Dear Reader: On Diasporic Intimacy

Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 6:30PM–8PM


“Diasporic intimacy does not promise an unmediated emotional fusion, but only a precarious affection– no less deep, yet aware of its transience.” - Svetlana Boym

Join Ulises for a group discussion facilitated by Jennifer Wilson on Svetlana Boym’s article “On Diasporic Intimacy: Ilya Kabakov’s Installations and Immigrant Homes.”

Please find the reading in the following link: Boym, Svetlana. “On Diasporic Intimacy: Ilya Kabakov’s Installations and Immigrant Homes.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 24, no. 2, 1998, pp. 498–524.

Jennifer Wilson is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania where she is currently working on her first book, “Radical Chastity: Abstinence and the Political Imagination in Nineteenth Century Russia.” From 2015-2016, she participated in the Penn Humanities Forum on “Sex.” Her writings on literary culture, Russia, and politics have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Al Jazeera America, among others. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenLouiseWilson.

Svetlana Boym’s article “On Diasporic Intimacy: Ilya Kabakov’s Installations and Immigrant Homes” is one of the texts included in “Selected Readings on Intimacy,” a presentation of books and articles choosen by scholar Lauren Berlant as her contribution to Ulises’s curatorial season “Intimacy.”

RSVP for Dear Reader: On Diasporic Intimacy

The Third Rail Issue 10 Philadelphia Launch

Saturday, April 15, 2017, 7PM–9PM


Please join Ulises this Saturday for the Philadelphia launch of the newest issue of The Third Rail. The launch will feature a short screening program of videos connected to Issue 10 and Ulises’ quarterly theme, Intimacy. Jonathan Thomas, editor of The Third Rail, will give a brief introduction. Drinks and light refreshments will be available.

At 8pm we will screen a teaser from Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil’s second feature film, “Empty Metal,” co-directed with Barry James Sweitzer, followed by Mati Diop and Manon Lutanie’s “Liberian Boy” (2015), and two shorts by Alexander Kluge: “BLIND LOVE / Jean-Luc Godard: My mother had only seen silent films!,” and “TSCHAK TSCHAK BOING / Love in a Space Suit” (both 2001).

Issue 10 of The Third Rail features an in-depth interview with writer, filmmaker, and television pioneer Alexander Kluge by Jonathan Thomas, in which Kluge shares his theory of montage and constellational filmmaking, discusses his move from cinema into television, and unpacks his principle of the city; psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster recalls her first dreams on the analytic couch; actress and filmmaker Mati Diop and independent publisher Manon Lutanie present a four-minute dance film; film critics Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin reflect on Isabelle Huppert’s performance style, both in print and with an audiovisual essay online; filmmaker Sky Hopinka discusses indigenous poetics, language revitalization, and experimental modes of documentary filmmaking with filmmakers Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil, and shares a video online; poet Anne Boyer writes on a rebellion against images; experimental flutist and composer Barbara Held is interviewed by Alexandra Alisauskas and Godfre Leung and discusses breath as a medium, composer-interpreter-audience relations, and her approach to the indeterminate scores of Alvin Lucier and Yasunao Tone; chef Michelle Gayer offers a tool for fighting fascism; and there are artist projects by John Fleischer and Sara Greenberger Rafferty.

The Third Rail is a free nonprofit periodical devoted to a discussion of modern and contemporary art, politics, philosophy, and culture, featuring critical essays and reviews, interviews, literary arts, and artist projects. Based in Minneapolis, The Third Rail is an editorially independent affiliate of The Brooklyn Rail.

Screening: Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Friday, April 14, 2017, 7PM – 9PM


In response to Ulises’ current quarterly, Lawrence Abu Hamdan presents two works that cast a shadow on the theme of intimacy. “Saydnaya (the missing 19db),” recently commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 13, and “Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley,” (2013) contour intimacies of violence, separation, and conflict. The works communicate, in whispers and shouts, bonds nevertheless formed and performed in difficult – murderous – terrains: the prison, the courtroom, and the border. Venturing considerations of intimacy in relation to community, citizenship, and the state, this event also aims to question some of the presumed conditions of intimacy: proximity, disclosure, transparency, reciprocal knowledge, truth. This event is co-organized with Ulises by Kirsten Gill, who will also give an introduction. RSVP

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, “Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley,” 2013,
Digital video, 14’

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, “Saydnaya (the missing 19db),” 2017, Stereo audio, 12’

Image: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, “Language Gulf in the Shouting Valley,” 2013. Installation view at Kunsthalle St Gallen. Photo by Stefan Jaggi

Dear Reader: "Ban en Banlieue"

Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 6:30PM – 8:30PM


“Will you give a hand to Ban? Do you have a sentiment, do you have class? Let me tell you before you extend yourself that Ban is disgusting. Let me tell you that Ban is a difficult person to love, full of transience. I could tell you things about Ban.”

Join Ulises for a reading group discussion and writing session led by Becky Huff Hunter on Bhanu Kapil’s book “Ban en Banlieue” —partly a response to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s murder—which struggles to memorialize the rape of a young Indian girl walking home alone during a race riot. This session will focus on roughly the first half of the book, found in the link below.

“Ban en Banlieu” PDF

Bring a notepad and pen in order to participate in writing exercises that draw upon the book’s themes. As the discussion will partly be discussing interpersonal violence, please help us maintain a safe space by being mindful and considerate of others.

Becky Huff Hunter is a writer and editor, who has recently written on Philadelphia’s contemporary art in “Artforum,” “Frieze,” and “Art Papers.” She previously organized the Writing Art and Life reading/writing groups at the Institute of Contemporary Art and Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania, where she is also a trained Anti-Violence Advocate.

"Hyper Normalization" Screening

Friday, March 31, 2017, 7:30PM


Please join Ulises for a screening of “Hyper Normalization” (Adam Curtis, 2016, 166 minutes) with an introduction by Ulises member and Philly-based designer, Joel Evey. Followed by drinks and mingling.

Adam Curtis explains how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and the people they represent have retreated in to a damaging, & over-simplified version of the world.

[on ideas and consequences] Well, a lot of people go on about how I’m a leftist, but I’m not really, because I believe that ideas have consequences. And why I like people like Weber [German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920)] is because they are challenging what I see as that crude left-wing vulgar Marxism that says that everything happens because of economic forces within society, that we are just surfing, our ideas are just expressions-froth on the deep currents of history, which is really driven by economics. I’ve never believed that. Of course, economic forces have a great effect on us. But actually, people’s ideas have enormous consequences. And to be honest, if you had to reduce what I do, I spend my whole time just looking at how ideas have consequences, not necessarily what the promoters of them intended, because I think that’s a really big thing in our time. I came into writing and describing and filming the world at the very moment that those old left-wing certainties were beginning to collapse, certainties that said somehow progress and modernity were on a inevitable path towards a particular destination in history. But it was also equally obvious to me the right-wing reaction-where you just bring a market force in to create a form of stability that goes nowhere-was equally not going to work. And I became interested in examining how ideas have led us to this position in ways that those who had the ideas didn’t really intend. People like Weber who were, in a sense, conservative sociologists of the late nineteenth century were looking at the consequences of rationality. At how scientific ideas were used by those in power in modern society-and what the consequences then were. I think this is still incredibly important to look at today. [2012] —



Screening: The Politics of Intimacy

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30PM


Please join Ulises, in partnership with Moore College of Art and Deisgn, for a screening of “The Politics of Intimacy” (Julie Gustafson, 1972, 52 minutes) and “Now” (Lynda Benglis, 1973, 12 minutes) with an introduction by Jesse Pires, Program Curator at International House Philadelphia.

These two feminist works exemplify the intimacy and immediacy of emergent video technologies in the early 1970s. Both videos employ “close-up” framing, a cinematic device that more intimately connects a viewer to an onscreen subject. In “The Politics of Intimacy,” various women, representing a wide range of ages and social and economic backgrounds, openly discuss their sexual feelings and behaviors on topics ranging from orgasm to masturbation. The tape unfolds in a manner that resembles a candid conversion not unlike those of women’s consciousness-raising groups from the era. With Now, Benglis intensifies the relationship between viewer and screen as she interacts with various prerecorded versions of herself. The mediated intimacy of the artist speaking across time and space is downright haunting and foreshadows a future where screens and devices would become preferred modes of connection.


International House Philadelphia

Moore College of Art and Design

Love, Optimized: Workshop and Pop-Up Show

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Workshop: Saturday 2–5pm Limited capacity: Sign up at

Pop-Up Show: Saturday 5pm–7pm + Sunday 12–6pm Features inventions blueprinted at the workshop. Open to all: RSVP for the Pop-Up Reception

Welcome to a world of problems, solved.

Love, Optimized is a multimedia experience by Object Solutions, a fictional company that envisions the high-tech future of romance—with a dose of dark humor.

In the Love, Optimized workshop, you become the inventor. Guided by our laboratorians, you partner up and draw blueprints for new technologies to solve everyday love troubles. The afternoon’s inventions become a pop-up show at Ulises, where visitors are invited to imagine the future of love—optimized.

Our aim is to provoke pressing questions about intimacy and innovation. By co-creating a vision of tech-assisted love, we engage in what Anthony Dunne calls “design for debate,” where we move away from thinking about technological applications to technological implications. We invite you to consider the possibilities and limitations of a future where intimacy is administered and supervised by consumer products.

Love, Optimized is a partnership between Ernesto D. Morales and Shelly Ronen.

For richer details, visit

For more intimate contact, join our mailing list at

See the workshop overview + images: How to Design the Future of Love

See what participants have devised:

"New Lovers" Erotica Reading

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 6:30–8PM


Authors Al Bedell and Larissa Pham will be reading excerpts from their short erotic fiction published by Badlands Unlimited and part of the “New Lovers” series. Each story has its own unique take on relationships, intimacy, and sex, as well as the complexities that bedevil contemporary life and culture today.

Join the intimate evening – drinks and light refreshments will be served.

Al Bedell, “I Would Do Anything For Love” Al Bedell is a writer who splits her time between New York and Los Angeles. Her writing explores quotidian trauma and the contemporary female condition. She studied Philosophy at the University of Hartford.

Larissa Pham, “Fantasian” Larissa Pham is a writer living in Brooklyn. She has written for Adult, Guernica, The Nation and Nerve. Pham studied painting and art history at Yale University.

Title Magazine Relaunch Party


Since 2012, Title has been a fixture in the Philadelphia art world as an unaffiliated platform for art writing. Beginning in 2017, they are establishing a new structure in pursuit of broader, more conceptually-driven goals for content. Title Magazine’s new editorial team — Lindsay Buchman, Samantha Mitchell, Kaitlin Pomerantz, Meredith Sellers, and Bailey Sheehan — invites you to join in celebrating their relaunch at Ulises. Brunch cocktails and light snacks will be available!


Image: Isabel Lederman

Nato Thompson: Culture As Weapon

Sunday, February 19, 2017, 4PM


Book talk with Nato Thompson on his new book,”Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life.” Thompson is the artistic director of the nonprofit arts organization Creative Time, which commissions and supports socially engaged works of art.

“Culture as Weapon” is a spirited and insightful examination of how, over the past century, corporations, politicians, nonprofits, and activists alike have embraced the power of creativity to shape public opinion, for good and for ill. Thompson simultaneously investigates the way artists have reacted to this cultural transformation, from Andy Warhol’s prescient Pop Art to Dread Scott Tyler’s provocative installations to Suzanne Lacy’s social interventions. As he puts it, “the world has witnessed the realization of the age-old avant-garde demand that art become part of the everyday.”


Launch Party Quarter No 2 Intimacy

Saturday, February 11, 2017

15. HAYES-2.jpg


Image: Sharon Hayes, “May 1st,” 2012. 5 Letterpress prints (framed), 14.5 x 19.75 in. Edition of 5 + 2 AP

Dear Reader: Excitable Speech

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 6:30–8PM


Join Ulises for a reading group discussion led by Maria Murphy on Judith Butler’s text “Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative.” This session’s reading will focus on Chapter One of “Excitable Speech” entitled, “Burning Acts, Injurious Speech,” found in the link below.

Butler, Judith. Chapter One. “Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative.” New York: Routledge, 1997. 43-69.

As part of the discussion, Murphy will perform “The Production of Voice,” a short spoken-word piece for voice and voice processor and John Cage’s “Aria” (1958), originally written for interpretation by Cathy Berberian.

“Excitable Speech” by Judith Butler is included in “Twelve Books & Seven Records: Re-voice,” a presentation of books and albums selected by curator Mark Beasley as his contribution to Ulises’s curatorial season Active Voice.

Active Voice considers the voice in relation to listening, language, and political agency through a series of programs, artworks, readings, and selected publications from contributors Mark Beasley, Hannah Black, and Steffani Jemison.

Maria Murphy is a PhD candidate in musicology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research considers the relationship between music technologies and body politics through the work of multimedia artists Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, and Karen Finley. In her dissertation, Maria maps how these artists participated in a particular mode of aesthetic activism, which took part in biopolitical shifts concerning the circulation and industrialization of information, the production of healthy and sickly bodies, and the political fictions of gender and sexuality during a precarious time for public health and social hygiene under Ronald Reagan’s administration. Maria is also interested in developing creative spaces for hands-on research. She is the co-founder of Listening (to) Cyborgs: A Media Archaeology Workshop on Sound Technologies.

Dear Reader: A Voice and Nothing More

Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 6:30-8PM


Join Ulises for a book discussion on Mladen Dolars’s text “A Voice and Nothing More.” This event is the first in a new reading group series from Ulises entitled “Dear Reader.” The reading for this session is the introduction to “A Voice and Nothing More” found in the link below.

“A Voice and Nothing More,” Introduction

“A Voice and Nothing More” by Mladen Dolar is one of the publications included in “Twelve Books & Seven Records: Re-voice,” a presentation of books and albums selected by curator Mark Beasley as his contribution to Ulises’s curatorial season Active Voice.

Active Voice considers the voice in relation to listening, language, and political agency through a series of programs, artworks, readings, and selected publications from contributors Mark Beasley, Hannah Black, and Steffani Jemison.

Facilitating the discussion is Hammam Aldouri. Hammam Aldouri is an independent scholar who holds a PhD in philosophy from the CRMEP, Kingston University and a Helena Rubinstein Fellowship in Critical Studies from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Independent Study Program. His writing has been published in Radical Philosophy, Detroit Research and Field Journal. He is currently a contributor to the Philadelphia based online art magazine the Artblog.

Screen Time with Hannah Black

Sunday, December 18, 2016, 4PM


Artist and writer Hannah Black. Black, will read via Skype from a selection of her recent writings. As a contributor to Active Voice, Hannah Black presents recent video works — including “Intensive Care/Hot New Track,” “Fall of Communism,” and “My Bodies” – that consider pop vocals as a space to explore violence, power, and pluralism.

Image: Hannah Black, “Fall of Communism,” 2014, video still

View the full “Fall of Communism” video

Odds & Ends Book Fair

December 9, 2016, 11:30AM–4:30PM

Ulises is heading to New Haven for the day to participate in the Odds & Ends Art Book Fair hosted by Yale University Art Gallery.

Steffani Jemison in Conversation

Friday, December 2, 2016, 6PM

Steffani Jemison Event.jpg

Steffani Jemison presents her 2014 two-channel sound piece, “Same Time,” a reprisal of a speech delivered in 1970 by Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton that has been reinterpreted by Brooklyn-based R&B group Sidetrack Boyz as a vocal improvisation. Her presentation will be followed by a conversation with Steffani and artist David Hartt.

Hello, Opening Party

November 12, 2016, 6–9PM