HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, BRONX, NY- It was two weeks into the fall semester when I received an email from Catherine Lewis and Sarah Sandman about a meeting in the Hostos Art Gallery. Most of the collaborators from MASS MoCA 2011 were getting back into the routine of returning to school. We all gathered in the art gallery to see Lewis and Sandman behind a long table with a huge roll of paper on it. The smile on their faces gave all of a sense that they had big news.
“We are recreating our exhibit from MASS MoCA here in the art gallery!” Sandman exclaimed. “It will be up for a few weeks.”
A few of us exchanged surprised glances before turning to Professor Lewis for a confirmation. She had the biggest grin on her face. That was all we needed. Of course all of us celebrated, but then came the big question. The Hostos art gallery was a much smaller space then the one provided to us by the Bureau for Open Culture. How were we going to condense our exhibit in here?
So here we were once again brainstorming ideas. Our biggest ally for making this new exhibit work was the walls of the gallery itself. Using paint, 3D elements, and a lot of creativity we came up with a way to recreate our exhibit from North Adams. The gallery had us slotted for October 5th to have all our work up. That gave us a month to handle everything.
Sandman and Lewis had photos of all the collaborators arranged and printed into “windows.” Bricks, projects, cultural workers, and tress were being painted on the walls. Our 3D brain map came to life, the multimedia slideshows were projected, and pieces of our art work got installed in the little space. I could not believe how it was all coming together.
On October 5th, 2011 the exhibit opened. It was titled “MASS Culture Unlabeled”. One of the biggest lessons we had learned that summer was that no one can define an individual based on what they do. Society should not work that way. Why should we be labeled? I arrived an hour late to the opening reception since I was in class. There were lots of people there supporting us and the other exhibit next to ours. T-shirts were made with a space to write our own labels. I left mine blank. I am still trying to figure out what to put in that space. Life throws so many changes and the word I have in mind transforms with it. The exhibit was a success.
A few weeks later Derick, Shanyce, Rocio, Elijah, Amara, and I lent our voices to an audio project for an online radio show. We recorded in the Hostos music studio and spoke about our experience in North Adams and what it meant to us. Derick and I later edited the audio and pieced it together with our soundtrack from the exhibit. It was awesome getting to hear it on the radio show. I took this project a step further for portfolio review and added an instrumental done by my friend Natalia Medina. It became a beautiful sound collage. You can listen to in below:
This is where I can say our MASS MoCA adventure came to an end. When the exhibit was taken down we each got to keep our “windows.” It will be a project i will never forget.
Photos by: Rosa Elena Oliveras.
SoundCloud Audio: Rosa Elena Oliveras.