As a videomaker, performer, and writer, Stanya Kahn (born 1968) combines storytelling with visceral performances, blurring the lines between fiction and reality to show how trauma can reconfigure language and the way we make meaning, ultimately giving rise to new forms of articulation. Kahn mixes humor and horror, blending beauty and banality to approach the alienation and violence of contemporary American life in her most recent, solo works—Kathy (2009), Sandra (2009), and It’s Cool, I’m Good (2010).
Kahn’s work has been shown at venues internationally, including the 2010 California Biennial; the 2008 Whitney Biennial; Sundance Film Festival; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Getty Center, Los Angeles; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Contemporary Centre for Art, Vilnius, Lithuania; Gebauer Gallery, Berlin; and Hayward Gallery, London; among others. She was a founding member of the performance group/band CORE. Her writings have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Nothing Moments, Soft Targets Journal of Art and Theory, LTTR Journal of Art and Writing, and Movement Research. Kahn received an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and currently teaches as adjunct faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles.