MC Coble (SE, USA)
Currently lives and works in Gothenburg, Sweden
Pronouns: They/Them, Hen in Swedish
MC Coble is a non-binary trans artist, activist and educator aiming to manifest problems of bodily, societal and symbolic navigation particularly focusing on issues of social injustice and normative boundaries. Working many times with live art, photography and installation Coble’s practice revolve around trans*/queer/ feminists politics, play, failure and intersectional activism. Often working site-specifically, research-based and collectively, engagement with artistic practices and interventions within and outside of established institutions and the use of activist strategies are integral to Coble’s ways of working. Coble’s artistic activities not only involve creating performances and other art works, but also leading and engaging in workshops, making publications, community organizing and activism.
Collaboration: Coble is active with the group P*D*A* (Public* Display* of Actions*), co- initiated Kjell Caminha, Andreas Engman and Jeuno Kim. P*D*A* in its current manifestation is excited by the potential of radical empathy as an imaginative prism. A prism creating a spectrum of possibilities to find new tools of action and awareness. How can the visual and performative literacy of art be shared and used collectively among artists, activists, researchers, and the general public to navigate the swiftly changing social and political climate? Working together on a performance called Radical Empathy: A Continuous Score (2017-ongoing) the group is sending out a call to action that has been mobilized from the urgent need to resist the intensifying normalization of fascism that litter the everyday public spaces and shape imaginaries. Using performance and speech tactics from street and guerilla theater, agitprop, Speakers' Corners, and political assemblies, the aim of Radical Empathy: A Continuous Score is to initiate contexts for collective experience, demonstration, and dialogue insisting on vigilance and direct process as a dramaturgical method and approach.
Part of Coble’s current artistic work and research evolves around Queer Performance and Activist Strategies, looking at and performing iconic symbols, bodily gestures, chants, and signals used in political protest and as forms of resistance. With this practice-based research project the aim is to create a body of live works that activate queer performance’s social, artistic and political potential. This will in part involve identify the parallel dramaturgies of queer performance and activist strategies in the form of a physical vocabulary that will be activated in the new performance works. Whereas the project has its outset in queer performance, it will contribute to the wider critical discussions of performance art in an expanded field, which also include sound, spatial installation, political and experimental theater, dance and activism.
Residencies: Collaboration and spaces that support dialogue and community are ideals that Coble values and finds in part through residencies and artist in residency programs. Coble has been an artist-in-residence through IASPIS: Swedish Visual Arts International Residency Program in Umeå, SE; Red Dirt Studio, Mt. Ranier, MD and in Washington, DC as part of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Artist at Work With Youth Program. Coble has attended numerous residencies most notably the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine.
Exhibitions and Performances: Coble’s work, which has been included in exhibitions such as Ingen rök utan eld. Shout Fire!, Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, SE; Homosexuality_ies, The Schwules Museum*, Berlin, GE; TATTOO, Museo d'Arte Orientale, Turin, ITL; Queer Objectivity, The Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive, Nikolaj Center of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, Denmark and in the traveling archive re.act.feminism #2-a performing archive.
Coble has performed live as part of //BUZZCUT// Performance Festival, Glasgow, SCT; Voices Performance Weekend, KODE-Art Museums of Bergen, NO; 13 Festivalen, Festival of Performance Art in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Rapid Pulse Performance Festival in Chicago, Illinois; the MADE Festival, Umea, Sweden; Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY and in Performa 05, a visual art performance biennial at Artists Space, NYC, NY.
The most recent multimedia solo exhibitions include Acting in Number, Galleri Image, Aarhus, DK; Still Deferred, The Center of Arts and Education, Umea, Sweden; Gestures of Defiance at the Vita Kuben, Umea, Sweden; Protest in Pride a work commissioned by the Gothenburg Pride Festival at Gothenburg City Library; Deferral, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC and Maneuvering, Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Teaching Background: As an educator Coble supports others in considering the complexity, potential and power that their work can hold in society. Methods of play, experimentation, failure, re-examining, and re-contextualizing are used to challenge and support a mode of working that translates into their own artistic practice, research and visual language. Coble also challenges others to question their praxis and aesthetics, re-invent themselves, expand outside of what they see as safe and familiar and to give themselves the freedom to experience an energy of making art that may not always be comfortable.
After receiving a BFA from The University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Coble attended graduate school at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Living in the area for 10 years Coble taught at various art institutions during this time including at The George Washington University in Washington, DC as a Professorial Lecturer in Photography and at Maryland Institute College of Arts in Baltimore, Maryland. Courses designed and taught included: Time, Space and Technology in Video and Performance (co-taught with Siobhan Rigg); Professional Practices, Contemporary Photography; Color Photography; Advanced Digital Printing and Introduction to Black and White Photography.
Moving to Copenhagen, Denmark-Coble, from 2011-2014 was a Professor at the Funen Art Academy in Odense, Denmark Coble designed and facilitated workshops such as Performance in Practice; Non-Traditional Photography; Dark Matter: The Politics and Practice of Art in Urban Spaces; Site Specific Installation as Radical Transformation and Another Kind of Public Education (co-taught with Jeuno JE Kim); Shame and Performitvity in collaboration with The Bergen Academy of Art and Design (Frans Jacobi) and Valand Art Academy (Jason Bowman). For detailed information about specific workshops and modes of teaching you can visit: https://www.marycoble.com/workshops-teaching
Coble was a Senior Lecturer in the Fri Konst (Fine Art) Unit at Valand Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden from 2014-2019. Most recently they have taught workshops at Kvinnofolkhögskolan such as "On Anger and Performance" and "Decolonial Gestures and Performance", (2020) as well as "Performance as Politcal Assembly" Co-taught with Andreas Engman, Göteborgs Konstskola, Gothenburg SE (2019).
Fall 2020/2021 They are teaching the course: "Perspectives on Performativity and Feminist Artistic Practice", Högskolan för scen och musik, Gothenburg University, SE
Pedagogy: Learning about and collaboratively engaging in modes of radical and critical pedagogy is an ongoing focus for Coble which recently manifested during Lets Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? (co-organized with Valand students and educators Rose Borthwick, Kanchan Burathoki, Andreas Engman and Eva Weinmayr). This was a year-long investigation of questions such as: "How can feminist and queer admission policies be developed and implemented within institutions? Can management be thought of more in terms of care than administration? What does it actually require to decolonize the curriculum? What is possible within self-organized learning environments, that is not within the institution? When do we learn? And what is the agency of publishing and documenting, of citation practices?" The project resulted in a three-day public seminar at Valand Academy as an investigation of feminist and queer pedagogies and the self-publishing of a workbook, 144 pages, (print and online) with national and international contributors. http://whatisfeministpedagogy.tumblr.com
MC Coble, 2021