Fiscally Sponsored Artist Project - 2004
Performance Art/Multidisciplinary Work
Project Title: Swap-O-Rama-Rama. Swap-O-Rama-Rama is a 100% recycled, community-made clothing line designed through a series of educational events in which participants exchange, redesign, recycle, and re-brand used clothing in a process of collective creativity. Participants dissolve the barrier between consumer and creator through a playful process of learning, creating and recycling. In do-it-yourself spirit, through sewing workshops, clothing swaps and fashion shows, surplus clothing is transformed to new and relabeled with self-celebratory labels promoting shared creativity rather than socio-economic status.
In the creation, production, marketing, and disposal of clothing, there exists an opportunity to improve the care of the planet and the soul of the individual. In an endless search for newness, Americans consume resources for the creation of “more“, regardless of the fact that it has produced a fantastic surplus. This is easily seen in the amount of textile waste produced in the US. It currently comprises 4.5% of residential waste created. Each American is responsible for approximately 35 pounds, totaling 8.75 billion pounds per year. Fifty percent of the textiles consumed and discarded are made from synthetic fibers that are produced from oil, which has a negative effect on the Earth. This cycle is perpetuated, in part, by the fashion industry, which encourages the purchase of new goods through a constantly changing vision of what is “in style.“ Through advertising we’re asked to view shopping as a creative endeavor, when in actuality it is only the designers who play a creative role in the process. The consumer’s creativity is simply in the selection. The consumer interprets styles, and this is the means to express their own uniqueness. The craft involved in the making of clothing, once viewed as a creative endeavor, is now left to the machine, which manufactures most of the clothing made today. The average person is ill equipped for sewing, and distant from the creative process due to lack exposure and experience. After goods are purchased, consumers become advertising billboards as they tote logos and labels on all areas of the body. Branding, in it’s current form, creates distinct social divisions. Labels broadcast the spending power of the individual. This separates consumers into categories that reflect the size of their wallet rather than the expanse of their creativity.
Swap-O-Rama-Rama utilizes the existing surplus of clothing to create “new“ recycled goods, at little cost, without consuming raw materials. In do-it-yourself spirit, through workshops and the collectivizing of ideas, it helps each individual break down the barrier between consumer and creator while inviting each individual to reclaim the creativity that has been lost to industry. Through hands-on experience, Swap-O-Rama-Rama invites the public to discover that the making of things is not an activity to be avoided in order to attain leisure, but rather a playful and leisurely endeavor unto itself. Finally, by re-branding clothing with self-celebratory labels, Swap-O-Rama-Rama invites us to see each other through shared creativity rather than through socio-economic status.
More about the Artist:
My work explores the self-expression of the public through the utilizing of volunteers as a means for articulating the shared ideas within our community, and by injecting unexpected interaction and play into the public space. Engaging the public in absurd, random events disrupts the patterns that run through our lives and so allow them to be examined. The synergy produced by using the collective art form allows social messages that carry the authentic voice of the members of the community to be presented to the public.
I earned my BA in 1989 from SUNY Buffalo through a self-designed major that combined fine art and business. I have produced many community events designed to educate and foster creativity and self-expression. In 1996 I began 28 Days Records, an independent record label that promoted the talent of local female musicians. As a songwriter and musician I have collection of musical works written from 1995 to 2000, that can be heard on a various popular television shows. As an early organizer of the Burning Man community in New York City, I produced the first NY based community events and developed a free public media database as a resource for local Burning Man inspired artists.
The Vomitorium, August 17, 2004, St. Marks Church in the Bowery, NYC. A response to the New and Improved American Empire, The Vomitorium is a 100% volunteer based staff and crew performing a theatrical recreation and modernization of a Roman vomitorium.
NO bUSH, February 7, 2003, Bathesda Fountain, Central Park, NYC. In anticipation of impending war, a group of 30 female volunteers were recruited to brave a blizzard and spell NO bUSH with their nude bodies.
Ketchup, November 20, 2002, Madison Square Park, NYC and Peeling Onions, January 8, 2003, St. Thomas Church, NYC Two public performances in collaboration with Marina Potok, that explored the effects produced by the intervention of random events into the public space through absurd actions, such as pouring out 70 bottles of ketchup into a large mass in Madison Square Park or peeling 30 pounds of onions on the steps of a midtown church in order to induce crying.
Democracy Shredder, October 31, 2004, Streets of NYC. Through a public performance New York City residents were offered a chance to vote for the two candidates running for president or the marketing icon Hello Kitty. Their votes were immediately shredded via an electronic backpack ballot box.
Happiness Does Not Come Gift Wrapped, December 2004. A public performance in which, dressed as Santa Claus, free bookmarks that offered insights about consumerism and consumer conscious shopping options for the holiday season, were distributed to the public.
9-11 Burn Barrels, March 2002, Madagascar Institute, Brooklyn, NYC. A group of 12 volunteers were recruited to learn how to cut and weld metal to participate in the creation of decorative outdoor fire barrels made of 100% recycled metal drums. After 10 workshops at The Madagascar Institute in Brooklyn, NY, the groups collectively designed barrels were donated to the rescue and clean up workers of 9-11 to replace piles of burning wood that the workers were using for warmth.
And So Forth: A Post-Inaugural Assembly, January 24, 2005 at Office Ops, Brooklyn, New York, curators Aspara DiQuinzio and Christina Kukielski. NO bUSH photograph on exhibition.
Warwhorz: Gender, War & Consumerism, August 23, 2004 HOWL! Festival for East Village Arts, Generation X Community Garden, NYC, curator: Theresa Byrnes. In collaboration with Marina Potok, staged A Hot Day In Texas, a sight-specific performance and a screening of NO bUSH video.
Bushboozled: 4 Terrorfying Years of Domestic Policy, September 9 – October 3, 2004, Carlito’s Café y Galleria, NYC, curator: Melisa Ngiralmessang. NO bUSH photograph exhibited as part of this group show, presented under the auspices of Art for Change.
Exhibition of Burning Man Inspired Art, April 25, 2002, Cooper Union Hall, NYC, curated: SEAL. 9-11 fire barrel collection of jaco-o-lantern fireplaces made for and donated to the rescue workers of 9-11 on exhibition.
Information about her Images:
Date: February 7, 2003
Medium: Public Performance
Venue: Bathesda Fountain, Central Park, NYC.
Photographers Credit: Marina Potok
Etc: 28 women were recruited to brave a blizzard and freezing temperatures to proclaim with their nude bodies their strong opposition to the impending war on Iraq. The image was captured and distributed through global media networks to a worldwide audience. Collaboration with Marina Potok.
Date: August 17, 2004Z
Medium: Public Performance
Venue: HOWL! Festival for East Village Arts, Avant-Garde(n) Series kick-off event, curator: M.M.Serra, St. Marks Church in the Bowery, NYC.
Performers: A 62 person all-volunteer cast and crew came together to determine and then express to a live audience, their ideas about the likeness of our time to the days of the Roman Empire.
Photographers Credit: Marina Potok
Etc: The Vomitorium is a theatrical performance, modeled after the opulent parties of the Roman Empire, where guests engage in consuming astounding amounts of food and when stuffed to the limit, vomit so that they may gorge themselves again and again. The Roman vomitorium was chosen as a metaphor through which American over-consumption and waste culture could be exposed as a symptom of the decline of the American Republic. Performers and audience were transported to the days of Roman decadence in order to reflect on the fate that eventually befell the Roman Empire, and heed the warning signs of history repeating.