Center for Art,
Research and Alliances
August 17 – September 03, 2023

Traces Exhibition

Publication Cover

Traces marks not an end, but an outward tidal flow. This component of CARA’s summer program bloom how you must, wild until we are free, honors the remnants of what the tide leaves in its wake, the material histories of sediment and accumulation that mark time’s passage and the magic of process and memory.

Rather than centering  “completed products,” Traces is an informal exhibition which highlights the material and sonic remnants of Voluminous Arts residents and Octavia Project summer participants’ engaged practices—annotated texts from study, reflections on Visiting Faculty workshops that took place at CARA, works in progress produced in response to collective reflection and shared space. As Voluminous Arts Founder and Director Gavilán Rayna Russom wrote in an introductory text for the residency: “At the core of this course is the cultivation of a full body listening practice,” engaging in improvisation, scholarship, and experimental creative practices to weave and inform social and political structures of resistance and embodiment. These traces reflect the work of Voluminous Arts residents as well as Octavia Project summer participants, across place and creative process, moving between performance and video work, digital storytelling, quiltmaking and more.

Visitors are invited to spend time with these materials, to think expansively about the process of creation in communities of the past, present, and future. For three Saturdays before the program’s conclusion Russom will lead walkthroughs of the space, sharing more about the embodied experiences and moments behind the material traces.

The summer program was made possible through the collective work of CARA, Voluminous Arts, and Octavia Project.

CARA: Emmy Catedral, Curator of Public Programs; Marian Chudnovsky, Program and Administrative Assistant; Rahul Gudipudi, Senior Curator; Manuela Moscoso, Executive Director and Chief Curator; Maya Piergies, Deputy Director; and Agustin Schang, Producer. Voluminous Arts: Gavilán Rayna Russom, Founder and Director with María Rivera Felizardo and Crystal Peñalosa. Octavia Project: Meghan McNamara, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Ananya Garg, Program Manager. Design by Studio Manuel Raeder and Rodolfo Samperio, and The Rodina Studio.

Images by Pedro Wainer.

More about the contributors

The Octavia Project offers summer programs which use speculative fiction as a lens through which to envision new futures and greater possibilities for our world. Their free Summer Camp for middle schoolers and Summer Institute for high schoolers bring together young women and trans and nonbinary youth to build new worlds.

Voluminous Arts is a trangender liberation project based in Glendale, Queens that creates space for trans people to explore expansiveness and agency through music, sound, community and experimental art.This entirely trans-led organization operates a community resource hub for trans artists and provides employment to trans people in a respectful environment. The project is supported through donations and sales of music and merchandise.Voluminous Arts seeks to nurture deep relationships between trans experience and experimental creative forms through mentorship, increased access to resources, and community building.

Gavilán Rayna Russom is an artist based in New York City. Over the past two decades she has produced a complex and compelling body of work that fuses theory with expression, nightlife with academia,and spirituality with everyday life. Rayna’s renowned prowess with analog and digital synthesizers as composing instruments locates itself within her larger vision of synthesis—an artistic method of weaving together highly differentiated strands of information and creative material into cogent expressive wholes. The central thread of this practice is the exploration of liminality as a healing agent, a phenomenon she has been engaged with since childhood and has researched at an astounding depth. Her work is cumulative and experiential. It requires time and attention to take in, and it powerfully rewards those who bring their time and attention to it. In March of 2020, Rayna founded Voluminous Arts, a creative network for trans artists experimenting with electronic music and sound.

Rat Porridge is an outsider, no-discipline artist from Queens, New York. She plays with sound, video, found object, and performance, simultaneously reflecting and reshaping her surroundings. She has performed across the “Americas” using sound as a portal to access ancestral wisdom and open up dimensions beyond our currently programmed realities. She released her debut full-length album, Live from the Plant, in 2021 with Voluminous Arts and is toying with a follow-up. These days she’s mostly hanging out with her loved ones, resting, exploring plant medicine, collective healing, and slowly forming new worlds out of dense noisescapes.

Omari Love is a multidimensional artist who grew up in the cold city of St. Paul, Minnesota, and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. Their sound is a direct reflection of their story, and for them, lyrics and poetry are a focal point within the musical realm that they paint for their listener to indulge in. Their sound is similar to the human spectrum of emotions, as it fluctuates from dark, heavy, and electronic, to soft, light, and acoustic. From refined and structured to chaotic and distorted. Omari doesn’t conform to any specific genre and incorporates elements from different chapters of their life in order to encompass the feelings they’re looking to convey.

Yvonne LeBien has published books with GenderFail, including Word Dysphoria and Queer and Mumbling: Fragments of Philosophical Faggotry, as well as the poetry book cumflower with Wendy’s Subway. Their music can be found at An album of vocal improv performances, Do You Really Like it When the Bad Thoughts Don’t Come, was published with Voluminous Arts.

Ris Gumpert is a musician, performance artist, and interdisciplinary wordsmith who has been performing and producing shows in countless venues across Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens, and beyond, since 2011. Ris’s passion resides primarily in queer community building, group facilitation, and the exploration of movement-based healing modalities as methods to end our dependence on structures that continue to harm and oppress us. Ris believes firmly in the power of imperfection and leans into the occasional-to-frequent chaos that is inevitably intertwined in the collective human experience. In addition to Voluminous Arts, Ris has been integral to the formation of various New York City-based art collectives including, but not limited to, Stigma Unbound and The Cake Boys.

Mercury Symbol/Adonis Staten is a musician, artist, and educator living and working in New York City. With an acute interest in noise music and DIY culture, Adonis performs across the underground circuit of Brooklyn and Queens under the moniker “Mercury Symbol,” creating in-situ compositions using sampling, field recordings, and mixer feedback. With multiple releases under this name—and most recently a feature in the critically-acclaimed People of Eternity: BDS Mixtape Vol 1—Adonis showcases mastery and deep curiosity in improvisational and experimental techniques across his work.

Anka Raczynska is a musician and improvisationalist based in Providence, Rhode Island. Classically trained in viola performance and composition, music has always been deeply ingrained in Anka’s life. Anka has performed and released work under an array of aliases—most recently using EAR. Pervading each EAR record is a desire to find an immediacy: “what you hear is what you get.” The records contain juxtaposed found sounds and voice memos, pointing toward the transcendent in the overlooked. Her work is influenced by her politics, as well as video games, choreography, radio shows, and public access television. Anka has spent the past several years committing to a liberatory world vision: “If I can’t dance (or play games) you can keep your revolution.”

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