Without Borders XV Artist Spotlight: Eleanor Kipping

Without Borders XV: Between You and Me will be open 17th The festival will showcase the work of UMaine Intermedia MFA candidates Alicia Champlin, Kate Dawson, Eleanor Kipping and Wade Warman. Between You and Me will run from May 17th to June 30th with an opening reception on Thursday, May 17th at 5:00 p.m. at Lord Hall Gallery. The opening reception will also be followed by a performance by Alicia Champlin in the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center AP/PE Space at 7:30 p.m. withoutbordersfest.com

Artist Spotlight: Eleanor Kipping

Photo of Eleanor Kipping
Photo of Eleanor Kipping

Eleanor Kipping is a Maine-native and currently resides in Orono, ME where she is an Intermedia MFA Candidate and Dick Higgins Fellow at the University of Maine. Eleanor has a B.S. in Video and Entertainment Production from the New England School of Communications (2011) where she was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Video Production. As an artist, Kipping’s research and creative practice are concerned with the Black female experience as Other in the united states regarding colorism, hair politics, racial passing and they might be explored through the intersection of installation, performance, and social practice.

Photo of installation Strange Fruit
Eleanor Kipping, Strange Fruit

Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Kipping taught in the UMaine Intensive English Institute as an English as a Second Language instructor. It was during this appointment that Kipping began exploring an interest in working with communities as a part of a larger educational and creative practice. In summer of 2016, she traveled to Tokyo and Chiba, Japan for an interdisciplinary experimental education project known as Gakko Project. Time in Japan was spent collaborating with fellow artists, educators, designers, and architects in employing an experience design approach to develop workshops for high school students from around the world. Kipping’s project at Gakko was focused on exploring the ways in which identity might be probed and accessed through poetry, performance, and installation.

During her time at UMaine Eleanor designed and facilitated a number of workshops that explore contemporary race and gender relations, social media, public relations and development for educational and creative organizations.  

Kipping has worked with Penobscot Theatre Company, Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and Gracie Theatre as a video and graphic designer, and as a social media manager and content designer with the University of Maine School of Performing Arts, the Intermedia MFA Program’s Visiting Artist Series, Alison Chase/Performance, and others. Kipping also worked with Carnival Cruise Lines as an onboard Audio/Video technician.

Kipping has shown and performed regularly, showing work at the University of Maine in Orono and Farmington, Sohns Gallery (Bangor, ME), Black Mountain College (Asheville, NC), Hamilton Street Gallery (Bound Brook, NJ), and Stratosphere Studio (Brooklyn, NYC).

I begin with the body. The breath. The skin. The blood. The hair. Everybody has a body. Regardless of the smell of that body’s breath, the color of that body’s skin, that body’s blood type, or the texture of that body’s hair, every body has an experience. Regardless of that experience, it is politically informed and the nature of these experiences separate us from one another and become the personal experiences that our bodies both inform and are subject to.

The personal is the first place that must be examined in consideration of identity. It is at this physical and metaphorical point of entry that I choose to engage audiences and communities through my creative practice, research, and scholarship.

As an intermedial artist / activist, I explore the embodied experience(s) of the Black female as Other in the united states regarding colorism, racial passing, hair politics, and sexuality while investigating the gains and losses that derive from these experiences. I am interested in how they might be explored at the intersection of installation, performance and social practice. Using a historical and sociological Black feminist lens, I invite audiences into spaces in which they may consider their role(s) in these constructs and cultural relations, regardless of race, experience or identity.

Visit eleanorkipping.com to learn more about Eleanor’s work.