EXCHANGE RATE : 2008 header image 3

Dorit Cypis

Performance Interpretation

Dorit Cypis interpreted two pieces, one by Eva Jung (alone on Nov. 4 in Minneapolis, MN) and the other by Marssares (at the Oct. 26 Exchange Rate: 2008 event in Los Angeles, CA).

October 26, 2008, Sea and Space, Los Angeles, CA
Dorit Cypis, as instructed by Marssares Selector, transcribed and posted a dream she had.
“I stand within a circle of people sitting around me. I hand out index cards and pens. The lights are very low. I hold a megaphone to my mouth and slowly rotate 360 as I whisper/recite words that bleed through dream, memory, history, family, myth and desire. My words move by the people like a beacon of light, shining and then gone. The lights are turned up for the people to write what each one heard of my words. My dream mixes with theirs.” – Dorit Cypis
(approximately 20 minutes)

Interpretation of Eva Jung’s directions:
(click to download Dorit Cypis’ letter)

Performance Directions

May I Have This Dance?
Seven Steps (for Barack Obama)

Dorit Cypis, 2008

To be performed at public sites by diverse stand ins.

Hello, my name is Barack Obama. I represent race and liberty as parallel lines in curved space.

Hello, my name is Barack Obama. I want to understand the psychological underbelly of the political.

Hello, my name is Barack Obama. How am I not black?

Hello, my name is Barack Obama. Why am I not white?

Hello, my name is Barack Obama. Who am I relative to each historical moment?

Hello, my name is Barack Obama. How do I complete you?

Hello, my name is Barack Obama. If I am not you and you are not me, who are we?

Interpreted by:
Eva Jung


Dorit Cypis is an artist (MFA, Cal Arts, 1977) and a mediator (Masters of Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University, 2005). Since the 1980’s Dorit Cypis has employed strategies of photography, performance, installation, sculpture and social interaction to explore relationships between personal and social identity, questioning subjectivity in relation to corporeal, social, political and psychological spaces.

Her work has been presented nationally and internationally including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, International Center of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Orange County Museum, Walker Art Center, Musee d’Art Contemporain/Montreal, Musee des Beaux Arts/Bruxelles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cypis has taught on identity, representation and social relations at universities and colleges across the USA as well as in Canada, Holland, France and Israel.

Cypis has generated extensive cultural programming including F.A.R. (Foundation for Art Resources), 1979-1982, Los Angeles, questioning the production of art, the role of artists and the ability of art and artists to penetrate cultural domains. FAR developed partnerships between artists and public, private and educational organizations throughout Los Angeles. She founded Kulture Klub Collaborative, Twin Cities, 1992-1999, within a large social service agency, Minneapolis Youth Link, to challenge social workers to accept art as a viable discipline for crisis intervention with homeless teens. KKC developed strategies to bridge survival and inspiration, networking between homeless youth, artists and arts organizations across the Twin Cities. Both these organization continue today.

Cypis’ recent study of mediation and conflict transformation pro actively addresses difference, the negotiation of power and reciprocity. Her work today mines aesthetics and ethics. Cypis’ museum exhibitions are immersive laboratories abstracting forms, positions, gestures, and meanings to shed light on the paradoxes of identity, while her public works and actions are social/political extensions, mediating aesthetic abstractions into living life. Here form meets function and ideology shifts back to experience.

Founded by Cypis in 2006, Foreign Exchanges offers strategies of engagement bridging personal and cultural differences through aesthetics, conflict resolution and somatic arts, for the arts, culture, education, social service, social activism and innovative business. Foreign Exchanges represents the strengths of Cypis’ work as an artist, a mediator, and an educator.

Dorit Cypis has received numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts, Japan Foundation, Bush, McKnight, Jerome, Ordway, Durfee Foundations, City of Los Angeles Cultural Arts Department and the Fellows of Contemporary Art. She is a founding member of Mediators Beyond Borders, Chair of Mediation and the Arts Committee, Southern California Mediation Association and is on the Advisory Board for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.


Stranded Subject (wailing women), 2007

Pickets for Lease, 2007

Liberty (leading the people), 2003

Race and Liberty, 2007