Queens Botanical to host ‘Salvation’ artwork – QNS.com

Queens Botanical to host ‘Salvation’ artwork

“Salvage/Salvation” is an ongoing installation and performance project that explores the philosophical,…

Starting July 8, Queens Botanical Garden will host the latest in a series of artistic installations expressing nature’s own way of recycling.

“Salvage/Salvation” is an ongoing installation and performance project that explores the philosophical, emotional, and material implications of re-use, discard, decay, and abundance. Parts one and two were located in other parts of the city, but part three will come to Queens.

In “Salvage/Salvation Part 3: NEST” several artists will make an environment using the nest-building practices of birds as its template, creating a human nest using materials found in the garden. Performers will occupy the nest as it is built, activating the exhibit with dance, poetry, and dialogue. Summer camp groups as well as all visitors to the garden will be encouraged to contribute ideas as one part of the exhibit will be a nest created exclusively by children.

Informal conversations and scheduled workshops are an integral part of the installation, where dialogue will be actively encouraged and questions will at least be provoked, if not always answered.

“Salvage/Salvation” is an ongoing project conceived by Clarinda Mac Low — a choreographer, director, and teacher who makes work in collaboration with dancers, visual artists, filmmakers, actors, musicians, and students. Mac Low is also founder of cml performance — a rotating confederation of artists that uses an amalgam of movement, video, installation and theater to create complex environments, bringing its collaborative wit to bear on the ideas and issues that inform our world and create performance experiences that entertain as well as illuminate.

“Salvage/Salvation” is one of the company’s most recent projects. It is an installation concept designed to be made in many different places, where recycled, re-purposed, re-wired and reclaimed objects are used to highlight the abundance contained in the simplest trash, encouraging audiences to become scavengers and survivors rather than producers and consumers.

In November and December of 2003, Mac Low collaborated with several artists and performers on “Salvage/Salvation: Part 2: LIVING SALVATION” that took place at TIXE — a gallery in Times Square. The exhibit worked with decay and discard and scavenging and salvage, in both material and emotional forms, addressing the issues of salvaging one’s own life to finding poetry among trash.

Queens Botanical Garden is a logical venue for “Salvage/Salvation Part 3: NEST.” It is deeply involved in advocating and practicing sustainability. The garden provides a natural backdrop of ecosystems of plants and animals for this installation. Director of education and public programs Patty Kleinberg said “the garden and its natural systems provide models that offer the opportunity to teach young and old alike about how plants and animals work together. ‘Salvage/Salvation Part 3: NEST’ provokes a deeper understanding of natural processes and our role as stewards of the environment.”

In “NEST” several artists will create an environment that uses the nest-building practices of birds as its template. Working with the backyard nature of the garden, the artists will use materials left behind by the visiting public, such as gum wrappers, newspapers and other discarded treasures to create a human nest from the detritus of the culture as well as the organic debris of the garden. Birds normally use hair, dryer lint, string, dried grass, feathers, twigs, and snake skins but the artists will also utilize items that have been either inappropriately dumped on the garden’s property or other refuse as it appears. So far an old stove, a bed headboard and footboard, shoes, a one-way sign and other various items have been salvaged for this endeavor.

The site for this performance installation is public — adjacent to the garden’s main oak next to the Rose Garden, and is by purpose interactive with its audiences. The artists and performers will engage, both formally and informally, children (who are natural scavengers). Children enrolled in the HSBC Children’s Garden will participate as well as camp groups and individual visitors by contributing ideas and creating a nest exclusively on their own. Yu-Whuan and Alessandra Nichols, professional art teachers, will conduct workshops for children on creating from discards.

“Salvage/Salvation Part 3: NEST” opens Thursday, July 8, and runs through Thursday, July 28. Parts of the installation will be completed before the opening date and some will continue to be built throughout the duration of the exhibit. There will be an opening celebration July 10 with performances and discussions. Performances will also take place July 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25, rain or shine, with other performances and other activities to be announced. Most performances will take place on the weekends with a few taking place on weekdays, especially those for children.

Children of all ages are invited to build a nest just like birds and join in with the performances at Queens Botanical Garden this summer as part of the project.

Anyone interested in participating or attending performances should contact the garden at 718-886-3800. For scheduling updates or questions write to info@cmlperformance.org or visit www.cmlperformance.org/id52.html for details about the company and the participating artists.

Queens Botanical Garden is located at 43-50 Main St. in Flushing and is easily accessible by car, train, or bus. Admission is free. Parking is available in the garden’s lot on Dahlia Avenue for a $5 fee. Parking fee discounts are offered with garden membership. Garden hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For complete travel directions call the garden at 718-886-3800 or visit www.queensbotanical.org.

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