Update: This transcript has been updated to reflect the current AP Stylebook guidelines.
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: This is the general manager of KZUM, Kerry Semrad, coming at you on a Saturday morning. Thank you so much for tuning in to your community radio station.
We are coming to you today with two great brand-new programs to KZUM and asking you for some donations to keep new programming like this on the air for another couple [of] decades. We’ve got our 45th anniversary coming up in February and the end of our fiscal year is happening starting on September 30.
So, we have about a few weeks to make some cash for the radio station to sustain us through the winter months. A good way to do that is to go to KZUM.org and make a donation. Or you can call us here at the station right now, (402) 474 – 5086, extension one. I’ve got Amantha Dickman coming up with “KZUM News” and David James with a Great Roots Americana “Beta Radio” coming up at noon, two great hours of radio coming up.
Thanks to all of our listeners, all of our donations, everything that we’ve received over the last 45 years. (402) 474 – 5086, extension one. KZUM.org. Now let’s get to the news.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: You’re listening to “KZUM News” on 89.3 KZUM Lincoln and KZUM HD.
Good afternoon. And welcome to today’s edition of “KZUM News,” an hour dedicated to learning more about what is going on in Lincoln and the surrounding areas. I am the news director and your host, Amantha Dickman.
If you’ve never noticed “KZUM News” is usually prerecorded. Our newsroom operates this way to ensure accurate, fair, in-depth reporting. So needless to say, I’m excited that you can join me for my first-ever live show here in the studio.
And after a wonderful labor day this last Monday, we’re keeping the good vibes going through the next week in honor of our fall fund drive.
If you aren’t familiar with our fund drives, I do want to take a moment to remind you that KZUM is a non-commercial, non-profit, listener-supported station. We have a fantastic host of volunteer programmers who are dedicated to their programs and to their vision of community radio. We also have a fantastic team of staff members who help make sure that everything from our website to our archives, to our live broadcasts, are running smoothly. And none of that, or this news program, would be possible without you. Your contributions make up 53% of our yearly budget. So, I really hope that you will consider donating today, tomorrow, or, maybe, sometime later this week. All you have to do is head over to kzum.org like Kerry said, or you can hit that phone line at (402) 474-5086 extension line one.
Now we’re gonna be doing things a little different today. We’re gonna start off with that relatively breaking news as usual. And then we’re going to learn more about Annalia Saban’s work down at the Sheldon Art Museum. And then, lastly, Kerry will be joining us to discuss our upcoming media literacy series and talk about how this series relates to how our own newsroom operates.
So let’s go ahead and kick off that relatively breaking news.
To start us off, if you’ve been avoiding the Lincoln City Libraries because you owe some late fees, we have some great news for you. Pun intended, for the record.
The city council approved the elimination of overdue fines as part of the 2022-2024 city budget, due to the estimation that overdue fines only represent 1% or about $99,550 of the Lincoln City Library budget.
Beginning September 1, the Lincoln City Libraries no longer charge overdue fees on library materials. They will also be forgiving overdue fine debts.
Moving forward, the Lincoln City Libraries will only be charging to repair or replace lost and damaged items. Items are considered lost if they are not returned 21 days after the due date.
Traci Glass, Assistant Library Director, explains that this policy change is because fines often serve as a barrier to equitable access and dissuades the use of library services by lower-income families. In a statement from Glass, she asserts the following:
“It is the mission of Lincoln City Libraries to foster the power of reading and provide open access to all forms of information to enrich lives every day. This policy will enhance our ability to provide important access to all Lincoln residents.”
And that was Traci Glass, the assistant library director, talking about why they’ve decided to get rid of those library fines.
And, of course, while we’re talking about the Lincoln City Libraries, they announced their 2022 One Book – One Lincoln pick on September 5.
The book selected is “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles. The Lincoln City Libraries describes it as a coming-of-age story following the main character’s release from a work farm in 1954. He returns to Nebraska to find his mother gone and [his] father dead. His new plan is to take his younger brother, Billy, to California. However, his plans go awry and they find themselves on a road trip to New York.
The runner-ups for the program were “Sparks Like Stars” by Nadia Hashimi and “Hell of a Book” by Jason Mott.
And, keep in mind, that One Book – One Lincoln events are being planned for September and October. You can find those events under their calendar at lincolnlibraries.org.
And, last up on our relatively breaking news docket, Lincoln police have identified the body of the man found dead out by a northwest Lincoln motel last week. 49-year-old Ronnie Patz’s remains were found near NW 12th Street and West Bond, the morning of September 1.
Patz was last seen checking into the motel on August 29 with 55-year-old William Wright. Wright is currently already in custody for the second-degree murder of 61-year-old Ronald George, Jr. whose remains were found near North 3rd and P Streets on August 31.
Here are representatives of the Lincoln Police Department to tell us more about this ongoing investigation.
Sergeant Chris Vollmer, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: All right. We asked you guys to join us again this afternoon to provide some updated information regarding a follow-up on last week’s events.
Addressing you today will be Assistant Chief Stille. Also available for questions will be Chief Ewins.
If you have any questions, please hold those to the end of the prepared statements.
And, with that, Chief Stille.
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Thank you.
My name is Jason Stille. I’m an assistant chief for the Lincoln Police Department in charge of operations and investigations. The purpose of this press conference today is to provide an update into the series of homicides that occurred last week.
Before I get started, I want to extend the condolences to the victim’s family. We also will be releasing the name of the second victim today.
So, I will provide an overall timeline that I can release today. And I will open it up for any questions that you have after that.
On Monday, August 29 the first victim, in this case, a 49-year-old Ronnie Patz, and the suspect, in this case, William Wright, checked into a motel in the area of Northwest 12 and West Bond. We believe that Mr. Patz was killed sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. that same day. Based on the timeline established by investigators, on Tuesday, August 30, the suspect William Wright appears to discard items in a dumpster, around 5:00 p.m., outside that motel. Ultimately, later in the day, William Wright was led to an area where the second victim, in this case, Ronald George [Jr.], was around 9:00 p.m. On Wednesday, August 3, at about 2:00 a.m., Ronald George was found deceased near the area of third and P streets. And, as we put together a timeline, around 4:00 a.m., a refuse company picks up items from that dumpster outside of the motel at Northwest 12 and west bond and takes it to our local landfill. After we determined that information, we contacted Lincoln Transit Utilities and made them aware. And landfill representatives identified and isolated that area around 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 1.
An autopsy began for the human remains located outside of the local motel at about 11:00 a.m. that same day. As I mentioned at a previous press conference, at that time we weren’t able to identify the victim because the body was not conducive to do so at that time. Our investigators had to think outside of the proverbial box and do some other attempts to locate and determine the identity of the first victim. On Friday, September 2, a DNA familial similarity attempt from a biological family member was sent to the state lab. Ultimately that DNA similarity profile had to be sent to an outside lab on Monday, September 5. That DNA similarity match returned. It was a match for a biological family member. And we reached out to Mr. Patz’s family, making them aware of the investigation.
On Tuesday, September 6, the search of the landfill began in the morning and you’re going to see several members of our crime scene investigators outside that landfill working to systematically go through the items to locate items of interest for us in this case.
Again, I want to extend my condolences to the family of Ronnie Patz. I also want you to please respect their privacy during this time.
I do not have an idea of how long we are gonna be out at the landfill. Those processes are very slow and tedious. I will say that I am very appreciative of all the work that landfill employees have done, all the way from the director of LTU, Elizabeth Elliott, and all of her staff. They’ve bent over backward, helping us and aiding us in any way necessary to help us search this. We do have security for that crime scene out there. And we please ask that the public don’t try to meander out there to get a glimpse. And that’s all the information that I have today.
I’ll certainly I’ll answer any questions that you may have.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: Uh, can you start by spelling the victim’s name?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: You bet. It’s Ronnie, R-O- N-N-I-E. Last name is spelled P, as in Paul, A-T-Z.
Unknown Reporter: How old?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: 49 years of age.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: And, I guess, is there anything in particular that you’re looking for at the landfill or what you thought we’ve disposed of at the hotel?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Yeah, we’ll get into that. Um, certainly I’m not prepared to release that right now. It’s specific items that we’re looking for at the landfill, a specific bag that we’re looking for at the landfill. But we’re trying to respect… Uh, this is a difficult time, certainly, for the George family and also for the Patz family. We wanna be as observant of their grief as we can be, while still providing transparency to the public.
Ellis Wiltsey, Reporter for 10/11 News: Would you have to wait until you find that bag to know what additional charges Wright might be facing? Or do you have any lined up already?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Correct. There should be other charges forthcoming, but not at this time.
Our concern right now, my concern, is for the safety of my officers that are out there searching. You know, when you look at a search of a landfill, I don’t have any experience. And so we had to reach out and, certainly, the crime scene techs that we have, they take tests and they know a little bit about it. But we haven’t undergone something of this magnitude for some time.
So just the simple things of having LTU employees change the road and fence off the areas, to obtain things like puncture-resistant boots and gloves, and come up with a plan to search this area… it took a little bit of time to put that together. So that’s why you see the landfill, you know, really identifying that area Thursday but not being able to search it until Tuesday morning.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: Can you describe Mr. Patz’s injuries or why he was unidentifiable at this point?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Not right now.
Ellis Wiltsey, Reporter for 10/11 News: Do you have any idea what they were doing at that hotel or is that still unknown?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: We don’t. I think that the timeline that we have is pretty good, starting it when they checked into the hotel that morning. But, certainly, if anybody knows of the relationship or saw them in the time proceeding… so the early morning hours of Monday, the 29, or Sunday, the 28, we’d like to hear from them. And they can reach out to us directly at (402) 441 – 6000. They can also contact us at Crimestoppers at (402) 475 – 3600.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: Like, as of Friday, Mr. Patz’s death was just suspicious. Is he officially a homicide victim at this point?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: We’re still investigating it as a homicide. A variety of information gleaned during the investigative efforts, by multiple members of my criminal investigations team, leads us down that track. We don’t want to make those assumptions yet but everything that we have gathered right now is leading us to believe it was a homicide.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: And while, you know, Mr. Wright hasn’t been charged, I guess, is he kind of… you guys have kind of openly linked him to Patz’s death, which is not kind of the standard thing unless you’re pretty sure of it. So I guess, is he thought to kill Mr. Patz?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Um, he is the main and only person of interest.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: And you mentioned at Friday’s press conference several other people of interest and you weren’t sure if they faced criminal charges. Do you, I guess, have any more clarity on that now?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Not, not so much. We’re not closing the book on any of these things right now. My focus, right now, is this operation that is certainly important to the family. And the safety of my investigators are in the forefront of my mind. And then I also wanna respect, you know, the investigative process as we go forward. So the focus is not negatively impacting the landfill operations while also, you know, getting to the root cause of certain reasons why we’re out there.
So, we’ll discuss that when things slow down a little bit. But right now that’s not my priority.
Unknown Reporter: Is Mr. Patz from Lincoln?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: He’s a Lincoln resident, yes.
Ellis Wiltsey, Reporter for 10/11 News: What is the size of that investigation that’s going on in the landfill? How many officers and what, maybe, agencies? I know LTU is out there and you guys are assisting in that effort.
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Yep. LTU is a key member because that’s the area that they maintain. The operations that they have at the landfill are very regimented. So they were able to isolate and contain that area very quickly.
We have members of our crime scene investigation unit and members of the criminal investigations team that are out there. Lincoln Fire and Rescue is out there, as well, helping us with decontamination procedures for the people that are actively searching.
And then we also have members of Lancaster County Sheriff and the Nebraska State Patrol that are assisting the crime scene investigators as well. We all work together and train together. And, so, they’ve committed resources to this. And I very much appreciate that.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: Did you guys recover any weapons at the motel or is that among the things that you might be looking for?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: No. No weapons were recovered at the motel.
If you remember back to the other press conferences, a weapon was located at the scene of Ronald George’s murder. we also located other wools or weapons, depending on how you wanna look at it, that were offsite at a different location that were discarded in a dumpster. But we don’t have any weapons that we secured there at the motel.
Ellis Wiltsey, Reporter for 10/11 News: Would the entire investigation hinge on finding that item that you’re looking for at the landfill? Or would you be able to proceed without it? And maybe how long would you be willing to look for it?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: So those are conversations that we have.
We absolutely will proceed in my mind with it, even if we don’t find the items out at the landfill. How long we look… it’ll depend really on how long this stretch is on. But we are doing a very diligent effort and we’re making every effort to make sure that we search as much as we can, as quickly as we can.
Andrew Wegley, Reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star: Now, Friday, you guys were kind of still looking for a motive; did anything over the weekend, I guess, answer the question of why this happened?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: No, no motive. Chief?
Chief Ewins, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: So one of the things, I mean, obviously we’ve had… this is our fourth press conference. I think it is. You know, as we move forward, each day gives us a little more information. To answer your question a little bit more, Andrew is that, you know, the first day we really didn’t know a lot. And then now, here today, we know specific areas in which we need to look for evidence. You know, this is… continues to evolve. It continues to really show us a little bit more about what occurred. And, so, I feel very confident that, by the end of this week, we will have a little more answers just like we are each day. And, as we’ve been doing, we’re gonna continue to keep you guys informed to what is going on to the best that we can.
McKenzie Johnson, Reporter for Channel 8 News: I know you said you didn’t really know the relationship between Wright and the two victims but was there any relationship between the two victims themselves?
Assistant Chief Stille, Officer with the Lincoln Police Department: Not that we’ve determined yet, but even after arrests are made where people are identified or even initial interviews are conducted, there’s always additional information that may come in. And we’ll continue to follow up on those and show up all of those questions that you have. And, of course, we have as well.
Any more questions? I thank you very much for your time. Thanks.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: That was the Lincoln Police Department telling us more about the two possibly-related homicides they are currently investigating.
Now, before we head to break, I want to remind you that our fund drive is underway! Our volunteer programmers and staff at KZUM work so very hard to make sure our station runs smoothly, especially when it comes to our in-the-field local journalism.
As I mentioned earlier, this is my first time doing “KZUM News” live. And that’s because journalism is a hard field. Kerry and I will talk a little bit more about that later, but to give you an idea of what my days look like, it’s a lot of sorting through papers. Honestly, it’s a lot of fact-checking. So, if you have a couple of spare dollars to throw our way, we’d greatly appreciate your contribution. And, if you can throw $89.30 my way, you can get a $20 gift card to the Hub Cafe. So we’ll take that break and, hopefully, I’ll be hearing from you soon.
[Fades in on the “KZUM News” between-segment music, an original compilation by Jack Rodenburg. The music fades out on the commercial break. Once again, the music fades in on the “KZUM News” between-segment music.]
Amantha Dickman, News Director: And welcome back to “KZUM News.”
As I was saying before the break, it is fund-drive season. It’s looking a little spooky outside today. If you’re preparing for Halloween, I understand the excitement. I also can’t wait. But… we are going to be talking about that Sheldon Art Museum.
They are just starting their 2022 collection talks. And this particular opening talk features Analia Saban. Saban currently has two pieces that are being featured as part of the brand-new clocking in visions of labor exhibit that opened last month on August 16th. And here she is to tell us a little more about her work.
Erin Hanas, Curator of Academic Engagement: Welcome. Thank you for being here. I’m Erin Hanas, curator of academic engagement here at Sheldon Museum of Art. I’m delighted to welcome you to the first program of Sheldon’s 2022 to 2023 collection talk series, featuring artist Analia Saban.
Before we get started, I want to extend several notes of appreciation. First, support for this program and the exhibition “Clocking in: visions of labor”, which is currently on view, featuring two prints by Analia Saban is provided by Kristin and Jeff Klein, Melanie and John Gross, Hixson-Lied Endowment, and the Nebraska Arts Council and Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you also to Sheldon members, your support helps make possible events like this one and helps to keep the museum running day to day. And to all of you in the audience, whether you’re here in person or watching us through the live stream online, thank you for joining us.
And it is now my distinct pleasure to introduce tonight’s speaker.
Analia Saban is an artist who explores the intersections and overlap between traditional media and new technologies, blurring the lines between drawing, painting, weaving, and sculpture. Her work often includes plays on art, historical references, and traditions, as well as connections to everyday objects and architectures.
Born in Buenos Argentina, Ms. Saban lives and works in Los Angeles. She earned a BFA in visual arts at Loyola University in New Orleans and an MFA in new genres at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2015 to 16, she was a Getty Research Institute artist in residency at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
Please join me now in welcoming Analia Saban.
Analia Saban, Sheldon Collection Talk Guest Speaker: Thank you, Erin. And thank you, Sarafina. Thank you, everyone.
It’s been a great visit so far. I love being here in this building. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been enjoying touching all the materials, and the architecture, and looking at the high ceilings, and the windows. And, anyway, it’s been such an inspiring place to work and visit.
So, I’m going to give you a little introduction. I like to start from the very beginning because I know we have some students and there is always like, you know, a question is like, ‘how do you get to where you are now? I mean, like what’s the path, you know?’And, so, I like to always start from the very beginning to give you a sense of what it takes and how it’s like, just, nothing happens overnight. I mean, like, it’s a very long continuation, day by day, and you go through ups and downs, and in the end, you just keep going, I would say.
But I’m going to start with this work.
This is a very, very early work and I was still a student at UCLA doing my master’s. And I had a really hard time in school. So that’s why I always like to come to schools and, you know, tell the students that there is hope. And there is so much more after school if you’re having a hard time. And if you’re not… just great, good for you, enjoy it.
But, for me, it was a tough time, UCLA. I was very young when I got there and I just didn’t understand how it worked. I didn’t understand how people made art or why. Even though I was already an art student and I knew I wanted to be in it, I just was still trying to figure out, kind of like, how it worked.
And I also was asking myself even like, you know, more basic questions like what’s art and why do we even look at it? And, you know, why are we here tonight looking at art? And then somebody posted yesterday: a photo of people looking at the Mona Lisa. And it was maybe like, I don’t know, like 200 or 500 people. Like, it was really hard to see. But like, I mean, just this like… frantic type of interest in art and like, why? I mean, like, what is, what are these pieces on the wall?
Sometimes we look at them and we understand why. And sometimes, you know, you have to ask yourself, does it make sense? I mean, like the cultural value, the historical value, but also like, there are just also objects made out of fabric. And what’s the difference between that fabric and this fabric? And is it pigment on top? Is that what that’s the value? Is it the subject matter? What is it? So, this was like very, very basic questions. But I didn’t have answers to it and I still don’t have answers to them 20 years later. But I think it was more like I was trying to explore those questions and maybe ask more questions by trying to unravel the painting.
So, this is how it began. I found the painting and I took it apart, kind of trying to almost like put it under the microscope and being like, ‘okay, so what’s in here.’ Like what is there? Like a secret power or something, you know?
So, I started to open it up, and then I had all this thread, and then I’m like, ‘what do you do with loose thread?’
I mean, I remember my grandmother. She’s like an amazing knitter and she would just roll it into a ball, you know. That’s just like a very basic impulse. So, you would roll it into a ball. And I realized once I had that, then the painting turned into a sculpture and I was like, ‘oh, that’s kind of interesting. What’s that about?’ So, I turned it into a bigger sculpture. And these are a hundred paintings that I bought or found or some were donated by me from my classmates at UCLA.
So, I bought like about a hundred paintings and, and I’m like, “Okay, what do you do with all these threads?” So, you roll it into a ball. So, this became more like three feet high, and it weights something like 200 kilos or something. It’s all because of the pigment inside. So, you can’t even lift it off the ground. You just have to, basically, roll it into the gallery. It’s so heavy. But it became the painting ball and I thought, you know, it was kind of like, I finally felt I was onto something that was finally interesting to me. And then school became, you know, I was engaged, again, in a dialogue because one of the things that I was trying to figure out is the power of painting. And I was trying to understand where that power was.
Then these are about like 10 paintings that I, once I took them apart, I thought, well, now I have this thread. So, you could like… reknit it. And I remembered my grandma too. Like sometimes, you know, I feel like these days we take fashion for granted so much. But, back in the day, I remember my grandma, if she didn’t like a sweater or if it got like too stretched or whatever, she would undo it and then need it back, which I think it’s something we could still do today, which is don’t.
But I thought it’d be interesting to see what would happen to a painting once you unravel it and you like knit it back together. And then so you see the detail. So, you get like a different type of abstraction. And then this is a scarf. Somebody, I know a friend came to the studio and they were like, you know, it’s true because if like we’re at the war and it’s really cold because the energy’s out and it’s snowing outside. And you know, that whole existential question, and you only have a painting on the wall, would you just cut it down and wear it just to keep you warm?
So, this is the scarf made out of three different paintings and you can see the landscape is still attached to it in a way. So, you see the blue, so you can almost maybe imagine in your mind, like the abstraction of the landscape.
And I started thinking a lot about like paint itself and the history of materials when it comes to painting.
So, what is paint? And paint can be really anything. And when I looked into this and I started really like researching, I mean, it’s – and I recommended if you’re interested in art, the history of pigments – when it comes to painting, people were painting with anything.
I come from Argentina where our white house is actually pink. And the only reason why it’s pink it’s because early on, after the independence from the Spaniards, they made a mix of blood from cows and plaster, and then they made this pink color, and then they just painted the white house – our equivalent of the government house to our it’s called the pink house, actually. And I just thought that was amazing that paint can be blood from cows or even anything really. Or they could make temper out of eggshells. So, basically, paint can be of course minerals, as we know it, it can really be anything. Things can be, you know, I can ground up any material here, although I wouldn’t, because this is such a beautiful museum, but potentially I could and then like mix it with some type of medium, like Lindseed oil or some type of more like acrylic based medium and develop my own pigment.
So, I was thinking a lot about like, okay, so what are we painting with? And another thing that I always like is the idea of the wet paint, which is something that I think painters love. And that’s why we paint; like just from the pleasure of painting and mixing paint. And it’s very bodily.
So, I started making these plastic bags. So all around it, it’s a plastic bag that’s vacuum sealed, like sausages. So, this is the way you see baker sausages in the supermarket. And then by vacuum ceiling oil paint, all the oxygen was out. So, the paint was staying wet for basically ever. And there is still the same, actually, even though these are from 2007.
Then I was thinking a lot about like, “Okay. So it’s a painting container for paint.” So I made this type of objects that were in between the floor and the wall. So it stood, they stood in that in-between zone. They were like leaning against the wall but sitting on the floor and they were basically [these] canvas bags filled with paint and they would explode.
It was a lot of tension.
I was thinking a lot about the body and circulation. I made them in the studio. I was sleeping in the studio at that time. I lived in my studio for about 10 years. And I did this and, sometimes, in the middle of the night, I would hear this explosion. And I was like, “Oh my God.” Like, I just didn’t wanna get out of my room because I knew that the paint would be all over the place and it was. And, so, in some cases, I had to stitch it back together just because it was like too much material coming out. And it was just like an interesting force between materials and tension, basically.
Then I had a moment like that. I went back to a more scientific – or conceptual, I would say. So I started thinking a lot about, again, painting as a sculpture and whether I could carve the surface. So for that, I got a laser machine and I started kind of carving the surface of a painting. So I would start with a painting that was canvas with acrylic paint on it. And then I would, with the laser machine, I would be able to very carefully remove a lot of material. So, as you can see, it’s almost about to fall apart, but I had to make a drawing that would kind of like stay together. So this is all about carving the material.
And I think it was also like [a] kind of existential moment of feeling some type of fragility about things, but it was just like interesting to explore the material and to go so carefully and to think about surface. And the fact that like, if you look at the painting, you’re looking at a hundred percent of material that you could like, you know, remove 10% or 20% or 50%, or as you see in the big areas, where there is nothing. So it’s like a hundred percent burned by the laser and then other areas that were intact.
And then, opposite to this, I felt I needed to make these concrete pieces, which were like the opposite, kind of like it, they kept me in balance in a way, because one on the one on the one hand, things were falling apart on the other. I wanted to explore the idea of concrete and concrete in terms of silencing. Or… I think concrete is a very powerful material. It’s everywhere, but we stopped noticing it basically. And I wanted to see if by polishing concrete, I would get something there. And then I saw this drawing basically, which is just the aggregate. And I felt that kind of could have an interesting connection with minimalism and so on. So I was thinking of concrete a lot.
And then it came at this point where I was traveling between Los Angeles and New York and thinking about… I think the idea of feeling very fragile has been with me for a while lately.
It has… I’m feeling better about it. I was personally, I was in a terrorist attack in Argentina and, when I was 12, and I think that really marked me. It was kind of like a before and after because there was a bomb against the Israeli Embassy and my school was next to it. And the embassy collapsed in many ways. People died like the usual. But it was just… it really changed because Argentina’s never engaged in war or anything. And there are no earthquakes. But like this idea that anything can happen, really so unexpectedly. Yeah. As I said, I feel like I’m finally feeling better about it, but it really kind of stayed with me, and then moving to Los Angeles and like dealing with earthquakes was also… it kind of brought me back to that moment.
But then I moved to New York, which was, you know, you would think New York is like crowded and this and that. But I loved the fact that I didn’t have to worry about earthquakes anymore. And, it made me finally address these issues in a more constructive way. I think. So this was my answer to it. I wanted to drape a piece of concrete and, or a piece of marble. So. And I was thinking a lot about drapery, like drapery in marble. That’s something I always am fascinated by an idea that like, it’s almost like this human achievement, right? When like you can make marble look like fabric. Like we go to a museum in Italy and you’re like, “Wow, it’s almost like this is progress. This is when we did something amazing. We made marble look like fabric.”
And I thought, “Well, I don’t have those skills. But what can I do now? It’s my turn to work with marble. Like what would I do?” I feel like, you know, the question at the end of today is like not to take things for granted, not to always assume, well, marble sculpture will always look this way and a painting will always look that way. Like, what if we rewind and try to ask ourselves, “what is drapery?”
What is marble? What is a painting? What is a pigment? What is a piece of fabric? Where does it come from? So I wanted to see if I can, I could do it. And then we, you know, with a little bit of research, we just draped a piece of marble. I say, we, because we needed a lot of heavy lifting, so I couldn’t do it on my own. And then we did these pieces, which were, [for] a while, draping a piece of concrete. Totally different processes with marble and concrete, because marble you have to work with what’s there. With concrete, you can make a mold and basically make everything you need to drape this concrete. You can put it inside the concrete and do it differently.
But I made these works and they were definitely in conversation with earthquakes. But also like just the folding of the earth or the idea that things change. Or just even walking by the sidewalk and seeing how a tree can really fold a sidewalk. And I think that’s quite powerful in itself.
That’s what I’m working on at the moment. So I hope you enjoy the talk. If you have any questions, let me know.
Audience Member (1): So you said that you had like derived your inspiration from conservation. Does that kind of affect how you choose your materials?
Analia Saban, Sheldon Collection Talk Guest Speaker: Yeah. So it’s a similar type of question and I… yeah. I mean, well, people say it’s okay, not to worry because they need a job, which is funny. Like… don’t think about it. You know? People in conservation, they will always need a job, so just do whatever. But it’s really tough when a work comes back to the studio because it’s not doing well, it’s almost like a sick patient or something. And then it’s just trying to fix it, but it’s also like I have to rewind the studio, basically. I have to bring the studio back… in everything. So if like my tables and everything is looking one way I have to like, almost change everything. It’s almost like rewind the studio back in time and bring out the same materials we were using like 20 years ago. Let’s say just to try to make the same environment, bring the same tools, the same materials. If I was doing caustic paint, I have to bring all my pots back out and start hitting beeswax again.
And, maybe, that’s okay. And sometimes I’m just… it’s just really hard because it really interrupts the flow of things. So in the end, I try to do the best I can. Of course, I will never know. I mean but I do try to do the best I can and not. Or, as I said, the compromise, because there are a few works that I still want to make, is to just keep them in the studio collection. So if I don’t know how they will react, or if they’re extremely fragile, I will make them anyway and put them out in shows and all that. But they just won’t ever go out; I will keep full control. So that’s the way I’ve been able to deal with it. But yeah.
Audience Member (2): What are your thoughts on art pieces that include, you know, pieces from living items? Like such as – I forgot the artist and the name of the piece – but I have seen a sculpture that is like a dead shark cast in resin. And I believe every 10 years they have to get a new dead shark to put inside of it.
So do you… have you ever thought about making an art piece where there would be a replaceable element to it like that?
Analia Saban, Sheldon Collection Talk Guest Speaker: I mean, yeah. That’s a good question. It’s funny. I’ve been thinking a lot about the shark lately and it’s a work by Damian Hurst. I mean it’s very interesting also how, you know, time changes the artwork.
And I don’t know, does anyone know when the piece was made? In the nineties? Probably. Like when these were… the young British artists were coming out and it’s very interesting because now it’s been like 30 years and I don’t think anyone would make this piece today, you know, the way we’re thinking about ecology.
And it’s interesting because I used to like that piece to be honest, and now I hate it. And I think it’s like, but I don’t hate Damien Hurst. I actually think he’s a very interesting, powerful artist. But the same way, you know, I remember as a very young child I went to Sea World. Then now I would like never, ever bring my kids to Sea World. And I’m like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we were ever like cheering for those poor animals.” You know? But then you, on the other hand, it’s good that that piece was made in the nineties because, otherwise, I wouldn’t have these thoughts in my head, you know? So I just think it’s interesting how, like, hopefully, we change, the art changes, and, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about, you know, to like bring up the dialogue.
I mean that. I think that’s such a good example because I’ve been thinking a lot about that piece. And now there is this other artist who I like a lot – and, actually, he shows in the same gallery with me – Tomás Saraceno who makes these spider webs. And right now we don’t care about spiders as much as we care about sharks, but maybe 10 years from now, we will know a lot more about spiders and we will be like, “Why were we sending these spiders to, you know, Hong Kong for an art fair or something?” You know what I mean? Like how unfair that was for the spiders.
And honestly, I’m asking myself these questions, even when I use a piece of plywood to make a panel myself. I’m like, “if we don’t have forests 20 years from now, would I even dare to cut a piece of wood for a culture?”
So I just think these are very important things.
And especially when you’re… well, not when you’re young, honestly. We all have to think about this. Like, you know, the museum who’s building a crate has to think about it. How are we going to ship it? Like, I have to think about it in my own practice. We stopped, when possible, we stopped flying works around because I think it’s, it’s through it’s insane. I used to be able to finish a work, a show that I was sending to, let’s say, London a week before and just put it on the flight and it would arrive the next day. I mean, it’s kind of crazy if you think about it: from Los Angeles to London. I would just have the show open, you know, a week later and now we finish them like five weeks early, we send them by boat.
So, anyway, I think the shark is really interesting and I’m glad it exists. I don’t know. I hope they’re not replacing with the new shark every… I don’t know what they’re doing. It would be interesting to catch up with that and see how they’re dealing with it. I think you are right. I read about every 10 years… he kind of gave a warranty like 10 years and then he kept kind of like updating. But, yeah, that’s a very interesting question in terms of my own practice.
I mean, and I try to be mindful of materials. I try to. I don’t think I would like to have a work that I have to keep up with every 10 years. I think that would be too stressful. But I try to really think about the type of material I use and we try not to waste a lot at all. So every single work starts this size, like eight by 10. We do so many little tests before we go, you know, large. But these are very important questions actually.
Yeah. One more.
Audience Member (3): I had a question about the piece upstairs, as well. But when you were talking earlier about your inspiration when you saw a painting and you said, you know, “why is this thing even exist?” Or the materials that are used. And it seems based on the same sort of principle but it’s… they’re radically different because it’s all about artifice, you know? So, and I mean, I think most people, when they look at that, they don’t realize it’s a[n] addition, you know, it looks hyper-real.
Analia Saban, Sheldon Collection Talk Guest Speaker: Yeah. That’s a nice question. That’s a very interesting. So it’s basically coming from a print shop in LA, that what they do is they make these hyper-real, three-dimensional paper pieces. So it’s a very traditional way of making paper. They have paper pulp and they’re mixing paper pulp, and basically making the paper and printing on it at the same time.
So they make a mold of the piece and then the ink inside the mold, and then they fill the mold with paper pulp, and then they run that through the press and it all comes out together as one.
But… I think it is funny. It’s true. Like many people would walk by it and think like, “Oh, why is this like a piece of fabric with like, you know, just hanging on the wall?”
But I mean, it’s okay. You know. Like that’s just art. I mean, right there. I mean, like what,
I don’t know, would it be different if it was a piece of fabric on the wall? Probably. I mean, like… it would, you know… like… and I think that’s like, that’s why we have a label. That’s why then you’ll go back, you look at it again, then you realize it’s just one piece of paper. And what does that mean? And I think the fact that these were additions, I actually liked because it did have to do with industrialization. It had to do with this idea of like, you know making multiple copies. Just like fabric and like this idea of things can travel and like, so anyway…. I dunno if I’m answering your question.
Yeah. And well thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: That was Analia Saban talking about her work both in general and the two pieces being featured in the new “Clocking In: Visions of Labor” exhibit that opened last month at the Sheldon. That exhibit will be sticking around to until December 16, so don’t forget to check it out.
Now, before we head into our next break, I just want to thank Sandy and Rick Brown for your donation.
I appreciate your support of our newsroom. And of course, thank you to everyone else as well for listening to KZUM during our fall fun drive. Right at this moment, you are listening to “KZUM News” done live for the very first time. Every week, our newsroom is working hard to give you an in-depth look at the local news, affecting our community. And, as an original product of KZUM radio, our goal is to be around for decades to come. We want to be the information hub that current and future generations can rely on. Now, no matter how big or small, every donation helps KZUMM bring you awesome radio. So, if you can head to kzum.org or call now at (402) 474-5086 extension line one, that’d be fantastic. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Now, we’ll hit that break. And, afterward, we’re gonna talk with Kerry Semrad about our newsroom.
[Fades in on the “KZUM News” between-segment music, an original compilation by Jack Rodenburg. The music fades out on the commercial break. Once again, the music fades in on the “KZUM News” between-segment music.]
Amantha Dickman, News Director: All right. We are on the last segment of the day. And to kick us off, I just want to talk a little bit about our upcoming media literacy series and survey.
And I know that sounds a little scary if you aren’t familiar with what we’re trying to do here. So,
let me tell you a little bit about it.
I’ve noticed in my time as a journalist, that there’s a lot of confusion about how newsrooms – and particularly individual journalists – operate from day to day. And, in an effort to kind of open up that conversation and combat misinformation about how our field works, I would like to do a series that focuses on misinformation, bias in journalism, and take a really good look at how newsrooms operate by bringing together professionals and educators from across Lincoln, and even across the United States, to discuss that with us here locally.
And one of the many things that has been circling the drain that is my brain the last couple years, is how we can help combat this confusion. And this seems to be the best way to do it, is to just open that conversation up.
And, so, we are also going to go ahead and bring Kerry Semrad, our general manager, in and we’re gonna talk a little bit about how “KZUM News,” specifically, operates because I’m realizing that that might be a little confusing to our listeners.
So, Kerry, why don’t you start us off [by] telling us a little bit about how “KZUM News” came to be?
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: Hi, Amantha. Thanks so much for having me on with you this afternoon. I guess it’s before noon. Not quite yet.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: We’re getting there.
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: We are. Well, first of all, I am so thankful for the people who have made donations to “KZUM News” so far.
Why don’t you name them one more time, Amantha, just to kind of motivate people who are probably listening right now?
Amantha Dickman, News Director: Yeah. So, we have a donation from Kevin Palmer and a donation from Sandy and Rick Brown. Thank you again to all of you for donating. That’s incredible, especially because we’re a fairly new program and we’re just getting started.
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: We are.
You know, “KZUM News” has been something that we have been working on, trying to make happen, for the last couple [of] years. Of course, the only thing that has been in our way of having a full-time News Director has been money. That always seems to be the prime factor, right? When you’re talking about creating a new position, creating a new program, and we were able to get a generous grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to make your position, Amantha, possible and bring our community news every week. Consistent news and independent news, which was something we really wanted to focus on.
And, of course, we’ve had great public affairs programming throughout the last decades. We even had some dedicated news programming ahead of that. But it did take us a lot of work to get to the point where we could bring that back.
So, just looking at the scope of where our community is in the world and the scope of media, in general, in the world, there is of course, a lot of confusion, bias, and misinformation that happens when it comes to media. So, we wanted to contribute in a way that was positive to that problem and make sure that our community had news that they could absolutely rely on the accuracy. And you know, what, if we make a mistake, we are ready to talk about that and ready to make sure that people understand where our faults are as well. I think that’s a very important part of being a newsroom, is understanding that we can get it wrong sometimes, but that’s why we’re here. We are gonna do our best to not.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: Absolutely.
And when you and I first started discussing how to make “KZUM News’ an actual production, we talked a lot about trust in media the last couple of years.
Why don’t we talk a little bit about what that vision is for us in terms of local, community-led radio?
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: Sure. Trust in media, that’s a big, big challenge, I think right now for a lot of people who are looking for news that they can rely on. And, you know, I think that you and I having our… one of the things that I really appreciated about you when you came in, Amantha, was you came in with a list of policies and questions that you had ready to go, that you did not want to operate without having in place.
And it was incredibly helpful for us as an organization to know what your expectations were for myself as a manager, but for KZUM as an organization that you were going to work under because I know that your integrity as a news director and as a journalist is something that you hold very closely and we wanted to be able to support that in you. So that was first step, really a really great way to get this relationship started.
And I believe that when you’re talking about trust in media, a part of that, which I was talking about earlier, [is] just making sure that we are getting it right. And if we don’t get it right, we give you the right information after the fact, you know. We talk a lot about where our sources are going to [come from], who our sources are, how to respect our sources, and where the stories are coming from. And I think that that helps a lot for you, the listener, to understand that we’re doing our due diligence to ensure that we are getting it right, getting the news right. So I don’t know if that necessarily answered your question, but…
Amantha Dickman, News Director: Yeah, it… it did.
And as you mentioned, we do have an entire 15-page ethics handbook that we put together before we even started producing content.
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: Yes. And that took us quite some time to do that too. A lot of tough questions that we had to work through and answer for ourselves, where do we lie when it comes to not, you know, where do we sit when it comes to these certain ethics questions? And we were very aligned in that, where truth was absolutely the number one and unbiased as best as we possibly can. Those were the number one, you know, motivators for us, I suppose.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: Yeah, absolutely. And, of course, we are currently working on a new website and part of that new website will include an updated landing page for that ethics handbook.
Can you tell listeners a little bit about this website and what our hopes are for it?
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: Yeah. So the website that we have currently right now works for us, but it is, you know, six or seven years old and things have changed quite a bit. We wanna make it easy to find the news on our website and find a place where you can read transcripts and also listen to the audio, see photos, and all sorts of things, pieces that will go along with the news pieces and the news program that we do every Saturday.
And we wanna make sure that we are accommodating and accessible to everybody who lives in Lincoln. So we are gonna be looking to do some translation pieces as well. We’ve got a lot of great ideas, but the thing that’s kind of holding us back from there is the fact that our website right now can’t quite accommodate what our goals are with the program and with “KZUM News.”
So we’re looking forward to getting somebody in here to help us design that brand-new site.
And it’s gonna be a great way to kinda kick off our 45th anniversary year too, by having a brand new, shiny, and easy-to-use site.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: Now it looks like we’re kind of running out of time to have this discussion.
Kerry Semrad, General Manager of KZUM Radio: Always.
Amantha Dickman, News Director: However, for those of you listening, I do want to remind you that, in addition to this upcoming media literacy series, we do have a survey.
We would love to hear your thoughts on biased, reporting, misinformation and journalism, those sort of things. We wanna hear your thoughts. So we do have a QR code that is currently on our social media. There will also be a link in today’s transcript, which you can find under that “KZUM News” archive on the website. And we will keep you updated when that series is ready to go live.
In the meantime, thank you again for listening to the first ever live broadcast of “KZUM News.” I am astounded that we’re sitting here today. So, thank you so much. If you still have some spare dollars to throw away, you can, of course do so at kzum.org; just hit that donate button or give us a call at (402) 474-5086 extension line one.
Thank you again. Have a lovely afternoon. Don’t get rained on.