Roasted Cockroach for Scale: Gregg Bordowitz in Conversation with Katz Tepper

March 29, 2022

Katz Tepper’s film Roasted Cockroach for Scale, an experimental social-practice project made in collaboration with the artist’s Soviet-Israeli-American father, is a fragmentary portrait of a contradictory transnational and transgenerational relationship. Calibrated to the specific qualities of remote communication in the global viral pandemic, the film consists entirely of text-based screen recordings created using Google, Zoom, and AI-speech-to-text software. Playful and tender interactions between the filmmaker and their father activate a web of narrative, formal, and political connections between disability and diaspora in this moving film, which orbits themes of illness, memory, genocide, displacement, militarism, statehood, and ableism.

Watch the 47-minute film here at your leisure, and then join us live for a dynamic conversation between Jewish Currents contributor and renowned artist Gregg Bordowitz and director Katz Tepper, two artists whose work explores Jewishness, humor, textuality, and the politics of illness in relation to structures of power.

Note: We will not be screening the film at the event. Make sure to watch it beforehand!

This live event and its recording will have automated closed captioning. For accommodation requests or questions about accessibility, please reach out to

Mo Costello

Katz Tepper is an interdisciplinary artist working across video, text, installation, and sculpture. Their work casts an inward gaze to reflect on environmentally scaled situations, concerned with entanglements that dissolve boundaries between internal and external. Their work has been presented in solo exhibitions at White Columns, New York and Atlanta Contemporary, Georgia, and in group shows including “Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying” at Red Bull Arts, Detroit and “A Fence Around the Torah: Safety and Unsafety in Jewish Life” at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Publications featuring their work include Mousse Magazine, Art in America, Art Papers, Art Review, and Burnaway. Tepper was born and raised in Florida and is based in Athens, GA. They are a recipient of the Wynn Newhouse Award, a MacDowell Fellowship, and an FCA Bridge Fund Grant. They earned a BFA from the Cooper Union and an MFA from Bard College.

Justin Bettman

Since the late 1980s, writer, artist, and activist Gregg Bordowitz has made diverse works—essays, poems, performances, drawings, sculpture, and videos—that explore his Jewish and queer identities within the context of the ongoing AIDS crisis. Bordowitz was an early participant in New York’s ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), where he co-founded various video collectives, including Testing the Limits, an advocacy group within ACT UP, and DIVA (Damn Interfering Video Activists). While developing a visual language capable of communicating harm-reduction models to a broad public in his collaborative works, he made his own videos and television broadcasts that juxtaposed performance documentation, archival footage, role play, and recordings of protest demonstrations, drawing influence from feminist conceptual art. In recent years Bordowitz has increasingly introduced poetry and performance as art events, exploring histories of music and televised stand-up comedy. Moving between multiple genres, the artist’s work contemplates an expanded concept of portraiture as a mode of political and artistic address.