Under the Bridge

Paper installation at the Dumbo Arts Center.

Paper installation at the Dumbo Arts Center.

A lot has happened since I last posted here, starting with last Tuesday when I saw David Byrne of Talking Heads fame speak at Barnes & Noble about bicycles. He was on a panel with a few other urban planning-minded people to discuss ways to change the transit system in New York to be more bicycle friendly. It definitely made me want to get a couple of wheels, if only to hook them up to one of the cool David Byrne designed bike racks. The rest of the week I spent a lot of time at the Dumbo Arts Center helping with the above installation, called “The Experience of Green,” which I can best describe as a forest of paper trees. It was very therapeutic to get away from my computer and the job hunt and just rip and twist paper and then use a staple gun to make crazy, organic patterns. And the gallery space looked eerily like Untitled [ArtSpace], where I used to work in Oklahoma City.

Tunnel of Flowers in Dumbo.

Tunnel of Flowers in Dumbo.

The installation opened on Friday and also marked the start of the Under the Bridge Festival in Dumbo, Brooklyn, where I also volunteered. It’s a huge experimental art festival where you’re as likely to encounter the art on a street corner as in the numerous galleries and studios in the neighborhood. A favorite of mine was the performance art piece of an “Office Werewolf,” who had apparently been found in the basement of Enron and would shred paper for you. His face was made out of shoes, ties, and sharp blood-stained teeth, which horrified some children and delighted others. I also was mesmerized by the above tunnel under the Manhattan Bridge with its morphing flower projections.

Boat at the Manhattan Bridge.

Boat at the Manhattan Bridge.

A lot of the art was interactive, including the above boat where you could write a wish on a piece of paper and have it glue to the mast. I wrote one, but will keep it a secret so that it will come true. The first day of the festival I mostly tried to get people to fill out surveys. If anything else, NYC is making me build my confidence in interacting with strangers.

Shape of the Tongue.

Shape of the Tongue.

The second day of the festival I worked at the information booth and then in the video_dumbo room, where I got to watch several hours of experimental films. Some with high pitched shrieking noises that immediately drove entering visitors away. The weekend of art made me consider how I might be able to use my writing and photography (or creepy drawings) in a more audience-friendly way. I would love to enter work in festivals and exhibitions like this, but writing is so insular and I’m not sure where to start with the printing and framing of photography. I’ll have to think on this. In addition to the arts festival, I also made my first visit to Queens this weekend and ate at a diner in Astoria. It’s kind of a shock to go there and see all the houses and hilly streets, which are non-existent in my corner of Brooklyn.

If you want to see more pictures of the festival, there are numerous photographs by some great photographers on flickr.

5 thoughts on “Under the Bridge

  1. cmitten says:

    I wanted to see this! The tunnel looks cool :)

  2. Allie says:

    You should definitely check it out next year! It was lots of fun.

  3. […] costume people who were a part of Art in Odd Places. I even ran into someone I’d met at the Dumbo Arts Festival. Oh god, have I become part of a […]

  4. […] After moving to New York last August, my first real encounter with the arts in the city was through the Under the Bridge Festival in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Being unemployed and desperate to escape from job applications and my computer, I volunteered almost a whole week to help build an installation of paper trees at DAC. I also volunteered at the festival itself, which was awesome, but I didn’t get to see a lot of the festival. You can read about that experience in this blog post. […]

  5. […] three years in a row now makes it an unparalleled tradition in my arts activities. (Read here about 2009 and 2010.) Installation under the Manhattan […]

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