Announcing | Tomorrowland Projects Foundation Award

Announcing | Tomorrowland Projects Foundation Award

Newly-created $7,000 grant awarded to Los Angeles-based artists Aroussiak Gabrielian and Alison B. Hirsch.

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is pleased to announce that Los Angeles-based artists Aroussiak Gabrielian and Alison B. Hirsch were selected as the inaugural recipients of a $7,000 cash grant awarded through the Tomorrowland Projects Foundation. The duo was selected by a panel of anonymous reviewers for their Memorial to Black Lives project, which examines the future of memorialization and addresses the processes of loss still in-progress.

The Foundation was created in 2016, and its award program is administered by NYFA. The Foundation supports artistic, multi-disciplinary team collaborations and artist-driven projects that expand awareness of issues affecting society-at-large, and considers award-planning funds to develop new technology, research, and installation art. Its founding board members include Artist Nina Yankowitz; Architect Barry Holden; Film Editor Ian Holden; Artist and Professor Dr. Ellen K. Levy; Film Producer David Becker; and Artist Jon Nazareth.  

“The Foundation seeks cutting-edge projects that communicate strong, aesthetic, and socially-relevant concepts as well as projects that bring electronic media to new audiences,” said Yankowitz, who serves as Tomorrowland Projects Foundation’s President. “We’re excited to help support Aroussiak and Hirsch’s work, as Memorial to Black Lives is representative of both these aspirations,” she added.

Memorial to Black Lives will reflect on the lives lost and dehumanized and serve as a call to action to prevent future injustices. The national issue will be localized through a neighborhood-scale intervention where the memorial is discovered and experienced via a georeferenced mobile app that guides the visitor through the neighborhoods of the city to sites of state violence as well as historic black insurgency. These sites, which exist without any palpable trace of traumatic pasts, will trigger the smartphone to overlay the textual accounts of the events that occurred there. The intention of the project is to catalyze a broad national conversation on the validity of Black life, attempting to literalize the Black Lives Matter goal of “taking the hashtag off of social media and onto the streets.” It is anticipated to be realized by 2020.

“We are thrilled to be the inaugural recipients of this generous grant,” said Gabrielian and Hirsch in a joint statement. “We will use the funds to support our media study of the future of memorialization – most specifically the development of a media piece that functions as a memorial to Black lives lost and dehumanized and a vehicle for mobilization and collective reckoning,” they added.

Michael L. Royce, Executive Director of NYFA, remarked: “We are honored that Yankowitz has entrusted NYFA to administer the Tomorrowland Projects Foundation grant on behalf of her and her illustrious board. This is a bold new initiative, and one that we know will have an important impact on the artistic community for years to come.”

Aroussiak Gabrielian is a speculative designer with training in architecture, landscape architecture, and the cinematic practice of world-building. Her research utilizes expanded cinematic media to develop new ways of reading and visualizing the spatial, situational, temporal, and tactile phenomena of landscape to interpret and structure sites.

Alison B. Hirsch is a landscape designer and an urban historian-theorist. Her design interests focus on public histories and politics of urban settlement, as well as how corporeality and human movement can inform the design process. She explores the potential of preservation as a tool for social and community sustainability and development, and is an Assistant Professor at USC School of Architecture.

Nina Yankowitz is a visual artist who has played an active role in the art world since the late 1960’s. During the last two decades, she’s expanded her practice to include creating video projections addressing climate change. Other projects deal with culturally-prevalent topics such as religious intolerance, stolen oil or water, and women’s stature in the world. Collaborating with technology and data scientists, she has infused infrared wand technology and other social networking tools into her interactive art installations. This technology allows spectators to be active in framing their explorations and finding relative, unique, experiences.

Find out about additional awards and grants here. Sign up for our free bi-weekly newsletter NYFA News to receive announcements about future NYFA events and programs.

Image: Aroussiak Gabrielian and Alison B. Hirsch, Courtesy: Foreground Design Agency

Amy Aronoff
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