ENGAGING ARTISTS FELLOWS

“Art is not the production of artworks; art is research. And if we view art as research, we recognize the outcomes as our knowledge, and I’m interested in the kinds of knowledge that artists have unique access to.”

The Artists’ Grief Deck, co-produced by the Artists’ Literacies Institue, exists in part to fill a gap left by the absence of traditional communal grieving rituals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a toolkit, the decks have been disbursed for free to grief workers and community organizations and can be purchased here. In addition to the printed deck, the Grief Deck project includes the free companion website, Griefdeck.com, where new artwork and prompts can be added to the repository of resources on an ongoing basis; in addition to serving as an archive of the printed deck, this project website also serves as an expanding repository for grief-inspired artwork and healing, transformative action.

“A film or artwork never exists free of context,” affirms artist, filmmaker, and educator Andrew Freiband, “and I believe that developing models for effectively contextualizing creative work, and putting the qualitative knowledge of creative practitioners to use, can amplify art’s capacity for impact, knowledge creation, and social catalysis.” Well put, but what might a belief in said model end up looking like…


This month on Medium, getting in touch with ourselves and each other, past and present.

Hello, it’s me (2015–17) — For this collaborative multimedia project, Hidemi Takagi worked with minority older adults living in gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City (Harlem, Crown Heights, and Bushwick). The final installations incorporated recent photographic portraits of those participants, scanned portraits from the past, a video and audio recording of the subjects speaking about their rich lives and experience. Takagi was a 2015 Engaging Artist-in-Residence with More Art and received a seed grant to continue her work with senior citizens from Chelsea’s Hudson Guild Community Center, which included working on a multimedia project with Yachiyo, photographed here, a Japanese American resident of Harlem who survived the United States’ Japanese American Internment Camps of WWII.

For the past year and change, we have been apart and yet perhaps more frequently in touch. With barriers of physical distance removed (to a certain degree) by technology, something else seems to have been erected in its place. This new kind of interface was a main topic of discussion in our recent At The Table virtual salon with Ofri Cnaani. How do we keep in touch in a contactless space, in an age of hyper-communication? Can we survive without touch, without skin? …


PUBLIC WATER

An interview with writer Camilla Calhoun, part of More Art and Mary Mattingly’s A Year of Public Water

Map and profile showing sources of, and manner of obtaining, an additional supply of water from the Catskills for the city of New York; the blue detail includes the Ashokan Reservoir. Created 1905. Source: New Yor Public Library Digital Collections.

With the consolidation of Greater New York in 1898, there were suddenly many more people relying on the City’s public water supply. In 1905, the New York State Legislature established the Board of Water Supply (BWS) and imbued the Board with significant power to dictate land use, seize land through eminent domain, and realize a massive expansion of the New York City water supply.

Attempts to expand the existing Croton System northward to Dutchess County failed when residents mobilized in opposition to this plan. But by August 1905, the BWS ordered engineers to draw up maps and develop a plan…


ENGAGING ARTISTS FELLOWS

“I really live in a constant state of trust. I ask to be surprised all the time.”

Juliana Luna’s workshops (pictured here, pre-pandemic in Rio de Janeiro) encourage participants to develop a relationship with their own bodies, through movement, meditation, and self-reflection, in order to honor the energies of lunar ancestral guidance reflected in each individual. Photo by Olivia Nachle; courtesy of the artist.

By 2024, NASA plans to have landed the first woman on the moon under the auspices of the Artemis program. Named after the Greek goddess of the moon (and of wild animals, the hunt, and chastity), who is also the twin sister of Apollo, namesake of NASA’s previous lunar expeditions, the mission will explore more of the moon’s surface than ever before and serve as a crucial jumping-off point for sending the first astronauts to Mars. One giant leap for womankind, indeed!

What does this new journey mean in a social context? The poetic undertones are apparent — a convergence…


ARTIST VOICES

“We have a moment of alienation, of asking a question, and that by itself is a jump start for deeper inquiries.”

Moon Guardians (2013) — Every night for a month, Cnaani’s videos were projected on the windows and storefronts facing the square at Gansevoort Plaza, the figures interacting with one another and with the building. “What’s important to me is that it’s in this liminal space between private space and public space,” she said. “There is no invitation to sit. Usually they are night pieces, when the other businesses, including the art institute businesses, are closed. Other things are closed, and there is no control, and also no record of who has seen it.”

New York City has long been recognized as a place where marginalized figures and outsiders are celebrated. But, as with cities across the country and globe, gentrification continually, brutally upends that dynamic —and in the process, New York has become more conservative, sanitized, and consumer-oriented. …


AT THE TABLE: DIALOGUE + ART

Where is where after a year of digital dependency?

Measures of Closeness: A Lexicon of Gesture was a Zoom-based performance conducted by Ofri Cnaani, Evann Siebens, and Stella Geppert, hosted by A4 Arts Foundation in May 2020. The artists engaged collectively in a series of movement exercises, choreographic figures, conversations, and chat rooms — in order to provoke contemplation about how bodies are experienced in relation to contact. Cnaani shared this screenshot and wrote on her Instagram: “Thoughts on getting the camera wet and becoming a collection of organs without bodies, during “measure of closeness” performance: At some point, we were breathing on the camera. We were blowing our humid, hot, internal air on the lens until it was foggy. We got the camera wet. The platform functions were melting by our saliva. The lens was affected, the gaze was affected. The inside was turning outside and changing its performance. “

Much has been written and discussed this past year (and certainly for decades beforehand) about the confluence, or conflation, of the digital and the “real”— what kind of Zoom-driven, virtual world are we living in? But few are able to dissect our technological realities and in turn reveal their metaphyscial, political, institutional, somatic, epistemological, and fantastical implications quite like artist Ofri Cnaani.

“The feeling of being in many places, yet nowhere, increasingly qualifies our relations to sites,” Cnaani wrote in prepation for More Art’s most recent At The Table (virtual) salon…


10 people, 2 hours, and a whole lot of questions about art’s role right now

Candance Thompson and C.U.R.B. Banquet #1, February 2019 — The Collaborative Urban Resilience Banquet (C.U.R.B.) is an interdisciplinary social practice project that reconnects urbanites with our fragile (and oft displaced) food web as we face oncoming climate change. Made possible as part of More Art’s Engaging Artists Fellowship.

For the past year, More Art has been hosting At the Table: Dialogue + Art, a series of intimate salon-style conversations within our community, each time featuring a guest artist, focussed on the intersection of public art and social justice. Intended to be a platform for thought-provoking dialogue, these salons provide an opportunity to generate interesting discussion and strengthen More Art’s circle of friends and supporters; they celebrate the importance of coming together in small groups and sharing ideas about the role that art can play in our ever-shifting realities. Our hope for each gathering is that our guests leave…


A new, monthly release from More Art’s living archive

Jenny Marketou, Sunspotting a Walking Forest (2012)— Students from Parsons School of Design and Clinton Middle School and senior citizens from the Fulton Houses in Chelsea explored the use of fashion and language in collectives as powerful, performative tools of public engagement, culminating in a choreographed parade along Manhattan’s High Line. Project produced by More Art.

Watch This Space is More Art’s new, monthly collection of interviews, excerpts, updates, and essays, all curated and collated for you on our Medium publication page. At the beginning of each month, we’ll gather a handful of recently published pieces to share and spark conversation, framing our current work as well as our archival material for the present moment.

This month, we’re featuring two interviews from artists seeking to connect our technological possibilities and proclivities to the physical world around us, tapping into the spiritual and subconscious along the way: Tony Oursler discusses his 2008 utopian-leaning public project AWGTHTGTWTA in…


ENGAGING ARTISTS FELLOWS

“My machines are sensitive to the presence and energy of living beings; they are an external and visible nervous system. They make the invisible fabric of space visible, and they also show us how our presence matters and becomes meaningful.”

“I design machines that can feel,” says Mafe Izaguirre, an artist who builds sensitive machines to explore the aesthetics of the artificial mind. The Emotion Machine is an interactive mechanical entity that interrogates the materiality and the visuality of thought and that invites the public to experience artificial states of mind. Izaguirre is interested in exploring the aesthetic of emerging technologies to create a lexicon that represents the artificial emotional language from the machine’s perspective. The Emotion Machine at Chinatown Soup Gallery, New York. Image via the artist’s website.

Mafe Izaguirre is an artist dedicated to the exploration of hybrid spirituality, intent on the belief that technology can help us to understand and extend human nature. In other words, what I’m trying to do is extend my spirit using technology,” she says. “Through my machines, I establish a dialogue with the subtle body — my soul, and yours. …


ARTIST VOICES

“I’m interested in utopian notions as a kind of social agitator, as a progressive idea in general.”

AWGTHTGTWTA (Are We Going to Have to Go Through with This Again?) (2008) combined neighborhood students’ drawings and dreams, group chanting, and Internet chat and gaming slang to create a new hyper-specific vernacular. The final composition was projected on the basketball court at the Fulton Houses in Chelsea, Manhattan. Project by Tony Oursler, commissioned by More Art. Image courtesy of the artist.

The new year reliably brings with it thoughts of what’s next, new hopes, new fears, new visions (and maybe vision boards). We think back, we plan ahead, we dream, and project our own image of what’s to come.

Plans, projections, dreams — should our goals for tomorrow, next week, the rest of 2021 and then some, be defined by realism? What about idealism, even fantasy? What use is the inscrutable, the insular, the hermetic in building a collective future?

Artist Tony Oursler finds himself continually enraptured by the oneric, the hypnotic, and the otherwordly; he is keenly aware of the…

More Art

More Art creates thought-provoking public art projects and educational programs that inspire broad discourse around social and cultural issues.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store