‘Bad Romance’ Chicago 2017

“In the context of her NEOCraft performance work, Volkman embodies the most instructive facet of the American entertainment industry: self-help regimens. Her professional, enviable and persuasive personality encourages all of us to transform our expectations for how quickly and easily we can attain prosperity, happiness, and romantic love in our own lives.”  -Sara Holwerda

The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
Friday, February 17th, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Bad Romance features video works by performers and video artists that play with well-worn conventions of portraying seduction, romantic relationships, or intimate encounters in popular culture. The artists included in this screening expose the underlying mechanics of creating these seductive, and often instructive, images and scenes. They place themselves or their loved ones in front of the camera, employ illuminating voice-overs, construct awkward revelations and propose humorous antidotes to problematic romantic tropes.

Casey Smallwood (Chicago, IL) / Steven Summers (Chicago, IL) / Charmaine Ortiz (Carolina Beach, NC) / Marlo Koch – Chicago, IL) / Emerson Sigman (Chicago, IL) / Karin Stothart (Los Angeles, CA)

With Performance by Marilyn Volkman

NEO-Craft: The Easiest and Quickest Way to Gain Advantages for Prosperity, Happiness and Romantic Love

Programmed by Sara Holwerda

Bad Romance, The Nightingale Cinema, Chicago 2017

image credit: still from Four Scenes for Mother (Pretty Woman) by Casey Smallwood



NEO-Craft Private Sessions are one-on-one with participants and last approximately 50 minutes. The content of the private session draws on American self-help regimens to guide participants through floor exercises and meditation techniques. Private Sessions are designed to activate contemplation on the participant’s future expectations for life, love and happiness.


A series of hyper-realist conferences blurring the border of political representation and representation in art – Neo-Craft engages and critiques the ‘right’ aesthetics of as a platform for public debate.  The program consists of lectures, workshops, symposia and dialogues. All events sit on the edge of art. Participants have the opportunity to participate and discuss topics of the performance amongst one another, and with the public.


NEO-CRAFT: The Early Stages

NEOCraft is a multimedia conference concept stemming from preliminary research conducted at the Banff Centre, The University of Chicago and The New Gallery, Calgary.  Participants include artists in residence, residency staff, university students, faculty and the public. This video contains snippets from scripts and booklets used in performances dating from the early stages of the project.

NEO-CRAFT, Re-Mapped: Chicago 2017

“Every time you make a decision it forks off into a new reality.  All possibilities are right on top of one another, but inaccessible.  Art is a way to travel permanently into these new possibilities.  We want choices, changes, we want a new world.  We want to risk it all for the chance to achieve something extraordinary.  To us, that is freedom.”


Alternate Realities – Re-Mapped, NEO- CRAFT 2017, Chicago



Have you even wondered why you make art?
At a moment when Social Practice and Socially Engaged Art are developing at a rapid speed, we should question the possibility of an artistic practice that can conscientiously respond to the need for hope, and we should wonder aloud – what gives anyone the authority or agency to diagnose such a need in the first place?                                                                                                                                           
If you missed the last installment of NEOCraft at Connexion Arc in Fredericton, New Brunswick, listen to the full CHSR FM 97.9 podcast with Marilyn Volkman and sophia bartholomew.

NEO- CRAFT Calgary

Join NEO-CRAFT for a series of seven events in Calgary in the summer of 2013.

Public Sessions & RSVP Workshops

Public Sessions & RSVP Workshops.


Using the aesthetics of life in global capitalism,  NEOCraft  seeks to empower local emerging artists by summoning the professional sales pitch, the conference tour and the self-help program—setting the stage for the egalitarian expansion of art discourse.

NEO- CRAFT at Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity

NEOCraft is a multimedia concept stemming from preliminary research conducted at the Banff Centre where eight Private Consultations and three public Sessions/Performances were held at the Max Bell Auditorium with Banff residents, faculty and staff. Form is site/context specific. (Includes an excerpt from Casey Smallwood’s “What Is Acting?” 2013)


NEOCraft for Art- POWER, Banff Centre (2013)

NEO- CRAFT Global: Excerpts from the Future Archive, Vol. 1



August 1 – September 28, 2013

NEOCraft appropriates self-help seminars, motivational techniques, and cult-like aesthetics to set the stage for strengthening artists as active viewers and participants in their own work and community. From intimate private sessions to group workshops and large-scale corporate seminars situated within art institutions, NEOCraft responds to issues of critical motivation through pseudo-corporate models and activities. The project results in a range of experiences for individual artists and community members, producing a continually expanding archive of site-specific self-help guides, instructional-videos, audio downloads, and artist testimonials available for viewing, streaming, and download.