Designmatters ongoing series highlights artists, facilitators and participants in The Antiracist Classroom’s upcoming covening Reconstructing Practice. This week takes a look at New York-based artist Ari Melenciano.
The Antiracist Classroom is thrilled to announce that Ari Melenciano will bring her living, breathing installation, “Alaia’s Lab” to Reconstructing Practice’s evening reception on July 13th. Melenciano is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, designer, creative technologist, and activist who is passionate about exploring the relationships between various forms of design and the human experience. For a preview of sorts, check out Ari’s Instagram, her website, or her recent appearance at eyeo Festival 2018, where she spoke on her “work in building sound interactive visuals and digitally fabricating, programming and engineering [her] own electronic instruments.”
Got a chance to help open up #EYEO2018 and present my talk “Computational Concerts” on my work in building sound interactive visuals and digitally fabricating, programming and engineering my own electronic instruments. 📷 Aaròn pic.twitter.com/ME0sAQf4Xu
— ari (@aricianoo) June 7, 2018
She recently graduated from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program where she studied and practiced at the intersection of experiential design and emerging technologies via creative computation, human-computer interaction, engineering and other forms of design. She is also the founder of the creative house, bgoti; builder of a line of experimental “neo-retro” digital analog cameras, Ojo Oro; founder and producer of the New Media Arts, Culture and Technology Festival, Afrotectopia; and founder of AricianoTV, an online video tutorial channel on creative coding.
“Alaia’s Lab” will include DJing, live-beat making, live drawing, and sound interactive visuals. Ari shared the inspiration and concept behind the piece with the Antiracist Classroom:
“Alaïa is this wonder woman that I have developed in my head who is constantly looking for ways to celebrate and champion the Black community, uplift and empower, and mirror the afro beauty. And the Lab is a breathing installation that is never experienced in the same way as everything is created on the fly, experimental, endlessly constructed and deconstructed. It’s an audio-visual experimental and experiential research project on Black culture and identity.”
Melenciano’s process, vision, and performance actively embody all of Reconstructing Practice’s three themes, but she explained that the theme “Take up space” particularly resonated with her: “[it] means a lot to me, as we’re so often silenced and dismissed. ‘Taking Up Space’ is true ownership of our identity, recognition of our humanity, and a reminder of the light within our agency.” The Antiracist Classroom’s aim is to not only encourage discussion and critique in the classroom, but also to show the material, palpable impact of occupying physical and virtual space with social events, media, objects, works of art and design, installations, and experiences that reflect non-white realities and imaginations. We look forward to the role “Alaia’s Lab” will play in taking up space at ArtCenter, and fully expect it to provoke joy, dancing, and dialogue, all while challenging the normative gallery environment and inspiring views and embodied memories that will last long after the event itself.
Reconstructing Practice will also feature a gallery of artwork and installations that will be on display throughout the convening. For a complete list of artists and their work, visit the website. Registration closes on July 6, be sure to get your tickets!