needed to fell select trees on campus. Some trees dying, some fallen from heavily saturated grounds from our recent storms and some cut away to make room for construction. This workshop aims to make use of small wood cross sections taken from these trees to create miniature looms for workshop goers to practice basic weaving technique.  This workshop invites attendees to channel the Albers spirit while working with these small looms, although not working on a grand scale loom, create something meaningful from wood that was headed to a local mulch yard.


Julie Levin Caro received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently a professor of art history and chair of the Art department at Warren Wilson College in Asheville. A specialist in modern, American art and African American art, she has published on the religious artworks of Allan Rohan Crite and Jean Lacy, and the transnational group of artists surrounding the German émigré and Harlem Renaissance artist, Winold Reiss. Some of Caro’s curatorial projects include, Freedom of Expression: Politics and Aesthetics in African American Art (2010), Gee’s Bend: From Quilts to Prints (2014-15), The Interaction of Color | The Relativity of Form (2016), Between Form and Content: Perspectives on Jacob Lawrence and Black Mountain College, and From Bauhaus to Black Mountain: Josef and Anni Albers (2019-20). Caro’s background in museum education and curation also supports her undergraduate teaching at Warren Wilson, where she has established the College’s Holden Art Gallery as a center for interdisciplinary and diversity teaching and learning. 

PRESENTATION: Bauhaus to Black Mountain: Josef and Anni Albers Works on Paper: A Virtual Exhibition Tour   

In this presentation, Caro will discuss Bauhaus to Black Mountain: Josef and Anni Albers, a focus exhibition she has curated for the Black Mountain College Gallery at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh. In celebration of the 100th anniversary year of the Bauhaus, this exhibition explores the work and teaching philosophy of Josef and Anni Albers and their profound conviction that art was central to human existence.


Jeff Davis is a poet and independent scholar. He’s a long-time researcher into the Black Mountain College poets. His work on Charles Olson has been published in Appalachian Journal and Staying Open: Charles Olson’s Sources and Influences (Vernon Press, 2019), and he also edited previously unpublished Olson texts for Appalachian Journal. 

PRESENTATION: Nothing Doesn’t Happen Except As Succession: Charles Olson’s Later Poetics 

This paper explores the growth of the poetics of composition by field into a poetics and practice of seriality, so important to the work of later poets, particularly Robin Blaser Jack Spicer and Robert Creeley, but also to poets who emerged a generation later.


Michael Seth Stewart edited the letters and journals of John Wieners and teaches at the University of Alabama. 

PRESENTATION: “Fey” Projective Poetics: John Wieners, Robert Duncan, Michael Rumaker and Charles Olson

In recent years more attention has been rightly paid to John Wieners’ position as a Black Mountain poet, focusing primarily on his relationship to Charles Olson. In his talk Stewart will approach other foundational relationships from Black Mountain, especially Robert Duncan and Michael Rumaker, that formed the side of his projective poetics that we might call “fey.”  


Joshua Hoeynck received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, and his research focuses primarily on the confluences between process philosophy, Black Mountain poetry, and environmental criticism. His work has appeared in The New American Poetry: Fifty Years Later, Contemporary Literature, and Process Studies. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the correspondences between Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, and Denise Levertov. Additionally, in conjunction with the Charles Olson Society, he recently edited and published a book of expanded talks from the Society’s American Literature Association panels, titled Staying Open: Charles Olson’s Sources and Influences. When he is not publishing or writing on poetry, he teaches writing and literature in the SAGES program at Case Western Reserve University. 

PRESENTATION: Process Philosophy and Pedagogy: Charles Olson’s Reading and Teaching of Alfred North Whitehead at Black Mountain College

This essay will survey Olson’s encounters with Alfred North Whitehead and the influence of Whitehead’s pedagogy at Black Mountain College by focusing on the most neglected of these three texts in critical literature about Olson: The Aims of Education. Hoeynck will explore how the educational principles in this text influenced Olson’s pedagogy, lectures, and initial ideas for translating Process and Reality into poems.


Stephen Williams is a poet living in Chicago. He edits Aurochs. He has previously collaborated with Peter O’Leary to re-present Jack Sharpless’ work at the Louisville Conference On Literature And Culture, 2019. 

PRESENTATION: A Poet in the Clouds: Jack Sharpless. 

Jack Sharpless (1950-1988), despite garnering the full-throated praise of Duncan, Creeley, Davenport, Johnson, and Jonathan Williams, died having published no poetry in the United States, and left a biographical record almost as thin as Shakespeare’s. This talk, then, will introduce readers to Sharpless’s life and work.


Ann Dunn teaches Humanities and The Arts and Being Human at UNC-Asheville. Her doctoral concentration was in Shakespearian Studies with a secondary focus on The Literature of the Italian Renaissance. She has presented and published widely in these fields and in Dance Philosophy, History, and Criticism. Her awards include Most Distinguished Teacher in Humanities at UNC-Asheville, Best Research Article published by the International Journal of Arts and Sciences, The North Carolina Artist of the Year Award, and most recently the UNC-Asheville Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award. She has won scholarships to such writing retreats as Breadloaf and Weymouth, and graduated from The Aspen Institute’s 2015 WYE Faculty Seminar on Citizenship in the American and Global Polity, in Washington D.C. After professional training with New York City Ballet, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham, Dunn served as principal ballerina with The Hartford Ballet and The American Ballet. Over fifty years of choreography credits include “Turandot” for New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for Menotti’s official U.S. tour. For 35 years, she has served as Artistic and Executive Director of The Asheville Ballet (North Carolina’s oldest professional, non-profit ballet company) and as Owner and CEO of The Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Dunn has published three volumes of poetry, raised five children, and has eleven grandchildren so far.  

PERFORMANCE: Contours in Space: for Ruth Asawa

A new dance work based on Ruth Asawa’s sculptures. “Contours in Air: for Ruth Asawa” is an eight minute movement exploration of the links among facets of the sculptor’s life and work.


Craig Fischer is a professor of English at Appalachian State University, where he teaches classes on film theory, film history, and comic books / graphic novels. He has served on the editorial board of Cinema Journal and the executive committee of the International Comic Arts Forum and is currently an editor of the “Comics Culture” series of books from Rutgers University Press. His writing has appeared in The Comics Journal, The International Journal of Comic Art, SubStance, and the books The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics (2015) and The Routledge Companion to Comics (2016). His article on Stan VanDerBeek and Terry Gilliam was included in Appalachian Journal’s special issue on Black Mountain College (2018).  

PRESENTATION: Chance and Multimedia Aesthetics in Barbara Rubin’s Christmas on Earth (1963-5)      

This presentation will describe how chance and multimedia aesthetics, rooted in John Cage’s performances at BMC, inform both Barbara Rubin’s film Christmas on Earth (1963-5) and the soundtracks that some exhibitors create when they screen Rubin’s movie.


Thomas Edward Frank is University Professor and Associate Dean for Continuing Studies in the Graduate School of Wake Forest University. He teaches and writes about American communities of ideals, particularly liberal arts colleges and utopian movements, as well as the conservation of the natural and built landscapes that tell the stories of how American culture developed. 

PRESENTATION: How Not to Start a College: Black Mountain Among the Experimental Colleges

This paper will explore what made BMC distinctive as a collegiate experiment, the significance of place in differentiating colleges, and how BMC has endured in educational influence.


Jeff Gardiner, an independent scholar, has written and presented numerous talks and papers on the work of Olson. His most recent publications on Olson are the essays “Olson’s Poetics and  Pedagogy: Influences at Black Mountain College” in Staying Open: Charles Olson’s Sources and Influences (2018); “The Mytho—” in Letters for Olson (2016), and “‘The Whole Organism Back in History’; The Bio— in Olson’s The Chiasma: Lectures in the New Sciences of Man (1953)” in Lute and Drum (2015). He presented a talk at the ReVIEWING Black Mountain College Conference in 2014 on “Furthering Perception: The Black Mountain Poets and the Films & Poetics of Stan Brakhage.” In addition to his essays and talks on Olson, he has taught a course on Olson’s poetics at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, his hometown—where he attended classes taught by Robert Duncan at New College.  

PRESENTATION: A Poetics of Primary Materials: from Bauhaus to Black Mountain, from the Albers to Olson

To establish a groundwork for poetics at Black Mountain College, this paper will focus on the study and application of primitive (in the sense of primary) modes of creative expression on the visual arts at the Bauhaus and how the Albers, influenced by those studies, extended them to their work and teachings at Black Mountain College.


Joséphine A. Garibaldi & Paul Zmolek, Artistic Directors, Callous Physical Theatre. Established in 2004, Callous Physical Theatre is a collaborative, project-based endeavor. Guided by the slogan “We go where the work takes us,” directors Joséphine A. Garibaldi and Paul Zmolek are dedicated to fostering collaboration across communities, disciplines and cultures regionally, nationally and internationally through a dialogic practice of art-making, research and pedagogy. From environmental and performance installations, movement and text based visual poetry, Garibaldi and Zmolek have devised original performance, installation and digital works nationally and internationally together for three decades. Their work has received awards for Excellence in the Arts and Arts Outreach and has been supported by grants from the Fulbright organization and foundations based in Australia, Latvia, Finland, Portugal, Italy, California, Washington, Iowa, Missouri, Florida and Idaho. Garibaldi is a member of faculty at the Florida State University School of Dance. Zmolek teaches theatre and dance at the autism inclusive arts academy, Making Light Productions. They each have held faculty appointments at various universities across the nation. 

WORKSHOP: Laptop Performance Laboratory: Meaningful Work with Meaningless Devices 

For this workshop, we will share our methodology of dialogic devising and the process of creating collaborative work. Dialogic devising is a pedagogical art-making approach that is extremely adaptable across cultures and locations, in real and virtual space; we have developed complex performance projects that work across time and space because and in spite of the limitations of broadband width, technology and personal communication devices. Participants, using their own communication devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops), will write web-connected collaborative poetry. Time permitting, we will devise text-infused movement phrases based in that poetry. Bring your own device (smart phone, tablet, laptop). All are invited; no previous experience necessary.


Charlott Greub is an artist, architect, urban designer and educator. She was educated in Germany, where she earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Applied Sciences in Cologne. She also holds a both a Master of Fine Arts and Master of Architecture in Sculpture from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany. She has also received many fellowships and awards including the Cité des Arts Paris (France) and the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (Germany). Her artistic works have been exhibited at Gallery Aedes Berlin and the German Architecture Museum DAM in Frankfurt. She is currently an assistant professor for architecture at North Dakota State University in Fargo and previously taught architecture and art studio classes at the University of Utah, the Bauhaus University in Weimar (Germany) and the Technical University Graz (Austria). Licensed as an architect in Germany since 1993, she has worked as an architect in architectural firms in Europe and America different including in New York City, Maastricht (Netherlands), and Berlin (Germany). Since 2015 she is a Ph.D. student at the RWTH Technical University in Aachen (Germany) where her research focuses on the study of the pavilion as a new genre between art and architecture. 

PRESENTATION: Interdisciplinary Lessons from the Idea and Process of Drawing Notations in Music and Architecture 

The presentation will show the different stages between abstract notation, first spatial translations, reiterations, and also dead-ends (as result of non-alignment of the student’s interpretation derived from music with the requirements of program or site), which lead to second attempts, different readings and alternative translations.


Lei Han is an artist, educator and designer. Her work, often inspired by nature and everyday life, explores notions of perception, memory, transience and time. She is currently Professor of New Media at the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she previously served as Chair of the Department for eight years. Students signed up for Lei’s NM450 Digital Video Art course are mostly New Media majors in their junior and senior year of studies.  

PERFORMANCE: Identity in the Post-Digital Age

Large-scale multimedia installation and projection inspired by Stan VanDerBeek’s Movie-Drome and Expanded Cinema. Students in NM450 will explore the concept of Identity in the Post-Digital Age through projects that are at the intersection of art, technology, and science. 


Mary Emma Harris is an independent scholar and serves as the Chair and Director of the Black Mountain Project. Harris was named the 2016 Black Mountain College Legacy Research Scholar at UNC Asheville. Harris earned her BA from Greensboro College and an MA from UNC Chapel Hill.

PRESENTATION: The Bauhaus and Black Mountain College: Envisioning an Education for a New Kind of World

The paper will outline specific Bauhaus connections with Black Mountain College including Bauhaus faculty and students who taught at or visited the college, examine commonalities and differences between the two institutions, and look briefly at their shared legacy.


Joan Heller received an M.D. from the University of Cincinnati and an MFA in Liberal Studies from UNCA. She is an instructor in the Department of Biology and in the Humanities Program at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, where she has organized a lecture series in the sciences for the last five years. Her poetry, which she has read at venues in Asheville, has been influenced by the Black Mountain College poets. In spring 2019, she produced Mechthild of Magdeburg, M.C. Richards and the Mystical Meristem for the Black Mountain College {Re}Happening at Lake Eden. She is currently working on a project on M.C. Richards and her devotion to special needs education through artistic practice. 

PRESENTATION: Resistant Clay: Pottery, Poetry, and ‘Energy’ in the Exchange between M.C. Richards and Charles Olson 

This project explores the concept of resistance in M.C. Richards’ work, especially focusing on the connection to Charles Olson.


Elliot Inman has led workshops in electronics and creative coding on topics ranging from basic electronics and Arduino/Circuit Python programming to Fast Fourier Analysis, 8-bit chip synths, MIDI controllers, and the Internet of Things.  He developed and led the “Musical Circuits” series as Maker-in-Residence at UNC (spring 2016) and “Quantification: The Art of Making Data” workshop series at NC State (fall 2016) and organized and led a panel discussion on “The Makerspace as 21st Century Bauhaus:  A Black Mountain College in Every University” at the Black Mountain College ReViewing conference in 2018. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at North Carolina State University and his PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Kentucky, completing his master’s thesis on text processing and a dissertation on visual perception and learning.  He works for a leading analytics software company designing data mining and data visualization software. He documents his own electronic music experiments at   

PRESENTATION: Natasha Goldowski:  Science, Cybernetics, and High Speed Computing at Black Mountain College

The success of any interdisciplinary curriculum often depends on a few individuals who are able to translate their expertise for a novice audience.  At Black Mountain College (BMC), Natasha Goldowski taught Chemistry to dancers, explained Cybernetics to poets, and published articles on “high speed computing” in the literary journal.  “When she lectured, her passion for the numerical mysteries of theoretical physics made it all momentarily clear to me… [T]he magic unrolled in a narrow band of clarity catalyzed by her marvelous intensity (Lyle Bongé).” 


Aparna Keshaviah is a classically trained dancer and musician whose choreography evolves the traditional lexicon of Bharatanatyam. Her work extracts the ancient dance form out of the confines of classical repertoire and staging and into more flexible, engaging currents of contemporary Indian dance. As an Indian-American artist and scientist (with a dual career in dance and biostatistics), she has tested various approaches to translate Bharatanatyam for global audiences, including using improvisation to let audiences in on the creative process in real-time, and focusing on rhythm—the heartbeat and animus of all movement. Keshaviah’s work breaks the cultural walls around the dance—markers erected in the name of identity, yet which divide one group from another—to allow greater intimacy. Her modern reformulation of south Indian dance has captivated diverse audiences around the U.S., India, and Italy, where she has performed solo and with leading companies like the Ragamala Dance Company. Locally, she has been a visiting artist at the Asheville School and an artist-in-residence during the Asheville Percussion Festival. Keshaviah is a Fulbright scholar in Dance, a Senior Statistician at Mathematica (where she refines research methodology to improve public health), and co-founder of the Dance ARĪS residency in Waynesville, NC. 


Mātrika redefines the sonic environment of Bharatanatyam to explore new ways of performing classical Indian dance. The Sanskrit word Mātrika represents all aspects of the cycle of Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction; it is used to refer both to the fierce gods and goddesses who fight with demons and are worshipped for protection, as well as the primal sound energies associated with these deities, which comprise sacred mantras (Vedic chants). 


Hyemin Kim (Pronouns: they/them) holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from SUNY at Buffalo with specialization in 20th century continental philosophy, poetics, and queer art. Their recent work centers around intermediality and experimental cinema, eco-poetics, queer aesthetics, and docu-fiction in 20th to 21st century American and cross-cultural literature and cinema. They are currently (from Fall 2019 to Spring 2021) expanding their studies in the areas of digital poetics and art archiving in the program of Digital Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY (New York, US) while teaching writing at CUNY/Baruch and CUNY/City Tech. Their writings on experimental cinema, documentary films, and queer art have been (and are expected to be) presented and published in various places in and out of the US.

PRESENTATION: Second Life of B.M.C. Poetry in Computational Cinema: Bifurcating Materiality of Words in Stan VanDerBeek’s Poemfield Series 

This paper looks at Stan VanDerBeek’s Poemfield series (1965 – 1968) in order to discuss the trace and transformation of VanDerBeek’s analog poetry that intersects with poetics of other Black Mountain College’s artists such as Charles Olson, M.C. Richards, Robert Creeley, and John Cage among many others. Using the unengaged VanDerBeek Archive material, this presentation will demonstrate that VanDerBeek’s pre-computational drawings and other textual drafts from his B.M.C. days impart graphic and geometric letter & text compositions as precursors of electronic moving-image writing in his Poemfield series. Further, Kim’s studies of VanDerBeek’s Poemfields underscores the interrelations between myths, programs, and affects in his computational writing and algorithmic poetics, and the bifurcating materiality of words that traverses the old and new mediums & intentions of communication through time-based cinematic technologies.


Nguyen Duc Diem Quynh (aka Quynh Lam, born in 1988 in Saigon) is a Vietnamese contemporary artist. She graduated from the Fine Arts Association of Ho Chi Minh City in 2007 and the University of Architecture of Ho Chi Minh City in 2012. In 2018, Quynh was granted a Fulbright Scholarship from the U.S. Department of States and is now pursuing an MFA in Studio Art at the University of Tennessee School of Art. Quynh is a recipient of the 2019 Art Future Prize in Taiwan and also in the list of 15 young and emerging artists. 

PRESENTATION: Using Photography to Address the Lost and Forgotten History 

Nguyen Duc Diem Quynh’s artistic practice was influenced by three factors: the historical volatility in Vietnam society, family ephemera, and memory from old black and white photographs. Using a camera as their tool of choice, they enjoy interpreting contemplative portraits of history by incorporating various media including data visualizations, documentary videos, and photographic installations.


Ant M Lobo is an artist and independent curator based in Raleigh, NC. Their artworks focus on sexuality and gender by exploring themes of tragedy, history/myth, relic, and sex + power while using their past experiences to allegorize sex and love through their work. Ant studied studio art at Appalachian State University and concentrated their work on analog processes in photography. Ant’s work has been featured in several different arts publications and they had their first solo show at the Looking Glass Gallery in Boone, NC in 2018. Ant’s research and curatorial practice centers on queer art and queer history. They are currently a Gallery Educator at CAM Raleigh, are working on a publication about the queer history of Raleigh, and are organizing a solo exhibition for a queer Native American photographer. 

PRESENTATION: Talking in Code: Queer Sensibility At and After Black Mountain College

Talking in Code: Queer Sensibility At and After Black Mountain College is an analysis of artists who are responsible for developing a queer sensibility in their works while attending Black Mountain College, and continued to develop it after the school’s closing.


Andreas Luescher is a Swiss architect, who is currently Professor and Chair of Architecture and Environmental Design at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. His research is on design processes in architecture and design from an aesthetic, social, public policy, sustainability as well as visual culture perspective. He has written more than 80 papers for presentation at national and international conferences as well as for publication in leading international academic journals such as The Journal of Architecture, Journal of Design Research, International Journal of Art and Design Education, and ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research. His first book, The Architect’s Portfolio (2010), has been translated into Chinese. His second book, The Architect’s Guide to Effective Self-Presentation, was published in 2014. His third book (with co-author/ editor Carolyn Loeb) The Design of Frontier Spaces: Control and Ambiguity, was published by Ashgate Press in 2015. His latest book (with co-author Sujata Shetty) Urban Shrinkage, Industrial Renewal and Automotive Plants, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019. 

PRESENTATION: Josef Albers Homage and the Transformation of Self   

The presentation concludes that sensory experience can actually transform the scientific and aesthetic notion of self, and, indeed, scientific and aesthetic discovery presumes such a transformation. 


Sigrid Pawelke, Ph. D. is a German curator and a performance and art historian. She taught art history at the School of Visual Arts in Aix-en-Provence and performance theory and practice at the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III and Paris VIII. She is specialized in the Bauhaus school and Black Mountain College and published her Ph.D. thesis on the “Influences of the Bauhaus stage in the USA”. In 2010 she shoot 16 interviews with former Black Mountain College students and choreographers close to Bauhausian ideas. These interviews were part of the Black Mountain exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin in 2015.  Pawelke has come to specialize in art projects in the urban realm and the ecological sphere. She worked at PS1 Center of Contemporary Art in New York, the Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, the Beirut Street Festival and is especially interested in the social relevance and impact of her projects and interventions.   Trained in dance, performance and physical theatre, she teaches workshops on body experiments in the environment based on the life/art Process of Anna Halprin.  Pawelke is currently an independent curator and in charge of the historical anchor Bauhaus for PERFORMA in New York this November. 

PRESENTATION: Interdisciplinary art education: the Light Sound Movement workshop in between the Bauhaus stage and the happenings 

This presentation describes how the Light Sound Movement Workshop processed Albers’ visual ideas, Cage’s auditory thinking, and Cunningham’s motor component and constituted the critical link between Xanti Schawinsky’s Black Mountain projects, and the first “Happening” in 1952.


David Peifer is a mathematics professor at UNC Asheville. His research is in topology and geometric group theory. His work is directly related to research and problems posed by Max Dehn. When David learned that Dehn had taught at Black Mountain College, he was surprised and began investigating Dehn’s history. David has now published several expository papers on Dehn’s life and legacy. Besides giving talks to the mathematics community, in recent years, David has given invited talks at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and at the Fralin Museum of Art at UVA. David has been a board member of the BMCM+AC for ten years and has attended every ReViewing BMC conference (presenting at five). 

PRESENTATION: The Life and Works of Max Dehn

This talk will primarily be a history of Dehn’s career. Peifer will include a few examples of how Dehn used combinatorial figures to study problems from topology and group theory. No specific mathematical knowledge is required to understand the talk. 


Dr. Joseph Pisa is currently Associate Professor of English at Belmont Abbey College, near Charlotte, NC. There, he teaches courses in modern and contemporary literature, African American Studies, and creative writing. His recent publications include an article on Robert Creeley and Dan Rice, for the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, and another on Charles Olson and the British Poetry Revival for Contemporary Literature.   

PRESENTATION: Black Mountain and the Black Arts Movement

Though little discussed, writers associated with the Black Arts Movement frequently referenced Black Mountain, among other influences, as an integral component of their interdisciplinary aesthetic. Amiri Baraka, Lorenzo Thomas, and Jayne Cortez, to name a few, crafted responsive poetics that, in many ways, adapted and developed important perspectives in the work of Charles Olson.


Ted Pope’s great grandmother was Cherokee and his great-grandfather Scots or Irish or both. His Grandmother was a lush and the West Virginia town she lived in w/ his Grandfather, Coy Spears displayed a sign on the courthouse lawn that read “No Dogs or Coy Spears Allowed”. His parents both worked for STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND. Teddy’s earliest memory is stealing sugar cubes from the Base Commanders coffee cabinet and eating them while staring at framed photo of a B-52 carrying a nuclear weapon being refueled mid-air by another plane and maybe the first question he asked is how can they fly so delicate as to be connected up there.

PERFORMANCE: Swannanoa Song River Information Network Tributaries

Multimedia Performance in real time + Virtual Reality Performance that can be experienced during conference w/out having to attend actual performance. You get my drift.  And drift we will. Live and in VR we will drift down the Swannanoa River & its network of tributaries. As a leaf dropped by Cy Twombly, a cigarette butt flung by Rauschenberg, ashes of Michael Rumacker’s burned manuscripts blown miles on the winds, SSRINT will explore Black Mountain College, The Swannanoa River and its tributaries in an organic flow of ideas and connections utilizing, Virtual Reality, Live Performance, Music and Film. 


Seth Rouser. A native of South Carolina, Seth Rouser is a visual artist and professor of fine arts, with a practice that engages in many different media and disciplines. He has over 17 years of experience teaching at the college level, which includes courses in design, painting, drawing, computer imaging, and interdisciplinary and collaborative art. He holds an MFA in Painting from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC and a BFA in Painting from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Rouser’s art has been shown in non-profit and commercial galleries throughout the Southeast as well as nationally. His work encompasses many formal styles, varying from abstraction to realism. Much of his work in painting and other media is defined by deft combinations of varied techniques and modes of image making. His mixed and inclusive approach has led to the creation of unique and innovative pictorial forms, revealing his interest in bringing harmony to seemingly contradictory elements. His latest works in new media include digital collage, video, and video installation.      

PANEL: Just By Chance: A Commemorative Performance for the Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebration

Presenters Kelly Ozust, Julianna Hane, and Seth Rouser will present and discuss their roles in the production of a work commemorating Merce Cunningham and his form of choreography by chance, in honor of his Centennial.


Kelly Ozust is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher working in Rock Hill, SC where she is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Winthrop University. She has created work for concert dance, musical theatre, opera, and film. She holds an MFA in choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in sociology from the University of Georgia. Her work in dance for film has earned recognition from the GA Museum of Art and national film festivals. She has danced with the Van Dyke Dance Group and Sarah Council Dance Projects, and is also the directory of a collaborative dance festival called The Dance Co-lab. Kelly is a member of the South Carolina Dance Association and the National Dance Educator’s Organization. 

PANEL: Just By Chance: A Commemorative Performance for the Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebration

Presenters Kelly Ozust, Julianna Hane, and Seth Rouser will present and discuss their roles in the production of a work commemorating Merce Cunningham and his form of choreography by chance, in honor of his Centennial.


Julianna Hane is an Instructor of Dance at Winthrop University, specializing in aerial dance.  She holds an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah and a BA in Dance from Winthrop.  She is also a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts, and holds a certificate in Laban Movement Analysis.  Her research interest involves integrating Laban theory with aerial dance to enrich personal expression and performance quality. Julianna founded Revolve Aerial Dance, a studio and performing company (2008-15).  She has performed for the American Cancer Society’s Hope Gala as well as Artisphere in Greenville, SC. She has also performed as a guest artist with Flight Collaborative in Boulder, CO and the Atlanta Aerial Arts Festival. Julianna has been developing aerial dance curriculum since 2008, and served as Director of Training for Born to Fly Aerial Teacher Trainings and Support for four years.  She also holds K-12 Certification in Dance in South Carolina. Julianna is involved with the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS), as well as the Dance Science and Somatic Educators group. She is also a certified Pilates Instructor and is the author of the Aerial Teacher’s Handbook.

PANEL: Just By Chance: A Commemorative Performance for the Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebration

Presenters Kelly Ozust, Julianna Hane, and Seth Rouser will present and discuss their roles in the production of a work commemorating Merce Cunningham and his form of choreography by chance, in honor of his Centennial.


David Silver is associate professor and chair of Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco where he also teaches classes in our Urban Agriculture minor. For the last seven years, David has been researching and writing a multimedia history of the farm at Black Mountain College.

PRESENTATION: When the college was female

How did World War II affect Black Mountain College? What happened when most male students and many young male professors left the college for the war? How did the college fare and who helped it survive? This presentation takes a deep dive into Black Mountain College during the war years, from 1942 to 1945, when the college was (mostly) female.


Ariadna Lorenzo Sunyer is a PhD student at the Université de Lausanne (History and Aesthetics of Cinema Section) and the University of Girona (Department of History and Art History), under the supervision of Dr Olivier Lugon and Dr Xavier Antich. Through different study cases, her thesis aims to study the relationship between the artists’ talks with slide shows and the different spaces of artistic practice from the late 1930s to the 1970s in the USA to explain the rise and development of the communicative, educational, and artistic uses of slides created and performed by artists. She has been awarded the Terra Travel Research Grant to develop her research in the USA. Ariadna Lorenzo Sunyer has also been involved in the organization of several exhibitions, such as Light! The magic lantern and digital imaging. Similarities between the 19th and 21st centuries, an exhibition co-curated in the Museu del Cinema in Girona (2017-2018). She is a member of several research projects of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and has collaborated with the European Project “A Million Pictures: Magic Lantern Slide Heritage as Artefacts in the Common European History of Learning”.  

PRESENTATION: Opening eyes and opening minds: the uses of slides at Black Mountain College

This paper aims to analyze the uses of slides at BMC according to the school’s innovative pedagogy and to integrate these usages into a broader history of the projected image. It also attempts to study their influence on several former students and teachers, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Stan Vanderbeek, and Josef Albers. 


Julie J. Thomson is an independent scholar and curator who lives in Durham, NC. She works as the Naturalist at the Eno River State Park and Occoneechee Mountain. She is the co-editor of the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies, the editor of That Was The Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson and in 2017 she curated the exhibition Begin To See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.   

WORKSHOP / PRESENTATION: Environmental Humanities at Black Mountain College : Ray Johnson + Rivers, Hazel Larsen Archer + Trees, Jonathan Williams + Bluets, Stan VanDerBeek + Willow Reeds + Making John Cage’s Mud Pies 

For this presentation Thomson will share examples found in the work of five of the College’s artists: Ray Johnson, Hazel Larsen Archer Jonathan Williams, Stan VanDerBeek, and John Cage. Ray Johnson compared his work to a river and Thomson will share a work by him that shows this and offer her own observations about what a person can learn from a river. This talk will end with an invitation to make Mud Pies, following the directions of John Cage’s and Lois Long’s Mud Book. Thomson’s hope is that this discussion, and multisensory experience, will offer us opportunities to connect to Black Mountain College through natural experiences.   


Aaron VanSteinberg, a Kansas native, graduated from Duke University in May 2019 with a B.A. in English. His senior honors thesis, “Lines of Crisis: William Carlos Williams, Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov” examined the relationship between influence, experimentalism and crisis in these three poets. He will be applying to graduate literature programs in the fall. 

PRESENTATION: “Superspace is Looming”: Robert Creeley’s Daybook of A Virtual Poet and the Reprogramming of Poetic Experientialism

Daybook, VanSteinberg argues, showcases Creeley’s realization that the old avant-garde formulation of the experimentalist necessarily separated from the non-experimental—which Jaques Rancière identifies as symptomatic of a problematic political presupposition of inequality—is somehow no longer tenable in a digital world. As Creeley says, “Superspace is looming,” requiring a reworking of artistic experimentalism along more egalitarian lines. 


Thom Young is a writer and student based in Boone, North Carolina, as well as the Asheville area. They have published domestically and internationally in publications such as Wussy, FAG BLOOD, American Chordata, and in numerous zines. In addition, they have edited both magazines and collections of poetry. Bespoke is their first collection.  

PERFORMANCE: Poetry Reading

 A reading from Young’s first poetry collection, along with discussion about the explicit influences of Black Mountain college poetics and educational philosophies on the expression of ideas within their writing.

PRESENTATION: The Black Mountain Rhizome in the Experimental Vein of American Verse

This paper will explore the synergetic network of Black Mountain’s influence on writing communities in the experimental tradition of American Poetics, examining fields like The Language and New York School, and also the trajectories that approach Black Mountain’s own writing community.


Alexis Zanghi is a writer currently based in Minneapolis. Her reporting and criticism appear in The Point, Jacobin, the Los Angeles Review of Books, CityLab, and the Atlantic. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from Summer Literary Seminars, the Wassaic Project, the German-American Fulbright Commission, and several funding bodies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she earned an MFA. She is currently a PhD student at UMN in the department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, where her research focuses on the critical political economy of the contemporary art market. 

PRESENTATION: Willing Buyer, Willing Seller: Robert Rauschenberg’s Canyon and the commodity form

This presentation focuses on Canyon’s fraught historical valuation, beginning with the early 1970s and up to the 2008 dispute, to better examine the art object as a commodity at a critical juncture in which contemporary art–and particularly the contemporary secondary market–becomes subsumed by international finance as an “asset class.”