Point of “Fact”

May 4, 2017   7–11:59pm
Offsite: The Lab
$12 General Admission
Free for Members of Headlands and The Lab

Headlands and The Lab host an evening of presentations that ask: how do we know what we know? The relationship between information and interpretation feels shaky when we are reminded daily that we are living in a moment of post-truths, contested realities, and alternative facts. During this evening, we will meet artists and researchers who explicitly address the production of knowledge as contingent, charged, and often charming. Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist and professor at University of California, San Diego, will show how language and metaphor affect the way we think about everything from fundamentals like time and space, to complex social issues. Artist and anthropologist Adrian Van Allen (AFF ’11) will present her research on scientists at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where they are building different versions of the future through their collections of bird skins, frozen tissue samples, and genomic data. Performance artist Xandra Ibarra (AFF ’14) will detail her latest forays, including the work-in-progress practice she describes as “alternative embodiment.”

Access the ticketing box office here; Headlands Members, RSVP via email to

Presented in partnership with The Lab, 2948 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

This event is part of our off-site program series while our campus is currently closed to the public for construction on The Commons. We’re thrilled to co-present and collaborate with several Bay Area cultural organizations and partners; see all off-site events here.

About Lera Boroditsky:

Lera Boroditsky is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at University of California, San Diego and Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology. She has previously served on the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University. Her research is on the relationships between mind, world, and language (or how humans get so smart). She has been named one of 25 Visionaries Changing the World by the Utne Reader, and is also a Searle Scholar, McDonnell scholar, recipient of an NSF Career award, and an APA Distinguished Scientist Lecturer. She once used the Indonesian exclusive “we” correctly before breakfast, and was proud of herself about it all day.

About Xandra Ibarra:

Xandra Ibarra is an Oakland-based performance artist from the El Paso/Juárez border who performs and works under the alias of La Chica Boom. Ibarra uses hyperbolized modes of racialization and sexualization to test the boundaries between her own body and coloniality, compulsory whiteness, and Mexicanidad. Her practice integrates performance, sex acts, and burlesque with video, photography, and objects. Throughout her multiple works, she teeters between abjection and joy and problematizes the borders between proper and improper racial, gender, and queer subject. As a community organizer, Ibarra’s work is located within immigrant, anti-rape, and prison abolitionist movements. She has been awarded the Art Matters Grant, NALAC Fund for the Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Away Award, ReGen Artist Fund, Theater Bay Area Grant, and the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award. Since 2003, she has actively participated in organizing with INCITE!, a national feminist of color organization dedicated to creating interventions at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. Ibarra is also a lecturer within the Critical Studies program at California College of the Arts.

About Adrian Van Allen:

Adrian Van Allen is an anthropologist, artist, and designer whose work engages histories of science and emerging technologies through both scholarship and fine art—including photography, sculpture, works on paper, replicas of scientific objects, and preparing natural history specimens. Her research looks at the scientific cultures in museums—particularly the Smithsonian—and examines how biotechnology is changing the museum’s collections, while scientists work to archive all life in the face of mass biodiversity loss. Van Allen is currently an Associate Researcher in Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, and holds a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from University of California, Berkeley; two MFAs from California College of Art (Interactive Media and Photography); and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.