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Sonic Gallery Talk

  • Vox Populi 319 North 11th Street / Floor 3 Philadelphia, PA, 19107 United States (map)
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Join us for a conversation moderated by Li Sumpter, Ph.D.-mythologist, multidisciplinary artist, and Founder/Director at MythMedia Studios, a creative research lab and collaborative design initiative. The guided conversation through each of the galleries is followed by a sonic reflection by DJ and musician Doug O’Donnell on the conversation. Stay for a final music set and explore the current solos by Imani Roach and Julia Staples, a group exhibition curated by Tina Plokarz, and a group exhibition of the 2017 new member cohort, all of which are on display at Vox Populi through Sunday, June 24th, 2018.



Li Sumpter, Ph.D. is a mythologist and multidisciplinary artist who employs strategies of world building and D.I.Y survival to cultivate community action and awareness around local and global existential issues. She is the Founder/Director at MythMedia Studios—a creative research lab and collaborative design initiative focused on building better worlds for the future. MythMedia Studios applies mythic frameworks and design principles to the production of small-scale multimedia projects, direct action tools, public art installations and original narrative and message-based content. Li has over 15 years of experience in the field of art, media and museum programming and has worked on several art and social justice projects addressing race, class, identity, environmental injustice and ecological crisis. Some of her professional and creative affiliations include the New Museum of Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, AFROPUNK, MoCADA, Climbing Poetree, Rock the Vote, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, African-American Museum of Philadelphia, BlackStar Film Festival, Mural Arts, the Germantown Historical Society, Scribe Video Center, Haverford College, Slought’s Health Ecologies Lab and The Leeway Foundation. Li is currently an adjunct professor of humanities and curatorial studies at Moore College of Art and Design and serves on the North Philly Peace Park’s volunteer staff as Director of Community Readiness and Resilience.

Imani Roach is a Philadelphia-based art writer, visual artist and musician. Across disciplines, her interests include the surveillance, consumption and containment of black emotion, vulnerability and entitlement practices in urban space, gender and the public/private divide, and aging bodies in the American imaginary. Her recent work uses everyday consumables, like bread and candle wax, to think through issues of labor, ecstacy and repetition as experienced by black bodies. In addition to being an active member of Vox Populi, she is the Managing Editor of Artblog (an online journal for local arts criticism), a co-founder of The Lonely Painter Project (a bi-coastal performance collaborative), and an instructor at the University of the Arts, where she teaches the art of Africa and the black diaspora. She performs regularly as a vocalist in the soul, folk and jazz idioms, and, as a doctoral candidate in African Studies and Art History at Harvard University, continues to chip away at a dissertation on the first generation of black South African photojournalists under Apartheid. The archive is her happy place.

Tina Plokarz is a curator and member at Vox Populi. She is interested in the intersection between visual and performance arts, particularly themes of spatiality, participation, perception and narration in contemporary art. Her recent projects include “time/scale” for Philadelphia Contemporary (United States, 2017), “Saeculum” (United States, 2017), and “Obsessions and Surreal Worlds” (Germany, 2015). She has worked with various artists, including Anike Joyce Sadiq, Emma Sulkowicz, and Hamish Fulton, as well as in international institutions in Germany, including the KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Villa Merkel (Esslingen), and the Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin). She received a double major in Art History and Theater Studies from the Free University Berlin. Presently she is assistant curator at Philadelphia Contemporary.

Julia Staples is a Philadelphia based artist, curator and organizer. Working with installation incorporating photography, sculpture, video and performance. Her work explores the intersection of self-help and spirituality, exploring topics related to gender and sexuality. Staples has exhibited in and around Philadelphia as well as in Iceland, Spain, NYC and LA; she has been awarded residencies at Kimmel Nelson Harding, Ox-Bow, The Vermont Studio Center and Polli Talu in Estonia. Her most recent achievements include a public art installation at the Philadelphia Free Library installed at the end of 2017 and a solo exhibition at the Art Association of Harrisburg in 2017. In Philadelphia, she works as an adjunct professor, teaching courses in photography, studio practice, professional development and photo history. Staples holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art and her BFA from Parsons School of Design.


Photo: Imani Roach, “Heirloom,” 2018.

Earlier Event: June 9
The Midnight Sun