April 10-15, 2018
University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

Current Conversations

Designing for Extremes

Now it’s time to talk. Join us for daily conversations with festival artists at the MATCH Gallery. Artist Carrie Schneider pairs the artists of CounterCurrent17 with experts from wide ranging disciplines at the University of Houston to discuss how their respective practices are reflected in the themes of the 2017 festival.

Date / Time / Site(s)
About The Project

Discussion / 60 Minutes
Designing for Extremes
How to find light in hostile environments


Dr. Olga Bannova
Professor, UH Cullen College of Engineering, Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture
Professor Bannova, an alumna of the University of Houston, conducts research and design studies that address a variety of topics, including: planning analyses for a broad range of space vehicles, habitats and systems; inflatable hydroponics laboratory and logistic modules; special design influences and requirements for different gravity conditions in space; and habitat concepts for extreme environments on Earth. She carries many years of professional architectural practice in Moscow (office, healthcare and industrial buildings) as well as research and teaching experience at the University of Houston. Her doctoral studies Designing for Extremes: A methodological approach to planning in Arctic regions addressed urgent needs and concerns of large-scale developments in the Arctic. Olga authored dozens of publications and a book Space Architecture Education for Engineers and Architects: Designing and Planning Beyond Earth.

Harry Gamboa Jr.
Festival Artist, llusions of Urbanscape
Harry Gamboa Jr. is an artist, writer, and educator. Often with a strong dose of subversive humor, Gamboa’s woks are publically staged narratives performed for still photography, video and an immediate live audience. Most of the works are never announced beforehand nor advertised in any way and are usually presented via scholarly publications, mass media, the internet, and word-of-mouth. In this new performance-lecture, Gamboa looks at the notion of myth in contemporary society with images and videos of his work. For more than forty years, his artistic focus has been aimed at the Los Angeles “urbanscape” with its subtle layering of codes, rules, and visual markers that contribute to making a sophisticated living space for millions of people. He discusses the various creations that he’s directed with his current performance troupe, Virtual Vérité, and earlier works (1970s and 1980s) with Asco, the young and pioneering group of Chicano artists who produced new methods of art making in bold and public ways.

Susan Rogers
Associate Professor, UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design; Director of the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC)
Susan Rogers is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston and the Director of the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC). Susan Rogers is a designer, educator, activist, and strategist. Her work is based on the disciplinary foundations of architecture and city planning with an expanded lens to directly engage questions of justice and equity. She is inspired by and often aims to further the infrastructure for Houstonian’s everyday interventions in neoliberal space.

Abir Saksouk
Festival Artist (Dictaphone Group), Camp Pause
Abir Saksouk is an architect and urbanist. She has been involved in several research projects in Lebanon, including the history of informal suburbs, the social production of shared spaces in the city- especially state unsanctioned public generated public spaces- and more recently housing rights in Beirut. She is interested in exploring how community engagement could be employed in planning and actively shaping the future of cities. She is also co-founder of Public Works Studio. For the video installation Camp Pause, Saksouk and collaborator Tania El Khoury worked with four residents of the Rashidieh Refugee Camp located on the coast of Lebanon, filming their everyday routes from their homes to the sea, each participant leading the way to the final scene in which they choose a spot on the seashore. Along the way, they weave simultaneous narratives about the history of the land, their arrival, the struggle to build, and everyday life in a camp situated away from the city, bordered by agricultural fields and the sea.


Across disciplines but along parallel lines of inquiry, Current Conversations open up CounterCurrent projects to a range of perspectives – including yours.

Artist Carrie Schneider organizes a series of public conversations between CounterCurrent festival artists and University of Houston faculty experts from a range of disciplines.

Each hour-long, lunchtime talk kicks off with a rapid-fire PechaKucha followed by a relay of questions and answers among panelists, ending with an audience Q&A.

CounterCurrent festival artists across various artistic disciplines converse with experts from wide ranging disciplines at the University of Houston, including faculty experts from the Colleges of Architecture, Engineering, Business, Marketing, Technology, and Psychology, as well as the Law Center and Facilities Management Department.

Join us for other Current Conversations to explore common threads throughout the festival including: Designing for Extremes , Retelling the Taken for Granted, and Infrastructure For Impossible Movement.

About The Artist

Carrie Schneider is an artist interested in collapsing moments across time and the ability of people to reimagine their space. Her projects include Hear Our Houston (2011), a hub of public generated audio walking tours, Care House (2012), an installation in the house she grew up in considering the roles of caregiving/caretaking and the bodies of mother/home and Sunblossom Residency (2009-2015). Schneider co-organizes Charge, a convening at Art League Houston of local and national presenters to platform artist-led models and to consider artists’ work in the larger economy.