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Jerri Allyn, FF Alumn, at 96th Street NY Public Library, September 4-October 26, 2002.
Jerri Allyn's traveling installation celebrates its Manhattan engagement in September. This thought-provoking and compelling installation, which began in April and was exhibited in libraries in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx, will open in Manhattan at the 96th Street Regional Branch of the New York Public Library on September 4. A Chair is a Throne is a Freedom Fighter's Camp Stool was created for public libraries and includes a wide-range of educational and public programs specifically developed in conjunction with the exhibit. Among the many events in September will be, Peace: Responses to September 11, an open mic poetry event for adults and teens.
The installation is made up of 21 artist designed chairs and stools that act as portraits of people who have resolved conflicts creatively and rendered thought provoking alternatives to punishment. CD disc-man's are in the design of several of the seats for the public to listen to stories, written and narrated by Allyn, with interviews and soundscapes by award-winning Radio Producer Helene Rosenbluth. The chairs and stools are set in a continuously changing formation, inviting audience members to experience how seating arrangements can affect communication.
As a metaphor to shift ones point of view, the public is invited to sit in a variety of seats, simply designed as square back chairs, and round, cube and triangle stools, stenciled with related images and quotes. The stories include familial disputes to workplace, citywide, and international interventions with which Allyn has a relationship. Rosenbluth's score includes a layering of textured sounds and music that aurally reflect "peace" and "conflict" to support the stories.
Perhaps the inspirational heart of this art installation is a story that captured Allyn's imagination from a Resolving Conflicts Around the World Conference in 1999--retold by Rosenbluth who had been asked to record the sessions: When a member of the Babemba Tribe in Africa acts unjustly, s/he is seated in the center of the village and everyone gathers in a large circle around the accused. Each tribal member talks about all the positive things and good deeds the person has done in their lifetime - then symbolically and literally, welcomes the person back into the tribe.
One of the greatest challenges we face in this 21st is learning to accept, and respect, difference. "A Chair" is one opportunity to address ideas about revenge, punishment, restorative justice and heartfelt alternatives to violence in an interactive art installation. Allyn's training in cognitive and aesthetic development focused on how we learn as human beings and she strives to provide audiences with multiple opportunities to access issues raised in a work of art.
Public Reading Room - Open to the Public
September 4- October 26
96th Street Regional Branch of the NY Public Library
112 East 96th Street, New York, NY 10128
Tel: 212. 289. 0908
to the public and artist is on site:
Thursdays 12-8 and
(Saturdays 10-5 or
by appointment with Gwen Taylor Davis by calling 212-289-0908).
Programs for the
Manhattan library include:
Thursday, September 5-6:00pm
Video Screening & Discussion: Long Night's Journey Into Day: South Africa's
Search for Truth & Reconciliation, by directors Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman. 2000 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary and Academy Award nominee. As it emerges from its tragedy, S. Africa is showing the rest of the world that even the most bitter of conflicts can be addressed through honesty. (Not Rated. 94 mins.)
5 and 12-3:30pm
Art Workshops for Teens: Resolving Conflicts Creatively
6 and 13-1:00, 3:00, 5:00pm
Artist tours: View and discuss Jerri Allyn's art installation
Peace: Responses to September 11-Open mic poetry event for adults and teens
Public Opening for Artist and Manhattan Participants
Thursday, September 12-6:00pm
Video Screening & Discussion: Slam, a Marc Levin film. The unanimous winner of the 1998 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Slam is a coming to life ghetto tale of a drug dealer/aspiring rapper who finds salvation in his rhymes. "Stunning, explosive...leaves the audience gasping for air." -- Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press. (Rated R. 103 mins.)
Special presentation and discussion with Jerri Allyn
Jerri Allyn creates site-specific, interactive and performance art events that become a part of public life, and build connections with various communities as well as the art world. Most of Allyn's work is in narrative or storytelling form and deals with communication theory. Grant funded and commissioned for 20 years, in working with targeted audiences, the artist looks to develop democratic structures that allow for participation and a spectrum of options to be voiced about issues of pertinent social concerns.
Helene Rosenbluth is an award-winning radio documentary producer working with the Pacifica Radio Network since 1975. Her coverage of women's issues, peace and environmental concerns has won accolades nationwide, including honors and awards from The Associated Press, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Association of Women in Radio & Television, and The National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
This project is sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which provided workspace for Allyn on the 91st floor of World Trade Tower 1, a special project of the "World Views Program". The artist gratefully acknowledges public funds from the Film, Media and New Technologies Grant/New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the New York Foundation for the Arts' Artists in the School Community Program; and additional support from The Rockefeller Foundations' Bellagio Study & Conference Center Residency, Italy; the National Radio Project, CA; PS33 District 10 Project Arts, the Bronx; Center for Arts Education / Parents as Arts Partners at PS33; Fund for Creative Communities / NYSCA Decentralization Program administered by LMCC; Materials for the Arts; and Marc Levin Offsite Entertainment. Allyn has also received residency support the Manhattan Graphics Center and a commission for a work-in-progress exhibition from the Downtown Arts Festival.
For more information, please visit www.interactionarts.org.