Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Power of DIY


Last Tuesday, The Field and Taller Boricua co-hosted THE POWER OF D.I.Y. - Alternative Exhibitions & Performances. I was inspired and titillated by the three artists who discussed their D.I.Y.ness (the ever-glamorous Yanira Castro, the perspicacious Jorge Rojas, and the thoughtful Cassie Thornton) and by the charming and bad-ass facilitator, Charles Rice-Gonzalez of BAAD! (Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance) Stay tuned for guest artist blog posts from this provocative quartet, but for now here’s a wee glimpse of what inspired me….

Cassie Thornton’s debt rocks.

Yanira: Her move into D.I.Y. alternative spaces (public bathrooms!) was a functional choice (not a political or strategic one). She was frustrated by the relationship between the show and the audience. INTIMACY. She wanted to get closer to the audience and to create real surprise. Her latest movement towards more intimacy is Wilderness which will premiere at The Invisible Dog, presented by DTW, Oct 27-Nov 7. As I understand it, Wilderness will have a miked floor and you the audience will provide the real-time sound score for the piece.

Jorge: D.I.Y. is a luxury and a curse. Jorge’s day job of teaching mural painting gradually seeped into his consciousness and shifted his artwork from “self” to community. His My space project brought this vividly to life. He also noticed that the shift in the music business towards mp3s and their efficiency-model put the production in the artist’s hands. Could visual art do the same thing? Check out his TRYST which put audience members in motel rooms with clandestine lovers.

Cassie Thornton: School of the Future! Everything a public school can’t be! Teach and learn this summer! Cassie also creates one-on-one interactions as a “street worker”. She also makes “debt rocks” jewelry out of your old receipts! (see photo above!) The rocks provoke conversations about debt, finance, and our personal issues with money (issues? I don’t have issues with money!)

My biggest takeaway: BE ORGANIC!! Don’t just make up projects to please a funder or a presenter or anyone else. Do what intrigues you. Do it boldly and brashly. Be strategic and don’t put your head in the sand. Look at the big picture. Where are you in it? Where do you want to be in it?


Xox The Field

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