Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

Organized by Fritz Haeg

A ‘seminary’ is a piece of ground where seeds are sown for later transplantation. It is an environment in which something is propagated, from which something originates. The Los Angeles Seminary for Embodied and Civic Arts takes back this secular and potentially radical meaning. We also take back the word ‘radical’ – going back to the roots. We take back the word ‘sensual’ – treating all of the senses as sources of pleasure but also intelligence. We take back the word ‘embodied’ – to give a body to a spirit. We take back the word ‘civic’ – the activities of people in relation to their local area.

This summer around 10 to 14 of us gather for 12 hours a day, one day a week, for 12 weeks at my home/campus – featuring a resource library, subterranean lounge, workshop garage, wild food gardens, a communal kitchen, picnic tables, lots of little nooks and two geodesic domes – turning inward for an exploration of the embodied arts, turning to each other as a community of fellow artists interested in responding to the world around us, turning outward to pay attention to the city we live in, and ultimately ‘inseminating’ Los Angeles with our civic arts.

We spend the first few hours of each day in non-verbal moving and stretching; taking turns cooking breakfasts and lunches for each other from the garden and farmer’s market; inviting a few luminary experts, artists, and heroes each week to host, feed, and engage over long outdoor lunches of focused dialog (the shared meal, often considered a recreational ‘break,’ is in fact the focus of our day); followed by leisurely afternoons together and apart; giving the group the time it needs for everything from solitary retreat, reflection, play and work to communal activities, discussions, presentations, and performances. My dream moments would find us spread around the grounds, alone and in small groups, engrossed in our activities, and ringing a bell to come together as needed.

Arguing, baking, bathing, building, canning, carving, cleaning, collecting, composting, constructing, conversing, cooking, crafting, crocheting, cultivating, dancing, debating, digging, discussing, drawing, dyeing, eating, exercising, gardening, harvesting, hiking, installing, knitting, listening, marching, moving, napping, occupying, painting, parading, performing, playing, planning, planting, pontificating, protesting, reading, retreating, running, sculpting, sewing, singing, sitting, sketching, skill-sharing, sowing, speechifying, stretching, sunning, talking, walking, washing, weaving, weeding, whittling, writing…

Perhaps we start the summer – and in turn each day – focused inward, then out to the group, then beyond to the city, and inevitably considering the global implications. Gradually we discover what we want to feel, hear, see, smell, taste, touch, and make. Eventually we develop projects, events, initiatives, installations, performances, propositions, schemes for the city. We take them to the streets, sidewalks, yards, buildings, lots, trees, fields, hills, rivers, shores, skies of L.A.


Jeanne van Heeswijk, Laurie Peake, Owen Griffiths, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Anne Bray, Mark Allen, A.L. Steiner, Kimberli Meyer, Lauren Mackler, Benjamin Ball, Julia Meltzer, Stuart Comer, David Wilson, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Alice Konitz, Irene Tsatsos, Colleen Jaurretche and David Kipen (Libros Schmibros), Emi Fontana, Robby Herbst, John Burtle, Jen Delos Reyes, Zackary Drucker, Rhys Ernst, Bettina Hubby, Rosten Woo, Hedi El Kholti, Alison Hirsch, Maya Gingery, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Alice Waters, Peter Sellars, Christina Kim, Sean Starowitz, Rita Gonzalez, Felicia Filer, Liz Glynn, Luke Fischbeck, Sarah Rara , Matt Merkel Hess, Charles Gaines, Gere Kavanaugh, and Barbara Bestor.