Congratulations to our 2014 Grantees! This year, the Black Rock Arts Foundation Grants Committee awarded more money than ever, $70,000, to more projects than ever before. We can’t wait to see how these fifteen projects evolve! Stay tuned for updates on them by signing up to our newsletter or following us on Facebook.
24 sound cylinders
Strung between trees, each of these 24 cylinders contains a set of metal rods that create a soothing sound when struck in succession. Through a complex system of pulleys, people are able to turn cranks that rotate a circular percussive mechanism, inside each cylinder, that plays the rods, resulting in a chorus of pleasing tones. This project debuts at Croatia’s free arts festival, Land Without Borders.
Foldhaus Artist Collective
San Francisco, California
Blumen Lumen is a collection of five to nine over-sized flowers, ranging from 10′ to 15′. The buds are primarily constructed from corrugated plastic sheets that have been plastic welded and folded. These tessellated fold pattern creates flower buds that open and close as the flexible stems move gently in the wind. Between and around the stems are “garden stones” constructed from marine plywood with pressure pads on top, treated to look like stones, that sense when people are standing on them.
The translucency of the plastic materials allow for an array of vivid, varying diffusions of colored light. Through the use of computer control and sensors, endless patterns of colors and color movement fill the tessellated material as well as the ground space under it. Small speakers mounted within the stems and buds of the piece play ambient and organic sounds based on sensed movement and other programmed events.
Electronic control and integration of the sensor array and lighting, sound, and motion, is provided by multiple Arduino (or Raspberry Pi) programmable boards and likely connection to a low-power old laptop computer or tablet computer for on-the-fly changes to the audio and lighting program selection.
The Blumen Lumen project seeks to create not just interaction, but an awareness of the importance and influence of one’s own behavior, particularly within a group, on nature and its ability to thrive. Put another way, this piece may reveal to people that the more they ignore nature (such as by physically passing it by quickly), the more nature will ignore them (by not “activating” and providing them with an interactive experience).
Note: This project has been previously mentioned on BRAF’s blog, newsletter, and other communications under its working title, “Zen Garden”
Domestic Data Streamers
A project that synthesis science, art, technology and human relationship, Collective Pulse is an interactive installation that visualizes peoples’ pulses, generating a sculptural work that represents the community. This interactive performance installation invites participants into a workshop environment, where their pulse is taken, translated into a digital graphic, and then created physically by the “Bender Machine,” which bends aluminum into the shape of each participants unique pulse’s graphical shape.
The first installation will be in the centre of Barcelona, in Plaça Catalunya, the nucleus of activity in Barcelona
Compression Sesquicentennial Peregrinations
Compression! Art and Fire is a popular annual Reno arts festival that works with local artists and activists, creating events across Nevada, to share the culture and impact of Burning Man. In 2014, Nevada celebrates its 150th birthday and this year’s Compression! festival will meet the challenge of celebrating such an occasion.
Compression Sesquicentennial Peregrinations are fire and alternative arts festivals created in partnership with the community. At these free and accessible events, participants enjoy a myriad of attractions. Project booths and theme camps create a canopied bazaar that draws the neophyte to a taste of the ephemeral Black Rock City. Audiences are dazzled by live fire performances, aerialists, and performers from local and regional youth groups, fusion artists, and indigenous dancers from Nevada tribes, all on a stage surrounded by massive flame effects. Participants may wander through the Fire Garden and are invited to control and interact with sculptures of flowers, dragons and other fire sculptures. If inspired by the fire dancers, community members can try their hand at the art form with unlit fire dance object, such as hula hoops, poi dance, staff dance and flow fans.
Gabriella Levine & Ivana Basic
Brooklyn, New York
Echoes is a high-tech immersive projection installation which allows for people in San Francisco to interact with the shadows of people in Brooklyn, and vice versa, enabling communication between people in two disparate communities. Echoes will accomplish this by creating a real-time interactive projection of people’s shadows moving on the ground in locations separate from where they are. The installation consists of two units positioned in two different locations.
The project will engage local youth and the community at large through a series of organized performances, workshops, and activities related to the underlying conceptual themes and technologies present in the artwork.
Echoes is based around the idea of merging physical spaces and allowing people in two locations to experience each other’s presence in a visceral yet playful way. The idea of being present in the state of physical absence is something that is part of our everyday communication as it is mediated by technology. Echoes aims to explore this idea of communication in the state of physical absence by virtually embodying people in different locations and allowing them to interact and communicate through their bodies in the same physical space.
Community Arts Program
San Francisco, California
Hospitality House’s Community Arts Program (CAP) is a free-of-charge fine arts studio and gallery providing over 1,800 low-income & homeless people access to open studio hours, professional instruction, and a range of art workshops. In addition, participants can take advantage of exhibition and sales opportunities at the CAP gallery and other locations. CAP artists represent a range of experience – from those with gallery backgrounds and fine art degrees, to neighborhood residents seeking an artistic and cultural activity outside of their single room occupancy hotels. Artists work in a collaborative environment, sharing studio space & learning from the wide- range of artistic experience.
Like many poor urban neighborhoods, San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Mid Market areas contribute an important artistic and cultural perspective to the greater community that reflects the reality of life among its residents. The CAP has a long history as a leader in connecting artists to this important piece of community identity.
Hospitality House has served the homeless community in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district since 1967. The Community Arts Program is but one of their many programs that utilize a unique combination of peer-led programs and advocacy efforts that, together, offer a holistic approach to enhancing the economic, mental, physical, and social health of the homeless community.
The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council
The Mini Museums project will refurbish 12 wooden shipping crates into informal museums and will install them along a walking path in Oxford, Mississippi. Each Museum will feature a different artist, mini tour, discussion schedule and hands-on workshop during Oxford’s first Fringe Festival.
The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s new fringe arts festival is centered around partnerships between local artisans, artists, and brick and mortar venues to create a three stage interactive, malleable festival that will evolve and grow each year. The first stage will involve 12 rescued wood shipping crates temporarily installed in the downtown area as miniature studios/museums. Local and regional artists will then be paired with each museum, filling it with a representative collection of work. Finally the festival itself will invite participants to participate in walking tours, miniature workshops or discussions reflecting each individual artist and collection.
Mini Museums aim to create small, intimate, informal venues for artists to show their works and discuss their processes. By removing the “traditional” walls of galleries and museums and inviting participants into the close, personal spaces of the artists, the project encourages discussion, direct observation and personal connections between audience and artist.
River of Wings “ROW”
Los Angeles, California
River of Wings (ROW) is comprised of kinetic, avian inspired sculptures, each one reimagined and personalized by members of the community. In the fall of 2014, the “flock” will be installed along a half mile section of the bike path of the L.A. River. Each perch will be equipped with a solar light, illuminating not only the visually stunning birds, but also the bike path transforming the space into a safe welcoming environment for cyclist, pedestrians, and families. Sprinkled throughout the installation of 60 birds, there will be 20 birds equipped with sculptural elements that create a sonic experience with music or sound activated by the visitors and the natural forces of winds, light, and heat.
As visitors traverse the space, they will activate the movement of the wings, read messages written by the community, create their own sonic imprint, and enjoy the diverse artwork of each bird. From afar, the dancing wings mesmerize Angelinos, tempting them to descend into the natural oasis where city-dwellers reconnect with the earth and their city. Up close, the flock of birds in flight will give the impression that you are soaring with the birds, giving Angelinos an invigorating sense of movement and freedom. Even driving by, the River of Wings will captivate your imagination and disrupt the ordinary making that moment extraordinary.
According to North American Natives, the Blue Heron, an icon of the LA River, brings messages of self- determination and self-reliance and represent an ability to progress and evolve. In sync with local and national efforts to restore the river to its natural state, ROW gives artists, students, and groups an opportunity to make their mark and give voice to their dreams and hopes for the LA River. Under each bird, will be a cutout attached with words chosen by each artist/group. These words root the experience in the sense of dialogue and personal impact.
Take a Painting
The Take a Painting Project makes contemporary art more inclusive by providing complimentary paintings as well as the opportunity to participate in the artmaking process.
In each venue, Take a Painting manifests as a place where paintings can be made and as an installation of small paintings on paper that can be taken. These small paintings are 3 inches by 4 inches, displayed in a grid, and created using water based artist paints, markers, glue, glitter, fabric paint and food dye. These materials provide participants the opportunity to work with professional painting materials as well as more familiar materials. The purpose of Take a Painting is to blur the lines between artist, participant, and collector. Everyone is invited to paint, to view the installation, and to choose a painting from the installation.
Take a Painting will debut on March 24, 2014, at Future Tenant, a non-profit gallery space located in Pittsburgh, PA. The project will then be on display at Eckhaus, a non-profit student run space in Kutztown, PA for the month of November, 2014. Finally, Take a Painting will be displayed as Studio B in Boyertown, PA, for the month of November, 2014.
The Arts Speak
Arts Speak is a collaborative event inviting local artists and arts organizations to create participatory performances and works of art in order to discuss the issues that speak to them. The event encourages community dialogue, tolerance, and integrative participation.
This community-wide festival celebrates identity, art, and issues of significance. 2014′s inaugural event of this program will include over two hundred local art organizations and artists. These groups and individuals have been invited to either perform or present a participatory piece of art focused on awareness and discussion of an issue that speaks to them. Activities will vary according to the individual issue and personality of each unique participant, but must include an interactive element of some sort. Arts Speak will take place annually in the spring and span an entire day. The first annual event will take place March 20, 2014.
The Cabinets of Curiosity Project
Llangollen, Wales, Great Britain
This unique mobile cabinet will house the work of six Welsh artists and loaned museum artifacts. Built as a creative stimulus and interactive resource, it will reveal insights into contemporary Welsh culture and heritage and brought to life by hands on art workshops.
The project will take place in an open studio environment designed as a giant interactive cabinet of curiosity. These artifacts can be handled and explored using computer microscopes or magnifying glasses. The studio will be set up like a mini laboratory, where participants can make their own artworks based on their discoveries. The artworks will then be displayed alongside the artifacts, photographed and documented in an additional online virtual cabinet of curiosity. Participants will have opportunities to record their descriptions and direct experience of the objects using digital cameras. There will be additional opportunities for the participants to object share and tell stories connected to them in programmed community drop in workshops. These will contribute to collaborative artworks within the space.
Towards the Green Surface
Centro de Artes Integradas
The Centro de Artes Integradas (CAI), presents the program Towards the Green Surface, an Active Space of Venezuelan Contemporary Art. From March 2014 until December 2014, the project will host an impressive variety of 33 visual and performing artists, presenting sculpture, performances, video-installation, photography, and murals. The project takes place at the gardens, buildings and surroundings of the Centro de Artes Integradas, set next to the magnificent natural environment of the National Park El Avila.
Centro de Artes Integradas is a private, not-for-profit organization operating since 1979, with a mission to contribute to the formation of the individual with an overall focus in art, science and technology by promoting studies with a focal point in the diffusion of culture, civic values, integration and tolerance, which will improve the quality of life in democracy.
This project is aligned with our founder Salvador Itriago’s philosophy to educate, through art, harmonic, civilized, and complete individuals sensible to the formation of a new society, with constructive values that enable each person to interact in a healthy manner not only with themselves but with the environment.
Traveling Memory Holder
Brooklyn, New York
The Traveling Memory Holder (TMH) is a mobile assemblage sculpture that will be pushed along the sidewalk of a route across Brooklyn and Manhattan. People will be invited to contribute a writing about their favorite memory. The memories will then be posted on walls and digitized for public display.
This seated figure is constructed from locally found objects. Wheeled among the sidewalks of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, the artists invite passers-by to write down their favorite memory. They then place their memory in one of the figure’s empty spaces and pour warm wax over the memory, sealing it to the TMH. For the first several days the memory holder will seem to be decorated by the papers, but as weeks pass the memory holder will resemble more a giant cluster of memories with no visible figure
When the figure is full of memories, a ceremony is held in a public space where several volunteers will use hair driers to melt the wax and remove the memories, attaching them, one by one to plywood walls. These walls are then erected for several weeks in two or more public spaces in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Visitors will be able to read the hundreds and maybe thousands of memories of their neighbors throughout their city. Finally, the memories are digitally archived and made available online for perusing by the public.
Shilo Suleman and Rohan Dixit
Bombay and Dharamshala, India
Cultures across the world have used public art as a way of marking a space as sacred. In India in particular, anointments (usually in the form of simple lines and dots) adorn skin, trees, rocks, walls, floors and public spaces. The marking of a tree, or a rock as sacred would transform this otherwise mundane space into a common ground of connectedness, where people, often strangers would gather around and connect not only to each other but also to the cosmos.
Through technology and art, Urban Anointments brings two people together and create sacred spaces in the urban context. It manifests as a series of wall-embedded interactive installations that invite two strangers to place their hands on a mural, watching it react and light up to their individual heartbeats. As the heartbeats of these two people sync up, the artwork illuminates itself in unexpected ways, and reveals hidden messages embedded in the wall that creates a shared moment of discovery between the participants.
Several scientific studies have explored the phenomenon of heart rate syncing between people. This project brings these experiments to the street with open-source pulse sensors connected to Arduino microcontrollers. Algorithms on the Arduino will use both participants’ heartbeats as inputs to control the intensity and patterns of our embedded lights.
This series of mobile murals will tour both the bustling streets of Bombay, and in the quieter lanes between monasteries in Dharamshala, where people come to find retreat, and connect with their inner selves. Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama and a significant Tibetan monastic population, is a cultural mixing pot that brings together Westerners and Indians, Christians and Buddhists, political activists and pilgrims and people from all walks of life. The many temples and monasteries afford a traditional take on spirituality and meditation, and our project would build and remix these ancient concepts using technology and art in the public space.
Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?
San Francisco, California
Intersection for the Arts presents Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?, a new large-scale interactive wood installation by San Francisco based Guggenheim Artist Fellow Bernie Lubell that monitors building systems and infrastructures. The installation is adamantly low-tech, consisting of a complex system of wooden gears, cranks, wheels, and rubber pulleys that relies entirely on participant engagement to come to life. The experience engages touch, hearing, movement, teamwork, and collaboration. As participants pedal, crank, and play together on the sculptural installation, they become active partners in the construction and understanding of the work, and an essential component of a complex system that participants can see activated as a direct result of their movements.
Bernie Lubell states, “My installations frequently require cooperation but they always need manipulation. You must touch them and feel how they work to fully appreciate the experience. It is a question of participation rather than witnessing.” As participants interact with the installation, they will likely tap into a reservoir of tactile knowledge stored in their bodies. The hope is to reawaken a childlike sense of wonder about how machines work and operate and to reintegrate participants’ bodies in the life of their minds.