Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mary Mazzer

Meet Mary Mazzer!

Mary moved in over thanksgiving and will stay and softbox until March. She just finished her MFA in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio.

It was a two-for-one...she brought Cool Papa Bell with her, a Lab/Great Dane mix that dismembers stuffed squirrels and leaves their body parts around the place.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Girls' weekend

Softbox was a full house, hosting Sarah Sutton and Mary Colan from Cleveland, along with another Ohio buddy and new softbox guest Mary Mazzer (post coming soon). They came to town for a Julie Langsam opening at Frederieke Taylor and a little birthday mayhem for Sarah. There were some heated and manic art convos (involving heavy YouTubage and flash drives) and a capacity test of the water heater.

Mary took these nice tricolor skyline shots:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lidy's thoughts

Performance from Oracle, by Lidy Six. This was a gathering led by a shaman on the dutch island Terschelling.

Lidy was the first guest to Softbox (see post "New Guest: Lidy Six"). This is part of an email from her about her thoughts about the space and her own work.

"...First things that crossed my mind:
Your space relates a lot to my work of the last years, specifically my series ‘Oracles’ in seven parts. In several parts the whole space was white with the audience on white cushions. In part 3 I had a dream interpreter as guest. I was laying down in bed with her, in a large bed for two persons in the middle of the space, the audience around on cushions. For one and a half month every morning I wrote down my dreams of the night. During the performance I told her some of that dreams and she worked with me and the dreams, it was a journey into a dream world with the audience involved. Everything was white, also the bed and sheets and her and my nightclothes, white because of the dream world, it has something diffused, volatile, another dimension. The light had an important role too.And in part 7 we asked also the audience to come in white. That part was about the power of sound and color, I showed you some images on DVD. Here we traveled through seven colors via light and sound. With this part I was very busy during my stay in NY. Last Friday I had a meeting with a new lighting designer for developing further ‘Oracles#7’. I told her about my stay in NY and about your space too (I couldn’t show photo’s, will do that later). She said that she could imagine that it would be nice to work with light in your space for some days, to explore things, also with your rooms on wheels. She is a very good lighting designer, is also writing about light, for example a very good article about the work of James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson.

After leaving and thinking of your space for example the idea fell in that it could be nice to sit a whole day in your space, on white cushions, without talking, in silence and experience the light, all the transitions in light during the day. Starting in the dark in the morning up until the darkness in the evening, from before dawn till after sunset. Writing this now, I become consciousness that it has to do with the sky-scape of Turrell in PS1. I could imagine to do this on a clear winterday, I think that gives beautiful light. And invite people, ‘audience’ for this experience. I remember that you told me that during the day there are sometimes different colors in the space. I would love to experience that..."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Open House press

Kyla Calvert wrote about Softbox after interviewing me before the open house. She is covering the neighborhood on her blog (scroll down to Thursday, October 2, if you can make it past the post titled "Rikers Island guard made me fight thug, ex-inmate").

The open house was also reported in Queens Chronicle by Paul Leonard, see article here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Chen Tamir from Flux factory (and curator of Living Room) is the most recent guest at Softbox. She's unfortunately a double refugee at the moment, coordinating the clean-sweep of Flux Factory (lost to eminent domain!) and from her own domicile. I think some fluxers are stuffing envelopes at Softbox this week for their benefit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Election Night Party

Wanna come over and dare to dream?
Election Night party:
Nov. 4th, 5:30pm until it is over (that's right, see above, dare to dream!)
I'll have my TV, NPR, and internet to help the baited breath.
Maybe even an interactive color-me-in-map!

Please RSVP

Apply to Softbox

Interested in coming to Softbox as a resident? See information below!

1: Description of Program

Short term subsidized residency, 1-3 months, live/work warehouse space with option for hosting an event.

2: What supports/services are provided as part of the program? i.e. housing, studio space, food, stipend, etc..

Subsidized live/work opportunity at below market rental price. Opportunity to stage a small-scale event or performance in the space, possibilities include music or theater performance, film/video screening, relational projects.

Basic sculpture tools available: table saw, chop saw, hand tools. Private studio plus option to build larger site-specific work in space.

Information about events and resources provided by host as needed, access to host’s contact list for promotion.

3: What disciplines is the residency for? Visual Arts, music, architecture...

Unlimited, but there are restrictions on the use of space in terms of lighting, audience size, harsh chemicals and noise levels.

4: Who is eligible to apply?

Emerging or established artist, international welcome. This opportunity is ideal for an artist who is coming to New York to work on a project/performance, to research project possibilities and network, or relocating to New York and needing a short term place to live, work, and present projects.

5: Application procedure and Materials

Email application in prose form describing yourself, statement of need, proposal for use, time frame, web link to previous work and/or attached images, and 1 professional references available by phone. Feel free to attach CV or press.

Email or phone interview to follow initial review.

Applications accepted on a rolling basis, length of stay dependent on needs and availability.

contact: Jo Q. Nelson, softbox "at"


I had my "Monument and Social Sculpture" class over to the place. It was a helpful critique, gave me a lot to think about and helped to synthesize what I was doing with past and future work. I'm looking forward to making some smaller scale pieces (literally and in scope) playing with ideas of public vs. private space, a proto-institution, and collective vs. individual authorship.

The crit in a circle moved over to a little impromptu lecture hall for our prof Paul Ramirez-Jonas to lecture about artists working in the
Public Sphere as defined Habermas and examples of contemporary artists working with institutional critique through creation of alternatives, infiltration, and rejection. We also watched a
documentary of Thomas Hirschorn's Musee Pracaire Albinet

Sunday, October 5, 2008

New Living Room

A visitor at open house suggested I approach IKEA as a corporate sponsor. Softbox is dangerously close to being one complete IKEA Hacker project, more found and adapted than bought IKEA goodies.

My friends at Mango Leaf let me borrow some great bamboo pieces that really accent the space and bring some much needed organic textures.

Open house

The open house was a success. It was great to hear reactions and ideas from visitors, including 2 tour groups led by the Living Room curator, Chen. It feels like a big shift to talk about the project as actual, not theoretical, as physical rather than virtual.

One great thought posed by a sometimes boss Daniel Smith of Disign LLC: What is the principal "unit"? Are the pods subservient rooms within the overall space "unit," or are the pods the "units" and the space the "landscape."

Hosting came up over and over again as the overarching concept, explaining both the design and the program.

Panorama view of Softbox, all dressed up for Open House.

Setup for sweet corn from the Sunnyside farmer's market.

Visitors exploring guest pod.

Pod, day and night

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New guest! Lidy Six

Lidy is an acquaintance of an acquaintance staying with me for a couple of weeks. She is a theatre director from Holland in town to research for a potential project here. She had a production called Tower of Babel at PS 122 in 2006.

I had some fun Merle Ukeles moments getting the room ready, taking maintenance and into process and performance. Hostess with the mostest.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Guest Pod

Got the guest pod geared up for my first visitor, Lidy Six, from Holland.

Pod progress!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Garden

They were having a sale at my local florist on their starter plants, so I got some new friends. I got a bunch of cute peppers, I hope they can deal with diffused light plus my DIY grow lights.

My good friend Marion Cowings, jazz singer extrodinaire and experienced urban gardener said "...well, you only know a plant after you've killed it four times..."

1st pod

Rounding the bend on the first pod. It looks so purty and naked.

The wall panels are coroplast corrugated plastic, 4mm thick.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pod construction! Finally!

Got started on the first pod floor today. Super psyched. The corner/caster placement engineering has been a challenge. I got a professional advice from Joe Petrilla, a carpenter and cabinet maker I met on a freelance gig with
Disign LLC.

This is my super nerdy jig for making the corner braces/caster supports.

Construction and reorganization

My awesome neighbor Jae (AKA my favorite Shelty Momo's dad!) lent me his table saw which is making quick work of my projects, like...

...revamping some shipping cartons from Vietnam into a rolly, double cabinet.

Out of sight, out of mind. I'm generally streamlining material stuff around the space, this sure helps keep up appearances!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Floor circles

Here's the plan for the new paint job. Oil based this time, will be fumey but a helluva lot more durable. My friend Tilman recommended an equal surface are for the big circle and remaining white, a proposition made possible by the awesome SketchUp!

I premarked the circles the old fashioned way, a nail, some string, and a sharpie! There will be a small circle around the column around the benches, a medium circle accentuating the stage and a large one off center in the middle.