Stephanie Elyse Sherman

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Near Futures

re-visioning capital policy // dc commission on the arts and humanities // washington dc // curator // sept 2014 - dec 2014 //

Near Futures presents five public artworks by US-based artists that consider alternative policies, visions, and modalities in light of an uncertain, unstable, and often overlooked tomorrow.

As the epicenter of US domestic and foreign policy, Washington DC offers a special stage for re-visioning American landscapes and dispositions--it offers an emblem of national interests and orientations, a theater of urban symbols and strategies, an example of American ecologies and infrastructures. In the shadow of federal monuments, the everyday urbanity and cultural legacies of the district wears the problems of the nation on its sleeve. Like many cities across the US, DC is undergoing unprecedented transformation. Gentrification is bringing renewed energy and economy, meanwhile displacing community compositions, restructuring neighborhoods, and endangering local narratives. 5x5 explores a national history and culture expressed through urban geographies, social relationships, local characters, and collective stories. Near Futures will explore shared imaginations and possible trajectories for shaping our shared future, reframing national policy through cultural iterations with those who call this place home.

Near Futures projects will explore energy, language, surveillance, security, and ecology. Artists will collaborate with groups across the city to activate often overlooked environments through music, street-printing, sculpture, light, and projection projects. Projects will be accessible, participatory, experimental, and interactive, instigating collective imagination, civic responsibility and social consciousness. Public works will compose alternative narratives for our people, places, and politics, mobilizing social reflection, connection, and participation in the process of creating and activating their environments. Near Futures will generate contexts for civic activation and amplification, exploring DC as local place and national symbol.

Near Futures includes Iranian-born, Pittsburgh-based multi-media artist Ali Momeni, who creates large-scale public works and museum installations using technology, new media, musical composition, performance, and projection; Argentinian-born, Miami-based artist Agustina Woodgate, who creates objects, site-specific and context-based installations, performance, and collaborative event-based projects that focus on the macro/micro interplay between human beings and their surrounding environments; Canadian-born, DC-based artist Mia Feuer, whose sculptures present apocalyptic scenes of energy and ecology; New York-based artist Jace Clayton, whose projects evolved out of his activities as a DJ, built around core concerns for how sound, memory, and public space interact, with an emphasis on low-income communities and the global South; and Oakland-based Dignidad Rebelde, a graphic arts collaboration and print collective led by artist-activists Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes. Near Futures is curated by Stephanie Sherman, a curator and community orchestrator who explores alternative social systems through public storytelling, collaborations, and generative planning practices.

Near Futures is part of the 5x5 Public Art Festival, a project sponsored by the DC Commission the Arts and Humanities. 5x5 invites five curators to host projects by five artists across all wards of the district in Fall 2014.