October 25, 2003

Christy Georg: Artist in Research



****For Immediate Release****

Contact: Meg Rotzel                                 
Berwick Research Institute
14 Palmer Street
PO Box 190087
Roxbury, MA  02119
Boston (October 25, 2003)

Artist Christy Georg began her term as the Berwick Research Institute's eighth Artist in Research last week.  Georg's work explores the role the body plays as the site of convergence between the interior mind and exterior world. She is an accomplished sculptor whose work investigates the activity of perception through the vehicle of kinetic motion. The viewer is presented with an amplified experience, one that oscillates, marks time, makes sound, and reveals through its duration. The work is patient- requiring the viewer to exercise subtleties of looking and listening to perceive changes more easily revealed only after elapsed duration.  By performing with her work, Georg uses her body as the catalyst between stillness and motion.  She thus becomes the "Operator" in the work, serving as a neutral authority governing the phenomenological experiments that characterize her work. Georg describes her project in this way; "This work has four phases of existence: the objects themselves (which imply ambiguous use as tools), their use by an 'Operator' in performance experiments, the documentation of the performances recontextualized in edited video, and the re-presentation of the objects as artifacts in a divorced context". The role of the present, specifically in the mode of performance, lends a philosophical and ontological element to her work. "I am interested in whether or not there is a defining truth to experience, or whether it is referential to each individual.  Memory is a filter which attenuates and amplifies the actuality of experience."  

During her 10-week stay at the Berwick Studio, Georg will examine the occurrence of the elusive "present" moment and build tools and devices with which to perform perceptual experiments.

Christy Georg's Research Term extends from now until December 19, 2003.  The public is invited to meet the artist and see the results of her research during an open studio and closing celebration on December 18th at 7pm.  The event will be held at the Berwick Research Institute in Dudley Square.

For images and additional information, please visit http://www.berwickinstitute.org/christy.html

The AIR program has been generously funded in part by the LEF Foundation.  For more information about this and other programs at the Berwick Research Institute, and to find out how you can participate, please visit www.berwickinstitute.org

History of the Berwick Research Institute and the Artist in Research Program:

The Berwick Research Institute was founded in January 2000 by eight young artists who saw the need for a non-commercial space where they could create, perform, and present experimental work.  Over the next three years, the group transformed part of a former whoopie pie factory into a vibrant laboratory for artists working in sound, film, robotics, conceptual art, dance, theatre, music and new media which tested conventional artistic boundaries.  As well as presenting work, the Berwick supports new creation through the Artist in Research residency program which started as an informal allowance of studio and exhibition space to artists interested in exploring new elements in their work.  In 2003, the Berwick received a sizable grant from the LEF Foundation that allowed the organization to rent additional space in the building for a communal studio, thereby hosting three permanent artist studios and one rotating studio for the Artists in Research.  The grant also helped fund AIR artist stipends, publicity, and a year-end publication that would showcase the work of the year's artist projects in an innovative format.  

Gradually gaining recognition for public art events, performances, and its AIR program, the Berwick underwent a significant transformation this summer when the organization was informed by the Boston Inspectional Services Department that the building it occupied had several fire code and zoning issues, making it unsuitable for programs involving large audiences.  Given this new set of circumstances, the Berwick has decided to focus its administrative and programming energy into the AIR program, developing its organizational resources until the time is ripe to once again open a venue for experimental visual and performing arts in Boston.  The former performance space now houses the Berwick communal studios.  The Berwick welcomes the public to the studios for regularly scheduled artist talks, critique sessions, and residency celebrations with the Artists in Research.

Artist in Research Program Description:

The AIR program grants a studio to artists involved in projects that require investigation, dialogue, and support from an artistic community.  The Berwick and its constituents work closely with each Artist in Research to provide critical input and exchange of ideas relating to the research project at hand.  The Berwick also seeks artists who wish to explore the potential for collaboration and creative exchange within the Berwick community.  Berwick Artists in Research are encouraged to focus their efforts on exploration and the processes of innovative art making rather than the completion of a finished product.  The Berwick is particularly interested in working with artists whose work explores "new genres" such as electronics, sound, installation, performance, media- and time based-art, film, video, and robotics.  

Research Term Logistics:

In order to provide artists the necessary time to fully explore their projects, the Berwick has revamped its program to provide four artists or collaborative groups and one designer a 10-week stay at the Berwick.  During this period the artist is granted use of the Berwick's wood shop, a 10x12 studio space, access to our supply of tools and equipment, and assistance in securing material, technical and administrative support. Should the artist wish to present his or her research at the end of the AIR term, the Berwick administrative staff will assist in finding an appropriate venue for a closing event.  

The Significance of the Berwick's Artist in Research Program:

The AIR program focuses on the process of art making rather than on the completion of a finished piece providing artists with a rare freedom to simply create.

The residency stipend helps ease financial burdens and offers burgeoning artists essential validation and encouragement.
The program's emphasis on community and peer input offers emerging artists a valuable testing ground for new ideas as well as an active audience.  The Berwick hopes to develop its outreach to bring more people into the AIR studios, helping to build a sense of participation among artists and non-artists.
This program is geared to artists in the crucial period at the beginning of their career, when critical support is most needed, and opportunities may be in short supply.
As well as providing a temporary space for Artists in Research, the program effectively subsidizes permanent studios of three local Boston artists who share the communal space.  The challenges of finding affordable studio space for non-commercial artists in Boston are infamous.  
The inner-city location of the Berwick studios provides artists with an urban environment unique among residency opportunities.  For artists whose work engages community, social, class and race issues, this is a prime location for furthering their development.  Artists in Research are encouraged to form relationships and enter into an equal exchange with the Roxbury community through their work.  

Current goals:

The Berwick Research Institute currently seeks to build a panel of artists and curators from the Boston area who will jury the first round applicants from an open call.  This measure will simultaneously open the residency to a wider range of artists, lend a new level of prestige to the program and to the awards given to artists, and help artists develop important relationships with key leaders in the Boston art community.  The Berwick also hopes to build a strong Board of Trustees comprised of key community members from business, city government and other contemporary arts organizations who will help build the institutional strength of the organization.  The Berwick seeks growth of its fiscal capabilities and its relationships with the community that will allow it to continue to provide a quality residence program, as well as re-open a venue for experimental contemporary visual and performing arts for Boston.

For further information please contact:
Meg Rotzel, Director of the Berwick Research Institute
14 Palmer Street
PO Box 190087
Roxbury, MA  02119
meg@berwickinstitute.org or visit www.berwickinstitute.org