May 1, 2015

Event Review - Hang Together: Collaborated Work & Practices


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Collaboration is a key element of the creative world, and it was out in full force for this exhibit featured in the Library. Pratt alumna Maria Uroos and Communications Manager Robert Carabay from the Center for Career & Professional Development joined forces to curate Hang Together: Collaborated Work & Practices. The show displayed work created by Pratt students, alumni, faculty and their collaborators. It opened on February 2nd in the Pratt Institute Brooklyn Library and was extended to run through April 9th. Aside from the exciting work that was showcased, there was a fascinating reception and panel discussion held on March 9th that involved artists and curators from the Hang Together exhibit.

On Monday afternoon, the Alumni Reading Room in the Library was buzzing with curiosity about the work that was showcased and people were waiting impatiently to hear what the artists had to say about their work and their processes. The panel members were Maria Uroos (Co-Curator, Pratt Alumna), Carla Gannis (Moderator, Assistant Chair of Digital Arts), Jaye Moon (Artist, Pratt Alumna), along with Patrick Rowe and his collaborators that are part of the multigenerational collective Mobile Print Power.

Everyone eagerly sat down with the delicious snacks that were provided. The panel began with an introduction to the work and background of each artist. As we went deeper into the discussion, these creative geniuses all touched base on the struggles and rewards that came from working together with other creatives or with the public.

Jayne Moon’s work is a dynamic lego web that people can add to as a part of her evolving work. She uses legos because they are a universal toy that sparks everyone’s interest. Her piece began as work that was not a public creation, but after her art piece, TreeHouse (where the public surprisingly added pieces) everything changed. At the panel discussion, she described how fascinating it was to see individuals adjust her work with their ideas. She also saw how once her art work had been changed by the public it was no longer her own and she had to let go of it a little so it could grow on its own.

Patrick Rowe and his partners collectively work with a Mobile Print Power, by develop art inspired by the community. In one of their projects they asked the community in Corona Plaza, Queens for phrases in either Spanish or English. After collecting the phrases, they would translate them and produce prints with their mobile print maker. Once the prints had been produced, they would bring them back into the public to share what they had gotten from the participants. When describing collaboration, Rowe noted how it is important to be flexible with the process. For instance, if the public is not responding to their questions with data or information that can be later transformed, something has to be changed. It is a constant team effort to make their projects work. He also stressed the importance of giving credit to all collaborators.

The work we saw from Carla Gannis also was geared towards social engagement. As the co-creator of <legend> </legend>, she worked with Justin Petropoulos (and later the public) to create a project that is still expanding. It began with drawings made while listening to Petropoulos’ poems and later grew to allow the public to create their own interpretation of the poems through digital mediums and social media. She found that collaborating brings a persuasive power to the work. She also discussed collaboration between different forms of media, such as art with technology. This contemporary way of expression allows the project to grow endlessly.

In this day and age, the panelists spoke to the modern artist or designer whose collaboration adds allure from the public. As an observer to the panel discussion, I must say that it was very interesting and I learned about collaboration from a new perspective.

Written by: Jil Berenblum
Images by: The Center for Career & Professional Development

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