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CHARAS IS ALIVE ON SPACESHIP EARTH
May 9, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - May 11, 2018 @ 9:00 pm
A project by: Matthew Mottel in collaboration with Loisaida Inc., La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez and DIAP (Digital Intermedia MFA program at City College
The history of dome building on the LES goes back to when CHARAS built domes in collaboration with Buckminster Fuller in 1972/73. Syeus Mottel documented this effort in his photo-journalism book CHARAS THE IMPROBABLE DOME BUILDERS , first published in 1974 and now re published in 2017 by Song Cave Press & Pioneer Works.
Through a collaborative project between Loisaida Inc., La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez and DIAP (Digital Intermedia MFA program at City College), artist and researcher Matthew Mottel (Syeus Mottel’s son) will build 2 geodesic domes (one at La Plaza and the other at the Loisaida Inc. Center’ courtyard) as an interactive art installation. In interviewing Carlos “Chino” Garcia as part of his research, Matthew was told that the domes CHARAS built functioned as both recreational activity spaces and as experimental examples of how to build disaster relief housing in non urban areas. The same functions apply now. The dome at La Plaza Cultura, will be seen from the street, with high visibility. This will bring people to the other dome in the courtyard and exhibition happening at Loisaida Center, which will feature a more detailed documentation of the original events of 1972-73.
This work highlights the achievements of CHARAS and hopefully expands the pressure on the NYC mayoral office to follow through on their promise to re-acquire El Bohio for the Loisaida community.
The week of the exhibition opening, many public performances, talks and workshops will transpire in both the Loisaida Center dome, and at La Plaza Cultural. These events will be influenced by the type of programming that happened during the 20+ years of events and exhibitions of El Bohio before being pushed out of its iconic and historic location on 9th Street, formerly known as P.S. 64.
CHARAS: The Improbable Dome Builders resonates in 2018. Ever present are the needs of affordable housing, the occupation of public/unused space for civic use, and the participation of communities to take self determined action when governmental institutions forgo their public duty.
CHARAS THE IMPROBABLE DOME BUILDERS: (((THE FUTURE IN ACTION) produced by Matthew Mottel includes archival interviews and photography from 1972/73 by Syeus Mottel with CHARAS members Chino Garcia and Karen Becker. In October 2017, Sal Becker and Chino Garcia, return to the dome construction site on the Lower East Side to reflect on their achievements and speak about the purpose of their dome building activity.
The video that will be screened during the exhibition opening; CHARAS IS ALIVE ON SPACESHIP EARTH – Wednesday, May 9 at 6:00 pm
Schedule, Programming & Activities:
- Saturday, May 5 at 6:00 pm – Archive exhibition of the 1972/73 CHARAS Geodesic Dome opens during Fiestas de Cruz at Loisaida Center.
- Sunday, May 6 at 2:00 pm – Dome Building Workshop where participants will assist in the building of a 12′ geodesic dome. There will also be a special screening of archival footage from Bucky Fuller.
- Wednesday, May 9 at 6:00 pm – Geodesic Domes unveiled with exhibition at Loisaida Center and La Plaza Cultural with performance by poet Edwin Torres.
- Thursday, May 10 at 12:00 pm – Exhibition hours at Loisaida Center.
- Friday, May 11 at 6:00 pm – Exhibition hours at Loisaida Center + Oral history project of the Lower East Side featuring interview with Chino Garcia by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, with documentary screening of Matthew Mottel’s video CHARAS IS ALIVE ON SPACESHIP EARTH at 6:00 pm.
- Saturday, May 12 at 12:00 pm – Exhibition hours at Loisaida Center + performances in the afternoon thru evening at La plaza Cultural and Loisaida Center Courtyard.