Thoughts on the #InWhichPF “Open Space” experience…
Over the past three weeks a lot has happened at Public Functionary. In Which _______ and Others Discover the End has essentially, thus far, been a multidisciplinary exploration into the dual experience of production and consumption, audience and artist.
The project, which started as a collaboration between Rachel Jendrzejewski, Supergroup, Brute Heart and Liz Miller, took on new life at Public Functionary. The collaborators were interested in breaking down the barriers between the audience and the performance and blurring the lines between a performance space and a public space. The nature of PF as a non-traditional performance venue was what drew these creators to us in the first place. It allowed for exploration of their concept — a flexible environment in which to experiment, both socially and artistically. They graciously put their performance set, Liz Miller’s intricately crafted, sculptural environment, into our hands and allowed us to curate a new experience for the installation, letting it change form and shape as other creatives produced experiences within it.
Over the duration of the exhibit run, the In Which collaborators have been rehearsing in the space, working and re-working their multi-layered performance to seamlessly flow within Miller’s created environment. Often these rehearsals were open to the public, the performers allowing for their process to be observed. Miller expertly incorporated clips, removable pieces and modular structures within the installation that could be removed and re-configured, to accommodate ongoing activity in the space but also flexibility for the final performance itself. In between rehearsals, style purveyors Hotrocity threw a party within the installation, inviting Crunchy Kids, Hiponymous, The Dance Bums, Jennifer Pray and Co, and Dj Buddakao turn the space into a high-energy stage for experimental performance. A week later, rising hip hop star Greg Grease celebrated the release of his new album. The fantasy land backdrop provided a stimulating environment for Greg, Mally, Sophia Eres, Lizzo, La Manchita, Tek and The Lioness to activate the installation with music, sound and positive energy. The Kulture Klub Collaborative held an event to welcome their new Executive Director, Crystal Brinkman, to the organization and an ongoing media campaign, #TalkDonation, used the space to facilitate a dialogue about increasing awareness about organ donation with the African American community.
After each event, the In Which collaborators came back to rehearse on the “bliss blue” painted dance stage, which over time, began to show noticeable deterioration. The surface has certainly endured its share of activity, but to us, its wear and tear is demonstration that the installation has been filled with movement, energy and creativity.
The past three weeks have been incredibly inspiring. Watching these different groups move through the space, activating it and making it their own only validates that our vision for Public Functionary is becoming more and more clear. Space can be shared by different perspectives, we can find common ground within art and cultivate a network of diverse communities. A gallery exhibit does not necessarily need to be something that is simply “looked at,” it can be transformative. It can create space for social interaction that is un-predicable and energetic one day, introspective and complicated the next.
Public Functionary has felt like a special space this past month due to the amazing installation Liz Miller created and the willingness of SuperGroup, Brute Heart and Rachel Jendrzejewski to openly share it with other creatives and the community. The energy that Hotrocity, Greg Grease, Kulture Klub and #TalkDonation brought in was epic, but more importantly, the appreciation that these groups conveyed about their experiences brought a positive vibe to the ongoing rehearsals in the space. The idea that we can all be different together has most certainly been validated.
What’s even more amazing? The actual performances for which this installation was designed are just about to begin…
This weekend and next, In Which ______ And Others Discover the End will come to fruition in six free performances. I encourage you to reserve a spot to see one of these special performances, as the collaborators will be presenting an important project that they have poured much time, energy and talent into creating — a piece that is as much about them as it is about you, about all of us.
The space in which they will be performing has been activated and energized by music and art and by the public — produced and consumed already by many people who have only just imagined what this environment is really about. I invite you to see what In Which ______ And Others Discover The End was truly intended to be.
-Tricia Khutoretsky / Curator & Co-Director / Public Functionary
*Most photos by Joe and Jen Photography / Rehearsal images from Tricia’s iphone.