The Main Green is the social and geographic center of Brown University's campus. It is the primary intersection: a space that is traversed by the entire student body, staff, and members of the Providence community at large. It signifies a space of congregation and self-observation to the student body. The Green also serves as the stage for routine social interaction; students meet friends on the green; they select prime seating; they cross it en route to the aged facades that serve as its perimeter. It is also the site of spectacle and surveillance: social awareness is at its peak. The Green is the only space that guarantees public attention---it is impossible to elude. When alien objects are placed in this social space for political or creative purposes, they alter the familiar landscape. This transformation directs the gaze of everyday traffic; people are compelled to investigate the newly estranged environment.
GREEN SCREEN channels this curiosity, demanding active participation to understand the transformed topography. Dynamic pieces call into existence new microcosms within the boundaries of the Green through spatial fragmentation. These fragments, however, are realigned to form a new coherence: facilitated by the reciprocal dialogue between alien object and preexisting space. In initiating this collaborative transformation, GREEN SCREEN is a spatial intervention. It populates the green with miniature interactive domains and relational performances that foster transformative artistic discourse. GREEN SCREEN is a one-day exhibition in which the Main Green becomes multifaceted realm of rediscovery and artistic exploration.
The show is composed of site-specific installations, performance, sculptures and video.
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Noah Rose's Wikipedia Space Hologram is an optical illusion that questions the importance of physicality in the digital age. In a small enclosure, a vaporous projection of the live artist appears to the spectator, who must then choose to engage or ignore this distorted figure. This illusionary performance demands the spectator to cognitively map himself within a space of conflated physical and virtual realities.
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In dialogue, Open Cube articulates corporal and digital space as separate while simultaneously linking them in conversation. A large-scale white cube rests on the green, inside which performers are obscured from view. Spectators cannot see inside the structure; they must use the neighboring computer to tap into a live feed connected to a webcam within the cube. By typing commands on the keyboard, participants can direct the actions of performers: creating a micro network on the Green. Unable to render embedded object: File (DSC_0673.jpg) not found.
In dissonance, Survival Technology, by Whitney Alsup and Leif Gann-Matzen, is a small tent-refuge representing the "architecture of necessity" in a modern technocracy. The structure is built from fatigued cardboard: the unappreciated detritus of consumption. Its interior is covered in reflective space blankets to fashion a nomadic survival hut.
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Disavowing the digital age, Tea, a performance piece by the Brown University Movement Experiment (BUME), harnesses the performativity of tradition and antiquity. A lavish five-hour picnic activates the Main Green by installing a moving portrait: a spectacle of opulence and exaggerated savoir-faire. The observer must make a choice; remain detached and enjoy this visual fanfare from afar, or enter into this realm of pure indulgence---laden with china teacups and extravagant costume.
Xavier Valentine's audio-visual performance, Black Zen, integrates music, light, and smoke to evoke cacophonic otherworldly environments. The constructed atmosphere causes the spectator to feel isolated within the hub of campus relations.
Ashley Zelenskie's Secrets also serves to distort public and private spheres. Spectators are encouraged to enter this seemingly sacred space on the periphery of the Green, kneel down on the prayer cushion, and confess their secrets into the nearby microphone. The microphone, however, does not amplify sound; it funnels it into a muted glass vacuum bell jar.
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Cecilia Salama's large-scale sculpture, Flux, appears at once gritty and elegant. Stiff billows of soiled fabric pour forth from an ordered and self-contained grid of welded steel. Its industrial design distorts the organic quality of the green space.
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Earth, sky, and vinyl converge seamlessly within Axis Mundi, a video projection piece created by Julieta Cardenas and Matthew Weiss. The work is an imaginative aberration, which seeps into our line of vision. Layering continuous footage of the sky with stop motion animation, Axis Mundi uses digital technology to convert the Green's skyline into a canvas.
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Ashley Zelinskie's Cocoon - a performance-installation hybrid - also manipulates nature and alters its topology. Throughout the day, the artist will construct a large-scale cocoon using string and sticky silicon, gradually weaving a fragile cove.
Rather than manipulating the Main Green as a backdrop for surreal action, GREEN SCREEN calls for an integrated incarnation of the physical and aesthetic spaces.