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Women as Activists: Jen Liu and Candace Borders

What would it mean to live out a fair and better future, right now? Join artist Jen Liu and scholar Candace Borders as they explore the complex role that women have played in labor rights and activism in both the US and China. This episode digs into the history of St. Louis’s Pruitt- Igoe housing project and the African American women who lived there, organized, and performed everyday acts of resistance. Our guests unpack the radical idea of building community and the immense possibilities that open up when we think together beyond our current circumstances.

Jen Liu is a visual artist based in New York and Vermont, working in video/animation, genetically engineered biomaterial, choreography, and painting to explore national identities, gendered economies, neoliberal industrial labor, and the re-motivating of archival artifacts.  She is a 2019 recipient of the Creative Capital Award, 2018 LACMA Art + Technology Lab grant, and 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship in Film/Video.  She has presented work at The Whitney Museum, MoMA, and The New Museum, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC; Royal Academy and ICA, London; Kunsthaus Zurich; Kunsthalle Wien; Aspen Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; MUSAC, León; UCCA and A07 @ 798, Beijing; Times Museum Guangzhou, and the 2014 Shanghai Biennale and 2019 Singapore Biennale.

Candace Borders is a PhD student at Yale University in the departments of American Studies and African American Studies. She also works as a Wurtele Gallery Teacher at the Yale University Art Gallery. Currently, her dissertation focuses on the experiences of African American women who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri’s Pruitt-Igoe housing project. Through the use of oral history and Black feminist methods, the work accesses Black women’s everyday experiences at the nexus of race, gender, class, and public assistance in the mid-20th century. More broadly, Candace is interested in Black Feminist theory, the politics of knowledge production, public humanities, and the intersections between race and architecture. Prior to starting her graduate studies, Candace was the PNC Arts Alive Fellow at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

Radio Resistance assembles the voices of intersecting local and global agents of change. Artists featured in the exhibition Stories of Resistance are paired with figures from the past, present, and future of St. Louis, coming together to transmit messages of dissent. A selection from their discussion can be found on St. Louis on the Air, the noontime talk program hosted by Sarah Fenske on St. Louis Public Radio, with the full episode also available in a listening station at CAM, and on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Radio Resistance is co-produced by Michelle Dezember, Director of Learning  and Engagement, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, and Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator. Sound design and editing by Sean Pierce.

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