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This project was successfully funded on December 4, 2012

Center for Experimental Lectures

by R. E. H. Gordon


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The Center for Experimental Lectures is a platform for artists, academics, musicians, and other creatives to produce and present new hybrid lecture-performances and share them with the public. I am R. E. H. Gordon—I am an artist, a writer, and the founder and director of the Center for Experimental Lectures. I started this project because I think it is so important to create a program dedicated to pushing the boundaries of the public lecture—allowing presenters to speak and share in ways that are not over-determined by many of the existing lecture formats such as the artist talk, the academic lecture, or the public interview. The Center for Experimental Lectures defines experimentation broadly, and the experimentation of these lectures is in their structure, content, intelligibility, language, pacing, imagery, delivery, and so much more. In an overarching sense, lectures at the CEL are meant to be an instantiation of the presenter’s work, rather than merely a report on work they do elsewhere.

After closing Second Gallery in 2008 to go to graduate school and focus on my studio practice and my writing, I continued to consider the possibility of opening another exhibition space. I finally honed in on the lecture as the focus of my curatorial efforts, and it is my goal that the Center for Experimental Lectures will exist as an institution for many years. I think of this project as part of the rest of my art practice—my sculptures, performances, and written texts all explore in various ways themes of hybridity, community, in-betweeness, new formats and platforms, and this project is developing in conjunction with the rest of my work. My role in this project is to curate and promote the lectures, in addition to working with the speakers to develop their lectures—serving as a sounding board, editor, and brain-storm partner. I also thoroughly archive the talks with video, audio, and text on the CEL’s website so that the lectures can circulate widely on the web after the live event and serve as a research tool for the general public. So far the CEL has hosted two events: Anthony Elms, Andy Roche, and Edie Fake lectured at Alderman Exhibitions in Chicago in December of 2011, and this past Labor Day Travis Boyer and Math Bass presented at The Shandaken Project in upstate New York. Both of these events are thoroughly archived on the Center for Experimental Lectures’ website, and I urge you to visit the site and check out their amazing presentations and unique approaches to the lecture format in both form and content.

This fundraising campaign supports a year of programming at the Center for Experimental Lectures—four events  featuring two speakers each starting later this fall, to be hosted by Moma PS1 in Queens, NY, and by Recess, a innovative residency and programming space in Soho, Manhattan. This year’s programming will include lectures by some of the following individuals: Jasna Brujic, Michael Bell-Smith, Dan Lopatin / Oneohtrix Point Never, Elizabeth Orr, Marco Braunschweiler and Martine Syms, Charles Broskoski, Cristoph Cox, Leilah Weinraub, Xavier Cha, Ezra Rubin/Kingdom, and a few others as well—all unique and fascinating voices that I am so looking forward to developing lectures with and presenting them to you. The funds we raise will go primarily toward stipends for the speakers—I am committed to compensating these talented individuals for their time and energy, with the rest of the money contributing to a variety of expenses like the website, printing for posters, and travel expenses for the speakers. I sincerely hope that you will decide to contribute whatever you can afford to this project, and forward it widely to anyone you think might be interested. The Center for Experimental Lectures is the culmination of many years of thinking and planning and I hope it will serve as a valuable resource for you, the public, and the presenters of these experimental lectures. No contribution is too small, or too large, and any amount you give is tax deductible. Quite seriously, this project cannot happen without you. Thank you so much for your generosity. And we hope to see you at our upcoming event on November 18th at MoMA PS1 with lectures by Edie Fake, Alexis Blair Penney, and Jamillah James. 

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