Mother Tongues is a call to action to preserve NYC’s linguistic diversity
ranging from endangered languages to the NYC accent, a unique opportunity to meet
and learn about New York City’s remarkably diverse linguistic communities.
Linguists estimate that half of the world’s languages will disappear this century.
NYC is a living language lab where there are more spoken and endangered languages than
anywhere else in the world. New York City is home to over 700 languages, and many of
these are in danger of being lost. At the heart of the exhibit were ten large, high-quality
photographs by Yuri Marder, featuring ELA’s local collaborators in New York City,
each one of whom speaks a different endangered language. Accompanying several portraits
were sound recordings and short written texts. The exhibit also included a map highlight
New York’s connection to linguistic diversity across the globe, a children’s
book and game section, information on New York City English, and an area where visitors
could record their own language. Many visitors contributed to the show by adding a line
to the “People’s Khonsay”, an evolving poem in 50 different languages,
in their own mother tongue. Over 2,000 visitors had the chance to encounter endangered
languages, and the exhibit was also featured on Channel 7 and Channel 4 News in New York City,
as well as on NPR.
An exhibition showcasing photographer Dese’Rae L. Stage’s ongoing portrait
and oral history series on suicide attempt survivors. Attempt survivors are
a group forced into anonymity, shamed, and stigmatized by a society misinformed
about emotional trauma and resulting preventable deaths. The design peels back
the cloak of anonymity and builds awareness surrounding the taboo topic of suicide.
It revealed new portraits and prompted interaction around the issue with a
unconventional guided tour, an online game called “Depression Quest” (which simulates
life with depression, for those unfamiliar), audio of subjects’ interviews, and talks.
This exhibition continues the Muscle Memory series initiated by Caroline Partamian,
digging deeper into the concept of abreaction by working with artists who have a family
history in refugee, revolution, civil war, or genocide. Abreaction is the extraction
of memory stored within a muscle, resurfaced through kinetics and physical movement,
of which the individual was previously unaware.
Partamian asks, “How does becoming conscious of their kinetic movement and families’
memories while creating their artwork affect the process and outcome of the work?”
While artists have “abreaction" in mind, the design of the exhibition furthers it with labels
and signage that require visitors to do repetitive movements, bringing the unconscious
into the foreground. A textile artwork by Lynn Hunter, Jess Rees, and Hannah Schultz
evolved over the course of the exhibition in the gallery windows, drawing reference
to the reclamation of memories that are stored indefinitely in our muscles.
While the curatorial theme is largely performative, artists who produce non-ephemeral
forms of art are asked to explore it. Artists Bassel Al-Madani (of the band “Bassel and
the Supernaturals”) in collaboration with his bandmate Philip Anderson, and Angel
Deradoorian (formerly of “The Dirty Projectors”) presented sound works, alongside
the large two-dimensional works of Ibrahim Ahmed, Samer Almadani, and Shadi Ghadirian.
Caroline Partamian was Summer 2014 Exhibitor-in-Residence at Freeman Space.
This exhibition represents a new direction for shamanistic artist, Michael Dudeck.
More than merely displaying art, the collaboration explores how the exhibition form
—its language, visitor participation and design—becomes a valuable tool for an artist
to continue the creative process. With this exhibition, Dudeck and Bruno question
objects’ identity, and therefore, challenge the exhibition as authority. “In the museum,
information is presented as fact, even though often it is not,” says artist, Michael Dudeck.
Dudeck’s methodology of Punc Arkaeology creates a framework for viewing objects
in new ways. “Punc Arkæology is the term for Dudeck’s effort to move beyond such
literal definitions, to dig deeper into what we expect and desire from objects in our lives,
and to create works of art that get viewers to think about what is materialized and left
unmaterialized,” says Daniel Larkin of Hyperallergic. Dudeck starts from the beginning
of narrative–our Western story of creation–questioning assumptions about gender, desire,
and the identity of G-d. Guided by the exhibition, we are opened slowly to alternate
viewings of the creation of Man. Using Dudeck’s arsenal of performance, drawing,
sculpture, photography, and academic research, we are invited to a new experience
of viewing these mediums, and therefore, a queering of the Museum itself. The audience
completes the exhibition by participating in Punc Arkaeology, through an invitation
to interact with curated objects and to make their own artworks.
Michael Dudeck was Spring 2014 Exhibitor-in-Residence at Freeman Space.
Moviehouse NOLA was a pop-up museum-quality exhibition in downtown New Orleans
(Nov 2013-Feb 2014). The pop-up exhibition, geared towards anyone who loves the movies,
tells the stories of the forgotten movie palaces that once made New Orleans "the Broadway
of the South." We brought together historical renderings, artifacts, signage, and ephemera
alongside contemporary art, to explore the impact these spaces had and continue to have
on New Orleans’ cultural landscape. Viewers interacted with hands-on displays and immersive
oral history collections, while the location itself, only a few blocks from Canal Street, continued
the story both before and after a visit. This project was a soup-to-nuts endeavor between
BRUNO and Pelican Bomb.
Visit the exhibition website with a map of movie theater locations and more: Moviehouse Nola
Watch oral histories recorded before the exhibition and on-site from visitors.
Commissioned by the Museum of Food and Drink as their first traveling exhibition, BOOM!,
celebrates the origins of puffed grain by showcasing the puffing gun, which uses just a little
bit of water and a lot of churning pressure to turn grains and beans into puffed wonders.
BOOM! premiered at Summer Streets in New York City in Summer 2013. We worked with
MOFAD to create a punchy and engaging narrative with their research lead, guiding their
on-site volunteer docent staff and lead physical design and fabrication—all in 3 weeks.
Quite a record! Graphic design by Labour.
In collaboration with Grand Opening, we created an exhibition to honor one of New York's
most iconic spaces. Grand Opening lead the design of this exhibition, commissioned by
The New York Transit Museum. The client made it possible to use Grand Central itself
as the site. Projections highlight architectural details while giving quick hits of factual
information for the 750,000 visitors that stream through Vanderbilt Hall every day.
(That's a fact.) The exhibition was installed February 1, 2013–April 1, 2013.
For the online exhibition, beautiful installation photos and a guided tour on video, click here.
A support exhibition for Jill Sigman, a multi-disciplinary artist working in performance and installation,
in the context of Hut #7, the seventh in a two-year series of huts built from local trash, found and
re-purposed materials called The Hut Project. Each hut is at the same time a structure, a sculpture,
and an emergency preparedness kit in which themes of sustainability, shelter, real estate, and apocalypse
intersect. Our exhibition gives context to the installation by exploring the previous six huts in The Hut Project
series. The concept of reuse is central to the design of the exhibit. Playing with the materials that have
been used in previous huts, the design forms a “skin” within the space, drawing the exhibit off the walls
and creating an environment that envelops visitors. The environment makes use of some of the materials
that formed previous huts or everyday materials, for example, highlights of ace bandages, caution tape,
or plant material to draw attention to information points within the exhibit.
For a talk between the exhibition team, the artist and research consultants, click here.