Indeterminacy as a Collaborative Model by Stanzi Vaubel

This event last occurred Jan. 17, 2019

The mission of The Indeterminacy Festival is to create a framework for engaging with uncertainty, which is generally associated with a sense of anxiety, fear and unwanted instability. The festival creates site-specific environments to explore the various facets of indeterminacy, developing a context in which indeterminacy loses its negative connotations, and becomes a place of possibility. While the overall philosophy remains the same each year, the theme changes annually: Uncertainty in 2017; Emergence in 2018; and PastFuture/FuturePast in 2019. 

The structure of indeterminacy is intended to allow artists, community members and specialists to engage meaningfully around the theme of indeterminacy. Traditionally, when people think of interdisciplinary collaboration, they imagine different disciplines coming together to create a work.  However, indeterminacy employs a radically different theoretical and conceptual framework for structuring collaboration. This framework offers participants a new way of addressing complex social and ecological problems that may seem insurmountable. Invoking physicist Karen Barad’s distinction between inter- and intra-action in which she defines interaction as two bodies maintaining a level of independence; whereas intra-action is defined as the ability to act emerging from within the relation, not outside of it. The festival invokes the intra-action model by working with individuals to physically manifest this theory as a lived experience. 


Stanzi Vaubel was trained as a cellist at Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard Pre-College. She has collaborated on projects at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center and performed at venues such as Tanglewood, The Long House and Carnegie Hall. She was hired by the Whitney Museum to design an interactive web project focused around teen engagement with contemporary American art. She graduated from Northwestern University where she ran a radio show called "Ready to Talk" which featured filmmakers, actors, writers and poets from around the world. She worked for New York Public Radio and was the first person to produce video content for their culture page online. Her audio documentary "Practice, Practice, Practice" was featured by the Third Coast Audio Festival, her short film "We're Apart of the City" won Directors' Choice at the Black Maria Film Festival. In 2012 she was selected to participate in the Telluride Film Festival's Student Symposium. In 2013 she produced a series for Chicago Public Radio called "The Gift" which dropped inside poetry and great literature from the past and present. In 2014 she was a fellow at UnionDocs Center for Documentary where she made and premiered her first feature called "This Place." Upon arriving to Buffalo, she became interested in site-specific performance projects, creating "Sites Do Things to People" staged at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center and inspired by recordings made at Silo City. In 2016, she staged "Excursions Into Unknowable Worlds" at the Hi-Temp Warehouse, bringing together dancers, musicians, to interact with a site-specific environment. Currently she is a PhD candidate and teaching fellow in the Media Studies Department at The University at Buffalo. "The Indeterminacy Festival," now in its third year, is her new collaboration with individuals across arts, sciences, architecture and engineering drawn into relationship with community members of Buffalo and beyond. This year's festival was funded by the New York State Council for the Arts; Mark Diamond Research Fund; the Physics, Media Study Departments at UB as well as the Techne Institute, which is partnering with the festival this year, inviting several guests from abroad.

Digital Culture Speaker: Stanzi Vaubel

Tempe Campus, Stauffer B-wing, B125

For more information contact:

Andrew Luna
School of Arts, Media and Engineering