The City is no longer a cement wasteland. A host of thinkers and organizations have rediscovered wilderness in the vacant lots and sidewalk cracks of the city, and have begun to reformulate the concept of City. At the forefront of this urban re-envisioning has been iLAND, a movement-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting cross-discipline collaborations that create new vocabularies and approaches to the urban landscape. iLAND’s second annual symposium, “Connecting to the Urban Environment,” will be held March 26th and 27th at the New School. It will feature presentations from a number of interdisciplinary practitioners, and be keynoted by the renowned landscape artist Mary Miss.
Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time. She has developed the “City as Living Lab”, a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts. Trained as a sculptor, her work creates situations emphasizing a site’s history, its ecology, or aspects of the environment that have gone unnoticed. Mary Miss has collaborated closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists, and public administrators on projects as diverse as creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, marking the predicted flood level of Boulder, Colorado, revealing the history of the Union Square Subway station in New York City or turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space.
Also featured at the Symposium will be: Jennifer Monson, the award-winning choreographer and iLAND’s founder, who will present her recent work on aquifers and waterways in relation to urban development; S+EM, a project founded by New School professors of forestry, which is developing a web-based map of New York City street trees that connects and empowers local volunteers working to improve the health of the urban forest; and Strataspore, one of iLAND’s recent residency projects, which uses mushrooms as material and metaphor for latent potential and unseen infrastructure, and as the pivotal orientation point from which to explore urban systems.
The Symposium’s Friday evening session will include presentations from each of the participants and Mary Miss’ keynote address, with a general discussion panel following. The Saturday session will feature hands-on workshops out in the urban landscape, run by our three presenters, followed by a collaborative discussion period.
iLAND investigates the power of dance in collaboration with other fields to illuminate our kinetic understanding of the world. Since it’s inception in 2004, it has become a dance research organization with a fundamental commitment to environmental sustainability as it relates to art and the urban context. In 2006, the iLAB residency program was inaugurated, fulfilling the mission of iLAND to cultivate cross-disciplinary research among artists, environmentalists, scientists, urban designers and other fields. In addition, iLAND supports the artistic projects of Artistic Director Jennifer Monson. These projects have included Flight of Mind, a phase of the navigational dance project BIRD BRAIN, iMAP /Ridgewood Reservoir Project, and the current Mahomet Aquifer Project, as well as several solos and other collaborative work. For more information about specific residencies, choreographic projects and collaborations please visit www.ilandart.org
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