Kimi Hanauer (they/them) is an artist, cultural- and media-based organizer, facilitator and a founding collective member of interdisciplinary publishing collective, Press Press, based on Tongva-Gabrielino Land (Los Angeles). Currently, Kimi is stewarding a slow process of emergence for the Center for Liberatory Practice & Poetry, works as an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is a co-organizer of Press Press.

Kimi was a lead organizer of Press Press’s 2020 initiatives, Toolkit for Cooperative, Collective, & Collaborative Cultural Work, co-organized with Institute for Expanded Research, and Poetry for Persistence, co-organized with Printed Matter. Kimi’s recent solo exhibition, if we choose to reclaim ourselves from the ashes: eulogy turned dance hall, transformed the University of California, Los Angeles’ Lainer Family Gallery into a nightclub in June 2022. In January 2023, Kimi was awarded a Lightening Fund Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Their forthcoming book, Commune Diverge Shift Connect: Press Press’s Organizational Handbook, co-edited with Lu Zhang and co-stewarded with Lo, Vale Cabezas, and Bilphena Yahwon, will be released by Institute for Expanded Research and Press Press in Spring 2023. While they were based on Piscataway Land (Baltimore) from 2011-2018, Kimi worked as an educator with the Baltimore City Community College Refugee Youth Project co-facilitating a multilingual after school printmaking and publishing programming. From 2012-2017, Kimi was a resident and co-organizer of Penthouse, a warehouse venue for experimental art and music in the historic Copycat Building. 

Kimi’s work has engaged and been exhibited at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, MoMA PS1, The Luminary, Counterpublic, Tufts University Art Galleries, Southern Exposure, Hauser & Wirth, Wendy’s Subway, Women’s Studio Workshop, ACRE Projects, Allied Media Conference, Common Field, Virtual Care Lab, Gas Gallery, Printed Matter, George Peabody Library, University of California, Los Angeles, among other venues. Kimi’s work is archived in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, Yale University Library, among other collections. Their writing has been published by GenderFail, Wendy’s Subway, Temporary Art Review, Arts of the Working Class, BmoreArt, MARCH, and the Contemporary (Baltimore). Kimi earned an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. Kimi is a queer and neurodivergent diasporan of Sephardic-Ashkenazi descent; born in Tel-Aviv with historic roots in Jerusalem; Germany; Spain; among other lands. 

As an artist, media-based organizer, publisher and facilitator, I co-develop pragmatic-poetic [1] initiatives that aim to build collective autonomy [2] and decentralize institutional resources. My interdisciplinary projects take various responsive forms, including organizations, collective actions, installations, workshops, publications, performances, videos, and texts. Through inherently collaborative print-, media-, and dialogical-based processes, I work to facilitate spaces of collectivity, belonging, possibility, action, and power-sharing. Feminist, queer, anarchist, and abolitionist praxis offer me a horizon, while my lived and familial traditions of migration and exile offer me a ground. Informed by these threads, my projects address questions of belonging in legal, social, and psychological spheres. 

I understand my practice in spatial and relational terms. My projects often appropriate mass printing technologies, such as copy machines, risographs, and offset printers, as methods of organizing counterpublics through the distribution of printed and digital matter. The act of distribution, which unravels across space and through intimate networks of relationships, intervenes on and blurs the boundaries of “public” and “private.” While often employing text and dialogical exchange, my projects approach the english language from a multilingual perspective. By gathering with those who diverge from normative english speaking traditions to reclaim speech on their/our own terms, I aim to transform language into a location of healing.

The most meaningful sites of my work take place in seemingly mundane, daily encounters and events of life where intimacies, ruptures, and solidarities are nourished. As I move fluidly in-between social movement spaces, DIY arts communities, and education spaces, I am guided by the understanding that our ability to build autonomous and liberated worlds rests on our capacity to feel the inherent worth within ourselves and others as living beings of the past, present, and future. Thus, calling on my communities–and being called on by them–to move through the deeply interconnected processes of personal and collective transformation is both a foundation and an aspiration of my practice. Ultimately, my work is embedded within networks of solidarities forged across boundaries: communities who carry traditions of cultural passage; whose desires and ways of being challenge what love is and can be; and those committed to opening spaces for change from wherever they are standing. My practice traces and cultivates landscapes of belonging within these intersections.

[1]  I use the word pragmatic-poetic to refer to processes where the material and embodied impacts of the work are interdependent and interconnected.

[2] The goals of my work have been impacted by anarchist teachings on autonomy that define autonomy as the recognition of one’s own agency and a deep commitment to the collective. Autonomy is not something we can have as individuals, rather it is only something we can create through deeply meaningful, self-organized, and self-defined collectivity.

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