Senga Nengudi, Eddy Kwon, Degenerate Art Ensemble
Multi-Year Residents 2018 & 2019
Creativity & Innovation at CC seeks to build both depth and breadth in the Innovator in Residence program by inviting a wide variety of Innovators to campus, some of whom return to build ongoing relationships with our campus and local communities. The artist collective, comprising visual artist Senga Nengudi musician and community arts leader Eddy Kwon and the performance duo Degenerate Art Ensemble (Crow Nishimura and Joshua Kohl) have served as Innovators in Residence three times since 2018, and during this extended residency, have worked with over 175 students in a variety of departments.
In August of 2018, under the auspices of Innovation and the FAC museum at CC, artists Senga Nengudi, Eddy Kwon, Crow Nishimura, and Joshua Kohl gathered for a week-long residency at Colorado College to form a new artist collective. During this first encounter, the artists – each of whom has a distinguished and creatively boundless artistic practice – met with campus and community members and began developing a collaborative, multi-media exhibition and performance that would engage multiple constituencies.
The group returned for their second residency in March of 2019 to continue to work on their project and to engage with our communities. Their interactions comprised: a class session with the course Art of Insurgency (Dance/Political Science); a public artist talk; and a public participatory workshop open to any and all. These events stimulated a tremendous interest from our campus and broader community alike to bring the artists back to share the development of their collaborative work, and to engage audiences further in conversations and practices around creativity.
In the group’s third residence, which took place in November of 2019, the group conducted two convergence classes with students in Biology, Art, Music, Theatre/Dance, and English. At the end of the residency, the group gave a public performance of their work-in-progress, followed by a Q & A session with the audience during which the artists shared methodologies and goals for the project and asked the audience for feedback and input.
Born in Chicago, raised and educated in Los Angeles and Pasadena with a year of post grad study in Tokyo, Japan, and residing in New York City in the early 70’s, Nengudi is currently living in Colorado. Interested in the visual arts, dance, body mechanics and matters of the spirit from an early age these elements still play themselves out in ever changing ways in her art. She has always used a variety of natural (sand, dirt, rocks, seed pods) and unconventional (panty hose, found objects, masking tape) materials to fashion her works, utilizing these materials as a jazz musician utilizes notes and sounds to improvise a composition. The thrust of her art is to share common experiences in abstractions that hit the senses and center, often welcoming the viewer to become a participant.
Along with doing art Nengudi is strongly committed to arts education. Along with teaching courses at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Visual Arts and Performing Arts Department, she has always been involved with bringing arts programs emphasizing diversity to the communities in which she resides. Besides her individual efforts she has belonged to a variety of organizations with similar goals.
Eddy Kwon is a composer-performer, violinist/violist, and community-based teaching artist living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Eddy is a City of Cincinnati Art Ambassador Fellow, a Cincinnatus Presidential Scholar, and a 2016 United States Artists Ford Fellow.
Recent composition commissions include VIOLENCE, a performance work for electro-acoustic ensemble that explores structural violence in America, a r c h i p e l a g o, a unison piece for electric string quartet experiencing intense sensory deprivation, and split, a piece written for half-violin and half-cello, performed on artist Jane Benson's hand-made/deconstructed instruments (Contemporary Arts Center). Currently, Eddy is recording and touring with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, supporting the legendary group’s 50th anniversary year.
Eddy is Director of MYCincinnati, a tuition-free, El Sistema-inspired youth orchestra program for children in the diverse Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati, where Eddy also lives. Currently engaging over 120 children for at least 2 hours every day after school, MYCincinnati’s mission is to use ensemble-based music education as a vehicle for youth development and community engagement. Eddy is the founder of MYCincinnati’s Ambassador Ensemble, a radical youth sextet committed to social justice, collective action through avant performance, and experimental collaborations. Eddy is also Founding Director of the Price Hill Creative Community Festival, a free arts and neighborhood festival that uses collaborative performing arts as a tool to build a more creative and inclusive community.
Degenerate Art Ensemble makes live performances inspired by punk, comics, cinema, nightmares and fairy tales driven by live music and our own style of visceral movement theater and dance. Our work is an exorcism through collision and conflict challenging how we see audience, architecture, music, story, myth and reality. It comes out of a deep desire for communion and soul-exchange and transformation.
Degenerate Art Ensemble has shown their work throughout the US and Europe known for their large-scale dance and theater projects, concerts, site-transforming spectacles and ongoing public experimentation. Recent highlights of the group's work include: a major exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in 2011; a commission by director Robert Wilson to interpret his work Einstein on the Beach in 2012 and a collaboration with the Kronos Quartet in 2013. Also in 2012 Degenerate Art Ensemble was commissioned by the city of Seattle to create a massive site specific work Underbelly in collaboration with Olson Kundig Architects to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair. The group’s most recent work Predator Songstress premiered at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco in 2015 followed by Seattle and will show in New York in November of 2017. In December of 2016 DAE teamed up with Czech rock legends Uz Jsme Doma for an epic orchestral work inspired by the group's music and the music of Degenerate Art Ensemble for a concert at the Archa Theatre in Prague with the Philharmonic Orchestra of South Bohemia. The group's newest work Skeleton Flower was shown at the Spotlight USA Festival in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in March of 2018 and had its full premiere in March of 2019 in Seattle.