Dorit Cypis

Biography

Dorit Cypis was born in Israel, immigrated to Canada as a child and to the USA as a young adult. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Cypis is a visual artist as well as an innovative professional mediator. She has moved fluidly between studio practice, educator, mediator and community builder since the 1980’s. Her strategies of performance, photography, text, immersive installation and social sculpture explore relationships between psychological and social/political aspects of history, knowledge and experience. Her practice as a conflict mediator extends her exploration of human relations into the public domain.

Cypis has exhibited internationally including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, International Center of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Musee d’Art Contemporain/Montreal, Musee des Beaux Arts/Bruxelles, Walker Art Center, and locally at the Hammer Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bank Art, Las Cienegas Projects, Tom Jancar, RedCat, Greene Exhibitions, Hinge Modern and LM Projects.

Cypis reshaped Foundation for Art Resources, 1979-1982, Los Angeles, to model partnership between artists and public sites, inspiring interaction and discourse; founded Kulture Klub Collaborative, 1992-active, Minneapolis, bridging survival and inspiration by partnering artists and homeless youth to build their self knowledge and expression; founded Foreign Exchanges 2007, bridging aesthetics and mediation to innovate engagement and conflict transformation capacity across personal and cultural differences. Cypis is a founding member of Mediators Beyond Borders International.

Cypis has taught on identity and social relations across the USA, Canada, Holland, France, Switzerland, Germany and Israel. She has been honoured with awards including Japan Foundation, Bush, McKnight, Jerome, Ordway and Durfee Foundations, City of Los Angeles Cultural Arts, Fellows of Contemporary Art, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Art and Bachelor of Education at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, a Masters of Fine Art, Californian Institute of the Arts, and a Masters of Conflict Resolution, MDR, Pepperdine University.

Project Description

Conflict Revolution is a project I am developing for collaboration with the City of Los Angeles Department of Human Relations, to involve a variety of local groups who struggle with cultural differences between them and other groups. As an artist and a mediator I propose to train members of diverse local groups in mediation communication techniques to engage with conflict constructively, including active listening, reframing, bias reflection, empathy, creative option development and negotiation infused with aesthetic techniques of perception awareness, deconstruction, formal analysis, experimentation and visioning.

As a visual signifier to carry the message of mediation as community construction, I will introduce the Conflict Safety Vest adapted from construction safety vests worn by street workers. Across the back of each vest is printed the word MEDIATOR. Across the front of each vest are two words chosen by each participant that encapsulate the adversarial situation they find themselves in, i.e. us/them, truth/lie, rich/poor, black/white. Participants will receive a vest printed with their respective words, together a cacophony of human conflict. Groups will then be guided to participate in Public Dialogues designed to support their respective local community issues. Documentation of the dialogues will be compiled for publication in art and journalistic journals. I would also like to radio programming to include dialogue participants and to guide participants to present discussions on Conflict Engagement in their local communities. Distribution of the documentation will allow other publics to become aware of the possibilities of public conflict engagement.