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Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art | L.A.

The SFSIA is a traveling, nomadic academy that originated in Saas Fee, Switzerland in 2015 and moved to Berlin in 2016. It was founded by fine artist and theorist Warren Neidich, is co-directed by art critic and poet Barry Schwabsky. Sarah Beadle is Director of Administration. It was conceived in 2014 as part of an ongoing effort to engage contemporary artists in political, socio-economic, philosophical and historical discourses concerning the power of art. Importantly it realizes that art plays both a generative and emancipatory role in producing theory while at the same time being aware of Neoliberal capitalism’s recuperative prowess.

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Dates and Fees

SFSIA | L.A. will take place May 21 - June 3, 2018, at Otis College of Art and Design. Early admission applications are due by February 5, 2018. Regular admission applications are due by March 1, 2018. There is a $20 application fee. The fee to attend the program is $3,000, which includes room and board. Notifications will be sent out via email in early March. A $350 deposit is required to secure your spot in the program after notifications go out (the full balance is due in early May). 

Warren Neidich, Program Director

Warren NeidichWarren Neidich is an internationally recognized artist and theorist. He is Professor of Art, Weissensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin, founding director of the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, Berlin, American Editor Archive Books and Visiting Scholar at Otis College of Art and Design. He has exhibited at such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, PS1, MOMA, The Walker Art Center, MIT List Center of Art, Ludwig Museum, ICA, London, California Museum of Photography and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has recently published Neuromacht, Merve Verlag and The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism, Part 3. His Color of Politics published by Studio Manuel Raeder and the Kunstverein Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz is forthcoming in 2018. Dr. Neidich studied photography, neuroscience, medicine, ophthalmology and architectural theory

Visiting Artists and Guests

Alva Noë

Alva NoeAlva Noë ( is a writer and philosopher living in Berkeley and New York. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT 2004), Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness (FSG 2009), Varieties of Presence (Harvard 2012), and, most recently, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature (FSG, 2015). He is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Center for New Media and the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Noë is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has recently been named a 2018 recipient of the Judd/Hume Prize in Advanced Visual Studies. He has been a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s science and culture blog 13.7 Cosmos and Culture since 2010.

Andrew Culp

Andrew CulpAndrew Culp teaches Media History and Theory in the MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics and the School of Critical Studies at CalArts. His first book, Dark Deleuze (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), has been translated into numerous languages including Spanish, Japanese, and German. Current work includes a monograph on technologies of anonymous politics titled Persona Obscura (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). His essays on media, film, politics, and philosophy have appeared in Radical Philosophy, parallax, angelaki, and boundary 2 online. He also serves on the Governing Board of the Cultural Studies Association. 

Arne De Boever

Arne De BoeverArne De Boever teaches American Studies in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts, where he also directs the MA Aesthetics and Politics program. He is the author of States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel (2012) Narrative Care (2013), and Plastic Sovereignties (2016), and a co-editor of Gilbert Simondon (2012) and The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism (2013). He edits Parrhesia and the Critical Theory/Philosophy section of the Los Angeles Review of Books and is a member of the boundary 2collective. His new book, Finance Fictions, is forthcoming with Fordham University Press.

Barry Schwabsky

Barry Schwabsky is the art critic for The Nation and co-editor of international reviews for Artforum. He has published several books of art criticism, including Words for Art: Criticism, History, Theory, Practice (Sternberg Press, 2013) and The Perpetual Guest: Art in the Unfinished Present (Verso, 2016), as well as of poetry—most recently, Trembling Hand Equilibrium (Black Square Editions, 2015). Forthcoming this fall is a new collection of criticism, Heretics of Language (Black Square Editions).

Benjamin H. Bratton

Benjamin H. BrattonBenjamin H. Bratton's work spans Philosophy, Art, Design and Computer Science. He is Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego. He is Program Director of the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. He is also a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture). His current research project, Theory and Design in the Age of Machine Intelligence, is on the unexpected and uncomfortable design challenges posed by A.I in various guises: from machine vision to synthetic cognition and sensation, and the macroeconomics of robotics to everyday geoengineering.

Bruce Wexler

Bruce WexlerBruce Wexler is a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscientist at Yale University. He was a NIH Career Research Scientist and recently was awarded a “transformative research” award for potentially paradigm changing medical research from the Director of the National Institute of Health. Wexler’s research aims to harness neuroplasticity through computerized brain exercises and physical exercises to treat cognitive deficitsassociated with illnesses. More recently, heand Dr. Jinxia Dong, former nationalgymnast and now Professor of SportsScience at Peking University, developed an integrated program of brain and body exercises to promote cognitive development in children. The program is used in New York City and Connecticut schools. Wexler has published more than 100 scientificpapers. Based on ideas in his book Brain andCulture: Neurobiology, Ideology and Social Change (MIT Press, 2006), he and Ambassador Andrew Young co-founded the non-profit organization A Different Future to reclaim the public idea space from extremists by amplifying the voices of moderates in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a consultant for the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, Wexler is conducting a U.S. State Department-funded study of how the “other” is portrayed in Israeli and Palestinian school books.

Candice Lin

Candice LinCandice Lin received her MFA in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004 and her double BA in Visual Arts and Art Semiotics at Brown University in 2001. Her work engages notions of gender, race and sexuality, drawing from postcolonialism, citizen science, anthropology, feminist and queer theory. Lin has been awarded several residencies, grants and fellowships including the Headlands Center for the Arts (2016), the CCF Emerging Artist Fellowship (2015), Fine Arts Work Center residency (2012), the Frankfurter Kunstverein Deutsche Börse Residency (2011), Instituto Sacatar Artist Residency (2011), and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2009). Lin’s work has been recently exhibited at the Modern Museet (Stockholm), New Museum (NY), and was part of “Upon a Shifting Plate”, Sharjah Biennial, SB13 Tamawuj (Beirut). She has had recent solo exhibitions at Bétonsalon (Paris), Gasworks (London) and Commonwealth & Council (LA). She lives and works in LA.

Ed Finn

Ed FinnEd Finn is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University where he is an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. He also serves as the academic director of Future Tense, a partnership between ASU, New America and Slate Magazine, and a co-director of Emerge, an annual festival of art, ideas and the future. Ed’s research and teaching explore digital culture, creative collaboration, and the intersection of the humanities, arts and sciences. He is the author of What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing (MIT Press, spring 2017) and co-editor several volumes including Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers and Creators of All Kinds (MIT Press, spring 2017). He completed his PhD in English and American Literature at Stanford University in 2011 and his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University in 2002. Before graduate school, Ed worked as a journalist at Time, Slate, and Popular Science.

Eleanor Kaufman

Eleanor Kaufman is professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of The Delirium of Praise: Bataille, Blanchot, Deleuze, Foucault, Klossowski (Johns Hopkins, 2001), Deleuze, the Dark Precursor: Dialectic, Structure, Being_(Johns Hopkins, 2012), and At Odds with Badiou: Politics, Dialectics, and Religion from Sartre and Deleuze to Lacan and Agamben (forthcoming, Columbia University Press); and co-editor of Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy, and Culture (Minnesota, 1998).

Florencia Portocarrero

Florencia PortocarreroFlorencia PortocarreroFlorencia Portocarrero(Lima, 1981) is a researcher, writer and curator. She obtained her BA in Clinical Psychology at the “Catholic University of Peru”, where she also received her MA in Psychoanalytical Theory. During the 2012/2013 Portocarrero participated in de “De Appel Curatorial Programme” in Amsterdam and in 2015 she completed a MA in Contemporary Art Theory at “Goldsmiths University” in London, where she graduated with honours. Portocarrero regularly collaborates with contemporary art magazines, such as Artishock and Terremoto; and has contributed with her writings on art and culture in numerous publications. In Lima, she works as a Public Program Curator at “Proyecto AMIL”, and is a Co-Founder of “Bisagra”, one of the few independent art spaces in the city. She has recently been awarded "Curating Connections 2017/2018" residency program organized by the DAAD artists-in-Berlin Program and KFW Stiftung.

Graham Harman

Graham HarmanGraham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (on leave from the American University in Cairo). He is the author of 17 books, 15 already published and two in press. The most recently published are Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory (Polity, 2016), Dante's Broken Hammer: The Ethics, Aesthetics, and Metaphysics of Love (Repeater, 2016), and The Rise of Realism [with Manuel DeLanda] (Polity, 2017). He has published over 250 articles in 19 languages, and has given over 300 lectures on six continents. In 2015, he was listed by ArtReview as the #75 most powerful influence in the international art world. He currently resides with his wife, Necla, in Dubuque, Iowa.

Jason Smith

Jason SmithJason E. Smith is currently Chair of the Graduate Art MFA program at Art Center College of Design. His writing and research are largely concerned with contemporary art and aesthetics, modern continental philosophy (Spinoza, Hegel, 20th century), and post-1968 political thought (primarily French and Italian). He has published in Artforum, Critical Inquiry, Parrhesia, Radical Philosophy, South Atlantic Quarterly and Theory&Event, among other places. With Jean-Luc Nancy and Philip Armstrong, he has published Politique et au-delà (Galilée, 2010). He recently edited and contributed to a special issue of Grey Room devoted to the films of Guy Debord. He was a Cornell Society for the Humanities Fellow in 2013-14. Presently, he is working on two book manuscripts, The Once and Future Party (Verso, 2018) and Automation, Then and Now (Reaktion, 2019).

Jennifer Teets

Jennifer TeetsJennifer Teets is a contemporary art curator, writer, researcher and performer born in Houston, Texas, 1978, living and working from Paris. She is known for her research on cheese, mud, and terra-sigillata – their transitioning towards materiality and entity and their ability to become something else when put in an exhibition or an essay. Since 2014, she co-hosts The World in Which We Occur (TWWWO), a live event series that has held iterations in Vilnius, Lisbon, Prague and Paris – the series takes place over the telephone in front of an audience, and is formulated around questions addressed by speakers across the world. TWWWO is loosely inspired by, and set in the legacy of hybrids that have emerged out of artist James Lee Byars’ 1969 performance work World Question Centre. To date, TWWWO has hosted sessions on the core debates of the Anthropocene, pharmakons (the body and the earth as a remedy and a poison), molecular colonialism in the reign of microorganisms, grief and climate change, states of reserve and the legality of invisible regimes, water politics, earth metabolisms, and the underground. TWWWO is currently developing a long term international study group associated with the series. Recordings from previous sessions can be found at: TWWWO.ORG Since 2014 she carries out an inquiry (ethnographic, materialist) on geophagy and clays with forgotten origins titled "Elusive Earths" with Lorenzo Cirrincione. Recent iterations held at Parallel, Oaxaca in April 2016: Upcoming fieldwork in Lemnos, Greece, and Guatemala (2017). A lecture will be held on Elusive Earths in the context of Otobong Nkanga's work for documenta14 on June 16, 2017 in Athens, Greece. Teets was educated at the University of Texas at Austin (Latin American Studies/Urban Studies) and Sciences Po, Paris (SPEAP under the direction of Bruno Latour). From 2003-2007, she spearheaded the contemporary art program at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City, the former home/studio of Mexican Muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros where she initiated her practice in the early 2000s. There, she curated over 20 site-specific, one-person exhibitions and performances by emerging and established Mexican and international artists. She was Resident Curator at Platform Garanti CAC in Istanbul in the fall/winter of 2007-2008 under the auspices of the Jumex Collection and the Patronato de Arte Contemporáneo (PAC) from Mexico City. Later she was a resident at Kadist Art Foundation in 2009, setting up the groundwork for her long sejour in Paris. She has written extensively on art and curating in international art magazines and other publications and frequently lectures on curating and artistic research. She has guest lectured at Städelschule, Vilnius Academy of the Arts, Goldsmiths, CCA San Francisco amongst others. She is a faculty member of the Saas Fee Summer Institute of Art held in Berlin, an autonomous course at the intersection of theory and art held in the German capital each year.

Johanna Drucker

John WelchmanJohanna Drucker is the Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She is internationally known for her work in the history of graphic design, typography, experimental poetry, fine art, and digital humanities. A collection of her essays, What Is? (Cuneiform Press) was published in 2013 and Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Harvard University Press) appeared in 2014. Digital_Humanities , co-authored with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, (MIT Press) was published in 2012. In addition to her academic work, Drucker has produced artist‘s books and projects that were the subject of a retrospective, Druckworks: 40 years of books and projects, that began at Columbia College in Chicago in 2012. She is currently working on a database memoire, ALL the books I never wrote or wrote and never published. Recent creative projects include Diagrammatic Writing (Onomatopée, 2014), Stochastic Poetics (Granary, 2012), and Fabulas Feminae (Litmus Press, 2015). In 2014 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and awarded an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts by the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017.

John Welchman

John WelchmanJohn C. Welchman is Professor of art history in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego. His books on art include Modernism Relocated: Towards a Cultural Studies of Visual Modernity (Allen & Unwin, 1995), Invisible Colours: A Visual History of Titles (Yale UP, 1997), Art After Appropriation: Essays on Art in the 1990s (Routledge, 2001) and Guillaume Bijl (JRP|Ringier, 2016). Past Realization: Essays on Contemporary European Art (Sternberg, 2016) is the first volume of his collected writings. Welchman is co-author of the Dada and Surrealist Word Image (MIT Press, 1987), Mike Kelley (Phaidon, 1999), and Kwang-Young Chung (Rizzoli, 2014); and editor of Rethinking Borders (Minnesota UP, 1996), Institutional Critique and After (JRP|Ringier, 2006), The Aesthetics of Risk (JRP|Ringier, 2008) and Black Sphinx: On the Comedic in Modern Art (JRP|Ringier, 2010) as well as the collected writings of Mike Kelley: Foul Perfection: Essays and Criticism (MIT, 2003); Minor Histories (MIT, 2004); Mike Kelley: Interviews, Conversations, and Chit-Chat, 1988-2004 (JRP|Ringier, 2005). He has written for Artforum (where he had a column in the late 1980s and early 90s), Screen, the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Economist among other newspapers and journals; and contributed essays to catalogues and associated publications at Documenta (Kassel), the Louvre (Paris), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA|PS1 (NY), Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool, Reina Sophia (Madrid), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), The New Museum (NY), Albertina, Vienna, Museum of Contemporary Art (LA), LA County Museum of Art, Sydney Biennial, Venice Biennale, Vienna Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Ludwig Museum (Budapest), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Edinburgh Festival, and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana.

Juli Carson

Juli CarsonJuli Carson is Professor at the University of California, Irvine, where she directs the Critical and Curatorial Studies Program and The University Art Galleries. She is author of Exile of the Imaginary: Politics, Aesthetics, Love (Vienna: Generali Foundation, 2007) and The Limits of Representation: Psychoanalysis and Critical Aesthetics (Buenos Aires: Letra Viva Press, 2011). Her essays on conceptual art and psychoanalysis have been published in Art Journal, Documents, October, Texte Zur Kunst and X-Tra, as well as in numerous international anthologies and monographs. Her forthcoming book, The Hermenuetic Impulse: Aesthetics of An Untethered Past, will be published by PoLyPen, a subsidiary of b_books Press.

Kenneth Reinhard

Kenneth ReinhardKenneth Reinhard is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and English at UCLA. He is the author, with Slavoj Zizek and Eric Santner of The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology (University of Chicago Press, 2006; translated into Spanish and Korean; second edition 2013), and with Julia Reinhard Lupton, of After Oedipus: Shakespeare in Psychoanalysis (Cornell UP, 1993; new revised edition 2009), as well as articles on French and German philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature, and religion. He also writes performance reviews for Opera Quarterly. He is the general editor and co-translator of The Seminars of Alain Badiou (20 volumes, forthcoming on Columbia University Press). He is the Director of the UCLA graduate certificate

Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly is Judge Widney Professor in the Roski School of Art and Design at the University of Southern California. She is known for project-based work that addresses questions of sexuality, identity and memory in the form of large-scale narrative installations. Exhibitions include retrospectives at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, (2010) Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, (2011), and Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, (2008), as well as representation in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, the 2008 Biennale of Sydney, and Documenta 12. Major publications include Post-Partum Document, (1983), Imaging Desire, (1996), Rereading Post-Partum Document, (1999), and Dialogue, (2011). She is a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, (2015).

N. Katherine Hayles

Katherine HaylesKatherine Hayles, the James B. Duke Professor of Literature at Duke University, teaches and writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her books have won numerous awards, including the Rene Wellek Prize for the Best Book in Literary Theory in 1998-99 for How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, and the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship for Writing Machines. She teaches courses on experimental fiction, literary and cultural theory, finance capital and culture, science fiction, and contemporary American fiction. Her latest book is Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious.

Nima Bassiri

Nima BassirNima Bassiri is an intellectual historian and historian of the human sciences, with a focus on the modern history of brain and behavioral medicine in Europe and beyond. He is currently Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago, where he is also an affiliated faculty member in the Department of History and the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science. Starting in August 2018, he will be Assistant Professor in the Program in Literature at Duke University. He is coeditor of Plasticity and Pathology: On the Formation of the Neural Subject (Fordham University Press 2015) and is completing his first book, Pathologies of Personhood: Forensics, Madness, and Medicine in the Nineteenth-Century, which examines the medico-legal and sociopolitical anxieties that surrounded the clinical elaboration of several major and quite unsettling neuropathologies during the nineteenth century in Europe and America.

Renée Petropoulos

Renée PetropoulosRenée Petropoulos has created projects and exhibited internationally. Most recently embarking on the project "Among Nations (Mostly)" with a performance "Analogue" (2012) at the MAK, Venice to Venice (2012)  as part of the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. and “Women in Surrealism” for LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). "Black Star", begun in 2006, is a performance in continuum in Berlin.  Her most recent installment of "Prototype for the History of Painting: Eingrouping Social Historical" was installed in MARTE San Salvador, El Salvador.  Her recent film, "Two or Three Things I Know About Gas Station Mini Marts" screened at Screening, in Philadelphia.   The outdoor public sculpture project “Bouquet”(Flower Tower) Between Egypt, India, Iraq, the United States, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Mexico”, situated in Santa Monica, California at a street and pedestrian intersection was completed in spring, 2014.   An exhibit of related subject, “Bouquet(Flower Girl) Between Libya, the United States and Scotland”, was installed at LAMOA in Eagle Rock in May 2014.  Petropoulos’ monument drawings were also included in “Forms of the Formless” at Beijing Moca, curated by Marlena Donahue.

From the United States to Mexico/ From Mexico to the Untied States, was presented at Commonwealth and Council, which included a choreographed performance. She is exhibited Monument 1 – conjugation, with the Proxy Gallery in Paris in 2016.  In 2016, a cd of sound work, Between Libya, the United States and Scotland, created with composer Greg Lenczycki, will be released.  Two new works are scheduled for 2016, one with the Isaura String Quartet and a reading of sculpture, “Cheek by Jowl”, at Hauser Wirth Schimmel. Her project with former student, Amanda Katz was released this summer in 7 x 7 (  She recently returned from Naples Italy where she has been working on a collaborative project in conjunction with the MUAC in Oaxaca, Mexico as well as being a guest artist at the Palm Springs Museum.

Reza Negarestani

Reza NegarestaniReza Negarestani is a philosopher. He has contributed extensively to philosophy journals and has lectured at universities internationally. He is the author of Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials (2008), Torture Concrete: Jean-Luc Moulène and the Protocol of Abstraction (2014) and the forthcoming Intelligence and Spirit (Urbanomic / Sequence Press) on the intersection between philosophy of mind, German Idealism and theoretical computer science.

Sanford Kwinter

Sanford Kwinter: Bio Forthcoming

Suparna Choudhury

Suparna ChoudhurySuparna Choudhury is Assistant Professor at the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, where she works on the adolescent brain at the intersection of anthropology and cognitive neuroscience. Trained originally as a neuroscientist, Suparna has worked as a researcher in London, Paris, Berlin and Montreal developing interdisciplinary skills to examine the implications of the new brain sciences for health and society. Her doctoral research in cognitive neuroscience at University College London investigated the development of the social brain during adolescence. During her postdoctoral research at McGill University, she founded the program of Critical Neuroscience, which brings to bear perspectives of science studies and medical anthropology to examine how neuroscientists construct their objects of inquiry, and how research findings are transformed into popular knowledge and public policy. As a Research Leader at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin, she conducted research on the cultural contexts of the adolescent brain. She is currently interested in the uses of neuroscience for health and social policy especially as it affects the lives of children and adolescents.



The program is open to adult (18+) artists, designers and creative professionals. 

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About Saas-Fe Summer Institute of Art

The SFSIA is a traveling, nomadic academy that originated in Saas Fee, Switzerland in 2015 and moved to Berlin in 2016. It was founded by fine artist and theorist Warren Neidich, is co-directed by art critic and poet Barry Schwabsky. Sarah Beadle is Director of Administration. It was conceived in 2014 as part of an ongoing effort to engage contemporary artists in political, socio-economic, philosophical and historical discourses concerning the power of art. Importantly it realizes that art plays both a generative and emancipatory role in producing theory while at the same time being aware of Neoliberal capitalism’s recuperative prowess.