Jessica Findley’s Aeolian Ride is a public, kinetic art Happening involving costumed bicycle riders. This Happening is intentionally silly, intended to inspire laughter from both participants and onlookers alike. The Aeolian Ride took its inspiration, quite literally, from the greek god of wind. Each participant wears a suit that puffs up when he or she bikes, creating a form or contour akin to creatures from children’s fairy tales, the softness of clouds, or the ethereal quality of a sail caught in the wind. The ride also fosters an interaction between the individual and his or her environment, supports the animated experience of riding a bicycle in an urban area, and unites the excitement and playful energy of both riders and spectators.
The Aeolian Ride packs down into 50 easily transported suits which were invited to make their international debut in Capetown, South Africa in November of 2005. The suits are made of rip-stop nylon, designed to be safe and to allow riders to wear helmets. In 2004, the Black Rock Arts Foundation funded the Aeolian Ride for New York City, however funds were also used to spread the project to other places such as San Francisco. The Aeolian Ride is a continuing project, and since has brought many different communities its joyful, kinetic art experience including Bremen, Germany in 2010 and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012. To learn more about the project, see photos of the various rides, or to try and bring the Aeolian Ride to your city visit: http://www.aeolian-ride.info/.
In 2004, a Black Rock Arts Foundation grant supported Artica, a multi-media arts event that took place from September 17-19th on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was an ephemeral event, intentionally appearing and disappearing, with a mission that included words like: revitalize, transform, empower, opportunity, responsibility and self-expression. As an action, Artica sought to revitalize a worn out warehouse district by giving the people of the St. Louis metropolitan area an opportunity to come together through creative self-expression. Work began before the event through a series of professional workshops related to artistic techniques and processes, which were offered to different communities in the St. Louis metropolitan area. These workshops were designed to help people realize and utilize their creative potential. The event featured interactive participatory art that culled its inspiration from the river, its surrounding environment, or its history. Artica is an ongoing, annual festival occurring around the Mississippi River.
In 2004, Kate Sorenson gave the Black Rock Arts Foundation the honor of contributing to the creation of an intentional, albeit magical, space in rural Arizona, some 25 miles NE of Flagstaff. A low impact public amphitheater, this piece echoed the remote Arizona landscape, as well as incorporated natural elements indigenous to the area into its design such as rocks, plant materials, and volcanic cinders. Perched next to a small charter school and on the SW corner of a Navajo reservation, this project drew people together to participate in their present as they built the foundation for future, unmitigated and public self-expression. Somewhere at the heart of this project was the true spirit of creation. All throughout its manifestation and subsequent use as a place for celebration, ritual, art, children’s dance and theater performance, this project was designed to give a voice to each participant’s imagination, and to reflect the intensity of his or her creative investment.
Reverend Billy and the Stop Big Boxes Gospel Choir
Reverend Billy, the Stop Big Boxes Gospel Choir and their traveling, mutable, live performance known as The Church of Stop Shopping are determined to use their art to cause people to think about, among other things, how their quotidien choices as consumers impact their fellows around the globe. The Reverend and his choir attain a level of infectiveness that, more often than not, engenders a hearty, “What is THAT?” Found commonly near Wal Marts, in public amphitheaters, and beachside parking lots, the Reverend Billy performs regular “Credit Card Exorcisms” as the Stop Big Boxes Gospel Choir sings local activists and other unsung heroes into “Sainthood.”Targeting communities fighting labor and legislative battles against the puritainizing aggression of the Super Center Invasion the Reverend and his choir are not only raising awareness within these communities, but also providing a means for them to get in touch with one another, and with many of the resources that will serve them in their struggle to fight the good fight. For more information on The Church of Stop Shopping, where the Reverend Billy will be preaching next, or to memorize the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution visit: www.revbilly.org.
Tunnel of Transformation
Adriane Colvin was a co-regional contact for the Utah burn, Synorgy, with the wherewithal to bring Charlie Smith’s Tunnel of Transformation to her event in the Utah desert, which she was able to do with a Black Rock Arts Foundation grant in 2004. The Tunnel took her maiden voyage to Black Rock City, NV in 2003 and it burned itself into the hearts and retinas of many. Scribed in a medicine wheel laid of stones stemming from the four corners of this country, the area surrounding the Tunnel was transformed into a ritual space for healing and enlightenment. Here individuals were given time and occasion to interact and reflect individually and with one another, and to experience the energies of elemental fire involved in the Tunnel of Transformation. For a more comprehensive look into Charlie Smith’s artwork visit: www.howhowhow.com