A unique program in New York City created by the Center for Court Innovation offers people who have committed a low-level crime like trespassing or criminal mischief the opportunity to completely divert their case out of the traditional court system. Instead, participants in the Project Reset initiative meet in group settings with teaching artists to share a dialogue about works of art over a three-hour course. Upon successful completion of the program, the case is declined by the local district attorney’s office, the arrest record is sealed, and the individual never sets foot in a court room.
The program was piloted about six years ago at Gavin Brown’s gallery in Manhattan; artists Derek Fordjour and Shaun Leonardo were involved in developing and leading the curriculum. Currently, Project Reset operates in partnership with the New Museum in Manhattan and the Brooklyn Museum. At the latter, the focus is on two paintings: Titus Kaphar’s “Shifting the Gaze” and “Judgement” by Bob Thompson.
In a conversation with Colossal, Criminal Justice Director Adam Mansky explains that they have seen incredible success with the program. Initially limited to first-time offenders ages sixteen to seventeen, Project Reset has incrementally expanded over the years. It now serves a wider age range, as well as people who have had previous encounters with the court system.
“What we’ve observed is that some of the older participants get even more out of it,” Mansky tells Colossal. “There is a conceptual and performance aspect to participating in the course,” he explains, prompting reflection and active engagement on issues like systems of power and social perceptions.
“Conceptually, we do things that allow people to use arts to reflect on their behavior and the injustices of the system, that it can be a constructive experience for people,” says Mansky. Project Reset is effective because it matches the systemization of traditional court processes, while also centering the individual’s circumstances and potential for improvement and change for the future, rather than punishment for the past.
Since 2015, more than 1,750 people have participated in the program, and avoided a criminal record. The program has a 98% completion rate, with 96% of participants recommending it to others and a significant decrease in recidivism one year later. Project Reset also offers expediency: the 3-hour program helps cases, on average, be resolved 186 days sooner than traditional prosecution.
In addition to Project Reset, the Center for Court Innovation engages in a wide array of participatory and creative programming. The organization offers youth photography workshops, as well “a tremendous amount of place-making work”, Mansky explains. Much of their programming incorporates design and urban planning, as well as creative technology.
Find out more about the Center for Court Innovation on their website. The organization is also hiring for dozens of roles if you’re interested in getting involved professionally. You can also keep up with the non-profit and learn more about their impact on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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It Was Better Tomorrow: Fashion Designer Benjamin Benmoyal Creates Powerful Silhouettes Using Recycled Materials
Hulking silhouettes are enlivened with vibrant multi-colored stripes in futuristic garments by fashion student Benjamin Benmoyal. The fabric for the collection, titled “It Was Better Tomorrow”, was woven on a loom using discarded video and cassette tapes intermingled with recycled yarns and Tencel (a wood pulp-derived fiber).
In an interview with Dezeen, the French-Israeli designer explained that he was feeling pessimistic about the world after his compulsory service as an 18 year old in the Israeli army. “After high school I was completely lost in my life, I failed many things and needed to prove to myself I could do something that would push me, physically and mentally, to the limits,” Benmoyal said.
In enrolling at the renowned art school Central Saint Martins and creating this collection, Benmoyal sought to channel optimistic energy and harken back to the utopian outlook of the 1960’s. He also drew color inspiration from international travels and artists he admires, such as James Turrell. The collection was included in the multi-art show Designing in Turbulent Times this autumn. See more from Benmoyal on Instagram. (via Dezeen)
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Saad Moosajee (previously) shows the richness and emotional power that can be found in grey-scale animation with his new music video for Thom Yorke. “Last I heard (…He Was Circling the Drain)” brings Yorke’s single to life in a hazy dystopian world populated by crowds of anonymous figures. Moosajee tells Colossal that the animation is comprised of more than 3,000 individual frames. Using 3-D and 2-D animation techniques, Moosajee and the team layered over the frames, integrating crowd simulation, charcoal washing, fire simulation, and stop motion powder texturing. He partnered with Art Camp, an experimental studio based in Brooklyn, on the project and was the co-director, co-designer, and 3-D animator alongside Zuheng Yin and Jenny Mascia. See more of Moosajee’s recent work on Instagram and tune in to other music videos by Art Camp on Vimeo.
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Since launching Colossal nine years ago, I’ve taken great pride in focusing the site entirely on art and artists. For the first several years Colossal didn’t have advertising—the site was a labor of love. We were lucky to see traffic skyrocket, but with that increased audience came increased server costs and it became necessary to introduce a few ad banners. Colossal quickly grew into a flourishing arts publication that employs several full and part-time staff as editors, contributing writers, and (always paid) interns. Every single day I wake up to write, edit, curate, and publish. It’s a dream realized.
We have so much to be fortunate about. Our advertising partner Nectar Ads keeps sponsorships running smoothly and supports our decision to have only three ad units per page where many large news and culture publications have 10-20 units including unreasonable auto-play video and pop-ups. With this cornerstone of advertising and a few fun projects, we’ve been able to devote ourselves to exciting stories in contemporary art, design, modern craft, photography, and literally hundreds of other topics.
It’s time for Colossal to grow in new areas to continue sharing the work of incredible artists into the next decade. There’s a deep cost for independent publishers when behemoth social media companies limit reach, siphon advertisers, and rake in record-breaking profits. We’re working quickly behind the scenes on projects large and small, including several upcoming exhibitions and forays into print, video, and audio. Honestly, it’s an exciting time, and I have discovered enormously positive benefits when forced out of complacency.
Today we would like to invite you into our next chapter with Colossal Membership. We thought long and hard (literally years) about whether this was the right step for us, and after speaking with many talented and wise people, we decided to take the plunge.
You can choose from a monthly, annual, or lifetime membership that will give you immediate access to a bevy of new content and programs including our bi-weekly interview series (we’re launching with Ai Weiwei), a brand spanking new newsletter (details on what’s coming up!), a new artist grant available to members (get your money!), school supplies for classrooms (hook up the kids!), and a variety of special offers and perks from partners.
To be clear: Colossal will never charge for daily articles or anything you’ve been accustomed to seeing over the last nine years. We believe that art should be accessible for everyone and we plan to keep it that way. Your membership gives you all sorts of ins to new information, and supports Colossal’s writing staff and day-to-day costs moving forward into our second decade.
It’s impossible to thank you enough for reading. In a time when it feels like we’re all running from darkness, we publish Colossal as a way to turn on the light. Please join us by becoming a member and support independent arts journalism. We can’t wait to share the stories of another 6,000 artists who also see the hope, wonder, and joy in this beautiful, complicated world.
P.S. Thank you to artist Zaria Forman for giving us permission to use her extravagant pastel iceberg drawings on our membership and page social media channels for a few months. She’s the absolute best.
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Artist Annie Evelyn’s primary medium: wood. Her primary vessel: the chair. One work, “Cathedral Train Chair”, sports an ocean-blue silk train that fans out from a tufted armchair, emulating the fashion symbol of high social status or a special occasion. Another, “Windsor Flower Chair”, surrounds the sitter with a garden of gently curving vertical wood slats, which burst into synthetic blossoms.
“Evelyn uses furniture’s inherent interactive qualities and relationships to the human body to create new and surprising experiences,” reads a statement on the artist’s website. Her “Static Adornment” series reinvents the role of furniture as physical decoration: wall-mounted structures covered in densely layered beads, copper scales, and red roses fit around a human body not as support but as ornamentation.
Evelyn received her BFA and MFA at Rhode Island School of Design, and is currently a Visiting Professor in the furniture department at California College of the Arts. Her work is also a part of Making a Seat at the Table, a group show of female-identifying woodworkers on view through January 18, 2020 in Philadelphia. Keep up with Evelyn’s latest projects and inspiration on Instagram, and explore more of her portfolio on her website.
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Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne, who work together as the Adrien M / Claire B Company (previously), explore the intersection of tangible and augmented reality in their multi-media projects. They recently launched a Kickstarter to support their latest project, Acqua Alta – Crossing the mirror. Acqua Alta turns a seemingly simple pop-up book into an animated black-and-white world. Two figures move through the pages, battling rainstorms and walking through doorways, all seen through the portal of a tablet or smartphone.
The duo tells Colossal that after their 2017 exhibition Mirages & miracles, they wanted to focus their efforts on an affordable medium at an intimate scale that still allowed for constructing volume. “After considering the AR algorithm, it was important to find a solution for the book to be a plane for each of the 10 double pages,” Mondot and Bardainne explain. “The magic happens only when the real space and the AR space are completely synced together.”
The duo was also working with a limited budget and limited professional experience with motion capture. In contrast to more specialized production companies with greater resources and established, Mondot and Bardainne were challenged by looking for smart and creative solutions to achieve the same results.
“It was very exciting to be at the border between many disciplines—theater, dance, but also comic books and animation,” Mondot and Bardainne share. “We are questioning the language: what does this medium allow us to express? Can we use part of the cinematographic language? Can we use some of the symbolic tools of the theater?”
You can support Acqua Alta on Kickstarter, where the book is available for preorder (it also comes with a free app for experiencing the AR). Explore more of Mondot and Bardainne’s interdisciplinary work on their website.
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Argentinian artist Elian Chali, who goes by just his first name professionally, creates vibrant murals that balance a simple aesthetic with carefully calculated designs. Elian often incorporates anamorphic shapes into his murals, placing squiggles and squares at the corners of buildings, creating the illusion of floating patterns. Clean lines and flat color fields almost seem to be rendered digitally rather than laboriously hand-painted across hundreds or even thousands of square feet. In addition to his mural projects, the self-taught artist creates smaller gallery-ready paintings and prints, and also works as a freelance curator. Follow along with Elian’s latest projects on Instagram. (via Street Art News)
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Editor's Picks: Architecture
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.