Congratulations to our new crop of grantees! Our 2013 grantees capture the true spirit of BRAF’s Grants to Artists Program. These projects are full of surprises, bringing whimsical, educational and beautiful moments into everyday lives. They challenge us to rethink our notion of where, when and how art happens, and to even rethink of ourselves as the artists. We hope you’ll be able to experience one of these projects in person!
Project Lead Jakub Mierva
Prague, Czech Republic
This temple-like structure, constructed from bamboo and fabric, houses video and sound components that react to participants’ interactions. The video artworks, or ‘cultures’, draw visitors into micro-worlds within the larger sculptural environment. At the center of the structure is a musical instrument made of bamboo. As visitors move through the environment, they discover ‘potentiometers,’ or controllers that allow them to trigger sound and light variations.
Working together, the visitors push and pull the controllers to create harmoniously blended sounds and lighting effects, modifying, modulating and altering the visual and audial environment in real time. The interaction becomes a game of give-and-take; each person experiencing his or her varying omniscience and influence on the mood of the environment. Other visitors may choose to lounge and simply enjoy the constantly changing stream of music and lights.
The Bambufonomat will tour, beginning with an appearance at the Freeze Festival in the Czech Republic, and continuing to travel to other events in Europe. The Freeze Festival celebrates D.I.Y. ethos and methodologies, setting the perfect stage for the work’s debut.
An incarnation of Bambufonomat, at Neustadt Multimedia 2014, appearing after its BRAF-funded appearance at Freeze Fest.
Press Street arts collective
New Orleans, Louisiana
Press Street’s 24 Hour Draw-a-thon is the only event of its kind in the city of New Orleans, and perhaps the nation. It’s an extraordinary arts education marathon focusing on process, not product. Draw-a-thon is an all-ages, 24-hour event affecting everyone differently, with multi-level impact. Such a diverse group of participants experience it in many different ways.
New Orleans needs this project because it isn’t a hit-and-run quickie craft project, but rather, a total-immersion experience. The participant gets to choose how long to stay and make art, all the way up to 24 hours. Draw-a-thon provides all the materials participants need to create whatever they desire. There are ongoing events as well as two-hour workshops, such as figure drawing. It’s like Brigadoon: a 24-hour drawing academy that appears in the mists during a weekend in November, and then goes away again, only to reappear the next year.
The event is held at the Marigny Opera House, a giant historic cathedral in the heart of the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Because this is a 24-hour event, with ongoing activities as well as different events every hour, the project is constantly shifting visually. The whole room is covered with paper for people to draw on, and at the beginning (6:00 am on Saturday), the paper is empty, but by the end (6:00 am on Sunday), the paper is covered with doodles from hundreds of different participants. The hall is always full of chatter and, at times, music. The project is always in flux.
Festival of Street Art at Bartlett Events
Project Lead Jason Turgeon
Bartlett Events, a community-based non-profit, hosted a series of events at the 8.5 acre Bartlett Bus Yard in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. This former MBTA bus storage and repair yard has been vacant for over a decade and has been Boston’s poster child for blight. This project sought to ‘un-blight’ the yard in the summer of 2013.
Bartlett Events offers free or low-cost events of all kinds with a special emphasis on the arts that activate spaces. The events engage neighboring communities in the development process, and reintroduces Dudley Square as a destination for arts and culture in Boston.
On May 11, Bartlett Events covered the two huge garage buildings, each with about 40 giant garage doors and thousands of square feet of wall space, creating Boston’s biggest piece of street art. Paint and wall space was provided to local graffiti artists and muralists. As they worked, the community was invited to a party to celebrate the transformation of the space. Partygoers were invited to join in and paint the remaining garage doors.
The site is now a free venue for community organizations of all kinds to host their own weekend events. These ongoing events will introduce many ways for the community to interact with the art, including a “gallery of the people” where anyone can hang their own art and “free walls” where any graffiti artist is welcome to practice his or her craft.
Forever Our Change. Dream Your Mind.
Artist Hung Viet Tran
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Forever Our Change, Dream Your Mind is the first of seven projects in a series called Stars In Your Eyes. Forever Our Change, Dream Your Mind is a collaboration of American and Vietnamese participants to create an interactive structure and architectural form that will incorporate performance, video, sculpture, media, and the English and Vietnamese languages.
The sculpture uses old sewing machines and recycled motorbike parts to create an interactive machine. Viewers are able to see through the architectural form, revealing the anatomy of the interactive sculpture. Two participants must work together to generate electricity, using body movements, like lovers or dancers, interacting with each other to create energy powerful enough to light up LED lights that spell a phrase in English and Vietnamese that reads Forever Our Change, Dream Your Mind. Sensors will be placed to record body action, and based on the movements the sensors will send out signals to light up word(s) from the phrase randomly, spelling a combinations of text.
Additional LED lights will also be installed surrounding the two public performers, who must create movements that are in sync with one another so all the LED lights surrounding them will light up as well as the text. Fans will also be incorporated into the sculpture, utilizing wind power to cool down the participants and audience in the urban heat of Ho Chi Minh City. The wind represents a change of direction and new vision.
Friends of the Orphan Signs
Lead Artist Ellen Babcock
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Friends of the Orphan Signs (FOS) turns abandoned signage and empty lots into community generated public art. FOS’s seven sign sites and two lots are in close proximity to the Central Avenue corridor in Albuquerque, the former route 66. The mission of FOS is to involve people who are often underserved by the City’s public art program, people who live and work near these sites, in the creation of this artwork. FOS aims to influence the development plan for this sector, advocating for aesthetic diversity in signage at a time when the area threatens to become a route 66 theme park. FOS brings color, lighting and activity to barren stretches of highway.
FOS programming includes many opportunities for all community members to contribute to highly visible public artworks. These works employ the discarded imagery of abandoned signs, recontexualizing the text and imagery in ways that reclaim the area’s history, relevantly reflecting the character of the current community.
The project culminates with a free, all-night outdoor drive-in movie event in September 2013, at the Octopus Carwash. In addition to showcasing shorts by local video makers, the event stages a performance spectacle that pays homage to all those who brandish signs and banners: drill teams, color guards, marching bands, military drills, and ‘sign spinners’ (those who twirl advertising signs in traffic medians and street corners.) Event attendees will have the opportunity to create their own signs and participate in a collaborative sculpture, made of amassed homemade signs, at the event.
The Metamorphosis Project
Alex-Andre Thevenot White
Los Angeles, California, and international locations
The Metamorphosis Project is a collective art experience made possible by the cooperation of participants in the creation of live transformative art.
By facing each side of the interactive rotating sculpture viewers align their physical symmetry together to create an infinite amount of changing personas and to bring insight from physical, sociological and spiritual transformations.
French-American artist Alex Andre created the Metamorphosis installation to address our perceived notion of self in an effort to embrace togetherness.
Project Leads Míša Rýgrová and Réza Sléhová
Prague, Czech Republic and international locations
Project SUITCASE is an interactive art program of travelling art pieces contained in suitcases. Both professional and amateur artists will create works that can be transported and shown in a suitcase. These works will travel the world. The project provides an easily accessible platform for exchanging and displaying art. All of these traveling “art suitcases” (whole or dismantled) will fit in airline-approved sized luggage. The form of art is left up to the authors: professional artists, art students and all who are interested in participating in this project. The nature of each art piece – the suitcase – provides good conveyance and handling. It allows them to be displayed almost anywhere (streets, malls, subway platforms, schools, hospitals, etc.), brings the art to the people, and lets them interact with art in unexpected ways.
Rick Lin, Valeria Bianco, Michelle Brick and Shagun Singh.
Brooklyn, New York
Located at a busy intersection in Red Hook, Brooklyn and surrounded by traffic on both sides and above, Silent Lights is a series of portals that light up sequentially based on the patterns of sound and movement. By day, Silent Lights will exist as a visual play of light through portals of perforated metal and at night, it will offer a safer, interactive experience for pedestrian commuters of Red Hook indicating changing levels of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The installation will bring art and interactive features to an otherwise barren pedestrian path by taking the overwhelming, surrounding traffic noise and channeling it into an installation that brings light, safety and beauty to a necessary point of public transit.
Lead Artists Kate Kowalczuk and Elyne Legarnisson
London, United Kingdom
Sonar Borealis is an imaginary space–a space in constant movement, created by sounds made by its visitors.
The setting: Southbank is a highly cultural and touristic area of London. As locals and tourists stroll the river, they will perceive an unusual and imposing black box. Intrigued, they head for the entrance. Once inside, they discover a surreal world of lights. Soon they realize that the space responds to their sounds. One starts clapping. A kid begins to yell in the opposite corner. A young man is singing shyly.These sounds are created by people who have never met before, but at that precise moment belong in the same place, are unified in real-time, to design a unique ephemeral experience. Other onlookers sit on benches around the installation, observing, commenting, enjoying.
Technology has long been considered as the biggest competitor of leisure spaces. In a world where people communicate, get informed, and entertain themselves via electronic screens, technology sets physical barriers between us. Sonar Borealis aims to use the potential of technology, and, in particular, interactive technologies, to break barriers, create interactions between people, but also between people and space.
Sonar Borealis comes alive when people enter into it. This immersive experience pushes the highly mixed population of London to forget about received ideas and rules of behavior by encouraging them to be loud and creative. In a town like London, which tends to be intimidating and anonymous, it is fundamental to create spaces that belong to people. Sonar Borealis gives people a new language, another way to exchange and share information and ideas. It enables them to get together, be amazed together, and create together, far from any social and cultural barriers. Visitors are no longer spectators but creators.
Sonar Borealis is an installation composed of 80 panels of tulle suspended from the ceiling, sheltered in a 6x6m black box. 25 mono-directional microphones spread across the floor enable the sound created by the visitors to be gathered in a spatial way. This data is then processed through a customized software which generates patterns in motion. The visuals generated are projected on the installation in real-time via two projectors. The nature of the tulle fabric allows the projections to spread throughout the entire installation, creating a 3 dimensional space of light, triggered by sound.
we / customize the Great Wall of Oakland
The Great Wall of Oakland artist collective
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) and the Great Wall of Oakland will collaborate on we/customize the Great Wall of Oakland to provide Oakland residents with the unique opportunity to create stop-motion animation videos through the OMCA’s experimental, participatory, process-oriented, outreach project, the Oakland Rover. On the evening of Friday, September 6, 2013, the animations will be projected onto the Great Wall of Oakland’s 100′x100′ urban canvas during Oakland’s most popular cultural draw, the Oakland Art Murmur.