With a focus on writing, performance and media-based practices, Mathilde Walker Billaud’s curatorial projects grapple with Western systems of representation and knowledge. She has studied and collaborated with different contemporary artists, filmmakers, performers and writers – such as Nora Chipaumire, Ellie Ga, Nathalie Léger, Susan Hiller, Bethan Huws, Sky Hopinka, Alison S.M. Kobayashi, Gala Porras-Kim, Courtney Stephens, Krista Belle Stewart— who materialize in their practices critical and alternative modes of narration, appearance and perception against authoritarian and institutional claims of objectivity and truth. As she investigates the aesthetics and politics of erasure, Walker-Billaud’s approach to curating underlines the crucial role of language, process, seriality and versatility in contemporary art making, moving beyond traditional media, venues and theoretical perspectives, as well as crossing multiple times, geographies and experiences.
Walker-Billaud is a curator and cultural producer based in New York City. She held positions as Assistant Editor at the National Centre for Dance, Program Director at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, Program Coordinator at Villa Gillet (NYC festival “Walls and Bridges”), Workshop Curator at UnionDocs, and Creative Manager at company nora chipaumire. She organized lectures, screenings, and performances in various institutions including Bard College, Colgate University, UnionDocs, Triangle Arts, Anthology Film Archives and the Metrograph (Flaherty NYC). Between 2014 and 2019, she programmed and hosted the screening and lecture series on spectatorship “What You Get Is What You see” (Jace Clayton, Ilana Harris-Babou, Elisa Gardina Papa, Martha Rosler, Luc Sante and more) at UnionDocs. Her most recent projects are the film series “2019 Fall Flaherty NYC: Surface Knowledge,” the interdisciplinary program “Women in Public” and the BKH Curator Award 2020 exhibition The World Is Gone, I Must Carry You at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (with Susan Hiller, Sky Hopinka, Bethan Huws, Gala Porras-Kim and Krista Belle Stewart). Her writing and voice have appeared in BOMB Magazine, ART PAPERS, Cinema Camp Festival 2020 and the podcast Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything. She received an M.A. from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College in 2019.
At AiR 351, Walker-Billaud will continue her investigation into language and voice, and extend her interest in inaudibility by looking at the practice of cryptography in Western art in the 1970’s and later. She will examine the work of Susan Hiller and some of her contemporaries who pushed the limits of communication in their writing-based drawings, collages, paintings, videos and performances. Here quiet actions of sounding and listening will be considered as disruptions into the dominant structures of readability, audibility and legibility, composing emancipatory forms of visibility and addresses. Walker-Billaud’s research curatorial project will therefore expand and revisit the overlooked connections between conceptualism, sound practice and feminism.