Tourmaline Aiasob Web

This Week: The Kitchen L.A.B.: Regeneration

By Alison Burstein

Jan 28, 2020

Over the past months, we have convened artists, writers, and other practitioners to reflect on the notion of “regeneration” as part of four Kitchen L.A.B. programs. The next event in this series will take place here at The Kitchen this week on Wednesday, February 5, with movement-based performance artist, urban farmer, and writer mayfield brooks; cellist, composer, and writer Ethan Philbrick; and artist and filmmaker Tourmaline.

In the lead up to this program, you can revisit the L.A.B. conversations that took place earlier this season: a set of posts on this blog spotlights the insights that emerged from September’s program with musician and curator Taja Cheek, writer and scholar Catherine Damman, and artist and writer Constance DeJong; November’s discussion among musicians Chris Eddleton and Avram Fefer, poet and photographer Rachel Eliza Griffiths, and artist Sara Magenheimer; and December’s gathering of artist Andrea Geyer, writer and AIDS historian Sarah Schulman, and artist James Allister Sprang.

During January’s L.A.B., artist and musician E. Jane, artist Jamian Juliano-Villani, and poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum came together for a spirited exchange about the regenerative processes they deploy in their work. The highlights below offer a glimpse of how the participants used media in their presentations to reveal the connections between their finished projects and their original source materials.

We invite you to join us on February 5 as we continue our dialogue around regeneration and further explore this term’s significance in relation to our contemporary cultural landscape.


Koestenbaum screened seven of his short videos—including Haruspication (2018)—which he has previously posted on platforms such as Instagram or Vimeo or presented in the context of his live performances. While introducing these works, Koestenbaum noted the dual relevance of the L.A.B.’s theme to his practice, stating that “regeneration is both the subject of many of my videos—the reinvention of past liberatory tropes—and also for me the migration of my work from writing, and then to painting, and then to this form of DIY filmmaking represents a form of personal regeneration that might also be symptomatic of regenerations afoot in larger environments.”


Jane discussed their ongoing project, Lavendra/Recovery (2015– ), which revolves around an archive they have created of twenty-eight R&B music videos and 200,000 stills exported from them. The project regenerates materials that, in the artist’s words, “have been rendered digital waste to the lifespan of popular culture”—music videos that often lose viewership and/or relevance within a few years of their initial release. With Lavendra, Jane “refuses to forget” the original documents and “holds up Black women’s culture.” Jane presented clips from a pair of videos that reveal their process: the source material of Brandy’s “Sittin’ Up in My Room” (1995) and their own Recovery video, Sittin’upinmyroom-mhysa.mp4 (2017).

Juliano-Villani shared insight into her compositional process of combining unexpected materials in order to give them fresh life in a new context within paintings. The artist reviewed this regenerative approach, through which she first selects images (often either pictures from books or websites or snapshots she takes of staged vignettes), then overlays these images in a digital mockup, and finally translates the completed composition to the canvas. As seen below, these steps result in paintings like Crunchie Boy, My Son (2019).

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Jjv Crunchie Boy Web

Images and videos: 1) Tourmaline, still from Atlantic is a Sea of Bones (2017). Courtesy the artist. 2) Wayne Koestenbaum, Haruspication (2018). Courtesy the artist. 3) E. Jane, Sittin’upinmyroom-mhysa.mp4 (2017). Courtesy the artist. 4) Jamian Juliano-Villani, research images. Courtesy the artist. 5) Jamian Juliano-Villani, Crunchie Boy, My Son (2019). Courtesy the artist.

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