NYsferatu: symphony of a century
More Art is working with Andrea Mastrovito to create NYsferatu, an ambitious public art project that combines film, music, and community engagement to create a powerful and poignant statement about immigrant rights in today’s world. As the refugee crisis worsens and xenophobia reaches an even higher pitch, NYsferatu draws a parallel between unfounded fears and nationalistic attitudes. The story of Dracula - depicted in NYsferatu - is historically told from the perspective of the insider and never of the other. NYsferatu flips the script, creating a platform for our immigrant neighbors to tell the story of how xenophobia affects them and how common perceptions are all too often harmfully inaccurate.
Taking the first step in this lengthy process, Mastrovito and a team of artists, will hand animate Friedrich W. Murnau's seminal 1922 film Nosferatu, itself an adaptation of Bram Stoker's story, Dracula. Using the technique of rotoscoping, each character, gesture, and expression will be redrawn in the original film’s classic style while the background of contemporary New York City will bring the film to the current moment. Each recreated background will be drawn 3 times in order to replicate the beautifully eerie flickering shutter effect of early cinema. In all, the artist will make over 35,000 original drawings to create this feature length hand-animated film.
With key organizational partners, More Art and Mastrovito will arrange hands-on workshops in which English as Second Language Learners can discuss the film and its implications. The workshops will culminate with participants rewriting the silent film’s title cards to reflect their respective community's experience of overcoming obstacles of xenophobia and racism to make their home in a new city. In so doing the participants change the very meaning of the film as well as its ending.
Once these title cards have been written in Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and English, they will be edited into the final film. Then, More Art will present a series of free film screenings in parks and venues across New York City accompanied by a live, original score commissioned specifically for NYsferatu.
Phew! We know that sounds like a lot - and it is! That's why we need your help in making NYsferatu a reality.
About the Artist
Andrea Mastrovito (b. 1978) is a New York based, Italian born multimedia artist whose artistic practice traverses the reinvention of drawing and swings from his studio to the audience through public performances and participatory installations. In 2007, Mastrovito worked with over 100 Buckwick children to create, Kickstarting! - a gigantic mural created by kicking soccer balls covered tempera paint powder at the walls of the Saint Joseph Patron Parish courtyard. For this year’s Anglet Biennale in France, Mastrovito presented In Exit Light, three sand-sculptures on the city’s beach representing refugees fleeing mass civil unrest and international intervention in the Middle East. As the tide and swells washed these sculptures away, Mastrovito rebuilt them throughout the course of the biennale, reflecting both the movements of refugees as well as their continued struggle. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States and Europe and he is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2007 New York Prize and the 2016 Ermanno Casoli Prize.
Making of Limited Edition Photoetched NYsferatu Movie Poster
About More Art
More Art commissions groundbreaking artists to create public art projects that meaningfully engage communities across New York City. For over a decade, we’ve worked with seminal artists including Joan Jonas, Pablo Helguera, Dread Scott, Andres Serrano, and many more to produce and present innovative works of public art that serve as platforms for open dialog and catalysts for new ideas and strategies in the pursuit of social justice. This, in addition to our outreach, education, and engagement programs have made More Art a leader in the New York City cultural community.
This project has been selected for inclusion on Art Basel’s curated page on Kickstarter.
Risks and challenges
In producing this project we fully expect to hit our fair share of speed bumps and slow downs. But we’re a scrappy bunch with a combined half century of experience partnering with numerous community organizations, working with the city, and producing public art.
Got a project that involved senior immigrants, first generation artists, and grassroots activism? Please turn your attention to our Engaging Artists Residency Program. Do we need to work with three separate government agencies to screen the film in public parks? Yeah, we’ve done that. (What’s up DOT!) Is there the aftermath of a hurricane in the way of exhibiting the work? Yep, Sandy hit right before we presented Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection by Krzysztof Wodiczko in Union Square. With the right combination of pleading and smooth talk we got the job done.
Basically what we’re saying is - when the going gets tough - which it will, we become public art ninjas. Trust us.
- (45 days)