We are INCREDIBLY excited to help spread the word about CrossLines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality! 40+ artists are taking over the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building THIS Memorial Day Weekend: 2 days of art, music, performance, and dialogue, free and open to all. It's a MUSEUM OF THE PEOPLE, brought to you by the SmithsonianAPA; RSVP here and read on: we had #CrossLines artists bring us to their neighborhood Metro station to chat all things intersectionality – meet S P A C E Lab.
"In the laboratory of our own community, trial and examination result in inventive creativity that IGNITES social progress." S P A C E Lab is a community of artists (founded by Aja Adams, Ani Bradberry, and Michelle Stearn; the collective also includes Sekayi Dez) building safe + open platforms for expression. Their contribution to CrossLines is part of a larger collab: you can view their neon + projected installation during BOTH/AND, a multimedia music + movement E X P E R I E N C E , helmed by Makers Lab (supporting + building queer communities by creating spaces that celebrate life, art, and queer culture), and featuring add'l work/beats/life from Ayes Cold, Kerim the DJ, Asha "BOOMCLAK" Santee, and Patience Sings. RSVP for BOTH/AND here.
What do you hope people will take away from your contribution to CrossLines, and from CrossLines in general? We hope to bring together multimedia art and multidisciplinary thought into one evolving experiment. In an effort to emphasize the symbiotic nature of our community, the video projection and sculpture work in conversation with the music performances to create an atmosphere that challenges perception and encourages celebration.
We invite you to challenge your own truths upon the back of what we've created. There is healing in motion. There is curiosity in color. There is life in culture.
This piece is not only meant to entice the senses, but to get people questioning their own bounds of reality. Each vibration sends waves to the subconscious, and each wave holds a different message for different people.
We challenge our people to manifest their own perceptions of the piece while also engaging in their own humanity. Motion resonates itself upon our metaphysical bodies in so many ways, and it's up to the viewer to stand in the moment unafraid to feel anything and everything they can.
We hope people get a glimpse of how the past, present, and future of culture intertwine. What is “culture,” anyway? It’s surely not a pre-defined set of values set by institutions, nor should it be commodified for consumption. Why? We think culture is alive, it's US: culture is people and how we interact with one another and our surroundings. Culture is also spirit: the way this spirit manifests through us as individuals can bring new energy and new perceptions of “culture” itself. We’re excited to see how other individuals express their own spirits at CrossLines, because inevitably these expressions will interweave with what we’re bringing, creating a totally fresh type of oxygen, stirring up the air a bit with sound and light, and other invisible, inaudible (but still perceivable) waves.
What can we expect from you at CrossLines?
Aja + Michelle: You’ll see us at crosslines projecting light, culture, history, and color onto the walls. We are inspired by movement, and how it allows us to transcend and ascend from the darker realities, and celebrate light. We know that the Arts & Industries building was lying dormant for some time, and are excited to bring living, breathing movement to its previous stillness – stirring up the dust of both the historic building and our old (mis)conceptions of our own personal histories. Among many others, these words influenced our research and creation leading up to the debut at CrossLines:
Ancestral & self-imposed masks | Elemental balance
Transcendence | Transformation
Tension & release |All of the above
Sekayi: My representation at CrossLines is within Aja and Michelle's projection. I am featured in my element dancing, making shapes, and moving to the beat of my ancestors. We are all so inspired by motion and I set out to embody culture, color, rhythm, and jive within the grander vision for the event.
Ani: Continuing our collective thoughts on introducing radical movement and life to the Arts & Industries building, a tabletop neon piece will sit near the projection equipment to visualize the breath present in our use of technology. Using the natural materials of wood and neon gas in harmony with industrial materials of hand-blown glass and electricity, the piece symbolizes our delicate daily interactions of urban and organic existence in Washington D.C., including our uniquely beautiful and diverse human interactions. This piece is aimed to intensify mindfulness for our surroundings and our city, which is constantly under threat of cultural and historical overwriting. With carefully controlled current, the gas glows dimmer than the average neon tube, creating a misty and ethereal blood-like aura rising from the wooden base. This piece stands in defiance of urban sterilization and roots our shared blood into the environment we share.
Tell us about NoMA/Gallaudet. What does this station represent? What makes this station - and the area served by it - unique?
This station is a kaleidoscope.
Its identity is a circle made up of shards of mirrors reflecting one another.
In a kaleidoscope, one image is broken into intersecting pieces that make a whole.
That whole is a distorted reality, of course.
Around our neighborhood, humanity breaks into shards just like that.
They intersect at acute angles, yet somehow the degrees add up to 360.
The station’s identity is somewhat fragmented too, like the kaleidoscope. After all, the station has cycled through so many names – NoMa, Gallaudet U, New York Ave, Florida Ave – as if the area itself were grappling with its own identity crisis. But there's beauty in the way the fragments intersect. Every day when we walk through the station we choose to aim our gaze between the lines of development – past the 5+ monstrous apartment complexes replacing entire communities, past the corporate chains to serve newly arriving residents – and we see people. We see family-owned corner stores and family-occupied underpasses, we see communities gathering and people sharing with one another. We think it’s time to turn our attention towards the humanity of these quickly-changing areas to amplify the silent voices.