My engagement with the environment has evolved over time. I first started working three-dimensionally after moving to New York City. The urban environment felt like a place where one had to make an effort to engage with nature, and I felt the need to draw it out and create a visible connection. After a few years of working abstractly, and in the midst of non-action on the part of the federal government, I decided to move my practice into a more active role, taking on a variety of environmental and social issues. I see the two as being deeply intertwined. The goal of the work now is to take issues and solutions to as wide an audience as possible, and to create interactions which allow participants to connect with the urban environment in a variety of experiential ways.Both my background as an artist and as a student of architecture continue to inform my work. I try to think creatively about the use of space, both public and private, and how that space might be used to connect people, places and things. My training taught me to look at what is there and what is in between (the void), and how each of those types of spaces can be used to influence movement, emotions and actions. The artist in me seeks visually and conceptually interesting methods of achieving environmental and social action. I continue to esteem the aesthetics of a work while considering the simplest means to an end. Most of the projects are measured by the number of people directly participating in the project. At the same time, I like the domino effect the projects may have: one person might change their attitude or approach to their urban environment through direct participation, which in turn may affect a second person witnessing to take action. I could apply metrics but feel that the emotional impact is a greater and more abstract measure. The emotional connection is what will effect the greatest long-term impact.
I came up with a quick (and I hope fun) project to use in place of presenting my work ay the Creative Capital/Creative Time workshop on Real Community Engagement. I wrote the words "power" "memory" and "change" on three small stones. I gave them to people in the workshop and asked that they use the words on the stones as a starting point to telling a story (personal experience, fact, hope) to another participant, and then to pass that stone to the listener and ask them to do the same. The idea was to emphasize the participation and experiential education aspect of my work. It was a means of communicating a real sense of the work that I do instead of showing slides of projects gone by. The metaphorical stones in the water and the ripple effect. It seemed to work well, people said they had interesting experience hearing the stories and liked that they had a chance to engage on a more personal manner than they might have without the stones. It broke them out of their shyness and got them sharing stories.I allowed the participants to keep the stones if they felt a personal connection. Alyson Pou kept "memory," Arlen kept "power" and I went home with change.Thanks to all the participants for being willing to engage (Anna Muessig, Nuit Blanche NYC; Arlen Austin, Hanns Eisler Nail Salon; Beka Economopoulos, Not An Alternative; Bridget Finn, Cleopatra's; Carey Clark, The Point; Caroline Woolard, Our Goods Christopher Robbins, Ghana Think Tank; David Michael Perez, FEAST in Brooklyn; Hope Ginsburg Sponge; Mary Mattingly; Matthew Slaats; Paloma McGregor, Urban Bush Women; Petrushka Bazin, The Laundromat Project; Tracy Candido, Community Cooking Club).Feel free to use this idea in your next group situation...
I am an artist. I create public and social practice art.I am a mother, I have an amazing toddler with whom I want to spend as much time as possible. I am a wife who treasures her relationship with her husband and strives to stay connected and present.I am a teacher, I share my knowledge and experience with students at Parsons and professional artists around the country with Creative Capital.I am an athlete with a commited practice of dance, aerobic, martial art and yogic practice.I am all of this and more. I love my life.And recently, finding time for everything has been hard, if not occassionally impossible. Things have fallen away:I am lucky to get to the gym 3 times a week (one of those being Mommy & Me dance), when it used to be 5 times a week.I have unfinished projects and little head space for developing new ones.I am disorganized, forgetful and sleep deprived. I have running to do lists on my phone that get ignored. I ask for deadline extensions a lot lately. I often work late at night to get anything done at all.And still, I love my life. I figure life is a little like a teeter totter. Rarely is it static in a balanced position. It is either heavily weighted in one direction or another. And it (if being engaged with in a playful way) goes from one point to another.I try to keep focused, I have learned to say no (or, thank you for thinking of me, but I can't take that on right now, let's talk about a future opportunity). I keep restating my goals, prioritizing and checking my passions.I know this will all change before long and I try to live in the moment.And I love all the moments in my life.
I recently redesigned my website. There's a lot more information (text) and a mix of projects, proposals and blog posts. So why did I chose to do this? My work is cross-pollinatory (new word?) And so it is important to give somewhat equivalent weight to thoughts, proposals and realized projects. They all bear weight on my artistic inquiry and practice. All parts feed into the other parts and inform. I write about the broad topics that are of interest to me (urban issues, the life of being an artist, project ideas and process and I will start talking about a "life in balance"). I post project proposals and ideas because a lot of the work I do never gets realized for logistics (resources) reasons but hey are important as part of my process. Architects post unrealized projects, as an artist working on larger scale/longer term projects I feel like the proposals are an important part of my portfolio of work.If you are an artist reading this, would you or do you post proposals? Why or why not?
(Intra)structure is a a collaboration with Renata Mann, artist and jewelry maker. Her fiber-based work is on a personal scale. My vegetative-based work is on an urban scale. We were interested in bridging those two points. We created (Intra)structure, a vascular and modular growing system for epiphytic and climbing plants. The pieces are connected by strong magnets. The can live in your apartment, on your balcony, out in the world and then modular sections can be removed and worn (pics of those pieces coming soon).(Intra)structure connects you with your built and natural environment...
I will be participating with Seeding the City and a new collaborative project with Renata Mann, (Intra)Structure.Textile Arts Center and environmental fiber artist, Abigail Doan, are hosting an evening open house for Earth Day 2011!This will be an opportunity to explore ideas related to fashioning self and our shared environment. Invited artists and local sustainable fashion designers will feature their own fiber, textile, and green design initiatives, as well as offering activities related to slow fashion styling and organic interactions with the environment.Visitors will be able chat first hand with presenters, participate in on-site activities, and celebrate Earth Day 2011 with refreshments and treats from local sponsors and green businesses!Susan Benarcik, Meiling Chen (Fearless Dreamer), Abigail Doan, Daria Dorosh, Xing-Zhen Chung-Hilyard and Melissa Kirgan of Eko-Lab, Ceca Georgieva,Titania Inglis, Anjelika Krishna (a.d.o. clothing), Renata Mann, Rachel Miller, Eve Mosher, Shannon South (reMade USA), Study NY with Awamaki Lab, Edina Tokodi (Mosstika), Tali Weinberg, and Zoe Sheehan Saldana.
Friday, April 22, 2011 -- 6-9PMrsvp@textileartscenter.com(image courtesy Titania Inglis, SS11)
The Festival of Ideas for the New City, May 4-8, 2011, is a major new collaborative initiative in New York involving scores of Downtown organizations, from universities to arts institutions and community groups, working together to effect change. A first for New York, the Festival will harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future city and explore the ideas destined to shape it. It will take place in multiple venues Downtown and is organized around three central programs: a conference of symposia; an innovative StreetFest along the Bowery; and over one hundred independent projects and public events. The Festival will serve as a platform for artists, writers, architects, engineers, designers, urban farmers, planners, and thought leaders to exchange ideas, propose solutions, and invite the public to participate.
A conference of symposia, lectures, and workshops with visionaries and leaders— including exemplary mayors, forecasters, architects, artists, economists, and technology experts—addressing the Festival themes: The Heterogeneous City; The Networked City; The Reconfigured City; and The Sustainable City. Events take place at The Cooper Union, New York University, and the New Museum, Wednesday to Saturday, May 4-7.
An innovative, minimal-waste, outdoor StreetFest takes place along the Bowery. 100+ local grassroots organizations and small businesses present model products and practices in a unique outdoor environment. Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m to 7 p.m.
100+ independent projects, events, performances, and walking tours that expand on the Festival’s themes, open at multiple venues Downtown, activating a broad geographic area. Projects are listed in chronological order and most events are free.
So I have another idea for a project. It stemmed from loooking at a project by an artist whose work I really love and thinking about what I would like to do with it... I have a couple of artist projects I want to do that with and it might be fun/freeing to do a whole series. Its about taking a great creative idea that I maybe never would have thought of and you know, remixing it. Its hip hop art. I imagine there will be willing and unwilling participants. Let me know if you do want to participate...