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The Berwick Research Institute is proud to announce the next season of its “Artist in Research” Residency Program. For the next eight months, the Berwick will sponsor four art projects that engage and involve audiences in dialogs about our lives in contemporary social, technological, and ecological landscapes.

During the months of April and May, local artist Vaughn Bell will create a living biosphere inside the Berwick Studios. This indoor garden will require constant human cultivation, and as part of the project Bell will recruit fellow artists and members of the public to help her with the care and maintenance of this miniature ecosystem. Through the action of maintenance of an organic system inside a “built space,” we are asked to consider the ramifications of growing things in an urban environment, as well as the way we keep track of the passage of time as urban dwellers who are usually a step removed from natural cycles of growth.

Also exploring questions about our urban landscape, Carolyn Lambert and Fereshteh Toosi will focus their inquiries on the parking lot, uncovering the seemingly mundane space as a locus of invisible commercial, social, and historical activity. This artist team from Pittsburgh, PA are touring the country performing and hosting happenings in parking lots in different urban spaces. The project, entitled “Parking Lot Players,” aims to uncover hidden “social and ecological history of the land that comprises the parking lot, as well as its present-day functions.” Lambert and Toosi will perform their investigations throughout the months of June and July.

Kenneth Linehan of Providence, RI, will use his Residency in August and September to research and develop new instruments for communication. Linehan will simultaneously experiment with two projects that play with the notion of electronic media as a medium for transcendental experience. The first project will involve the modification of existing devices to manipulate information stored on the magnetic strips of data cards such as
expired credit cards or subway passes. The goal of this project is to develop a functioning system which can continuously shuffle and playback the cards, setting up new mechanisms with which the stored data can be constantly re-interpreted. His second project will involve combining analog and digital technology to create video loops which amplify and manipulate data abnormalities and conceptually hold chunks of time, capturing them in a quasi state between stasis and movement. This new operational system of devices will capture video imagery and display it in a multi-layered system of phased loop projections.

Allston resident, Heather Kapplow will use her residency to explore some of the “unspoken anxieties that underlie the relationship between employment and a ‘healthy’ sense of identity” as well as the “nature of the marketplace, the commodification of identity/labor/creativity, and how these shape both personal and societal definitions of mental health.” Throughout the months of September and October, Kapplow proposes to (among other things) “feverishly apply for any and every position that I can find out about…and am even remotely able to bend my experience to imply qualification for” all the while documenting the process of remaking herself, stretching the truth, and sugarcoating reality to fit potential employers’ desires. The resulting documentation of the application and interview process will result in a final exhibit and installation that should prove to be humorous, provocative, and timely in today’s harsh job market.

These artists were selected by panels of local artists and curators on the basis of fit with the Berwick mission of supporting innovative art that engages the public in conversations about their world. Each artist will be given two months of free studio time, a stipend, and on-going critiques and open studio events where they can test their ideas in conversations with other artists, humanists, curators, and the general public.

The Berwick Research Institute was founded in January 2000 by eight young artists who saw the need for a non-commercial space where they could create, perform, and present experimental work. The group has since transformed part of a former whoopie pie factory into a vibrant laboratory for artists and presenters working with sound, film, robotics, conceptual art, dance, theatre, music and new media which test conventional artistic boundaries. As a part of that mission, they founded an “Artist in Research” residency program to provide emerging artists the time, space, community, and critical feedback to make and present their work. The Artist in Research program seeks to support artists involved in the early stages of projects that require investigation, dialogue, and support from an artistic community.


Berwick Research Institute

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