& MAGGIE CAVALLO
Leonie Bradbury is a curator of contemporary art and currently works as the Director and Curator of the Galleries at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA. She is the co-founder of "Alter Projects" an independent curatorial collaborative that designs custom arts programming. Bradbury is a Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy and Art Theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in Visual Art. Her curatorial programming has a strong socially engaged focus and includes exhibition projects, both solo and group, that feature a range of emerging and established artists of national and international note. Two of her exhibitions have received awards from the Association of International Art Critics (AICA) A New Order: Appropriation Art in the Digital Age (2nd Place, 2006) and Electric Wasteland: Urban Art from L.A.(1st Place, 2008). She has produced numerous essays, catalogues, and texts.
Maggie Cavallo is a curator and educator based in Boston, MA dedicated to providing dynamic learning experiences with, through and for the arts. Recent projects include Beyond the Lesson Plan: A Dialogue on Teaching and Learning in the Arts and Standard Practice an exhibition of recent work by Joanna Tam both at Montserrat College of Art, re: no subject featuring the photographs of Vela Oma, Genesis Baez, Todd Danforth and DEAD ART STAR at UMASS Amherst and The Highest Closet, featuring work by Sarah Hill, Hayley Morgenstern, Creighton Paecht Baxter and Jessica Borusky at the 301 Gallery. Cavallo is also the co-founder of Alter Projects, a social-hybrid company that provides arts programming and consultation to corporate clients, non-profit organizations and artists themselves. Clients include the AIDS Action Committee, the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston and Illuminus. Cavallo was the Curator of Education at Montserrat College of Art from 2010-2015 and is currently acting as a researcher and Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she is co-developing a course on Public Art and Learning. She received a BA in Media, Society and the Arts from SUNY Purchase and an Ed.M in Arts in Education from Harvard University.
“Healing Pool” by Brian Knep consists of two interactive floor projections with patterns that change in response to visitors. For Illuminus, the pieces will be projected directly onto the surface of Lansdowne Street from above. Knep uses custom algorithms to create a glowing pool of organic patterns on the ground. Left alone, the patterns slowly pulsate and shift over the course of the evening. When a person walks across the piece the patterns tear apart and rebuild themselves, but never exactly as before. The change is similar to a scar left behind when a wound heals. Thus the pool holds a history, or memory, of all the interactions that have occurred since the piece began. In its unique location at Lansdowne street Healing Pools similarly incorporates—both physically and metaphorically—the rich and varied history of the historic location and the many visitors that cross its path each day. According to Knep, “this project serves as a type of memorial, a constantly evolving record of change that honors the minuscule ways in which the slightest interactions—no matter how small or unintentional—have some impact. It is also an examination of how each person is, like the pool, a manifestation of everything that came before.” The pieces in the Healing series explore interaction and integration: the changes, both destructive and regenerative, that happen when things interface with each other. When visitors walk across, the patterns pull away, creating wounds. When left alone, the patterns grow to cover these wounds. In each of the pieces, however the patterns grow back in different ways. This work is related to the research being done on artificial intelligence and artificial life, but the path and the goal are different. Most explorations in these fields attempt to create human-like intelligence and behavior, and in so doing they use more and more complex algorithms and techniques. In contrast, with these pieces Knep focuses on the complexity possible with very simple rules. The patterns and their growth are completely emergent phenomena; they arise from the mathematical equations that the software simulates. The basis for these equations comes from biological and chemical models of molecular interactions, interactions that are at the core of all living things. By amplifying them and making them visible and accessible, they become metaphors for human behavior and interaction. These pieces are not life-forms, but they exhibit life-like behaviors that are simple in their goals—to grow—but complex and subtle in their realization i.e. how the piece actually grows and reacts to visitors. Participants quickly understand how the pieces react to them, but the subtlety of the behavior of the algorithm creates many possible, and often surprising, interactions.
“Ovation” is an interactive sound installation by conceptual artists Heather Kapplow and Liz Nofziger. At Fenway Park, visitors approach the piece by walking down a ramp that leads towards the ball field. As you are descending the ramp, bright lights come into view in the distance and a gradual swell of applause becomes audible. The sound continues to grow as you near the entrance to the field. As you step out onto the field you are suddenly washed in an overwhelming sea of bright warm lights and surrounded by roaring applause and cheering. You are adored!
Many of us live lives where we will never have the chance to experience what entertainers, politicians and athletes have the opportunity to experience on a regular basis. Adoration. For Ovation, Kapplow and Nofziger aim to create that experience for the average person. The piece will feature recorded audience sounds from a series of Jo La Tango concert that take place the week leading up to Illuminus.
The idea came out of an experience Kapplow had while traveling with a musician friend on a tour where many nights ended with this kind of enthusiastic audience response. She realized that there is no equivalent experience for people who are not performers, but felt strongly that the warmth and pleasure of being very lovingly cheered for is something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. Since then she has been excerpting and listening to the crowd cheering portions of live music albums and imagining ways to reproduce this in an immersive way in an art context without it coming across as jeering or ironic. Her collaborator Nofziger was invited to adapt the piece for an outdoor public space.
The placement at the iconic location of Fenway Park adds a new and exciting dimension to the piece. The fact that visitors are invited to actually step onto the field is already one that creates the experience of feeling “special.” Add to that the soundtrack of adoration and the bath of glowing warm lights and your personal ovation sensation is complete. According to the artists “Ovation” is like being awash in a giant wave of love. It wasn't love originally intended for you, but we have managed to capture it and are giving it to you as a gift.”
Yassy Goldie has always been somewhat of an outsider, a foreigner to nearly everyone, no matter where he appears. The i want to sox yuO campaign designed by Goldie and gjyd for Illuminus Boston is an attempt to re-introduce themselves to the City of Boston on a grand scale. The group has designed infomercials and gifs for specialized merchandise, including beer cans lottery tickets and baseballs, inspired by the Boston Red Sox, but translated into their own signature aesthetic and language. Infomercial-style videos suggest.
This project represents Goldie’s attempt at assimilating to and celebrating Boston’s culture. This type of assimilation (and isolation) is common for many individuals who move to Boston, especially artists who struggle to identify how to make work that will be successful in our own city. The i want to sox yuO memorabilia, while grammatically confusing, suggests we are all the Sox while also poking fun at the fact that the stereotypically sports-infused culture of our region leaves little room for artists to gain recognition.
Vega’s “Visiting Thahab” is a study of the Muslim woman’s presence as an object in contemporary, domestic and foreign spaces through performance, video and photography. Vega hides the figure with gold, a color traditionally associated with luxury and masculinity. Both the garment and its symbolism isolate the woman, creating tension between her presence and her surroundings, raising the question of what it means to be assimilated in this day and age.
For Illuminus Boston, Vega’s will project a large scale video of the Visiting Thahab filmed in the tall reeds of the Muddy River in Boston’s Fenway. In Fenway Park, this piece confronts implicit biases that are common to Boston’s regional culture by inserting what has become a charged image of the figure in a Burka. There is a sense of urgency and relevancy to this work, that is necessary, especially in Boston, when considering the current political climate and the rise of Islamophobia in the United States. Consider, for example, the outrageous assumptions made by many regional residents when viewing the recent Os Gemeos mural in Boston of a child in pajamas. Due to the figure’s head being covered, there was as tidal wave xenophobia covered across social media.
Clancy's your heart is a prism is a prismatic video installation that provides an immersive and meditative space, creating a context in which audiences can consider, feel, and project radiant love. Creating a pre-existing video, with live manipulation and a live sound score, this piece adapts and responds to the environmentand those engaging with the work. Spread across and beyond multiple screens, a video made through the analog process of filming light through a series of prisms, crystals, radiant plexiglas and rainbow diffraction grating films will fill the atmosphere with ethereal light and color. The projected image and environment will be further altered by Clancy's live manipulation of these optical media in front of the projector lense, creating physical video interferences that cast fragments and washes of light all around the space. Visitors to ILLUMINUS Boston will find Clancy's installation a welcome space for rest and reflection, with comfortable seating enabling them to fully immerse themselves in the installation. Sound artists OMNIVORE of Providence and Marc McNulty of Boston will be providing live responsive sound scores to the installation and atmosphere, enhancing the experience.