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Entries from October 2019

Juan Botta Makes One-Minute Movies in Puerto Rico

October 29th, 2019 · Comments

In 2018, Puerto Rico based actor, composer and filmmaker Juan Botta left job security behind to center on his creative life. That’s when he launched Freelance, an inventive Instagram film series that empathizes with the challenges of living and working in Puerto Rico today. Botta’s determination to make films where he lives—despite economic, political and environmental conditions—suggests creativity as a way forward. Freelance expresses a sense of hope, demonstrating that it's possible to find poetry, humor and beauty in the most unlikely situations.

The backstory: In 2019, we head to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to immerse ourselves in the island’s creative life. Now more than ever, residents are faced with a mountain of adversity. Two years after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, this place still awaits reconstruction. Puerto Rico’s 2019 summer uprising protested against politics as usual. Residents gathered en masse, to transform the political landscape. Nonstop street demonstrations led to the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. New actors and forces are emerging that resist the island’s colonial subordination.

Despite ongoing unstable conditions, cultural work continues, with renewed energy. One night in San Juan, we meet Argentina born Juan Botta, an award winning actor, composer and filmmaker who grew up in Puerto Rico. He left his job in the tourism industry one year ago, to center on creative pursuits.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: Juan Botta

Related Episodes: Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies, Filmmaking in Pahokee Holds Hope for the Future, Akosua Adoma Owusu on Her Film Kwaku Ananse

Related Links: Juan Botta on Instagram, on YouTube

Tags: contemporary art · video · film · internet · identity · Artist · invisible communities · video art · podcast · community · art podcast

Hong Kong Mixtape II

October 22nd, 2019 · Comments

Today, we bring you sound art from Hong Kong, in our second guest-curated segment with Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong. CMHK is an incubator for cross-disciplinary practices in music, sound, and technology. In July 2018, composer and sound artist Samson Young introduced the first Hong Kong Mixtape, a set of nine sound art compositions. One year later, musician Him Cheung introduces Hong Kong Mixtape II. He takes us back to the former British colony to share sonic responses to highly volatile current events.

Let’s set the stage with a few facts. In 1997, Britain handed Hong Kong back to China. Now run under a "one country, two systems" agreement that guarantees it a level of autonomy, Hong Kong has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China. Rights including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are protected. Those freedoms – known as the Basic Law - expire in 2047. 

Our first Hong Kong Mixtape took us to the heart of 2017 student-led pro-democracy demonstrations, when the famed mass protests of the 2014 Umbrella Movement returned to the streets. 

The city's uncertain future has sparked years of political protests. In June 2019, thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens began to gather again, protesting against a proposed law to allow extradition to mainland China. Critics feared this could undermine the city's judicial independence and endanger dissidents. Clashes between police and activists became increasingly violent, with police using tear gas and protesters storming parliament. The bill was withdrawn in September 2019. Demonstrations continue.

For this mixtape, we share excerpts from five sound encounters by artists based in Hong Kong. The first sound work expresses feelings of anxiety and hopelessness that persist with regard to the 1997 handover to Mainland China. The following three field recording projects bear witness to months of escalating demonstrations this year—from mass marches in the streets, to the declarations of individual protesters, to Hong Kong residents' nightly ritual of shouting slogans from the windows of their homes. The final segment conveys a desire to leave all the unrest behind—taking us on a supernatural sound walk to a temple in the woods.

Fresh Art International joins U.S. based Montez Press Radio and Co-op Radio Vancouver to present Hong Kong Mixtape II.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Guest Producer: Him Cheung

Featured sound works, in order of appearance: So Ho Chi, Take 2 (ver. 2) | Jantzen Tse, So Ho Chi | RC Team, Voices of Hong Kong "Rioters" | Alex Yu, 10pm shouting _Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time_ Beverly Garden, Tseung Kwan O 2-9-2019 | Alex Yu, Temple

Related Episodes: Hong Kong Mixtape ISamson Young on Songs for Disaster Relief, When Sound is Art—Five Sonic Stories

Related Links: Contemporary Musiking Hong KongUmbrella Movement

Tags: contemporary art · sound art · identity · activism · sonic environment · community · political art · art podcast · history

Contemporary Psyche on View in Venice Art Biennale

October 15th, 2019 · Comments

Philadelphia-based art historian Deborah Barkun talks about the pleasure and critical thinking that she discovers each time she explores the Venice Art Biennale and collateral events. Through her eyes, we understand that the venerated exhibition never fails to create a constellation of art encounters—always stimulating the senses and challenging the mind, always offering a glimpse into our contemporary psyche. 

58th Venice Art Biennale:

For the 2019 international art exhibition, London-based American curator Ralph Rugoff chose the title May You Live in Interesting Times. This is a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse. The words ‘interesting times’ invoke periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil. Rugoff invited 79 artists from around the world who, in his words, “challenge existing habits of thought and open up our readings of objects and images, gestures and situations…entertaining multiple perspectives…holding in mind seemingly contradictory and incompatible notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world.”

The 2019 exhibition includes 89 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city center of Venice. Four countries are participating for the first time: Dominican Republic, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, and Pakistan. Twenty-one Collateral Events taking place across the city widen the diversity of voices that characterizes the Biennale.

Read Deborah Barkun’s posts from the 58th Venice Art Biennale on instagram @freshartintl.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio recorded in Venice May-June 2019

Romani Embassy performance by Delaine Le Bass, Music by Santino Spinelli

Related Episodes: Art Historian Playlist: Deborah Barkun Listens to Joana ChoumaliSamson Young: Songs for Disaster ReliefMark Bradford Connects Art with the Real WorldLisa Reihana on Reversing the Colonial GazeMonument to Decay: Israeli Pavilion in Venice

Related Links: Venice Art Biennale 

Related Images: Fresh VUE: 58th Venice Art BiennialFresh Vue: Venice Art Biennale 2017

Tags: Fresh Talk · contemporary art · art biennial · identity · international biennial · invisible communities · curator · political art · opera · art podcast · biennial · venice · venice art biennale · exhibition · technology · art tech

How to Build the Creative Economy

October 8th, 2019 · Comments

How do healthy creative economies open the door for artists and innovators?

To answer this question, we take you to Nashville, Tennessee. Music City, U.S.A., aims to become the nation’s start up capital, too. Every year since 2012, Launch Tennessee hosts the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival to encourage new business endeavors. In 2019, Festival organizers invited Fresh Art International to curate a presentation around building the creative economy.

For a live audience gathered inside the historic Acme Seed & Feed building, we bring to the stage Nashvillian Harry Allen, boutique banker, Emily Best, Los Angeles based filmmaker and film producer, and Andrea Zieher, director of Tennessee’s near future contemporary art triennial. Our conversation reveals how the same risk taking and innovation that drive all startups fuel the most impactful creative entrepreneurship.

Takeaways: 

  • Recognize the value of cultural entrepreneurship. 
  • Work toward meaningful and inclusive community impact.
  • Optimize technology, forge real relationships and dedicate personal energy to increase opportunities for creators and facilitate greater access to cultural experiences.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Live event recording courtesy Studio 208, Nashville

Related Episodes: Model Behavior—New Orleans Art Triennial Inspires Other Cities, Creative Hive Transforms Contemporary Art in Tampa, The Future of Art

Related Links: Seed&Spark, Studio Bank, TN Triennial, Tennessee Triennial36|86 Festival,

Tags: contemporary art · art biennial · curator · podcast · collection · community · art podcast · technology · art tech

Commuter Biennial Brings Public Art to Miami’s Margins

October 1st, 2019 · Comments

The Commuter Biennial aims to activate unseen margins of metro Miami. Local curators Laura Randall and Courtney Levine have organized a set of art experiences for those who spend hours navigating the city in cars, busses and trains. Over the span of four months, ten public art projects will pop up around this suburban landscape.

Two of the participating artists join Randall and Levine to introduce us to The Commuter Biennial. Artist Lily Martina Lee lives and works in Boise, Idaho. Lee’s art juxtaposes intimacy and anonymity—pointing out how forensic crime scene investigations have become embedded in our everyday reality. For her commuter-centered project, she creates public memorials in locations throughout Miami Dade County, where unidentified human remains were found. Since 2005, New York based artist Marie Lorenz has navigated waterways in her handmade boats designed to optimize tidal currents. Her passengers are privileged with intimate experiences on the water. For the roving biennial, she brings her Tide and Current Taxi to Miami.

Listen to this episode to hear the voice of positive thinking. Optimistic about the potential for art to transform the grind of suburban life, the tedium of public transit and the boring daily drive, the Commuter Biennial aspires to draw our gaze from the center to the fringe—suggesting that art belongs to everyone, everywhere, across metropolitan Miami. 

Related Episodes: Public Art Meets Poetry, Public Art Hopscotches Across Buenos Aires, Art of the Everyday, Creativity in Miami’s Public Realm

 

Related Link: Commuter Biennial

Tags: contemporary art · Miami · sculpture · public art · Artist · invisible communities · curator · podcast · installation · environment · Perez Art Museum Miami · architectural intervention · art podcast · biennial