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Training: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher Training Program, Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical School, January through September, 2015

During the past year I completed the three-part intensive teacher-training program in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical School, the same program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, physician and author of Full Catastrophe Living. This training applies both to my creative practice and my teaching. The courses included: “9-Day Practicum,” Center for Mindfulness, Norwood, MA, January 4-13, 2015; “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine,” Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck, NY, June 5-12, 2015; and “Teacher Development Intensive,” Center for Mindfulness, Shrewsbury, MA, August 26 – September 2, 2015.

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Artist talk/panel discussion: “Beyond the Modernist Understanding of Consciousness,” Institute for Advanced Study, UMN, February 26, 2015

As a panelist on this forum, sponsored by the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World (CSPW) and the Center for Cognitive Sciences (CCS), and hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), I presented my fMRI drawings and shared my views about mind/body connections, the impact of meditation, emotion, and cognitive neuroscience on our understanding of mind and brain, and ways we might bring together scientific and humanities-based perspectives on the “problem” of consciousness. You can view the entire forum here (my talk begins at 36:30).

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Published: “Words and Music: Interview with Christian Marclay,” in ON&BY Christian Marclay, August 2014

My interview with Swiss/American artist Christian Marclay, first published in New Art Examiner, was reprinted in this new collection of writings about and by the artist, On&By Christian Marclay, edited by Jean-Pierre Criqui, published by Whitechapel Gallery/The MIT Press (London, UK/Cambridge, Massachusetts), August 2014.

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Exhibition/Event: “Conversation Portraits: For the One Who…,” The Soap Factory, May 17  to December 31, 2014

For seven dates during the 2014 season I will be performing the relational participatory work Conversation Portraits: For the One Who… at The Soap Factory in Minneapolis. During each event I interview participants one-on-one and then write an impromptu biographical text-poem for them on the spot, using a 1960s manual typewriter. The last performance session was October 10, 2014. We are currently working on an artist book based on the series to be published in 2015. See the project page for more information.

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Exhibition: “Feeling Tone,” The Bedfellows Club, April 3 to May 1, 2104

Curated by artist Jess Hirsch, “Feeling Tone” is the latest iteration of  The Bedfellows Club, a peripatetic exhibition platform this time located in Oakland, California.

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Artist talk: “Working Creatively with MRI Data,” DASH Panel, UMN, April 15, 2014

Hosted by the University Libraries Digital Arts Sciences + Humanities (DASH), this panel on Data Arts presents three artists/artist groups that work with various forms of digital data. I discuss recent drawings from a cognitive neuroscience collaboration, and colleagues discuss their work with global warming data and glitch art. You can view the talk online; my presentation begins at 38:38 minutes.

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Interview: Feature segment on MN Originals, Twin Cities Public Television, April 4, 2014

Check out the new segment about my artwork produced for tpt’s cultural show MN Originals. I discuss my creative practice and share three recent projects, filmed at my studio, the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

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Artist workshop: Metta Meditation at the Meta Shanty, White Bear Lake, MN, February 23, 2014, 1-2:30pm

Next Sunday afternoon I’ll be leading two sessions of metta or loving kindness meditation at the Meta Shanty, part of this winter’s Art Shanty Projects. Conceived as a space for metaphysical healing and decompression, Meta Shanty is housed inside a geodesic dome lined with slabs of Himalayan pink salt. It is organized by artists Jess Hirsch, Stefanie Motta, Brett Smith, Eamonn McLain, Terese Elhardt, and Sam Hoolihan. Come share some love out on the frozen ice; no experience necessary. directions

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Accepted: Two recent maps accepted for distribution at Printed Matter, Inc., New York, NY, February 14, 2014

Artist book store Printed Matter just accepted my two most recent maps for distribution. Once they are in stock, Everett Ruess, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, 2013, and Grand Canyon Suicide Map/Metta Mediation, Grand Canyon National Park, 2012 will be available for purchase. Thank you Printed Matter for continuing to support artist publications and letting us share our work with others.

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Interview: “Jan Estep In and As Art,” The Believer Logger, January 21, 2014

Writer Scott F. Parker interviewed me for The Believer Magazine’s online blog. We talk about art and philosophy, my relationship to Wittgenstein and language, the influence of Buddhism on my practice, neuroimagery, and how to deal with paradox and contradiction. Read it online here.


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Artist talk: “Art, Emotion, Mind: What can brain scans tells us about being human?” Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota, January 24, 2014

For the MCPS Annual Science Studies Symposium lecture I’ll describe my participation in Thinking Portraits: Mind, Body, Language, an art and neuroscience collaboration on the UMN campus, and share a new series of drawings based on anatomical images of my brain, collected as a test subject in the group’s fMRI study. (One of the drawings is shown on the right above.) For an abstract of the talk visit the MCPS website. Nicholson Hall, UMN, 3:35-5pm.

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Exhibition: “Sacred,” Minneapolis Institute of Arts, August 31, 2013 to July 31, 2014

Curator Chris Atkins asked me to create a new work for the MIA’s multi-gallery exhibition themed on the sacred. Are you there, Guanyin? features an eleventh-century Chinese sculpture from the MIA collection, reinstalled with a soundscape of 16 local voices reciting phrases adapted from traditional Buddhist meditations on compassion and loving kindness. I created a poster to accompany the exhibit, so please stop by for a copy. A series of public programs called Sacred Salon begins in January and runs through April 2014; I’ll be giving a workshop “The Power of Gratitude” on Saturday, March 8, 3pm.

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Exhibition: “Faculty Exhibition,” Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, October 22 to December 14, 2013

Celebrating ten years since opening the Regis Center for Art, this exhibition includes two new works: the off-set printed map, Finding Everett Ruess, Davis Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah and the video Again and Again. Come visit the gallery for a free copy of the map.

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Exhibition/Event: “The Floating Library,” Cedar Lake, Minneapolis, August 10 to 11, 2013

The Floating Library” is a project by artist Sarah Peters, presenting 70 books by 50 artists available for check-out from a paddle- or swim-up floating library on Cedar Lake, Minneapolis. I was very happy thinking of folks reading my maps and artist books sitting atop their kayaks and canoes, drifting on the waters. Look for a second, expanded iteration of the library next summer.

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Exhibition: “PATHS: Charting, Navigating, and Bridging,” curated by Alastair Noble, Simons Center Art Gallery, Stony Brook University, May 6 to June 28, 2013

The diverse artists chosen for this exhibition explore various pathways of connection. Some employ intuitive physical approaches while others have a scientific or mathematical background in devising alternative networks. Featuring the works of Ed Batcheller, Michael Bensen, Pat Collins, Jan Estep, Brian Evans, Paul Fabozzi, Cris Gianakos, Eve Andrée Laramée, W. Bradford Paley, Tim Robinson, Scott Scherk, Michelle Stuart, and Jenifer Wightman. Opening reception is Tuesday, May 14, 5pm.

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Published: Monica Manolescu and Chantal Bax, “Jan Estep, ‘Beneath the Surface (of Language)’ and ‘Searching for Ludwig Wittgenstein,’” Transatlantica 2/2012, June 18, 2013.

The issue of the French American studies journal Transatlantica on “Cartographies de l’Amerique” has come out, featuring two of my maps, a text about Searching for Ludwig Wittgenstein written by Chantal Bax, and a very short introduction to Beneath the surface (of language), written by Monica Manolescu. The issue was edited by Manolescu and Olivier Brossard.

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Published: Finding Everett Ruess, Davis Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, April 2013

My fourth print map describes the disappearance of young artist and naturalist Everett Ruess, who in 1934, at the age of 21, walked off into Davis Gulch and was never seen again. I write about his life and track one possible route down into the gulch. See publication page for more detail.

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Published: The Art of Walking: A Field Guide, edited by David Evans, Blackdog Publishing, London, England, March 2013

My Wittgenstein map is included in a new book by David Evans. The Art Of Walking: A Field Guide is the first comprehensive survey of walking as a central tactic, strategy or theme in contemporary art. An introductory essay identifies breaks and continuities between walking artists now and the early and mid-twentieth century. Subsequent sections deal in depth with recent art engaging with different types of walkers including pilgrims, peripatetic writers and philosophers, dandies, drifters, marchers, stalkers, tour guides, and dog walkers. Contributors include Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Francis Alÿs, And While London Burns, Keith Arnatt, Franko B, David Bate, Dara Birnbaum, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Janet Cardiff, Marcus Coates, Jeremy Deller, Tim Edgar, Christian Edwardes, Jan Estep, Simon Faithfull, Alec Finlay, Hamish Fulton, Regina José Galindo, Al Gebra, Mona Hatoum, Akira Kanayama, Oleg Kulik, Peter Liversidge, Long March Project, Richard Long, Melanie Manchot, Conor McGarrigle, Bruce Nauman, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Ingrid Pollard, Simon Pope, Chloé Regan, Sophy Rickett, Fiona Robinson, Matthias Sperling and Siobhan Davies Studios, Susan Stockwell, Krzysztof Wodiczko, and Catherine Yass.

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Exhibition: “Text,” Prove Gallery, Duluth, Minnesota, March 8 to March 23, 2013

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Published: “Semblance of Fact,” Triple Canopy, Issue 17, November 26, 2012

Triple Canopy just published a new essay I wrote about fMRI brain scan imagery and their relationship to photography, “Semblance of Fact: How brain scans are presented and consumed as photographs.” I use Roland Barthes’s ideas to analyze how neuroimages are not indexical even though they appear photographic, and I also focus a bit on the use of such images in the courtrooms and the issue of free will. Part of the research comes out of my ongoing collaboration with cognitive neuroscientists on the UMN campus, and it includes fMRI images of my brain taken while I was engaging in various semantic tasks during pilot runs for our study.

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Commission: Conversation Portraits: For the One Who…, WAM Bash, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, October 27, 2012

I was one of three artists commissioned to create an interactive artwork for the WAM annual fundraising event. Responding to ideas of “real” and “portraiture,” I wrote biographical text poems for individual viewers, created with a 1960s Royal manual typewriter. See project page for more details.

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Exhibition: “Shadows Traces Undercurrents.” Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, October 16 to November 17, 2012

An international group exhibition mapping unseen and unacknowledged pasts that continue to structure present-day social relations. The show includes Grand Canyon Suicide Map, 2011, and a new related take-away publication, Grand Canyon Suicide Map/Metta Meditation, Grand Canyon National Park, 2012. Curated by Christine Baeumler and Joyce Lyon, UMN professors and members of the Mapping Spectral Traces creative research collective.

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Published: “Who’s Afraid of Conceptual Art?” Quodlibetica, Constellation 21, September 2012

Originally published in April 2010, and reprinted here in the journal’s “best of” issue, this essay explores why artists and viewers resist conceptual art, laying much of the blame on narrow expectations about what art should do and look like. Often the resistance is fueled by an assumed schism between feeling and thinking, body and mind, that prevents people from perceiving conceptually motivated work. Who’s Afraid of Conceptual Art? (Image by Keith Arnatt, Trouser Word Piece, 1972.)

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Commission: I Love You, McKnight Foundation 30th Anniversary of the Artist Fellowship Program, Bottling House, Minneapolis, June 16, 2012

Along with five other former fellows I was commissioned to create a new piece for the McKnight Foundation’s 30th Anniversary event. Given the focus on fellowship and creativity, I took it as an opportunity to make a sound installation about love. See the project page for more details.

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Meet my dog Juniper

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Juniper is a Goldendoodle, which is half golden retriever, half standard poodle.

see more pictures of Juniper