X-TRA Forum #3: Something About Feet, A life conversation between Simone Forti & Dorit Cypis

This is the third X-TRA Forum, a series of programs using the 20-year archive of contemporary art quarterly X-TRA as a springboard. In 2004, X-TRA printed a conversation between Dorit and Simone, titled “Between the Conceptual and the Vibrational”. X-TRA is honored to bring the two back together to share another part of their ongoing conversation.

“We first met in the early 1970’s in Halifax, at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where Simone was creating her book Handbook in Motion and Dorit was an undergrad student. After many years we re-met in Los Angeles, 1999, when we both returned to LA to assist our aging mothers, Simone from Vermont, Dorit from Minneapolis. We have been close ever since, meeting regularly to talk, eat and walk together, always ending up spinning deep reflection, observation and story telling. It’s always a pleasure. We will meet once again with you, to carry on our labyrinthian journey, this time starting with our feet.”
—Dorit Cypis and Simone Forti

Dorit Cypis, artist, educator, mediator and social activator, has explored themes of history, identity, and social relations presented in diverse cultural contexts nationally and internationally. Moving fluidly between the studio and the street, Cypis’ career covers a varied landscape including performance, photography, immersive media installation and social practice. Her practice includes presentations at Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Musee d’Art Contemporaire/Montreal, San Francisco Museum of Art, Orange County Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; curriculum development and teaching at colleges/universities; civic programs that build generative relations across cultural differences; and publication on identity and social relations. In 1992 Dorit founded Kulture Klub Collaborative, networking support for artists and home-less youth bridging survival and inspiration, building self-knowledge and creative citizenship. With a Masters of Dispute Resolution, 2005, Dorit works with cultural, civic and educational organizations as a Communications Consultant and Dialogue Facilitator, and in 2007 was a founding member of Mediators Beyond Borders International. She was awarded a Guggenheim in 2014. New projects include Peoples Lab, and The Sighted See the Surface. At the core of her work is a guiding question, “who are we to each other?”

Simone Forti is a dancer, artist and writer based in Los Angeles. Her early “Dance Constructions” were influential in the reinventing of dance that took place in New York in the 1960s and 70s. Over the years Forti has developed movement vocabularies based on studies of animals movements, of the dynamics of circling, and of the synergy between moving and speaking as in her improvisational “News Animations”. Forti has performed internationally at venues including the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which also features some of her work in its permanent collection. Forti’s book Handbook in Motion was published in 1974 by the Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her book Oh, Tongue was edited and published by Fred Dewey for Beyond Baroque Books, in 2003. Forti’s new book, The Bear in The Mirror, is published jointly by Koenig Books, London & Vleeshal, Middelburg. Forti is proud that in 2011 she received the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts. She is represented by The Box LA Gallery.

The X-TRA Forums are made possible with additional support from Pasadena Art Alliance, Isambard Kingdom Brunel Society of North America, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Image: Dorit Cypis, Stand in My Shoes, 2018. Archival inkjet.