SUGAR METROPOLIS: Giant community sculpture in Harlem
SUGAR METROPOLIS: Giant community sculpture in Harlem
From children to pensioners, 1000s of participants will collaborate to build an imaginary city of the future with 500,000 sugar cubes
From children to pensioners, 1000s of participants will collaborate to build an imaginary city of the future with 500,000 sugar cubes Read more
About this project
'New York Sugar Metropolis' is a giant collaborative project devised by international sculptors Brendan Jamison and Mark Revels who are donating their time and travel costs to realise this ambitious exhibition in the Sugar Hill district of Harlem. Working with a team of professional artists and volunteers, it will be exhibited during June and July 2014 on the ground floor of a new multi-purpose Broadway Housing development that includes a ‘Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling’, a childcare centre, a roof-top community garden and new affordable apartments (targeting those who are homeless, on low-income or with mental and physical disabilities).
Sugar Hill, the corner of 155th St and St. Nicholas Avenue, Harlem, New York City
CATALYST TO IGNITE NEIGHBOURHOOD
This special charity project aims to celebrate the power of collaboration in art, unlocking the potential of thousands of minds working together in the realisation of an artwork beyond any one person's singular vision. It reflects the true sense of the word 'community', with local residents of Harlem (spanning the entire spectrum from young children to pensioners) united in a shared purpose, dreaming of a positive future which everyone can help create. Sugar Metropolis can act as a catalyst to ignite the imagination of everyone in the local neighbourhood.
Our first version of Sugar Metropolis ran from October 2013 to January 2014 at the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts, Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland. We enjoyed over 40,000 visitors from all over the world, of which 5,000 participated in the project, making it the largest ever collaborative artwork in the history of Northern Ireland. It attracted widespread international press coverage and we expect our New York version to be an even greater success, attracting both a local and international audience.
NO LONGER EMPTY
The New York Sugar Metropolis exhibition has been organised by a former Guggenheim curator, Manon Slome, who, since 2009, has been President and Chief Curator of NO LONGER EMPTY, a not-for-profit arts organisation dedicated to rejuvenating empty spaces and neglected neighbourhoods in New York City. The art projects engage local communities to embrace the power of creativity to improve their physical surroundings and enhance social interaction.
HOW DO WE BUILD IT?
Every visitor to the Sugar Hill building will be invited to participate in the creation of this large-scale sugar cube sculpture installation. The concept is to create an imaginary ‘city of the future’, a sweet metropolis of over half a million sugar cubes, all sparkling under the lights with a sense of wonder and magic. Over the period of 4 weeks, each visitor will be invited to contribute to the building of this freestanding artwork. The finished construction will then remain on show for a further 4 weeks.
The sculpture installation will begin with a meandering river of sugar, complemented by giant mountains of sugar cubes. Visitors will source their cubes from the mountains, depleting the mounds as the imaginary city grows vertically. During each day, one trained sculptor (from a special team of volunteers) will be on hand to construct parts of the city. For visitors entering the installation, the sculptors will be able to demonstrate how to build the cubes in a stable fashion.
STYLES OF ARCHITECTURE
A multitude of architectural styles will develop, some will even become hybrid designs as people add to what has already been built by others. The entire exhibition space will be in a constant state of flux as the dreamscape evolves. Aside from the visual excitement, the space will also be one of dialogue as we begin to question the most important aspects of a city when starting from afresh. Some elements will be in direct response to the existing architectural marvels in the Sugar Hill neighbourhood, while other elements will be drawn purely from the imagination or from historical buildings across the world. The variations of style will create a wonderful democratic approach to art, architecture and a sense of community, infusing the space with a special magic and sparkle!
The Sugar Metropolis project helps to celebrate, enrich and expand contemporary approaches to the visual arts through the creation and display of a highly innovative and original artwork constructed by exhibition visitors of all ages and all backgrounds.
Members of the public will enjoy the therapeutic act of working with sugar. The project is also ideal for workshops and team-building exercises.
HOW WILL THE FUNDS BE USED?
We seek funding to purchase the vast quantity of sugar cubes and to provide basic accommodation for the sculpture team in New York City during the 14 day set-up of the project.
Risks and challenges
We have already completed a 3 month trial run of this project in Northern Ireland with over 5,000 participants and therefore we have already mastered the logistics of planning a large-scale project of this nature. The challenges come from training the volunteers to a high-degree of competency so they can train the general public on how to build with the sugar cubes in a stable fashion. The other challenge is to protect the existing sculptures within the installation, so as to constantly expand outwards from the centre as the imaginary city grows.
QUALIFICATIONS TO COMPLETE PROJECT
Born in 1979 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Brendan Jamison has been working as a successful international sculptor for 10 years. In 2012, he was elected to both the Royal British Society of Sculptors (ARBS) in London and the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts (ARUA) in Belfast. Back in 2003, he developed a pioneering technique of carving sugar cubes and has realised many ambitious projects across the world, including sculptures of the Great Wall of China in Beijing, Tate Modern in London and the Reichstag dome in Berlin. He studied for 6 years at the University of Ulster, gaining a First Class BA Honours degree in Fine and Applied Arts in 2002 and a Master of Fine Art in 2004. He has won 8 awards from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, as well as receiving funding from the British Council. For extensive documentation of his previous projects, please see www.brendanjamison.com
Mark Revels, Professional Sculptor. Born in 1978, Manchester, England. Gained a First Class BA Honours degree from London's Wimbledon College of Art in 2001. A multi-award winning sculptor with extensive community outreach experience and previous high-profile projects for the BBC, Channel 4 and London's West End theatre companies. Revels exhibits internationally in Asia, Europe and America. His research in the cross-pollination of art and science has led to a highly-acclaimed biological series of virus structures.
Manon Slome (PhD) is the Chief Curator of No Longer Empty. From 2002 to June 2008 she was the Chief Curator of the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. During that time, she curated and oversaw a programme of some forty exhibitions, symposia and museum publications as well as monographs and scholarly essays. Dr. Slome became highly involved with the Israeli art scene during her research for the exhibition, Such Stuff as Dreams are Made on, (2005) and has followed and researched the Israeli scene for the last three years. Prior to the CAM, Dr. Slome worked as a curator at the Guggenheim Museum for seven years and was a holder of a Helena Rubinstein curatorial fellowship at the Whitney Independent Study program. She has written widely on contemporary art and has recently completed The Aesthetics of Terror published by Charta Press.
Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, Executive Director of No Longer Empty, spearheading community and real estate outreach strategies for No Longer Empty since its inception. Swedish-American, Naomi is a graduate of Columbia University's Masters Program in Urban Planning with a focus on urban green sustainability. She was awarded the William Kinne Fellowship Award. Previously she worked in real estate for SK Development on two luxury hotels in New York City and Info. Design, an information architecture firm in Washington DC. She currently serves on the Executive Board of Columbia University's Alumni Association, the Coro New York Neighbourhood Leadership alumni board and as a Public Advocate to the Board of Trustees for Museum of the City of New York.
BROADWAY HOUSING COMMUNITIES
Since 1983, Broadway Housing Communities has pioneered innovations in the field of supportive housing, paving the way for replication on a city-wide and national scale. Widely respected for the integrity of their approach and the quality of their programmes, they are nationally recognized for providing humane, cost-effective permanent housing for low-income and homeless populations. Broadway Housing is distinctive for its integration of the healthy and disabled, the young and elderly, the employed and dependent. Their tenants include those with mental disabilities, HIV/Aids and other chronic health conditions, and many who are in recovery from addiction.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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