Energies and Shadows

Michel Auder, Anton Ginzburg, Vlatka Horvat, Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (Shoplifter), Joachim Koester, Rä di Martino, Jonas Mekas, Haley Mellin, Michael Portnoy, Antonio Rovaldi, Marianne Vitale, Vita Zaman

Curated by Liutauras Psibilskis in collaboration with Luisa Gui and Maria Berek.

Artist residency and exhibition-in-progress at 210 Front Street, South Street Seaport, New York, April – May 2008.

The project space, provided by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, was a former retail store, kept unchanged since the 1980s. It was converted into a venue for housing manifestations of new visual art, film, performance and music by the Swiss architect Christian Wassmann.

The idea of the space and place was one focus of the project, as were the concepts of energy and shadows. Energy here stands for the inspiration of creative activity; shadows are seen as a metaphor for memory and the past. Some of the earlier elements of the space were kept, in particularly the retail shop mirrors that acted as a connecting element between the past and the present of the space.

Most of the works were presented for the first time or created in the venue; some of the pieces had already been shown elsewhere. The process was open for the public but the final results were presented at the gala on May 20.

Michel Auder showed video material from his extensive moving image archives, quite literally, going into presentation of ‘shadows’ of the things away in the past. Jonas Mekas, for the first time in New York, showed A Walk, a video shot in Downtown New York during one hour long visual journey through the streets of the city in 1970. Anton Ginzburg developed an installation piece that explored the intersection of the ideal and the reality of the present. Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, next to the opening performance, presented an installation piece. Haley Mellin showed new paintings from an ongoing series, Marianne Vitale built an extensive installation that played with the existing conditions of the place. Joachim Koester presented the piece Pan Museum, a photo and text installation, for the first time in New York. The other artists developed new pieces for the exhibition using the venue as their studio and as a performance and meeting space. Rä di Martino and Antonio Rovaldi worked on new video pieces taking inspiration from the metamorphosis of space and the spontaneous occurrences in the residency. Vlatka Horvat presented a video installation. Works and performances by Michael Portnoy and Vita Zaman were also developed during the residency.

Events programme:

April 24, 7–11pm. Benefit Party: Kitchen Theatrics by Chop Shop. Art presented by Future Audience and Institute for Cultural Enterprise. Performance by a singer from Iceland, Kria Brekkan, soundscape by Michal Jurewicz.

May 1, 7–9pm. Opening Reception and Performances: The Human Hair Harp in Hair Passacaglia, a teaser from Skin Bone Hair, a collaboration between composer Nico Muhly and artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir a.k.a. Shoplifter, featuring Nico Muhly on harp, Nadia Sirota on viola and the Human Hair Harp Sirens. Kria Brekkan, singer and songwriter: a music performance on magic and mystery.

May 13, 7–9pm. Lecture: Adina Popescu and Christian Wassmann, Place ... Occasion (‘Whatever time and space mean, place and occasion mean more.’ Aldo van Eyck, architect, 1918–99)

May 22, 7–9pm. Artists in residence present their work. Meetings, performances, screenings

Energies and Shadows was made possible by Swing Space, a program of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, generously supported by the September 11th Fund. The project space was donated by General Growth Properties.