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Survival Creativity, artist talk by Carrie Schneider

Carrie Schneider and Alex Tu,  The Human Tour,  2013. Photograph by Lillie Monstrum.

Carrie Schneider and Alex Tu, The Human Tour, 2013. Photograph by Lillie Monstrum.

Survival Creativity, artist talk by Carrie Schneider

RESCHEDULED: Saturday, May 13, 1:30 - 3:30 PM

As part of Sick Time Sleepy Time, Crip Time satellite programs, Houston-based artist Carrie Schneider is acting as a field reporter and advisor to the artists participating in Warp and Weft of Care in Texas. She will give an artist’s talk at EFA that draws from her exchange with these artists and own research, which will be followed by a group dialogue.

Warp and Weft of Care’s focus on supporting the health and wellbeing of communities through creative acts runs parallel to Schneider’s ongoing work and current research. As Project Row Houses and University of Houston College of the Arts 2017 Fellow, she is investigating the concept of “survival creativity.” By looking at acts of personal creativity that were made to move through hardships, particularly ones that were scaled up to also produce public catharsis, she suggests how intimate rituals might add to a vocabulary of collective ceremony. Schneider proposes that there are differences between the tactics and urgencies behind creative practices across degrees of hostile environments (such as a far right state like Texas) by citing examples from her work with communities, artists in Houston, and the Warp and Weft of Care programs. Schneider will share strategies of care and creativity formed in the belly of the beast—a city shaped by a deregulated, hyper-capitalist extractive economy in a state dominated by racist and misogynist politics. Attendees will also be asked to share their own examples from difficult contexts in breakout groups.

Schneider’s inquiry into the concept of “survival creativity” aims to amend the adage that “the greatest creativity comes from the most dire circumstances” by pointing out that it overlooks that certain resources—time, systems of support, witnesses—are necessary for this to occur. In Survival Creativity, Schneider will share some of the accounts she’s collected from individuals via interviews and surveys on what it’s taken for them to turn a traumatic experience into a creative expression, and then, to go one step further, for those personal coping strategies to get shared and scaled up into forms of collective relief. From there, she asks how one might transform a process of creating that was formed in order to survive under crisis into one that is driven by pleasure.


Carrie Schneider (Houston, Texas) is an artist interested in the collapse of moments across time and the ability of people to re-imagine their space. Informed by a family history that tracks intimately with the oil industry, Schneider’s projects often collage architectural and affectual artifacts of boom and bust cycles. Her projects include Hear Our Houston (2011), a collection of public generated audio walking tours in the world’s largest petrochemical hub; Care House (2012), an installation in the house she grew up in that considered the roles of caregiving/caretaking and the bodies of mother/home through the medical-industrial experience of cancer; and Sunblossom Residency (2009-2015), a skill exchange between artists and middle school students who are refugees resettled in Houston.

She is currently Project Row Houses and University of Houston College of the Arts 2017 Fellow. Her work has been featured in Houston by the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Project Row Houses, Diverseworks, Alabama Song, Labotanica, and many other places outside of arts institutions. She has organized numerous public conversations such as Art of Equity for the Rothko Chapel’s Confronting Inequality Symposium and Current Conversations, dialogues between artists and experts in a range of other disciplines, for the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. Her visual work and writing have been featured in Gulf Coast, Temporary Art Review, and Cite Magazine. She earned her BFA in Fine Arts and Culture and Politics from Maryland Institute College of Art and has engaged in a self-constructed MFA program by auditing courses at universities in Houston.  


A satellite programming series, Warp and Weft of Care, takes place between New York and Houston, Texas during the course of the show. It includes public performances as well as closed-door collaborations between artists from the EFA show and groups focused on the health of communities disproportionately facing violence. This includes Angela House’s Whole and Healthy Program (transitional housing and support for women immediately following incarceration), Project Row Houses Young Mothers Residency Program (a residency for low-income single mothers in the historically black neighborhood of Houston’s Third Ward), and Project Row Houses Young Mothers Employment Placement Program (a job training program for low-income single mothers). The aim is to support creative exchange between communities of care in varying contexts, particularly those in red and purple states where poor institutional support has long synced with a prevailing “maverick” ideology of independence and entrepreneurship.

This event takes place in conjunction with Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying (March 31 – May 13, 2017) at EFA Project Space.