At the future home of Oxford Mills, a repurposed warehouse space in Fishtown, the massive art and performance exhibit “Make It, Break It, Rebuild It” just wrapped up its second weekend of performances for the Knight Arts Grantee Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.
In a distinctly huge, individual warehouse room, more than 25 visual artists in nearly every conceivable medium displayed their work for two weekends along with the performances “Dance Amidst Art.” Thematically, “Make It, Break It, Rebuild It” approaches the idea of human tendencies to create and destroy, as well as our ability to reuse, repurpose and recycle. Not only is this idea aimed at materials and physical artistry, but also the reusing of ideas and concepts in the community at large.
Since there is such a wide variety of work in the show, it is unfortunately not possible to touch on everyone’s work, but a few highlights provide a solid foundation of what this show was all about.
Stretched between two support columns in the open space are a wooden framework, a number of vertical ropes and a pile of fabric. Looking a bit like some type of massive stringed instrument, the cords are actually part of a weaving in which participants can pick up the fabric and contribute to the wall of cloth. The interactive piece is entitled “Giraffe’s Dream” and it was co-created by Tara Wosiski and Brad Carney. All of the scraps came from discarded fabric left over from local Kensington clothing factories. Bits of denim, blue polyester and red sequined cloth that would have otherwise been wasted stack up atop each other in a wall of colors and textures.
This woven artwork also made an appearance alongside a number of other pieces as part of the “Dance Amidst Art” performances that occurred throughout. On Friday, September 14, Ellie Goudie-Averill utilized the strands in her audience-selected dance “Serpent” in which the fabric wall was the focal point as she moved around the wall, and occasionally slid between the hanging strands. Also performing that evening were Olive Prince, who moved with a partner through an installation of hanging, broken mirrors, and Zornitsa Stoyanova, who emerged dressed in crinkly plastic, which she shed to perform within a Michael Konrad work. All of the performers placed themselves within the context of the show, referencing their surroundings through gesture, movement and occasional verbal interaction with the audience.
Keith Hartwig and Nick Auman collaborated for “Between Space Tensegrity Hammock” which is the beginning of a much bigger project. The rounded wooden frames and taut netting are actually designed as a play-scape for children like the series of tubes one would find in a playground. The final product aims to be fully mobile and customizable so it can travel to a variety of locations like parks, clubs, festivals or just about any other event.
There is a vast amount of other work in this show including photo montages, paintings, crayon collages, reused bottles and many others. Pair the visual art with the performances and “Make It, Break It, Rebuild It” stands as a solid show that refuses to leave any stone unturned. It is challenging in its scale, but there is definitely something for everyone. If nothing else, the themes in this exhibit get the audience contemplating their role in production, consumption and the ever-moving cycle of stuff that we are a part of.
“Make It, Break It, Rebuild It” happened at 100 W. Oxford Street (corner of Front & Oxford); www.facebook.com/MakeItBreakItRebuildIt.