Wednesday, April 10 @ 5 – 6:15p
2650 Humanities Building 2nd Floor, 455 N Park St

Monica Haller works on long-term collaborations with individuals and small groups, often using photography, video and writing. Her artistic practice is rooted in social justice concerns and attempts to mobilize information by amplifying the materials and technologies that her collaborators have turned to along the way. Drawing from the experiences of the individuals and communities with whom she works, Monica reactivates their personal histories, and in so doing, hopes to provoke critical dialogue around them and their larger social contexts.

As artist, my role changes depending on the particular collaboration and the work I want to achieve within it. In some projects I make formal images meant for the gallery, using a 4 X 5 view camera for example. Other times I don’t make pictures at all, but instead act as an investigator, editor and facilitator. But always, by sustaining long term interactions and flexible roles, my collaborators and I have the opportunity to be thorough in our investigations together. I focus on individual details to address larger issues that are political, psychological and civic in nature.

My academic background is in Peace and Conflict Studies (the study of philosophies of violence and non-violence). In practice, I worked with people making transitions from violent situations, to less violent situations. I did this nationally and internationally. For example, I did field research about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and worked with survivors of domestic violence in the United States. I came to visual art motivated to create a physical space for the voices of the people with whom I worked and myself. Also importantly, art making was a place where I could conduct more philosophical and critically rigorous inquiries about the situations in which my collaborators and I found ourselves.

Monica has a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies, an MFA in Visual Studies and has received fellowships from foundations including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and the Jerome Foundation. She has exhibited in the Twin Cities, including The Soap Factory, Soo Visual Art Center, Intermedia Arts, and nationally at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.) and the Washington Street Art Center (Cambridge, Mass.). She has lectured, taught courses and workshops at various institutions including Macalester College, the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the Notre Dame Peace Conference.