Inside, the Future + 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.
Inside, the future (Detroit Design Festival) + additional Detroit performances
Inside, the future (Brooklyn)
Creative [video] Incubator (Detroit)