Mackenzie Somers, History of Art, BMC ’20

Museum Studies Fieldwork Seminar (Prof. Scott)

Faculty Adviser: Monique Scott

Field Site: The Kitchen

Field Supervisor: Rayna Holmes

Fieldwork Description:

In my final semester in the Bi-co, the fieldwork seminar enabled me to gain valuable archival and curatorial experience as I transition out of college and into the workforce. I commuted to Manhattan each week to work with The Kitchen, a non-profit art space which supports experimental art, video, music, dance, performance, film, and literature. During my time there, I mined the archives for website content, helped prepare for upcoming events, worked the front desk of an off-site exhibition, conducted an artist interview, and wrote an essay for the blog. Even though we had to adjust when COVID-19 closures sent everyone into social distancing, I feel that I learned a great deal both on and off-site. The sense of community cultivated amongst participants in the fieldwork seminar class helped me to reflect on my experience, to learn about other institutions, and to feel supported amidst the semester’s challenges.

Final Presentation:

Macks Kitchen Prez (1) (4)

Please click here to access a PDF version of the presentation.

5 thoughts on “Mackenzie Somers, History of Art, BMC ’20

  1. Nell Anderson

    Hi Mack,

    This is the first time I actually got to read your interview of the Vomitorium artists! It is fascinating! The questions you asked really elicited great responses. I was able to form a basic understanding of the installation and am intrigued by the focus on Metatheater.

    I also really liked your slide presentation about The Kitchen, particularly your inclusion of its historical background. In addition, photography in your presentation and the blog interview is wonderful!

    I am so glad I got a chance to know you through your two Praxis courses.

  2. Lisa Armstrong

    I am impressed by your weekly dedication to supporting such a fantastic non-profit. Your collaboration and contribution to telling the stories of artists at The Kitchen support the organization’s rich history and commitment to the community.

  3. Tessa

    Hey Mack,

    CONGRATULATIONS on finishing strong! The articles you’ve written are super interesting, and such a *fantastic* opportunity (you’re published, aah!) Balancing that rigor of writing on top of thesis work is a huge accomplishment and you should be super proud! Definitely worth sending to Professor King, Carrie, and others in the HART dept, I know they’d be proud too. 🙂


  4. Liv Raddatz Post author

    Hi Mackenzie,
    I’ve been really curious about your experience at The Kitchen and very much appreciate that you put together such an informative presentation. I particularly enjoyed reading about your work with the video installation, Vomitorium. Your interview with the artists clearly reflects excellent communication skills and your critical engagement with their art form. I was quite intrigued by one of the artists’ statements in the beginning of the interview that seems so relevant in times of Covid. Gabe Rubin explained that “This project, in particular, is a lot about preserving emotional closeness while being physically distant”. Since you had a chance to support and see Vomitorium at The Kirche in your fieldwork, I’m curious if you thought that their installation has served as an inspiration to those who who saw it during this time of physical social distancing.

    Travelling weekly to Manhattan for Praxis fieldwork certainly shows how passionate you were about interning at The Kitchen and it sounds like it was very much worth it.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Mack Somers

    Hello Liv! Thank you for your interest. And what a great question!

    I never thought of the piece through the context of social distancing but you definitely make an excellent point. Characters in Vomitorium rarely share a screen yet they manage to communicate from across separate channels… but often ineffectively. In each interaction there is a tension between connection and isolation. The tragicomic mode doesn’t leave much room for “inspiration” per se— for me Vomitorium’s dark humor prevents even uplifting moments from feeling too hopeful— but I do think that Felix and Gabe capture some of the anxious energy that I have been feeling in quarantine. I’m so glad you brought this up. I’ll have to think further about other ways that the film relates to the pandemic – I’m thinking about identity performance online, surveillance, self-love, etc.

    Thank you for your excellent leadership of the Praxis program. Both Praxis seminars that I participated during my 4 years shaped my interests, promoted my growth, and expanded my network of magnificent friends and mentors.

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