My Future Ex: Site-Specific Installations and Performances Throughout the City of Buffalo


September 17–November 23, 2013


UB CFA Gallery and various locations - see full schedule for all locations

Artist List

Kaj Aune (Porto, Portugal), Jozef Bajus and Jeff Higginbotham (Buffalo, NY), Tra Bouscaren (Buffalo, NY), Oreen Cohen (Pittsburgh, PA), Neil Coletta and Lisa van Wambeck (Buffalo, NY), Conflict Kitchen (Pittsburgh, PA), Tom Fruin (Brooklyn, NY), Nicola Lopez (Brooklyn, NY), Heidi Norton (Chicago, IL), Kamau Patton (Brooklyn, NY), Alix Pearlstein (New York, NY), John Schlesinger (Philadelphia, PA), Tamara Suber (Philadelphia, PA), Sugar City (Buffalo, NY), Kika Thorne (Toronto, Canada), Tim Whiten (Toronto, Canada), and Johannes Zits (Toronto, Canada).


Focused on the celebration of temporary relationships between people, materials, and places, My Future Ex presents a diversity of contemporary approaches to the practice of installation and performance art. Curated by Tra Bouscaren and Sandra Q. Firmin, the exhibition features an ambitious mixture of local, national, and international talent in a kaleidoscopic series of installations and events, spanning 11 locations across the city of Buffalo throughout the Fall season.

United by a drive to invigorate the city’s potential, the 17 artists and collectives featured in My Future Ex activate overlooked spaces and seek to build connections between existing projects and people around the city. From September through November, events will pop up and open for only a few days (or hours) at a time, ranging from two 3,000 square feet installation projects, outdoor happenings, artist lectures, activist dinners, and site-specific public sculpture projects. My Future Ex expands out from the UB Art Gallery’s traditional home base into Buffalo’s distinctive neighborhoods. It floats along the Buffalo River, accesses vacant warehouses downtown and a West Side Laundromat doubling as a cultural center, rides mass transit, and becomes rooted to urban farms and wildlife habitats.

Buffalo, one of many once-prosperous Rustbelt cities dotting the borders of the Great Lakes, has suffered for decades from a post-industrial legacy of economic hardship. Shrinking populations connected by a crumbling infrastructure, neglected architecture rooted in soil awash in pollutants present nothing if not more motivation for Buffalo’s plucky grassroots cultural practitioners. Artists, activists, urban farmers, educators, and entrepreneurs are rising to the challenge of revitalizing the city’s long-term cultural, historical, and economic health.

My Future Ex approaches installation and performance practices that are not on top of but integrated with what we find at hand, with what is here, here in Buffalo. We hope thereby to further activate the city’s latent potentials with an eye open to the future. There is no opening reception for My Future Ex at the Center for the Arts. Artists will be installing artwork throughout the course of the exhibition that creates a metaphoric wormhole between their project in the city and the UB Art Gallery. Please visit the UB Art Gallery as it evolves over the course of the exhibition and join us Thursday, Nov 21 from 5 to 7 pm for an opportunity to see all the works installed together.


My Future Ex is co-curated by Sandra Q. Firmin (Curator, UB Art Galleries) and Tra Bouscaren (PhD Candidate, UB Dept. of Media Study).

Generous support for My Future Ex: Float My Resident provided by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation administered by Arts Services Initiative. Additional support provided by UB’s Techn? Institute. The UB Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, is funded by the UB College of Arts and Sciences, and the Visual Arts Building Fund, and the Seymour H. Knox Foundation Fine Arts Fund.


All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, September 17 through Saturday, November 23

My Future Ex

UB Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, North Campus

Artists will install artwork and documentation in the UB Art Gallery, which functions as a wormhole connecting their temporary foothold in the city to North Campus. Visitors will also be encouraged to post their personal documentation of My Future Ex installations and performances on a specially designated wall.

Friday, September 20 through Saturday, September 28

Kamau Patton: “Float My Resident” and Related Workshops

River Fest Park: 249 Ohio Street

Mutual Riverfront Park: 41 Hamburg Street

Float My Resident is a nine-day artist residency in which Kamau Patton will produce a light and sound installation on a floating platform docked across from River Fest Park on the Buffalo River. A network of sensors will be constructed at the project site to test air temperature, ambient light, air speed, water temperature, wave propagation, and the presence of radio waves. Patton will also conduct four free workshops listed below and engage audiences while working on his installation.

Friday, September 20

HERE & NOW Artist and Media Practitioner Showcase

Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources

712 Main Street

7 pm

My Future Ex artist, Kamau Patton will be featured in a PechaKucha-style evening at Squeaky Wheel, as ten artists and media practitioners working in the Western NY region get seven minutes to show & tell us about their work. Featuring Media Study grads Sean Feiner, Liz Lessner, Sergio Nieto, Lydia Cordero-Campis, Chloe Higginbotham; Visual Studies grads Julie Rozman, Liz Bayan, Su Yang, Nekita Thomas; and UB Art Gallery visiting artist Kamau Patton. Presentations will be followed by an open Q&A session with all artists.

Saturday, September 21

Sound Mapping Workshop

(In partnership with Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources)

Mutual Riverfront Park

41 Hamburg Street

2 to 4pm

Join Kamau Patton in this free workshop exploring the soundscape of Mutual Riverfront Park. Participants will create sound maps using drawings and other recording devices to illustrate the field of sound filling the area. Listen closely and record the audio of birds, wind, water, people, cars, boats, and industry, among other sounds.

All ages

Tuesday, September 24

Young Voices Workshop

(In partnership with Young Audiences of Western New York)

Mutual Riverfront Park

41 Hamburg Street

4 to 5:30pm

Join Kamau Patton in this free afterschool workshop in which participants will let their imagination run wild, responding to a set of questions and cues developed by the artist in collaboration with teaching artists at Young Audiences of Western New York.

Wednesday, September 25

Sensor Array Jam Session

(In partnership with Buffalo Lab and Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources)

The Foundry

298 Northampton Street

7 to 8:30 pm

Join Kamau Patton and Buffalo Lab at the Foundry in learning how to build sensor arrays that will be featured in the artist’s September 28 performance, which will take place along the Buffalo River. Participants will also be able to take a sensor home with them.

Teens and adults

Friday, September 27

Ways of Seeing Workshop

(In partnership with Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources)

Mutual Riverfront Park

41 Hamburg Street

4 to 5:30pm

Join Kamau Patton in this free afterschool workshop in which participants will build funky viewing devices that affect, enhance, or alter their visual perception. Participants will use these devices to explore Mutual Riverfront Park’s flowers, paths, and waterways with their new ways of looking.

All ages

Saturday, September 28

Johannes Zits: “Looking for Guides to an Alternative”

Buffalo Mutual Riverfront Park

41 Hamburg Street

3 to 7 pm

For these performative actions, Zits weaves a long strip of cloth out of the clothes he is wearing over the course of many days. These performances are as much about opening conversations as they are about the object that is eventually woven.

Kamau Patton: “Float My Resident”

Buffalo River Performance

249 Ohio Street

7:00pm to 9pm: River Fest Park to Mutual Riverfront Park

9:30pm: Sound and light performance at Silo City

Kamau Patton’s nine-day residency, Float My Resident, will culminate in a performance along the Buffalo River between Buffalo River Fest Park and Silo City. Signals gathered from the antenna will be processed through a computer and routed through a sound amplification system (all located on the barge) to create a series of sonic compositions. Dancers and musicians from UB will be at various sites along the shoreline, responding to the barge and its sounds as it moves past.

Friday, October 4: Downtown Opening Receptions

John Schlesinger and Tra Bouscaren: “Hooker Projects”

Including works by Kaj Aune and Tom Fruin

Maureen’s Wholesale Flower Market

441 Ellicott Street

6 to 9 pm

This 3,000 plus square foot collaborative installation is a dark and cerebral mixed-media environment constructed in the abandoned storage space above Maureen’s Wholesale Flower Market in Downtown Buffalo. The building served in the past as a processing and distribution center for pork and poultry. The installation in this location makes use of the abundance of artificial plants, plastic flowers, and broken architectural fragments that now infiltrate the space, to mediate between industries of death and decoration both past and present.

Installations are not handicap accessible.

Installations by Jozef Bajus and Jeff Higginbotham, Oreen Cohen, Heidi Norton, Alix Pearlstein, and Tim Whiten

Genesee Gateway

111 Genesee Street

6 to 9pm

What appears to be a historic row of distinct properties from the outside gives way to a series of passageways and irregularly shaped rooms to be navigated on the inside. Choreographed spatial and temporal relationships are generated by the artworks in tandem with the building. A series of interventions and framing devices heighten relationships between people, experiences of the body in space, and visual and aural perceptions of the outside streetscape. The artists call attention to the subtly disorienting experience of the building by making use of often-overlooked spaces, dramatic slants, and a long narrow room with an uncanny magnetic pull.

Installations are not handicap accessible.

Johannes Zits: “Looking for Guides to an Alternative”

Outside Maureen’s Wholesale Flower Market

441 Ellicott Street

6 to 9 pm

For these performative actions, Zits weaves a long strip of cloth out of the clothes he is wearing over the course of many days. These performances are as much about opening conversations as they are about the object that is eventually woven.


Exhibitions will be open to the public:

Saturday, October 5 from 11am to 3pm

Saturday, October 12 from 11am to 3pm

Or by appointment through October 12

Saturday, October 5: East Side Opening Receptions

Outdoor sculpture by Oreen Cohen and Tamara Suber, and performance by Johannes Zits

Wilson Street Urban Farm

Wilson Street (between Broadway and Sycamore)

11 am to 3 pm

Outdoor sculpture by Oreen Cohen (Additional sites around Buffalo TBD)

Broadway Market

999 Broadway

11am to 3pm

A free shuttle bus will depart from UB’s North Campus, Center for the Arts, and make stops at Goodyear Hall, South Campus, and at Downtown and at East side venues.

Saturday, October 12

Sugar City Presents “Ride the Metro Round and Round”

Starts at NFTA Metro Rail University Station

Regular Metro Fares Apply

3434 Main Street

7 pm

For years, the Buffalo artist collective Sugar City has made it their mission to promote culture that’s under the radar and they are going to be taking Buffalo’s art and music scenes further underground than ever before—the Metro Rail! Please join Sugar City for an unprecedented, one-of-a-kind local art and music event that takes over Buffalo’s subway system for one night only. You can come along as the Metro Rail is turned into the largest—or at least longest—underground art and performance space in town! Join in as Sugar Citizens lead adventurers on a tour of Buffalo’s subway system from University Station to Erie Canal Harbor Station then back up again, getting out at various stops along the way to experience a dazzling variety of music, art, and performances that will take place right on the subway platform.

Sugar City exists to organize alternative community, arts, and cultural events in the Buffalo area. Their goal is to share and create art and community based on participatory culture and a do-it-together attitude. Events and initiatives include, but are not limited to: music, films, readings, meeting space, art gallery, and workshops. Sugar City is about sharing creativity and energy with everyone regardless of age.

Friday, November 1 and 8

Neil Coletta and Lisa van Wambeck: “Paper Nautilus Moving Screen & Object Show”

The WASH Project

417 Massachusetts Avenue

7 pm

Paper Nautilus Moving Screen & Object Show is a mobile puppet theatre designed for itinerant and spontaneous public performances on the streets of Buffalo, NY. The show employs puppets and masks, performing objects, live theatre, and various media—from shadowplay to digital projection—to tell the story of The WASH Project, an emerging space for art and culture on Buffalo’s West Side.

The performance engages local spaces and figures with their own stories, abstracted and miniaturized through object performance. In doing so it acts alternately as a mirror, time capsule, and, perhaps, oracle, reflecting and documenting both process and progress, while questioning issues of use and disuse, the reclamation of space, and the unique and sometimes fleeting relationships that comprise a community.

Sunday, November 3

Sugar City and Buffalo Barn Raisers Present: “Sunday Soup, a micro-grant program that brings people together to fund creative ideas”

Polish Army Veteran’s Post

617 Fillmore Avenue

Suggested Donation: $5 with a dish to pass or $10 without.

(Please consider bringing your own plate, bowl, cup & utensils)

4 to 7pm

Sunday Soup is a potluck event aimed at getting more of our neighbors involved in creating local projects. The concept is pretty simple. Attendees eat delicious food while presenters share their ideas and questions are asked. Then everyone votes for their top 3 favorite projects, points are tallied, and all of the donation money collected at the event will be awarded to the one winning project. This is their 13th Soup event. So far, previous Sunday Soup events have raised more than $3,600 in total. But the overall goal of Sunday Soup isn’t just to provide financial funding, it is also about bringing different people together to find support and stimulate new projects.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Submit your idea to present at Sunday Soup! Sugar City is seeking any creative community-based idea, initiative, or project. The ideal Sunday Soup project is something that uses your creativity to help make Buffalo a stronger community. Sunday Soup is designed for people or groups who are not 501(c)3 non-profit or fiscally sponsored and are not eligible for traditional grants or loan assistance. Please send a short proposal outlining your idea to and we will follow up with additional information. The submission deadline is October 28th at 10 PM!

Monday, November 4

Dawn Weleski of Conflict Kitchen Lecture

Center for the Arts, North Campus

112 Screening Room

6:30 to 8pm

Dawn Weleski’s practice administers a political stress test, antagonizing routine cultural behavior by re-purposing underground brawls, revolutionary protests, and political offices as transformative social stages. Weleski’s on-going project with collaborator Jon Rubin, Conflict Kitchen, a take out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the U.S. government is in conflict, has been covered in over 400 international media and news outlets worldwide, including The New York Times, Al Jazeera, NPR: All Things Considered, and BBC News.