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

Current Conversations

Retelling the Taken for Granted

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
Retelling the Taken for Granted
How to turn a story inside out


Suzanne Bocanegra
Festival Artist, Farmhouse/Whorehouse
Suzanne Bocanegra’s artist lecture series uses a traditional artist slide presentation as a theatrical device. Part memoir, part cultural essay, part art history lecture – these pieces use an actor to deliver the lecture, like live sculpture, animated by her text.
Farmhouse/Whorehouse considers the lives of Bocanegra’s grandparents on a small farm in La Grange, Texas and the brothel across the road- the Chicken Ranch, better known as “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Using text, songs, film, and projections, Bocanegra and actress Lili Taylor, with special guests, tell a rambling story examining the idyllic place the rural world occupies in our urban imagination as well as the invention of the pastoral in art, contemporary back to the land movements, and utopian communities throughout history. Her other recent work involves large-scale performance and installation that translates two-dimensional information, images, and ideas into three-dimensional scenarios for staging, movement, ballet, and music.

Greg Dean
Festival Artist (The Catastrophic Theatre), Snow White
Greg Dean is an actor, director, and designer in Houston, TX. He has worked with The Catastrophic Theatre, the Hune Company, 14 Pews, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre, Stagger Lee Presents, Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company, the Houston Shakespeare Festival, the Classical Theatre Company, Horsehead Theater, the Alley Theatre, the West-Mon Repertory Theater, the Urban Theatre Project, and Infernal Bridegroom Productions. The world premiere production of Snow White is a theatrical adaptation of the groundbreaking, experimental novel by the iconic, postmodern novelist, poet, and early faculty member of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, the late Donald Barthelme. First adapted for the stage by Barthelme but never before produced, The Catastrophic Theatre gained access to Barthelme’s original manuscript, melded with Dean’s own adaptation in the works for two decades, to fashion a theatrical vision of their own: an inverted version of the fairy tale which recast to be about “Seven guys who feel they’re being treated unfairly because the woman in their life no longer wants to be treated as an object / Seven guys who faced with the loss of privilege feel oppressed.”

Dr. Erica Fletcher
Visiting Scholar, UH Honors College
Erica Hua Fletcher is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Houston Honors College and serves as Program Director for Honors in Community Health, an organization for students interested in research, advocacy, and education in partnership with local community health organizations. She also teaches introductory courses in cultural anthropology and medical humanities. Her dissertation Mad Together in Technogenic Times: A Multi-Sited Ethnography of The Icarus Project details her time conducting ethnographic fieldwork in North Carolina, New York, and online. With support from the Jeane B. Kempner Fellowship, she studied the role of social media in forming grassroots communities and spreading alternative languages to discuss diverse mental states. Her research interests include mad studies, feminist science and technology studies, community-based participatory research practices, critical ethnography, and the history of medicine in relation to the field of psychiatry.

Dr. Assata Richards
Founding Director, Sankofa Research Institute and Emancipation Economic Development Council
Assata Richards is a native of Houston, TX who earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Houston, and her Master’s and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in Sociology with a concentration on political and community participation, research methods and mass incarceration. After serving as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her community in Houston, TX, to work with Project Row Houses, a non-profit arts organization established by African-American artists and community activists in Houston’s historic Third Ward. As a scholar and community organizer, she is fulfilling her lifelong commitment to social change and justice. She is an adjunct professor in the department of sociology at the University of Houston and was a candidate for Houston City Council in the recent 2013 municipal elections. Most recently, Assata is the founding director of the Sankofa Research Institute, which she is a community-based nonprofit with the mission to create knowledge to build community. She worked with the Emancipation Economic Development Council (EEDC), a collaborative of organized, informed and engaged faith-based organizations, nonprofits, community development corporations, businesses, local government entities and other stakeholders from the community, whose mission is to inspire hope and contribute to the revitalization and preservation of the Third Ward, whose vision is a resilient, dynamic, and economically prosperous community where people live, work and thrive in a historically and culturally rich African-American neighborhood.


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.