Chris Hill is a media curator, artist and educator, and is currently teaching and serving as Associate Dean in the Film/Video School at California Institute for the Arts.
Hill taught at FaVU (Brno) in the mid-1990s, and published interviews with individuals involved in Czech parallel culture before 1989 (Walking Trips in Czech Lands, 1996). She has curated an extensive video art and alternative media collection Surveying the First Decade (1996) that has been distributed to museums and universities internationally by the Video Data Bank. Her recent publications and media work have investigated documentary media on the U.S. incarceration crisis, work of contemporary artist that re-embodies experimental film and grassroots video projects of the early 1970s, tactical media initiatives in response to an educational community emergency, and beekeeping.
Hill is currently involved in the emergent project Vasulka Kitchen in Brno. She is also engaged in beekeeping, and in Czech Republic, Hill will create the project Learning from the Bees—Navigating a Personal Archive (working title), structured around the documentation of a 20 year old personal archive of diverse narrative fragments that includes:
1) Interviews (a focused exchange that is situated culturally and historically). Excerpts from interviews conducted with (proposed) two individuals involved in the parallel culture pre-1989 in the Czech Republic (see the web project Walking Trips in Czech Lands) and interviewed again in 2019; other unpublished interviews from mid-90s; and, from 2018-19, a range of contemporary Czech cultural participants, including beekeepers and apitherapists.
2) Postcards (private messages that participate in public space). Postcards often reflect on the local while simultaneously referencing travel; they inevitably participate in distribution via established networks, and may be re-distributed through idiosyncratic “archives” like second-hand shops. Postcards used will include those found in the CR in the mid-1990s and additionally ones that will be created with images/messages that comment on beekeeping (husbandry of a social insect, cultivated in central Europe and transported to the North America by European immigrants).
Interview and postcards exchanges will further map cultural appropriations between central Europe and the U.S. (e.g., reflections on Czech Indian/cowboy communities pre-1989). The final project will be a book. In the book the diverse narrative fragments will be laid out as two separate but parallel streams (interviews, postcards), inviting reading across these elements when situated together on the page. The exercising of this media curator’s archive, examined across the distances of time/geography, seeks to articulate a sense of health through cultural practice or culture as health.
The Agosto Foundation artist-in-residency program is supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture.