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Fall 2021 Newsletter:Associate Professor Karolina Karlic launches a new research initiative Unseen California

Associate Professor Karolina Karlic launches a new research initiative Unseen California that engages the public land of California as an outdoor artist studio and classroom laboratory by inviting world renowned artists to collaborate in research and create site specific art.

(Unseen California website screen capture) 

Unseen California is a research initiative founded by Karolina Karlic, Associate Professor of Photography at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Karlic is creative director/lead artist researcher in the 2021-2023 inaugural cohort. Karlic designed Unseen California as a multi-pronged collaboration which is intended to bring arts research into the public land resource, the UC Natural Reserve System and will do so through an artist in residence program, as well as opportunities for field-based arts teaching and learning.

Multi-dimensional inquiries are made by a group of photographers whose work aims to dismantle the canon of Western Landscape Photography. The inaugural cohort for the Unseen California research initiative is made up of five diverse women artist-researchers who are professional artists and educators. Engaging with the public land of the UC Natural Reserves System (NRS), typically used for scientific research, as a site for art-making, pedagogy, and social justice activism, these artist-researchers consider the weather, climate, and animal species within various sites. Simultaneously, a web series is to be produced, in which short-form episodes will visualize the inquiries made by each artist-researcher as they engage in their research topic(s). Each artist-researcher’s approach is unique and open-ended, thus creating a place for projects that freely diverge and challenge overarching concepts such as “nature” and “landscape” and address urgent arts discourse around California land use, access, and equity in the 21st Century. Unseen California is in its initial stages and will become an increasingly ambitious, long-term project that will give these cultural producers, artists, opportunities to carve out novel conceptual and interdisciplinary approaches to propose new understandings of the pressing issues that face California’s terrain, its ecological economies, and its bio-cultural diversities. 

Lead Artist Researcher: Karolina Karlic, Associate Professor UCSC

Artist Researcher: Mercedes Dorame, Visiting Professor CalArts & UCLA

Artist Researcher: Dionne Lee, Visiting Professor Stanford & Ohio State University

Artist Researcher: Tarrah Krajnak, Associate Professor Pitzer College

Artist Researcher: Aspen Mays, Associate Professor California College of the Arts

Karlic working alongside with cinematographer and co-founder, Joseph Gallegos, Assistant Professor of Film at California State University Los Angeles, intend for the new web series to provide unparalleled access to the artist’s voice and diverse audiences around the world, using the power of digital media to introduce people to contemporary artists.