Category Archives: Proposals

FEAST #13 Proposals: Cultural Labor

Here are the project proposals for FEAST #13. Each project somehow addresses this edition’s theme of Cultural Labor. Join us April 14th at the Church of the Messiah in Greenpoint, Bklyn and cast your vote for the one you think should receive a grant.

Ballet on the Barricades

A coalition of emerging choreographers is organizing to occupy public space and consider the movement of the 99%, celebrating the participatory culture of dance and demonstrating the power creative collectivism. Occupy Dance will manifest as:

§  Ballet Barre on the Barricades- a series of tutu making workshops and a ballet classes to live music, leading up to a mass morning warm-up class on May Day at the bull on Wall St.

§  Dance All Night – a ritual of holding space (TBD) with intention from sundown to sunup. A large circle marked by flowers is prepared the evening of April 31st and people volunteer to dance in the circle for each hour of the night.

§  The NYC Dance Parade – May 19th.  Occupy Dance is beginning to plan demonstrations, researching the emergence of modern dance in the 30s alongside the labor movement, and experimenting with participatory dance scores, including a moving People’s Mic.

§  Occupy Dance Movement Lab – where all these ideas start and develop, every Tuesday evening.

Funding supports the labor of the artists, rehearsal space rental, video and photo documentation, and outreach, with the smallest proportion going to physical materials. This is very exciting at a time when dance- the practice of occupying space, responding to shifting environments, self-expression- has largely been depoliticized. The American Spring can bridge the NYC dance community with political activists, and by founding a solid coalition, Occupy Dance can bring dance to new public venues in each of our NYC neighborhoods in the future.

http://www.meetup.com/OWSDance/

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Feedback Farms

Feedback Farms transforms vacant lots and stalled construction sites into productive temporary farms. The economic downturn of 2008 left many developers unable to break ground or complete construction projects in the five boroughs. While in limbo, these lots often become impromptu trash dumps and rat warrens. Feedback Farms will take over lots at the behest of private landowners and public agencies, maintain and keep them clean, and grow vegetables while improving the aesthetics and safety of the neighborhood. The lots also will become a place for the community to gather, volunteer and learn.

To make mobile farming on small plots feasible, Feedback Farms is conducting research into utilizing labor and resources in the most efficient way. This season we will conduct field experiments, evaluating the labor inputs and yield outputs of growing vegetables in different types of mobile, sub irrigated planters (SIPs) and soil mediums.

These SIPs will have integrated remote monitoring capability and be equipped with tensiometers (moisture sensors), temperature and photo sensors to enable tracking of ambient light, moisture and temperature as well as location, planting date, variety, watering schedule, harvest time, and yield. We hope to learn which SIPs and growing mediums are optimal for urban farming.

www.feedbackfarms.com

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Flip the Table: Youth Food Council (YFC)

YFC is supporting the future leaders of the sustainable food movement, lending a problem-solution framework where youth can mobilize and envision change. We do this by connecting 15 NYC-based youth within a network of urban farms/gardens and non-profit organizations while raising awareness about systemic issues surrounding our broken food system. Youth of color, youth from low-income communities, and LGBTQI youth pay the highest cost for the inequities in our food system, and simultaneously aren’t granted any agency. Compounding the problem is the tokenization of youth and the constant use of a deficit model that lays blame on the youth instead of institutional power structures. YFC seeks to empower the next generation of workers so that they can become the next Speaker of City Council, Director of Just Food or Angela Davis. We need to value our youth and support them in eradicating institutionalized oppressive power structures that don’t value our working class, especially those that grow, harvest and process the food we eat.

Funding from a FEAST will enable us to move forward with our youth designed advocacy project, supporting the creation of a video PSA that will help the council reach out to their communities to advocate for better personal nutrition and access to fresh culturally appropriate and affordable produce. Through the use of art as advocacy, our council will spend the next 3 months filming and editing together a series of videos and voice collages that they can disseminate to friends, family, classmates and in their neighborhoods.

http://youthfoodcouncil.org/

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The New York City Ghost Bike Project

Since 2005, at the site of every crash where a bicyclist is killed, we install a Ghost Bike.  Bicycles are stripped of extraneous parts, sanded and painted white.  Each bicycle is installed below a silk-screened aluminum sign that bears the words: Cyclist Killed Here.  With this act, we make visible a tragedy that would otherwise disappear.

The physical construction of Ghost Bikes is laborious.  Because we only use bicycles that are otherwise too damaged to restore, parts are difficult to remove and rust is common.  Each Ghost Bike requires three cans of flat white spray-paint, one of primer, five sheets of sandpaper, three feet of chain and a padlock.  It costs, on average, $30 to construct one Ghost Bike.  Last year, the Ghost Bike Project installed 17 Ghost Bikes in New York City.

After seven years of constructing and installing Ghost Bikes, the project now has a critical lull in volunteers and funds.  We are at risk of fading away. The few remaining volunteers believe the only way to reignite the project is to gather the hundreds of people who have ever been involved with the project and brainstorm.  We propose bringing together the surviving families and friends who have had a relationship with the project, members of the bicycling community and past volunteers, for a public gathering this summer. With the assistance of outside facilitators and a survey for those outside of New York, we will invent ways to sustain this emotionally difficult and labor-intensive project.

http://ghostbikes.org/

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GRNPNT BLACKBELT

It has happened slowly. Many of us have not even noticed. Little by little, the cities we inhabit have become increasingly privatized. Yet many of us do not often stop and ask ourselves what we are losing in the process. What happens to democracy when we do not have the spaces to meet, organize, and collectively plan for our future? What happens when our city does not belong to us?

With these questions in mind, design collaborative DSGN AGNC organized a group of designers, lawyers, educators and citizens to launch #whOWNSpace. The project seeks to reveal and question the often conflicting rules that govern privatized public space, to advocate for changes when necessary, and to propose alternative policies, uses and designs for public space that encourages democratic vitality.

These observations on what privatized public space is doing to democratic involvement have lead #whOWNSpace to propose what we are terming a BLACKBELT. Evolving from the idea of a greenbelt, a BLACKBELT is a network of community-supported spaces that rejects the notion that public space can only be used for passive activities. Instead, a BLACKBELT seeks to create spaces to be used by local groups for physical engagement, organizing and production.

Phase 1 of this BLACKBELT has started to manifest at 59 Java Street in Brooklyn. We are redesigning this vacant, city-owned lot to become a public space where the Greenpoint community can reclaim and reshape the factors that are defining the social and material world they live in.

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Hand in Hand: A visual guide to the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is collaborating with Domestic Workers’ United (DWU) and artist Damon Locks to produce an art-focused, visual guide that helps New York’s 200,000 domestic workers and their employers understand the recently passed law that gives workers new rights and protections. The guide will use Damon’s portraits of workers and domestic environments, along with text in several languages, to explain the law and provide workers with guidance on how to talk about them with their employers. Our goal is to use art and design to advance social justice in creative and impactful ways.

This project is already in the works, but we believe that FEAST’s support can help amplify its impact by increasing DWU’s distribution reach. We can afford to produce 1,000 copies of the pamphlet. With the assistance of $1,000, we can produce at least 2,000 more copies, allowing us to reach 3 times as many individuals within NYC’s communities of domestic workers as we would reach on our own. We will work with DWU to distribute them to as many workers in NYC as possible during their Summer campaign. We will work with CUP volunteers and DWU members to hand out the pamphlet in settings where domestic workers (who are decentralized by the very nature of their work) gather, such as playgrounds and parks and places of worship.
http://welcometocup.org
http://www.domesticworkersunited.org/
http://damonlocks.com/art/

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MAY DAY RADIO: WE WANT THE AIRWAVES! (and the interwebs)

Occupy Wall Street is a much-needed movement for social and economic justice. But it’s also a community. On May Day, throughout the day, we’ll be all over the city marching, performing, striking, disrupting, exchanging ideas, getting arrested, making out, dancing, and taking the streets. But, we want the airwaves too!

A community radio station experiment, May Day Radio, will begin streaming live a few days before May Day to provide a coordinated voice—a source of information and inspiration as the day approaches. We’ll air interviews with organizers of actions and members of OWS to find out what they’re planning. Programming will include special guests, music, segments on the history and significance of May Day and voices from across our diverse community.

On May Day we’ll take the air! In addition to the livestream, using hacked ipod accessories, we’ll provide an FM signal, giving you the option to tune in at home or bring your FM radio along anywhere an action is taking place. You’ll hear live updates and tactical information on actions across the city as they unfold, great music, a host of speakers, call-ins, spoken love letters to Occupy from supportive luminaries, performances, and just a bunch of generally inspiring content. As the day’s events come to a close, we’ll converge with our radios and headsets to form a giant mobile dance party.

In the spirit of OWS, May Day radio is an imaginative way to claim space that should be ours but isn’t. Join us! Funding is greatly needed to secure FM transmitters, receivers, and recording equipment.

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The Stoop Instrument Library

The Stoop Instrument Library is a community and space where musicians, non-musicians and youth can borrow, exchange and experiment with new instruments of their choosing. The Stoop makes learning an instrument accessible to anyone and brings collective local music back to the community.  We will reach out to musicians, venues, studios and artist lofts, creating a network of lenders and borrowers, and ultimately mentors and students; bridging the gap between music education and youth is our ultimate goal.

We’re close to losing culturally historic music and are sometimes even ambivalent to the existence of a collective musical movement around us.  By bringing down the costs and expertise needed to maintain instruments and acquire them for musical exploration The Stoop Instrument Library aids the community of professional and amateur musicians as well as interested youth.

Our goal for Phase 1 is to develop the initial instrument library network: build its community, an instrument database, enhance local musical culture and gain project strength and momentum for the goal of a physical space and active membership community.

FEAST #12 Proposals

596 Acres: You Can’t Hold Back Spring Series

596 acres of vacant public land existed in Brooklyn alone as of April 2010 according to the City’s own data. We spent some of last summer distributing maps of where that land is and hanging physical signs identifying particular lots for those who walked by as an experiment (think alternative parks department…). People responded to our signs and we helped forge relationships between neighbors and help those neighbors negotiate with NYC agencies for permission to use previously closed-off land in their neighborhoods to for community-controlled green space and food production.

Six months after we started our experiment, there are four new gardens preparing to build their soil for a spring planting: FEEDback Farms, the Java Street Garden Collaborative462 Halsey Community Garden and Myrtle Village Green.

We are also getting ready for spring — spending the winter groundtruthing** the data we have from New York City’s Planning Department, preparing a new broadsheet that will tell the stories the community groups that successfully organized for control of green spaces in their neighborhoods based on information they learned reading our signs on the fences. These stories are the spark. A future of communities determining their own geographic destinies is coming.

We are also making new signs and talking to city agencies that don’t know us yet in order to figure out which lots we should label. We know that Brooklynites are prepared to be in charge of their destiny. We are laying the tracks. We need some rails. Or maybe just a FEAST.

Because you can’t. hold. back. spring.

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Shout Out to Fresh Veggies

Where are the fun, playful, and memorable ads for fresh fruits and vegetables? The silence is deafening for many Brooklyn teens. Instead, on every computer screen, every billboard, every bodega shelf, every magazine, every TV, junk food advertisers are renting our eyeballs and training our food cravings. Researchers estimate that kids today see over 40,000 junk food advertisements each year on TV alone. Parents have only 3 times a day (meal times) at most to advertise healthy food for their kids. Without a multi-million dollar budget, how can we give a Shout Out to Fresh Veggies that youth can hear over the noise of junk food advertising?

Brooklyn teens from the High School for Public Service Youth Farm are creating a fresh food ad campaign that they hope to spread far and wide. The teens plan to use social media to track how many people view their messages, they also plan to leverage BK Farmyards social network to expand their reach including a gallery event in Chelsea to showcase their print ads in poster format. The Shout Out to Fresh Veggies posters will also be used around the Youth Farm community in Crown Heights & East Flatbush to advertise the availability of organic, local, affordable vegetables. The team hopes to not only give voice to youth who believe that everyone deserves equal access to fresh food but also let them shout it from the internet.

We did a pilot of this curriculum last year

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Represent: I’m Shante (Grapevine Ink. loves Hip-Hop)

The “Represent: I’m Shanté” project brings skilled printmakers (interdisciplinary artist, Shani Peters, interdisciplinary artist/graffiti writer Elena Estojanova, and vocalist/break-dancer Kelsey Pyro V.E., all members of the International collective of socially involved Women printmakers: Grapevine Ink.) to an audience of 1,000+ female hip-hop enthusiasts to lead live t-shirt printing demonstrations.  This audience will be brought together at the Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen (MHHK), Vol. 5: Be the Cure! event.    Attendees will either print their own, or have printed for them a t-shirt reading “I’m Shanté” in large pink letters with the words “ and I represent powerful women” in smaller lettering below.
The printed t-shirt phrase references lyrics from the 1987 hip-hop classic “Have A Nice Day” by hip-hop pioneer, Roxanne Shanté.   By printing hundreds of t-shirts that allow hundreds of women to symbolically take on the identity of Shanté, an iconic and complicated figure in hip-hop history, the project demonstrates solidarity, awareness and connection to hip-hop’s grassroots origins, and pride in a tradition of women that are often pejoratively referred to as “ghetto”, “bitches”, “hood-rats”, etc.  In a lighthearted, but earnest nod to the Civil Rights Movement’s “I AM A MAN” sandwich board protests, this project “amplifies” the voice of one woman through the visual demonstration of many.  The pink ink color will direct attention to MHHK’s 2012 breast cancer awareness theme.  Professional quality group photos will be taken of women wearing the shirts. Requested funding will cover the cost of  prep time, printing supplies, and 300+ t-shirts.

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People’s Think Tank

Self-organization—the crystallization of
political will from free discussion—
thrives best in actual urban fora. 

- Mike Davis

Imagine spontaneous conversations erupting among strangers across the five boroughs – people sitting down together in parks, subway stations, and office buildings, to talk about anything from the food-industrial complex and its alternatives to the ins and outs of corporate personhood. Since September 2011, the Occupy Wall Street People’s Think Tank has been facilitating these impromptu dialogues in public spaces throughout New York’s financial district. Everyday from 12-6 we facilitate open conversations for anyone who cares to join. Wall Street bankers talk with chronically homeless folks and underemployed college grads about the relationship between art and politics, or the effects of stop and frisk policing on communities of color. By simply sitting down together in public, we create a space in which all people have an equal voice on the issues that matter to them and are allowed to activate their own political imaginations. We record the conversations, and with help from NYU’s Tamiment library, we plan to get them organized and back to the public as an open-source digital archive.

In 2012, we’re asking  F.E.A.S.T. to help the People’s Think Tank transport these conversations into new spaces. From Grand Central Terminal to the Brooklyn Museum, from the Upper West Side food bank to the Staten Island ferry terminal, we’ll invite the five boroughs to converse where they live and work. While Think Tanks are simple to enact, requiring only a facilitator and willing participants, to amplify our practice, we need some support. Funds for signs, flyers, subway fare, blankets to sit on, and additional sound recorders will enable us to add new voices to these exciting conversations.

NYCGA: http://www.nycga.net/groups/think-tank/

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The Soapbox Vocoder Project

Have you ever dreamt of giving a speech at the White House, or perhaps addressing a television audience with your own State of the Nation?  Do you think you could help solve the world’s problems, if only you could get your voice heard in the mainstream media?
By re-purposing a technology originally developed in the nineteen-twenties to encrypt voices for secure radio communications – and later used to funky effect by Kraftwerk, Peter Frampton and Afrika Bamabaataa, we are building a machine that channels the voice of the common person, and amplifies it in an authoritative medium.

The Soapbox Vocoder works by breaking down and analyzing the speaker’s voice and reconstituting it in a powerful way.  Participants are placed at a news desk or podium where they deliver a speech into a microphone.  The Soapbox Vocoder then recreates the speech on a nearby screen as a television broadcast by a famous politician or celebrity.

We will invite participants to choose from a selection of (in)famous speeches. They will be able to share their views and create personal and social amplifications of their ideas, possibly even engaging in staged debates with politicians on video or with other participants.

The Soapbox Vocoder team consists of Chiara Bernasconi and Spencer Kiser, artists and researchers who met as colleagues in the Digitial Media Department at a large arts institution.  Their aim is to build an apolitical tool for people to engage in critical, silly, and/or meaningful interpretations of world and local politics.

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The End of My Commute

We’ve tread softly in communal meditation in the Lower East Side, drifted through Mott Haven on a Situationist dérive, and traced John Travolta’s steps along a crowded street in Bensonhurst. As part of the Walk Study Training Course (WSTC) our walks function as methods for producing and sharing knowledge, and understanding culture. Over the last year the WSTC has run two of its free, participant-centered, six-week Training Course seminars that pair critical readings on walking practice with specific group walks. We are now ready to launch Walk Studies, our project-based component in which former participants apply the research of the course to the creation of walks and walking resources that emphasize community engagement.

Our preliminary Walk Study will be a series of walks entitled “The End of My Commute”. Five representatives from community organizations in Brooklyn will be asked to narrate a tour from a shared subway stop to their respective doorsteps. Through these walks, we will probe the boundaries between public and private space, touristic and intimate space, and safe and perilous space by amplifying solitary walks into social practices. Recordings of the tours will be made accessible to commuters through distribution in the subway station, sold for the price of a fare. They will also be archived and made available for download on our website.

Money awarded will be used to launch the Walk Study program component and will include purchasing of digital recording equipment, hosting and development for our website.

www.walkstudytrainingcourse.wordpress.com

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Occupy.here

Occupy.here is an autonomous wifi network (separate from the Internet) that offers a virtual, distributed Zuccotti Park-like space for open political discussions. Anyone with a web-capable smartphone or laptop can join the network “OCCUPY.HERE” and—upon opening their browser—be redirected to http://occupy.here, a message board only available to others within physical proximity of the wifi hardware. The open source forum software offers a simple, mobile-friendly interface where users can write messages and post replies.
The project has been developed in parallel with the Occupy movement and seeks to offer a new venue where both committed activists and casual supporters can engage, without the schedule challenges of the General Assembly, less vulnerable to online trolls and disruptors.
The software runs on any wifi router that supports OpenWRT, which can be upgraded to an Occupy.here node in a matter of minutes. While each location can operate independently of the others, a content sharing mechanism allows conversations to intermix between the routers. Each user can copy their forum’s complete database to their device and sync it with other Occupy.here nodes, like a honey bee sharing pollen between flowers.
Support from FEAST would purchase wifi hardware, $80 per router. My goal is to seed the project with many wifi locations, so that contributing to the conversation is accessible for as many New Yorkers as possible. You can help “wifi-amplify” both established and new Occupy spaces: indoor private public spaces, church sanctuaries, parks, colleges, and subway platforms.
Here is the open source code repository:
Here is a demo instance of the forum software:
And here is a video of a 16 minute presentation I gave on occupy.here:

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The Newtown Creek Armada

The Newtown Creek Armada is an interactive installation in which a model boat pond will be created on the Newtown Creek, one of America’s most polluted waterways. The Newtown Creek Armada is a collaboration between three Brooklyn artists – Laura Chipley, Nathan Kensinger, and Sarah Nelson Wright – whose individual work creatively investigates industry, ecology, and change in urban spaces.
At The Newtown Creek Armada, visitors will be invited to pilot a fleet of artist-created, miniature, remote-controlled boats along the creek’s surface while at the same time documenting the world hidden beneath the water. Each boat in The Armada will be equipped with an underwater camera and lights, allowing participants to record a unique voyage on the creek. Video from these underwater explorations will be broadcast live on monitors at the project location, both literally amplifying images of pollution in the creek and giving visitors a chance to virtually immerse themselves in the toxic waters of this Superfund site.
This project will bring members of the local community together to enjoy and contemplate an underutilized public space, amplifying the voice of the creek itself in a larger dialog about community resources, public space and environmental contamination in Greenpoint.

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Prison Production: Amplifying Hidden Histories

Prison Production will be a 5-6 week Theater-in-Education residency at Wadleigh Secondary School in Harlem. Two 12th grade economics classes will focus on developing an economic analysis of the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex. Five actor-teachers will use theater (in-class dramas, and student role play), to create dialogue and draw connections to history.

Wadleigh is a performing arts school located in a community whose struggle with racial justice has earned historic attention, and whose pioneering spirit in the arts has captured the imaginations of generations of US performers. Today, Harlem faces problems of over-policing, racially-targeted stop-and-frisk policies, and high rates of incarceration. Despite a lack of difference in drug use between racial groups in New York, people of color, and especially black men, are more frequently arrested for drug crimes, and convicted more harshly, than their white counterparts. Meanwhile, private prisons that house these folks are being subsidized by tax dollars to alleviate poverty in largely white upstate communities. Educators and academics have tended to ignore this history, which has been decades in the making.

Prison Production will amplify the urban historical narrative of the US prison industry, particularly its infrequently criticized role in maintaining poverty and racial segregation of the poor for the benefit of the rich.

Wadleigh High School: http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/03/M415/default.htm

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Portraits of NYC

Bacteria paint.  Though difficult to see individually, bacteria synthesize pigments to harvest light energy.  As the organisms grow from individual to colony by exploiting natural resources, the pigments culminate in a kind of community-based pointillism.  Exponential growth and decay of color can be witnessed by the naked eye illustrating a co-evolution of living cultures and transformed habitats.  Bacteria are simultaneously figures in a landscape and catalytic agents in an ecosystem.  Their amplification of form holds our attention; we are of a kind — biological organisms with agency.

I have been accepted into LMCC’s 5-month residency on Governor’s Island.  FEAST will fund construction of 5 frames of evolving NYC ecosystems [mud and water:  Hudson River(PCBs), Gowanus Canal(heavy metals), Deadhorse Bay(landfill), East River(sewage), Newtown Creek(Oil spill)]. Enclosed in a sculptural frame, endogenous bacteria paint a transforming colorfield as defined by the physical and chemical conditions of the water:mud composite.  The living organisms manufacturing the pigments are simultaneously the subject and substance of the ‘painterly’ objectification – both object and medium, both a work of art itself and a working of autopoeisis.  The portrait is literal.  Construction and deconstruction of molecular building blocks produce an ongoing dis/integration of form.  Therefore there is not one portrait, but a series of real time/space negotiations performed by bacteria within a frame of finite natural resources.  Not unlike human organizing sustainability on a finite earth of soil, water and sunlight, the color of bacterial cultures are indicators of the industry of organisms cleaning ourcity, gorgeously.

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FEAST #11 Proposals

Together on a Hill

Primarily a Caribbean and Jewish neighborhood, Crown Heights has a rich, and sometimes volatile, history. In recent years, the historic Crow Hill section in northwest Crown Heights—like several other parts of Brooklyn—has undergone a transformation in appearance and demographics. Many see these changes, shudder and whisper through their teeth, “gentrification.” Others celebrate. Some neighborhood tensions have surfaced even as new alliances form around an effort to develop without destroying.

Together on a Hill is an exploration of Crow Hill in transition, featuring day-in-the-life multimedia pieces combining sound and photography, similar in style to the New York Times series “One in 8 Million.” Defining a neighborhood while preserving its history-in-the-making, our project will spotlight this diverse, changing area through the stories of some 15 individuals, both newcomers and longtime residents. They include a local gardener, a graffiti artist, a backyard poultry raiser, a tattoo artist, a rabbi, a storefront church preacher, a longtime merchant, a community activist, and a building superintendent.

The final product will be a public presentation of the series outdoors in the new CHCA Community Garden, with refreshments donated by neighborhood vendors, and available for longer-term viewing at LaunchPad, a Crow Hill creative venue. This community-building project is aimed at helping create a bridge between the old and the new and bringing greater awareness about the complexity of local gentrification to all who live, work, and play on “the Hill.”

In the words of feisty, strong-willed community activist Eve Porter, 75, who has lived on Crow Hill for over 40 years: “You aren’t just here, you belong here.”
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Greenpoint Oil Spill Remediation Oyster Mushroom Pilot Project

Mycoremediation is a term coined by noted mushroom researcher Paul Stamets, who discovered the enzymes and acids that mycelium produces are superb at breaking apart hydrocarbons. Oyster mushrooms gained national attention after the 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill, when nearly 60,000 gallons of fuel were dumped into San Francisco Bay. Clean-up workers successfully introduced oyster mushroom spores to help decompose the oil. And once oyster mushrooms run out of food, they die off and decompose naturally, posing no threat to the environment, according to the EPA. [1]

Meanwhile, here in north Brooklyn: “An estimated 17 to 30 million gallons of oil, benzene, naptha and other carcinogenic chemicals pollute a 55-acre, 25-foot-deep swath of soil in Greenpoint.” [2]

We therefore seek financial support for an oyster mushroom pilot project, to begin attempting as a community to mycoremediate the oil spill beneath us. We’d buy spore kits and related supplies, to generate a self-replenishing source of mushrooms for this purpose. We’d also seek volunteers to help plant various sites: people’s backyards, city parks, empty lots, the banks of Newtown Creek… We wish to be methodical, learn what works here and why. After this phase we’d ask Paul Stamets to advise us directly, as well as the city’s ecologists (who are already curious). We then would approach Exxon itself, who are obligated to further remediate the spill site.

1. http://spectregroup.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/the-oldest-solution-on-earth/
2. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/opinion/16Prudhomme.html
3. image: http://nymag.com/news/features/32865/index4.html
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Tinderbox Music Festival

Now in its second year, the Tinderbox Music Festival (http://tinderboxmusicfestival.com/) is an annual Brooklyn event showcasing a powerful and diverse lineup of established and emerging female artists producing innovative, original music across all genres. Rooted in the vibrant NYC music scene, Tinderbox fosters community by providing opportunities to perform, collaborate, and connect. Tinderbox donates 100% of its net proceeds to NYC organizations involved in empowering the next generation of female artists including Girls Write Now, an organization dedicated to providing guidance and writing opportunities for NYC’s underserved high school girls, and the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, a non-profit music and mentoring program empowering girls and women through music education and activities. Tinderbox’s goal is to celebrate music by local female artists in a space that espouses diversity and acceptance while giving back and engaging with the community.

Tinderbox also works with the community by producing a no-cost Summer Songwriting Workshop Program held in late July for NYC’s young women ages 13-18. Participants collaborate to pen original songs with established female artists– many of whom are Tinderbox Music Festival performers residing in NYC’s five boroughs. The workshop culminates with mentees and mentors performing and recording their musical collaborations.

A $1,000 FEAST grant would be applied towards the songwriting workshop which would include approximately twenty mentees and twenty mentors. Funds would supply participants with songwriting notebooks and necessary recording equipment. Any remaining funds would then be applied to both the promotion of the songwriting workshop and the music festival.
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Art in Odd Places 2011: RITUAL (program guide)

Art in Odd Places (AiOP) is an annual festival that presents visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces along 14th Street in Manhattan, NYC from Avenue C to the Hudson River each autumn. As a response to the dwindling of public spaces and personal civil liberties, our mission is to stretch the boundaries of communication in the public realm by presenting artworks outside the confines of traditional public space regulations. AiOP reminds us that public spaces function as the epicenter for diverse social interactions and the unfettered exchange of ideas. AiOP has always been a grassroots project fueled by the goodwill and inventiveness of its volunteer participants.

In 2011, AiOP returns to 14th Street from October 1-10 (our seventh year!) with the theme of RITUAL presenting sixty-six international artists exhibiting a wide array of installations and performances. This edition of AiOP seeks to disrupt the procedures of the everyday and emphasize the ritualistic character of small gestures or acts in both religious and secular life, to establish temporary moments of ecstatic contemplation in the public realm.

With the help of a FEAST grant, AiOP will be able to cover the design, printing, and distribution costs of 10,000 program guides. The guides–featuring a map, project descriptions, and artists’ bios for the 2011 festival–will be distributed in key locations throughout the five boroughs of NYC.
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The Step Right Up Program

In ten weeks, students in The Step Right Up Program create an original theatrical production from start to finish: from conceptualization (script writing, storyboarding), to design (costumes, sets, props, lighting, sound) to production (acting, directing, choreography, music, multi-media). Given complete creative freedom, these kids come up with some awesome stuff!

This fall, will be our third year at The Green School. The student population is predominately minority with a high concentration of immigrant students. This is an at-risk community, with 75% of the school’s population living at or below the poverty level. The students come mainly from East Williamburg, Bushwick, East New York, Canarsie, and Bedford Stuyvesant.

Our Teaching Artists have found their community in this same neighborhood. And sadly, right along side a very artistic community, these kids don’t have arts programming unless it is brought in by outside organizations. We are committed to providing this opportunity of creative expression. While our teaching methods encourage resourcefulness, the cost of raw materials does add up. $1,000 would allow us to purchase materials we need to build a set, make costumes and props, as well as purchase lighting and audio equipment.

Thank you for extending this opportunity to the community at large. We look forward to the moment they look out into the audience and see their families and the people that are living, working and creating in their neighborhood (you!) and they can say, yeah, I made this and I’m proud!
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Brooklyn Diggers’ Imagine 1861 in Greenpoint (The 150th Anniversary of the USS Monitor)

The Brooklyn Diggers are a collective of activists, historians and artists. Our aim is to reclaim the working class psycho-geography of our neighborhoods and to expose ignored perspectives in our history; encouraging residents and visitors to contemplate their lived environment with increased insight and empathy.
For our next project, we will re-create Williamsburg-Greenpoint circa 1861 for a one-day participatory festival along the waterfront, imagining when North Brooklyn waterfront was at the center of national trade and industry. The handiwork of hundreds who occupied this neighborhood would make a major impact on United States Civil War. Our festival will draw visitors into meticulously researched recreations of daily life during this period. This will include demonstrations of old Greenpoint occupations, such as rope making, ship-building and metal-working. Costumed interpreters will engage visitors in conversation. Culinary historians will serve popular dishes from the period. The festival will also give us the opportunity to reconstruct, with participant help, a giant paper-mache model to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the USS Monitor, the Greenpoint-built Civil War ironclad that greatly aided the Union’s victory. A marching band playing Civil War era music to create a festive atmosphere. The event will conclude in a parade celebrating North Brooklyn’s Civil War history.
Our hope that is through immersing visitors in our imagining of Greenpoint-Williamsburg during this important time, we will remind New York City that North Brooklyn has long been a significant place– setting trends not just on the fashion pages of the New York Times, but actually contributing to major events in American History.
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Hinge Figures

Who lives/d behind the doors of your neighborhood? What is their story? How many hands have graced your own doorknob, before it was yours? As vvitalny began to research North Brooklyn and the communities we both identify with and those we simply share space with, we began to uncover the complex process of a century of home-making that has made the neighborhood inhabitable for us today – a process that implicates us all.

Hinge Figures is a sculptural sound installation that explores the layered histories of Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick through sculpture – three life-sized doors – and sound – found sounds, historical recordings and original compositions. It will be installed in McCarren Park from Sept. 2 – 18. “Ring” the doorbell and trigger an embedded sound module which plays a sound characterization of a segment of that door’s potential history. Visit the website to browse an extensive historical timeline of North Brooklyn from 1850, and to learn about the historical recordings used in the piece.

Hinge Figures is partially funded by the Brooklyn Arts Council. FEAST funding would allow us to grow the project, and to deepen its connection to the community, in three ways:

1. Purchasing a sound recorder to gather field recordings representing the communities as they exist today.

2. Design and implement a format for individual response (these responses would be compiled and posted on the website).

3. Install the project in additional locations, including McGolrick (Greenpoint) and Maria Hernandez (Bushwick) parks. FEAST funding would cover permits and technology maintenance.
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The Manhattan Apparel Project

The Manhattan Apparel Project is a company that was founded six months ago. The goals of the organization are two-fold.

First, the organization aims to connect underserved youth with local artists and designers via hands-on workshops. These workshops vary in content from creating Lego accessories with guest fashion designers Dee&Ricky, to creating crochet sculptures with crochet artist Olek, to hand dyeing and printing fabrics.
Second, the ideas and works developed during these workshops will serve as the basis for a line of apparel and accessories. For example, the fabric that is printed during the workshops will be used to create cardigans and t-shirts, while each guest artist will inspire a stand-out accessory. These items will then be sold, with a portion of the sales from the line going toward sustaining and growing the workshops.

FEAST #10 Proposals

Please preview the proposals for the FEAST #10 (Saturday, February 26).

We look forward to speaking with all of you. Good luck!

Community Cooking Club

Community Cooking Club is an experimental cooking class that engages the public in cooking and eating food together. 20 participants break into groups and work together to decipher different recipes, which we collaboratively prepare using ingredients from the local green market and then eat together at a communal table. Guest artists, educators, authors and people from the creative community share recipes with the CCC each month, and menus are built around a theme. The Community Cooking Club’s mission is to use cooking, an artful, everyday experience, to empower the lives of people in urban environments and to deliver physical and mental health to communities. Through discussion, social bonding, and working in groups, participants are brought out of isolated routines and interact in new ways to activate their minds and bodies.

Participants currently pay $12 to cover the cost of ingredients. Kitchen space has been donated since June 2010 by NYU, Sweet Deliverance kitchen, Etsy and Bruce High Quality Foundation University (funded by Creative Time), however donated kitchen space is quickly dwindling. We would like to partner with St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral (former) school cafeteria in NYC or Hot Bread Kitchen in Harlem to hold a CCC event. Funding from FEAST would cover: kitchen rental, transporting groceries, administration costs, a printed cookzine and a guest artist honorarium. The CCC community is the FEAST community: we are all invested in learning, eating, sharing and supporting the empowerment, health and connectivity of our communities. Please consider supporting the Community Cooking Club program!

http://cargocollective.com/community-cooking-club

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The UseRefuse Spectacle

Take in the collage of sights and sounds that create Brooklyn, the Utz chip bags and Grandma’s Oatmeal cookie wrappers blowing down the street, the giggling kids fresh out of school tumbling down the sidewalk. On a daily basis, Brooklyn’s youth are bombarded by a plethora of physical and mental garbage: trash, junk food, and brand consciousness. In contrast to this wasteful surplus, there is a deficit of art programs and resources to nurture creative expression. How can we transform these environmental realities into a unifying act of art?

Our proposed project is to create a sculptural spectacle at a Brooklyn school whose art programs and resources have been eliminated. The sculpture would be comprised of material created from urban harvest, aka, up-cycled plastic bags and packaging that transform into art. This re-purposed material is called UseRefuse and is handmade by two Brooklyn artists, Marea Judilla and Edith Corra. Trash would be collected from the surrounding community as well as student input regarding the design and scope of the installation. In addition, a vigil or event would be planned to celebrate the artwork. Video documentation of the process to completion, interviewing students, community members, and educators would be a lasting testament to the power of art. The ultimate result would be to re-purpose not only materials but also the vital assets of the community: youth, art education, and Brooklyn’s multicultural history.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=10&id=38649
http://www.designspaceconcept.com/4.html

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Sweep

HUSK proposes to plant broomcorn along the Gowanus Canal this spring. Broomcorn is a type of Sorghum that was once commonly used to make brooms. In fact Brooklyn was once home to something of a broom making industry. With the introduction of synthetic materials broomcorn cultivation declined and the broom making industry left Brooklyn. We will revisit this industrial/ agricultural history through the cultivation of this forgotten crop and by offering a broommaking workshop with the harvested plants. In doing so we will also draw attention to the proposed clean up and remediation of the environmentally degraded canal area.

With the help of the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corp. we have secured a spot to grow our crop along the canal. The proposed location is the park overlooking the canal at the edge of the Lowes parking lot on 9th Street. The garden will be open to the public and we will encourage participation in unique harvesting processes. All funding will go towards seeds, tools, irrigation, maintenance and supplies for the broommaking event.

http://husknyc.com/

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Closing The Loop

Since its inception in 2006, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy [GCC] has engaged communities of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Redhook to take an active role in the cleaning of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. The GCC organizes volunteers for monthly “Clean and Green” days- weeds are pulled, healthy soil is spread, trees are planted, and debris is removed. In 2010 alone, our growing volunteer force built three street-end parks- all of which filter stormwater before it runs into the canal.

This spring, the GCC is launching the new program “Composting Gowanus!” The vision is to compost the plant material collected from Clean and Greens, together with kitchen scraps from local restaurants, coffee grounds from coffee shops, sawdust from woodshops, and organic byproducts from other local sources. The compost will serve as a soil amendment at canal street-end parks and produce a supply of healthy organic matter available to the community.

The goal for this first year is to distribute 5-gallon buckets to our local restaurant partners (the number of buckets per business will depend on need). Our volunteers will pick up the buckets weekly via bicycle and trailer. The food scraps will be composted and reintroduced into the community as soil nutrients -thus CLOSING THE LOOP.

We have the volunteers!
Clean and Greens are planned!
Compost bins are built!
Partnerships with local businesses are happening!

What we need now:
- A moisture meter scale
- A compost thermometer
- Buckets
- Composting Gowanus! stickers [for buckets and business windows]
- 2 bicycle trailers
- Wood Chipper/Shredder
- Your support!

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The Brooklyn Musical Petting Zoo

Brooklyn Musical Petting Zoo will be a gathering of unusual musical instruments brought together for an educational one day fair. People will be able to see the instruments up close, touch them, and hear them played. BMPZ will help people realize just how many rich sounds there are to be discovered, and this small collection will be just the tip of the iceberg! Though most instruments will be chaperoned by their owners, I will do thorough research so that I may be available as a resource to maximize people’s experiences. Emphasis will be placed on the cultures of origin of these instruments. It is important to connect people with alternative musical traditions so that they can be preserved. Two take-home brochures and a website will serve as auxiliary learning tools. The first brochure will be a catalog of the instruments at the Petting Zoo, fully illustrated with a brief paragraph about each one. The second brochure will contain instructions for making a couple of different instruments from everyday items. The website will go up on or before the day of the Petting Zoo. It will have all the information in the brochures, but with sound files of the different instruments. The web address will be printed at the bottom of the brochures. These measures ensure that BMPZ is an experience that can be carried further than just one magical day. BMPZ’s aim is to celebrate music and allow all kinds of people from around the borough to learn and connect.

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The Anywhere Organ

Pipe organs are astounding instruments. So much of their personality is shaped by the space around them, tempering their sound and reverberations, allowing room for an infinite variety of instruments. Unfortunately nearly every pipe organ in is bolted into a wall staring longingly at architecture all day. This is why I’m creating the Anywhere Organ.

I’ve designed a system where each note, each pipe of an organ is attached to a central air supply through a flexible hose. The air to each organ pipe is computer controlled with an electronic valve. It can be interfaced with in a thousand different ways. The pipes can be arranged in batches and distributed across any space to capture its unique sound. This means the instrument can be installed anywhere; a park, a fire escape, or a secret underwater cave. It also means that anyone can participate in the project. I’d like to get people playing with the Anywhere Organ so they can see the effect space has on music and sound.

Churches are switching over to digital music, getting rid of their pipe organs. It’s sad to see such a cool instrument phased out. However, this means that there are entire registers of pipes available for a song. I’m also reaching out to the awesome music and hacking scene in Brooklyn, finding collaborators who want to help create new music with the system and finding amazing venues to install the project in.

http://anywhereorgan.tumblr.com

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Homeland

“Homeland” is a Wet-Plate Collodion photo essay focusing on grassroots efforts to rebuild life after the collapse of the American economy. By documenting communities and individuals in NYC and across the country, this project aims to connect disparate communities and individuals into a national movement with common ideological threads. The range of projects documented will include urban farms, bicycle collectives, off-the grid homes, alternative fuel producers, art and theatre collectives, community dinners, free schools and after-school programs, squats, itinerants, tent cities and other grassroots social practices.

Wet-Plate is a photographic process related to the daguerrotype where a plate of glass or tin is covered with collodion, sensitized, and developed within a span 15 minutes. It requires a portable dark-room, chemicals, and a large-format camera to shoot in the field.

The FEAST grant will fund travel and materials for a series of field shoots in NYC and Upstate New York. Sites include “The Bushwick Trailer Park”, “Regeneration Farm”, “Grub”, “Germantown Farm”, “Eagle Street Rooftop Farm” and more.

This project is significant to the FEAST community because it will aggregate many independent projects taking a visionary approach to social change into a single history. This body of work will serve as a document to share with others, taking a hopeful perspective about how mass social change is possible through small, independent acts.

http://robynhasty.org

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Human Cheese

Human Cheese – a local, natural, ethical, sustainable system for sourcing, creating and distributing human cheese. I will use the grant to purchase human milk, scientific monitoring and molecular gastronomy tools, create exquisite packaging and an immersive dinner/exhibition experience that creates a space for discussion around what human cheese as product means, and what we want our future to be. Human Cheese is an experiment in creating applied biotechnology and ethical & sustainable food systems. ??Biotechnology is revolutionizing life, with little public knowledge or attention. Consider new uses of the human body made possible by recent developments in biotechnology. Hidden technologies often enable unsustainable and unethical ways of life. Industrialized food systems are a prime example: we abuse animals, exploit people, pollute the earth, and destroy our bodies as we eat – but these processes are largely invisible. Food is a site of contention and revolution, one of our strongest links to the natural world, and a wonderful vehicle for discussion (as FEAST exemplifies). Human cheese offers a unique entry into this discussion: Human milk is the only living thing which exists solely for the purpose of human consumption, while cheese is one of our oldest biotechnologies, and the first FDA approved genetically modified food.??I will create a dinner amidst the artifacts of 3 different proposed scenarios of Human Cheese as product: DIY, fair trade boutique, and industrialized system. Through the immersive consumption of food metaphors and real human cheese, I aim will create a space for discussion: How do we understand what is natural, healthy, ethical? What are the possibilities and limits of creating sustainable food systems? As we begin to use each others’ bodies as factories how do our social and ethical norms evolve?

http://www.miriamsimun.com/human-cheese/

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ExiTrip

ExiTrip is a collaborative project by Artist/Engineer Lea Bertucci and Ed Bear. We have selected this specific outmoded device, the iTrip Nano FM transmitter, to exemplify the potential impact of re-engineering consumer devices originally destined for landfills. As is, the iTrip only functions with a single generation of iPod Nano, which is no longer manufactured. At 40¢ each on Ebay, the low price creates unprecedented distribution opportunities for a low power transmitter and encourages end-user experimentation. We have hacked the iTrip to function without necessity of an iPod, vastly increasing its usefulness as a development platform for artists and designers. In 2010 and 2011, we will distribute these hacked devices to artists of different disciplines and document their work for a forthcoming book.
An express goal of this project is to empower artists with diverse technical and creative backgrounds to create works using radio. This constitutes a social experiment and community building exercise that documents creative responses to a common tool.
The occupation of the public in Hertzian space is fundamentally controlled by access to electronic technology. To advance the practice of repurposing commercial electronics is to further the reach, relevance, and accessibility of transmission in art and society. The proposed project will critically, materially, and publicly develop, experiment with, and codify the historical and contemporary relationship between creative electronics and transmission artists. How can we, as artists, thinkers, hackers and designers break the cycle of electronic waste that is perpetuated by planned obsolescence and bad design?

http://www.exitrip.org/

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