Through Body, Through Earth, Through Speech
Fantastic Futures: Julio Hernandez, Huong Ngo, Phuong Nguyen, Solgil Oh, Sable Elyse Smith, Or Zubalsky Environmental scientist of Urban Evolutionary Biology: Jason Munshi‐South Multi‐disciplinary artist: Sonia Finley
April 1, 2013 – New York, NY iLAB, now in its eighth year, is a residency program supporting collaborations between movement-based artists and scientists, environmentalists, urban designers/landscape architects, architects and others that integrate creative practice within different fields/disciplines. The goals of iLAB are 1) to invigorate and re‐imagine relationships between the public and the urban environment through kinetic experience, 2) to engage artists and practitioners across the disciplines of dance, art, and the ecology of physical interrelationships such that we create and investigate innovative approaches to science, infrastructure, urbanisms, and architecture within a performative context, and 3) to support the development of process in engagement over product such that process is itself a product for artistic and public action.
This year iLAB is providing a team of collaborators with support including a $5,000 stipend, a rural residency at Earthdance, resources to document the residency, mechanisms for disseminating their research in the science and art communities, and mentoring throughout the process. In addition to participating in the residency activities, the iLAB recipients will be engaged in the development of iLANDing, a dynamic structure of best practices that will foster in‐depth and effective collaborative processes for the iLAB Residency program. Defining iLANDing will create a replicable model for interdisciplinary collaboration with a strong emphasis on the role that dance and somatic practices play in environmental and aesthetic understanding.
iLAND is a not for profit organization conceived and formed by choreographer Jennifer Monson in 2004. The organization’s mission is to investigate the power of dance, in collaboration with other fields, and to illuminate our kinetic understanding of the world. iLAND, a dance research organization with a fundamental commitment to environmental sustainability as it relates to art and the urban context, cultivates cross‐disciplinary research among artists, environmentalists, scientists, urban designers and other fields.
In this project, the collective Fantastic Futures will collaborate with environmental scientist Jason MunshiSouth and artist Sonia Finley to engage with the general public in the neighborhood of Queens Flushing Meadows‐Corona Park on research around questions about difference, biodiversity, proximity, and intervention. We wish to explore and reinterpret these questions through the cross pollination of artistic practice and scientific method. For instance, in regards to our understanding of diversity of humans, plants, and animals, how and why do we measure difference? What do we consider “natural” and how are urban systems around us “naturalized?” When is a change in our environment deemed worthy of intervention? Who has the power to intervene? When should one exert or not exert that power? How does this relate to geopolitical policy, national identity, or interpersonal relationships?
Flushing Meadows‐Corona Park is currently undergoing development supported by Mayor Bloomberg of a mall and two stadiums. This project has been very much contested by local community groups and residents. We feel that these issues are particularly urgent and hope that our work can contribute to the dialogue about the neighborhood’s future. We imagine that our process might look like conversations, collaborative field research, and workshops centered around acts of listening, which are all open to the public and structured in such a way that a bodily experience (such as a movement experiment or a hands‐on interaction with nature) frames every discussion.
Public engagements, which result from the collaborative process, will be held in July and August 2013. Please see the iLAND website for updates regarding these events.
Sonia Finley was born in Seattle, Washington and received her BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art in 2009 and her MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 2012. She currently lives and works in Richmond, Virginia where she is teaching in the Sculpture and Extended Media department at Virginia Commonwealth University as the 2012‐13 Fountainhead Fellow.
Julio Hernandez, originally from Staten Island N.Y, is a designer currently residing in Staten Island, NY. He fancies design, fitness, free‐styling and seeing people laugh. He is part of Fantastic Futures and performed at the New Museum. He enjoys collaborating with others and is a designer primarily working in 2D media, i.e: Motion Graphics, interface design, print design. He has done freelance work for accent healthcare, The Barbers Lounge, Lushair Salon, Run‐On Entertainment as well as composer Galt MacDermott.
Phuong Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, is currently a designer and artist residing in Brooklyn. She concentrates on New Media art. She is part of Fantastic Futures and has performed at The New Museum. She has also worked as a designer for MTV Networks. Her works are usually mixed media installation, sculpture and performance.
Sable Elyse Smith is an artist and writer of Haitian descent, born in Los Angeles California and based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a member of the collective Fantastic Futures and has performed at the New Museum and lectured at The International Center for Photography. Her work has been published in Radical Teacher.
Jason Munshi-South is Assistant Professor at Baruch College & The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is also Visiting Scientist at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History. He runs the Munshi‐South lab at Baruch College, CUNY. Members of the MunshiSouth lab at Baruch College, CUNY are interested in the behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary impacts of large‐scale human disturbance on wild vertebrate populations. Current lab projects are primarily focused on understanding the evolutionary implications of urbanization for wildlife in New York City. They study urban populations as model systems of rapid microevolution, but also aim to provide data for urban conservation and restoration efforts. To this end, the lab collaborates with local government agencies and non‐profits.
Hương Ngô is an artist and educator, born in Hong Kong, and based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work, often collaborative and performance‐based, has been supported by the New Museum, Rhizome, LMCC, The Kitchen, EFA Project Space, Vox Populi, Tate Modern, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum in Prague. She is a recent Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow, and has a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Phuong Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, is currently a designer and artist currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. She concentrates in New Media art. She is a part of Fantastic Futures and performed at the New Museum. She also has worked as a designer for MTV Networks. Her works are usually mixed media installation, sculpture and performance.
Solgil Oh is an artist, filmmaker, and designer born in Queens NY, and based in Brooklyn. She often works in mixed media, approaching making with a love for experimenting and new genres. She is a member of the collective Fantastic Futures and volunteers for Microscope Gallery. She has done design work for the organization, Solidarity NYC and production company, Found Object.
Or Zubalsky is a musician, artist, and programmer born in Israel and working in Brooklyn, NY. He is part of the collectives Trade School and Fantastic Futures. As part of these collaborations, Or presented at The New Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, Vox Populi, Cuchifritos, Grand Opening, SJDC, and gave talks at TedX, College Art Association and Maker Faire. He performed at the MoMA PS1, X‐Initiative, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, as well as music venues around the world.