Inside, the Future + Cocoon Project


Image caption.

The following text is a reflection from Sherry Aliberti following a Spread Art
residency in Detroit supporting the Cocoon Project.

The Cocoon Project came from Brooklyn to Detroit for a one-week residency with Spread Art. The project coincided with Detroit Design Festival and Dlectricity. As an architect and performance artist, it felt like that week would fit well.

Inside the stretchy fabric of a hand-crafted Cocoon, performers use gestures, poses and noises to express ideas about form and movement in space and memory. Performances interact with projected video, live music and the audience. Influenced by Martha Graham and Ernesto Neto, a fabric enclosure provides freedom for the performer to become a morphing sculpture. Structurally, these postures represent a scale model of an architecture and materiality based on the forces of the body.

Christina and Thomas of Spread Art had moved to Brooklyn (from Seattle) two weeks before me in 2003, and yet I had never crossed paths with them directly. They moved to Detroit in January 2012, right around the time I started to really explore the performance art scene in Bushwick. It wasn't until the summer of 2013 that we connected.

In the first few months after we were introduced, it was a whirlwind exchange of ideas and past work. A lot of what the Cocoon Project represents aligns with Spread Art's goals, especially an enthusiasm for open collaboration. It was clear that the community of artists that Spread Art had met in Detroit was full of exceptional talent and positive energy.

I was unable to travel to Detroit in 2013, but Cocoons are small and easily transportable, allowing them to perform even in my absence. In the right circumstances, they can arrive by mail. In 2013, several Cocoons explored Detroit without me. First at the Clark Park Summer Festival, when they were introduced to Jake Hooker and Sherrine Azab of A Host of People; Ryan Myers-Johnson, dancer, choreographer, and founder of Sidewalk Festival of the Performing Arts and Jessica Williams, who, at the time, was working with the Heidelberg Project.

My remote collaboration with Spread Art continued with Cocoon Media Scape, a one-day performance art collaborative residency that Spread Art curated into the 2013 Governors Island Art Fair in NYC. Then in October 2013, Cocoons participated in the Creative [video] Incubator, part of a Spread Art @detroit contemporary series. In June 2014, several Detroit artists came to Brooklyn as part of Transient ID, including a Cocoon performance.

Spread Art worked closely with me to craft a proposal for Detroit Design Festival, and with DDF support I was able to provide a small stipend to my Detroit collaborators for our performance-installation Inside, the Future, which took place during Eastern Market After Dark. We also “ambushed” Dlectricity, performed at the unofficial Dlectricity After Party at the Lincoln Street Art Park and, during the day presented spontaneous performances at Roosevelt Park, the Packard Plant and Hart Plaza.

I left with a phenomenal impression of Detroit that I am excited to revisit: a beautiful, energetic and thriving artist community that is active and immersive, open and creative.  I look forward to future collaborations!

- Sherry Aliberti

Spread Art is a “by artists, for artists” nonprofit presenting work across all disciplines, with a focus on contemporary art that pushes creative boundaries, incorporates technology, invites public participation, and/or explores immediately-relevant social themes. Spread Art has a residency program which supports local, national, and international artists, providing housing, work space, exhibition opportunities, and more. Residencies vary from one week to two months or longer, and foster collaboration with local artists and other community members.
Spread Art and the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID) recently partnered to enable ongoing support for the arts and culture programs at detroit contemporary (a division of CAID) in which Spread Art plans and administers the programing. The program, Spread Art @detroit contemporary, began in September 2013 and currently offers a multi-use rehearsal and exhibition space, artist studios, residency program, outdoor performance space and community garden.

Inside, the future (Detroit Design Festival) + additional Detroit performances
Collaborators included: Kristi Faulkner, Ryan Myers-Johnson, Rachael Harbert, Matthew Daher, Christina deRoos, Alexander Weyer, Thomas Bell, James Cornish, Abby Alwin and Shua Group.

Inside, the future (Brooklyn)
Collaborators included: James Cornish, Billy Mark, Christina deRoos, Laura Paris, Thomas Bell, Amber Brien, Geraldo Mercado, Devlin Goldberg, Winnie Wong, Dave Sungarian, Justin Francos, Nick Detar-Koch and Claribel Jolie Pichardo.

Creative [video] Incubator (Detroit)
Collaborators included Christina deRoos, Shannon Lee, Monte Martinez, Alexander Weyer, Jen Wang, Goran Butorac, Michaela Mosher, and Ginny Martin. Musicians and performers included Thomas Bell, Valerie Kuehne, Jeff Young, Alex Cohen, Billy Mark, Matthew Daher and James Cornish.

Cocoon Media Scape (NYC)
Collaborators included: Geraldo Mercado, Lorraine D. Glover, Devlin Goldberg, Wild Torus, Rob Cerrato, PAS Musique, Gregory Paul, Brandstifter, Remote Control Tomato (Christina deRoos & Thomas Bell) and Hiroshi Shafer.

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a journal of art + culture(s)  
link - issue 11: November 2014