When my friend Laura Arena recently opened her Lucky Gallery in the heart of Red Hook Brooklyn, I immediately asked her if she would like me to put together an art show there.
I had the intention to make a wallpaper based pop-art inspired installation at the time, but it soon came clear that things were going to be different.
First, Laura expressed that she wanted her gallery to focus on collaborative work, and second, she suggested me to work on collaboration with her friend Andy Cavatorta, which is now a student in the MIT Media Lab. I accepted, and soon Andy and I were having lunch from the chinese-vietnamese food trucks at MIT every day of the week [Goosebeary’s for those in the know], talking about ideas, intentions, and art. I wanted to use the laser cutter, and we both agreed on having something related to photography, and of a public art nature, preferably participatory, and with no electronics in it.
We decided to make a dollhouse version of the space around Lucky Gallery and call it “Honey I Shrunk the Red Hook”.
This is what I wrote for the opening event’s press release:
“Red Hook has an air of Mystery that I can’t find anywhere else in New York. It feels somewhat uncharted, perhaps separated as it is from the New York comprehensive subway network. When thinking about making art for Red Hook, I immediately felt like using this art as an excuse to get closer to the people in it, and learn about the place from them, hopefully helping them learn from each other in the process.”
And this is the project’s description from the same press release:
“Honey, I Shrunk the Red Hook” is a collaboration between Luis Blackaller and Andy Cavatorta who’s aim is to start a creative discussion about Red Hook. It will function as a public action, interactive installation and participatory performance. A diverse mix of members of the Red Hook community will be brought together to use art and the gallery space as communication devices. The artists will create a cardboard model of the streets around the gallery, and a collection of photographic dolls representing real Red Hook dwellers. Visitors to the Gallery will be encouraged to play with the dolls, having the option to have their own doll ready for the next weekend if they want. The familiar sights and people everybody knows will meet the ones in the imagination, giving visitors a chance to meet (or even be!) the familiar strangers all around them.
The show will open this weekend [August 8th], and will host different activities every weekend of August. If you’re in New York this month and would like to enjoy the warmth of Red Hook [probably Brooklyn’s best hidden jewel], just take the free Ikea ferry [it’s docked on Pier 11, downtown Manhattan] and check out this show. I will be putting pictures and related media here.
Thanks a lot to everyone that helped us with pictures for their dolls. Their virtual [yet physical] presence in Red hook is going to be awesome.