Living in the era of late-stage capitalism, consumers are aware of single use plastics overpopulating landfills, rivers, food sources, and the ecological effects of rapidly changing fashion trends. Perceptual Engineering challenges artists and viewers to envision new possibilities of everyday items once their originally intended use has ceased. Letting go of preconceived notions of what objects are, this exhibition presents an opportunity to explore the world with fresh eyes and imagine what else could be.
Regional artists and twelve students from the fall 2022 class Problems in Contemporary Art at Rutgers University – Newark were given a “perceptual engineering” prompt by Express Newark’s Artist-in-Residence Willie Cole. Inspired by Cole’s practice of upcycling objects condemned otherwise to landfills, artists were tasked to choose an everyday object and discard prior conceptions of its form and function to create works of art. Once the object was chosen, the first phase of “discovery” commenced. The object was completelv disassembled and all parts saved. As preconceived notions of the object fell by the wayside, a new space opened for reimagination, allowing the mind to wander freely among the pieces.
The second phase, “documentation,” required documentation of each individual piece from the original object as sketches, focused primarily on silhouettes and non-detailed renderings of the disassembled pieces, playing with scale and form. The final “transformation” stage, likened to a phoenix rising, an entirely new object was perceived and fabricated using pieces of the original, altering the perception of both the old and the new.
The Problems in Contemporary Art class was co-taught by Artist-in-Residence Willie Cole and American Studies PhD student, Colleen Gutwein O’Neal.
Today, Tara Thurber sat down with guest Colleen Gutwein O’Neal to discuss her, “Top5 Tips for Embracing the Journey in Academia & the Real World.” Listen as they review strategies for overcoming obstacles throughout the pandemic.
Special thanks to Tara for inviting me to do the Top 5 Defined Talent podcast! Catch this episode and a whole bunch more at the iHeart podcast feed.
November 20, 2021 – January 15, 2022 (extended through March, 2022)
Opening Reception Saturday, November 20, 2021 7 – 11pm
MAPPING APPARITIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH THE END OF MARCH. GALLERY HOURS BY APPOINTMENT. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WILL BE AVAILABLE AT INDEXARTCENTER.ORG RE: SPECIAL PROGRAMMING
*Please bring your personal images, memories, and ephemera to be included in the exhibition.
Mapping Apparitions is an experimental pilot exhibition at the intersection of art, collective memory, and public history. Merging digital humanities with collective history and storytelling, vaguely similar to a wikipedia-type system, this interactive exhibition and memory collection dances around shared experiences centered on Newark arts and artists without demanding a singular narrative, rather inviting a chorus of narratives in flux.
It is of great importance to document and create access to art and artists in the Newark community, it is equally important to document and make accessible the culture in which art was created and artists have been nurtured. To build upon and make accessible a rich variety of perspectives and experiences is essential to understanding the culture. Reggae historian Lloyd Bradley summarizes this historical perspective in a recent interview on Nzinga Sounds while referring to a Bruce Lee film, Enter the Dragon. “Bruce Lee and some little kid were looking at something and he (Lee) was pointing at the moon and he said, ‘concentrate on the finger and you’ll miss the glory of the moon,’ and this, it sums so much up right. If you concentrate on the records on your shelf, you’ll miss the glory of the reggae culture that created it.”
Mapping Apparitions pulls inspiration from the oral history and exhibition project Kea’s Ark of Newark at Gallery Aferro, the interactive, unrehearsed, and creatively driven Lime Sessions at Index Art Center, Post Pocket Utopia’s 2015 collaborative exhibition #SEEINGNEWARK at a pop-up gallery in The Gateway Project studios, and the community-based methodology and diverse archives of the Queer Newark Oral History Project supported by Rutgers, Newark.
This pilot exhibition is focused on providing information and visual cues to visitors to inspire recollection. Lowell Craig’s seminal documentary 31 Central, a 2017 film chronicling artists working in studios at 31 Central amid the looming threat of eviction will be screened continuously throughout the exhibition. Additional cues including reimagined archive images and resource materials will be made available intended to conjure memories of five Newark arts spaces no longer physically accessible. Visitors are encouraged to share ephemera, photographs, and memories from 31 Central, City Without Walls (at both their 41 Shipman Street and 6 Crawford Street, possibly additional locations), Red Saw, Le Joc, and Unicorn Gallery.
The collective history emerging from the pilot exhibition will be used to inform and build the base of knowledge for a future “ghost map” of Newark arts spaces, happenings, and public works no longer physically accessible, in some cases gone completely. Target completion date of the ghost map is spring, 2025. Information collected through the pilot exhibition Mapping Apparitions will be made public on the OMEKA open-sourced content management platform and credited to each individual author.
Special thanks to Index Art Center, without which experimental pilot exhibitions like this would not be possible. Index is a volunteer driven 501(c)3 non-profit gallery that has been serving its community for over a decade. Please consider making a donation HERE if you can.
INDEX ART CENTER WILL CLOSE THEIR DOORS AT THE 237 WASHINGTON STREET LOCATION BY THE END OF MARCH, 2022.
Learn to build a narrative around your photographs in this four-part online course led by photographer, curator, and educator Colleen Gutwein O’Neal.
Documentary photography is deeply rooted in conveying a message to an audience through a meaningful series of images. Participants will explore how photography can be used as a tool for scientific development, social change, and community engagement. Each session will explore photographic techniques through both historic and contemporary examples. The course will include four one-hour zoom sessions and access to a closed Facebook Group for posting assignments, resources, and discussion.
Students need access to a camera or camera phone for this course