This past summer, Creative Capital artists spent four days at a retreat at EMPAC on the RPI campus in Troy, NY. In front of an audience of over 200 curators, presenters, publishers and other arts organizers, artists presented their Creative Capital projects. We’ve uploaded their presentations to our YouTube page. If you have some down time during the holidays, it’s a perfect moment to binge watch these amazing videos!
The Creative Capital is a huge production: with over 300 people attending and 80 artist presentations over the course of a weekend, we need some extra help. So, in the months leading up to the Retreat, we hire three Artist Services paid internship positions to assist with the event. One of them, Erin Carr, a student at NYU’s Arts Administration graduation program, wrote about her experience at the Retreat.
This summer, I spent my time as a Creative Capital Artist Services intern almost exclusively focused on preparing for the 2016 Artist Retreat at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, NY. My experience at the Retreat was rewarding and thought-provoking, and I am still sitting with the presentations, thinking over what I learned from an intensive week there. The Retreat brought together artists, arts administrators, curators, programmers, writers and other arts professionals around nearly 80 five-to-seven minute presentations by 2013, 2015, and 2016 Creative Capital awardees. Outside of the presentations, the Retreat allowed people from different disciplines and positions in the art world to make connections. For this weekend the event helped to dissolve the separation between administrators and artists.
From left to right: Brian Tate, and Creative Capital artists Okwui Okpokwasili, James Scruggs, Ahamefule J. Oluo, Heather Hart and Jina Valentine
A lot goes into making impactful artworks. After Creative Capital announces a new round of artist projects, we bring the artists together to work on and discuss what they need to make the project actually happen. This all happens at our Artist Retreat, and we’re in the middle of one right now!
The artists spend nearly a week meeting each other, taking an intensive suite of business courses on everything from tax planning to working with arts institutions, and having one-on-one consultations with art world professionals. The crux of our Retreat, though, is presentations: each artist has 7 minutes to present their work. This year, we’ll hear from nearly 80 artists over the course of three days. Follow our Twitter account and the hashtag #CCRetreat to hear about them in real time.
Before that though, here are five takeaways we’ve already come up with since we got started on Tuesday.
The materials that Design 99 use in their artworks might scare you a little. The Detroit-based collaborative, made up of artists Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert, often source abandoned houses in their city for raw material. For their Creative Capital project, Garbage Totem 2, for instance, will include old tires, used mattresses and couches abandoned in their neighborhood to create sculptures and installations. Last year Mitch attended our Creative Capital retreat and explained his process and discoveries. We followed up to ask more about what Design 99 is working on currently.
Alex Teplitzky: When we heard from Mitch at the Artist Retreat, you were working on cleaning up the former house of Larry, a massive hoarder. He had 4 generations of material in his house, not to mention excrement of different kinds. What was that process like, and what’s happened to the house since then?
Mitch Cope: It was a very dirty and surreal process because we were not just simply dumping the contents of the house, but carefully sifting through it in search of artistic-archeological treasures. We were looking for things that spoke about the people that lived in the house, specifically Larry who was a friend and neighbor and died in the house. There was a lot of family memorabilia, but there was an incredible amount of inanimate objects carefully stacked and stored everywhere as if they were magnetized to the house. This is really interesting to us as artists, because after all, artists create things that seem to come from nowhere, don’t always have a logical reason for existing and yet can be powerful just by allowing them to be highlighted and elevated through the context of art. The same can be said for a hoarder and their things, the difference is their things are never meant to be seen beyond their own makers.
This past summer we took 86 artists up to Troy, NY, for a four-day retreat at EMPAC on the RPI campus. Throughout the weekend, they gave presentations to some of the country’s top curators and arts organizers about the projects they are developing with the help of Creative Capital.
We’ve uploaded the presentations to our YouTube page. If you have some down time during the holidays, it’s a perfect moment to binge watch these amazing videos!
“The Gutless Warrior,” a participatory projection installation
Ali Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 12. He currently works as an artist and professor at Carnegie Mellon. His work utilizes many technologies to explore the social lives of objects and their embedded performative qualities. As part of his Creative Capital supported project, Center for Urban Intervention Research, Momeni just released A Manual for Urban Projection, so we caught up with him to find out more about it.
Alex Teplitzky: Tell me how you got the idea for Center for Urban Intervention Research, and how it got underway. Are there political elements to the project as the name seems to suggest?
Ali Momeni: The Center for Urban Intervention Research was born out of an increasing number of collaborative, public projects that I initiated and led in the past few years. Starting with my work with MAW, an urban projection collective I founded in Minneapolis in 2008, I have spent several years creating shared experiences in public spaces that leverage new technologies and bring people together. These works (like The Battle of Everyouth, The Gutless Warrior, Statuevision) shared several features: they occur in public spaces, they are cross-generational, conversational and playful, and they use live-cinema and video projection to create an emotional connection between the work and its participants. After years of practice with this medium, I decided that it was time to create an umbrella organization for this part of my practice, a way to create a community around experiential work in public spaces.