Newsletter Issue:
Spring 2024

A Toast to a Toast

Fig 1. Dr. Simonetta Moro and Dr. George Smith. Photo credit: Chris Andrew.

by Dr. Keren Moscovitch, PhD 2020

Artist-philosophers united for a weekend of joyful gratitude and loving celebration in honor of the largest cohort of graduates in IDSVA’s history, and the historic retirement of founder and president Dr. George Smith. Friday afternoon’s sweet and airy luncheon amongst good friends gave way to an event parallel in its intimacy yet far divergent in its psychical temperature. The Alumni Association elevated the already towering event space at the Wyndham Garden Chinatown in New York City, with its spacious patio overlooking the city, into a sunset forum for experiencing New Philosophy as a lived practice. From the opening welcome toast in which co-host-curators Jeca Rodríguez-Colón and Gabriel Reed traded quips and comic breadcrumbs as deftly as any Academy Awards hosts, the evening felt festive, and simultaneously irreverent and elegiac. A Toast to an Ethos of Care called forth the IDSVA community to contemplate humor, violence, politics, ontology — all through the lens of poetics: the voice of the artist-philosopher.

Alumni, students and professors all participated in a deconstruction of what externally may have appeared to be a philosophy symposium — “deconstructed” in the Derridean or Nietzchian sense of constructing a genealogy to trace the emergence of care in art and philosophy. Gabriel Reed’s “Burnt Toast” recalled his own philosophical research on the ceramic imagination operating through the prism of poetics. Lard Kouri electrified the room with purpose via a critical examination of the erasure and ongoing cyclical resurrection of a radical piece of ecological art. Rikeisha Metzger’s hopeful cheer performance brought us to our feet. Those who stayed until the quiet end were treated to a moment of vulnerability by our mentor George Smith, who recited a poem he wrote as a budding nineteen-year-old artist-philosopher. While such instances are not rare at IDSVA, each one’s appearance still carries with it an air of philosophical magic through which the division of art and philosophy disappear completely, even if just for an instant.

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