Category Archives: Blog

Winner! Feedback Farms

Awarded $1000 grant at FEAST #13, April 14, 2012

Feedback Farms

Sub_Irrigated_Planter_Detail

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

Winner! The New York City Ghost Bike Project

Awarded $750 grant at FEAST #13, April 14, 2012

The New York City Ghost Bike Project

Ghost Bike

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/

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.

Next FEAST: Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Spring FEAST will be held at the Church of the Messiah in Greenpoint, Brooklyn from 5 to 8 pm. We’re very excited to feature updates by previous grantees. Come see your funding dollars at work! We will have great food, plenty of beer from Brooklyn Brewery and of course — incredible projects to vote on.

View the proposals for FEAST #13

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Please spread the word to your friends on facebook and twitter. Tickets are first come, first serve at the door. We kindly request a donation of $20.


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Winner! 596 Acres: You Can’t Hold Back Spring Series

Awarded $1200 grant at FEAST #12, January 21, 2012

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.

Winner! The Newtown Creek Armada

Awarded $800 grant at FEAST #12, January 21, 2012

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.

Winner! Prison Production: Amplifying Hidden Histories

Awarded $500 grant at FEAST #12, January 21, 2012

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

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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Next FEAST Saturday January 21, 2012

Our Winter FEAST will be held at the Church of the Messiah in Greenpoint, Brooklyn from 5 to 8 pm. We’re very excited to feature updates by previous grantees. Come see your funding dollars at work! We will have great food, plenty of beer from Brooklyn Brewery and of course — incredible projects to vote on.

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Please spread the word to your friends on facebook and twitter. Tickets are first come, first serve at the door. We kindly request a donation of $20.


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