Social Imagination : Charas is Alive on Space Ship Earth,
May 10 - June 30th, at the Loisaida Center
710 east 9th street, NYC
Social Imagination: CHARAS IS ALIVE ON SPACESHIP EARTH is an installation based on the history of CHARAS, centering on a geodesic dome the group constructed on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1972 and 1973. The work in the exhibition is sculptural and relational, featuring a geodesic dome that functions as a venue for performance, film screenings, and relaxation
The history of dome building on the LES goes back to when CHARAS built domes in collaboration with Buckminster Fuller in 1972/73. Syeus Mottel documented this effort in his photo-journalism book CHARAS THE IMPROBABLE DOME BUILDERS , first published in 1974 and now re published in 2017 by Song Cave Press & Pioneer Works.
Through a collaborative project between Loisaida Inc., La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez and DIAP (Digital Intermedia MFA program at City College), artist and researcher Matthew Mottel (Syeus Mottel’s son) will build 2 geodesic domes (one at La Plaza and the other at the Loisaida Inc. Center’ courtyard) as an interactive art installation. In interviewing Carlos “Chino” Garcia as part of his research, Matthew was told that the domes CHARAS built functioned as both recreational activity spaces and as experimental examples of how to build disaster relief housing in non urban areas. The same functions apply now. The dome at La Plaza Cultura, will be seen from the street, with high visibility. This will bring people to the other dome in the courtyard and exhibition happening at Loisaida Center, which will feature a more detailed documentation of the original events of 1972-73.
This work highlights the achievements of CHARAS and hopefully expands the pressure on the NYC mayoral office to follow through on their promise to re-acquire El Bohio for the Loisaida community.
The week of the exhibition opening, many public performances, talks and workshops will transpire in both the Loisaida Center dome, and at La Plaza Cultural. These events will be influenced by the type of programming that happened during the 20+ years of events and exhibitions of El Bohio before being pushed out of its iconic and historic location on 9th Street, formerly known as P.S. 64.