iLAND Intern, Lizzie Ingraham, reflects on her experience at the iLAB Retreat in June 2012.
This past June 17th, iLAND held a Retreat/LAB at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in Chelsea. The event brought together iLAND’s past residents, present participants, and future collaborators. I was lucky enough to be among the last
category, at the time an applicant for an internship with the organization. I entered into the experience nervous, excited, and full of questions; my familiarity with the group limited almost exclusively to what I had researched on the iLAND website and what I had subsequently learned about choreographer Jennifer Monson’s work.
I was greeted warmly by all and learned even before the formal introductions the seriousness with which iLAND takes the first word of their acronym. Throughout the day, I continued to be surprised by the plethora of disciplines from which these people hailed as well as the success with which they worked with and from one another. I soon discovered that a primary concern of iLAND is the loss of process in the pressure of creation. Additional difficulties, including varying methods of notation, would be later addressed by this year’s residencies and would lead into the motivation behind the implementation of iLANDing as an active verb.
In the first activity of the day, we walked to the water and broke into small groups to discuss both our personal research methods and relationship to the site. I was lucky enough to be grouped with choreographer Jennifer Monson and other iLAND affiliates of varying backgrounds and involvement with the organization. We formed one coherent activity to teach to the larger group that incorporated each of our creative approaches; beginning by lying on our backs with eyes closed in an introspective experience and then moving to vertical interaction with our environment. Some other group-led activities involved exploring edges in the space and a haphazard sampling of the area.
Following a healthy lunch and study of Eyebeam’s appropriately themed exhibit on global water use and conservation, the current iLAND residents took the time to present their projects, giving brief overviews that left the audience fascinated and curious. Higher ED (Ecology + Dance) described their work with kites and solar balloons b
efore bringing everyone outside to follow kite patterns or engage in improvisational doodling with chalk below. Follow the Water Walks exposed the relativity of maps and explained their research into measuring public space with specific, very personal measurements. While accepting some of the inherent limitations of mapping, the group is also working to identify potential green spaces, promoting change and advancement in the Bronx community.
In what seemed to be the logical conclusion of the abundance of creativity and passion flying free all day, the workshop culminated in an open discussion of iLANDing. iLANDing concentrates on the process of creation rather than the product and is based not on restraining individuality and creativity, but on making it accessible to other artists and to those of us whose minds work in less abstract terms. iLAND’s dynamic workshop exempli
fied the necessity of such a codified system of notation, as it would be a tragedy to lose the progressions through which these artists create.
See more of Lizzie’s writing on her blog, Moving for the City.
Check out more photos and videos from the iLAB Retreat HERE.