Archive | 2012 Blog

Conflux Festival Begins Tomorrow!!

As a reminder, the Festival is happening this Saturday and Sunday! It is an all-day affair: 12-6pm both days, free and open to the public, with a reception from 6 to 8pm on Saturday.

The festival is chock full of discussions, events, off-site projects, video presentations and even more surprises. Check out the schedule page here  to make sure you don’t miss your favorite talks or events — even though we encourage you to attend all of them (we will)!

Definitely check our Twitter feed as Conflux Festival Co-Founder David Mandl will be live-tweeting from the center of it all. We’d love for you to tweet your experiences at the Festival as well — please use the hashtag #confluxfestival.

See you tomorrow at the NYU Barney Building (34 Stuyvesant Street, New York, NY) where all the magic starts at 12:45pm.

The Conflux Team

Off-Site Project: Signup Announcement! “Welfare Island Speculation Platform” by Alex Young

Only two days until Conflux 2012! Along with our jam-packed schedule of talks, workshops, and screenings – we are excited that a few artists have also decided to do projects in public space that coincide with Conflux.  Alex Young has decided to launch the Center for Utopian Socialist Studies Taxi Service and Academy during the Conflux Festival on Sunday, October 21st.  Read Young’s text below to find out how to reserve your seat!

Join the Welfare Island Speculation Platform (W.I.S.P) on Sunday, October 21st coinciding with the Conflux Festival 2012. The Welfare Island Speculation Platform is a mobile research facility in the form of a taxi circling Roosevelt Island (formerly known as Welfare Island) in the vicinity of the Coler-Goldwater medical center. The center is slated to be demolished to make way for the new Cornell NYC Tech campus; a flagship institution in the resurgent attempt to establish a viable technological sector in New York City.  Before the first girder is laid and before the first wrecking-ball is swung, the Center for Utopian Socialist Studies (C.U.S.S.) will pre-inaugurate the future site of this campus in the commons with the launch of the C.U.S.S. taxi service/academy.  Passengers will consider the state of the city from within- exploring inevitable change, both technical and social and addressing not what now is, but what will soon be.

Time: Sunday, October 21.  RSVP to reserve your spot in the taxi. To reserve your seat and receive the pickup location, email Select pickups will occur on Sunday at 9AM, NOON, 3PM, and 6PM near Queens Plaza in Long Island City. You can also seek out the C.U.S.S. taxi on Roosevelt Island throughout the day.  As seating is limited, locations for  pickups will be provided in a confirmation email.

For project background information and texts, check out the project’s website here:


What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate?

Right now I’m working on a few projects, but the immediate one is “Rec-elections” which are site-specific performances, which question Conservative Presidential advertising strategies, which weaponize nostalgia as a political tool of manipulation. In Conservative advertising you find a lot of references to the past, always with an eye looking back. I recently returned from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL where I appropriated their strategy by using historical campaign posters from past elections, such as from Romney’s father campaign when he ran in 1968. I performed in protest marches and rallies by utilizing the historical campaign posters and handing them out to fellow protesters. “Rec-elections” is similar to my project “Get Lost!” which will be part of Conflux in that they both utilize history as tool to question the present, and both open up a space to envision alternate possibilities.

What interests you in working in public space? What are some of the challenges you face making public work?

My interest in public space is that first and foremost it is “public”, something we all share, and have the ability to contribute to. Public space is more, and more becoming a contested site, and as a site of contention I find it something to question and push back against. And finally public space is a place we all have access to regardless of wealth, social status, race, religion, sex, etc. there are no social barriers which exclude an audience, I find this very appealing in making socially conscious work. As for challenges, I think the biggest challenge of working in public space is the variable of not knowing what can happen in public, you really can’t plan every aspect of a project in public space. I’ve come to embrace this variable of chance, and found that amazing things can happen that weren’t even thought of.

Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?

I was recently at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. It wan an intense week spent in a legalized police state. Protests and marches were allowed, but only during sanctioned times, and places, all of which were blocks away from the actual convention where the actual target audience was. It was a marginalizing experience. Not sure if it was great, but it was definitely an adventure.

Check out more here: @dabejar



Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?

For Iron Maiden Artist Tours this past spring, I worked with the artist Sean Fader to make the Guided Blind Dates tour. It was an incredible experience that began with a date with two gay men playing bocce in the lawn of a museum mansion in Pelham Bay Park at 10:00 am, and ended at midnight in Coney Island after taking the Cyclone on its 85th birthday with a straight couple. The logistics of planning seven dates for various combinations of seven people throughout the day and four boroughs were mind scrambling, but amazingly everything went pretty much according to plan. And several people went on second dates afterwards! That wasn’t even in the cards of our plans, so we were pretty pleased with that. This project has opened the city up to me in ways I could never have imagined. And I’ve worked with some great artists, too.

What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate?

I’m planning the 2013 spring season of Iron Maiden Artist Tours, which I hope to make more accessible to a broader range of audience. And I’m working on a performance in November in which this persona I’ve created—Naomi Miller, Public Intellectual—will be interviewed in front of an audience. A cast of four others and myself will rotate through the two roles (NM and interviewer), exploring how and who creates such a persona and showing how anyone can don one. I’ve found that any idea I work on eventually becomes something involving collaboration, asking others for input on some random idea that’s been in my head for a few years.

Anything else you’d like to share about your recent work or involvement in Conflux?

I was circumspect about showing documentation of Iron Maiden Artists Tours. It could be so easy to dismiss or not engage with a few photos and some text. So I thought I’d solve that by making the tour office and being the tour agent, exhorting visitors to learn more about the project, its artists, the tours, and experiences. And it’s super aligned with reality because I have to sell these tours every season and it’s a challenge!

Hear Naomi speak at the Conflux Festival on Sunday, October 21 at 2pm. She will also have a booth set up all weekend at the Festival Site to discuss her project further!


Check out more :, @hotfruitcompote

Off-Site Project: Gravity Ace On The Move

This project by LD and Ro Lawrence is going to be happening concurrently with the Festival this weekend — here’s a sneak peek! More information about how to participate in this off-site project is available at and will also be available during Ro Lawrence’s presentation at the Festival itself — 1:50pm on Saturday October 20th.

LD Lawrence + Ro Lawrence
Gravity Ace On The Move: Sign Transport Report Sequence
On Sunday Oct. 21 beginning at noon in various locations from Whitehall St, along the South Street Viaduct and the East River Bikeway to the South Street Seaport, inviting white shapes appear. Upon closer inspection people discover that they are not painted tags, but rather thin sheets held to the metal surfaces by magnetic attraction. The small QR code on the back of each piece directs to a webpage inviting anyone to move the shapes about, and encouraging people to transport them to a distant magnetic surface and send a geo-tagged photo to the project website.  Once every two months for one year the shapes will be renewed at the original installation site. In this way 7 generations of magnetic shapes will be launched into transport at this site during the year. Gravity Ace On The Move is the first collaborative project of sibling team Ld and Ro Lawrence, with a bit of help from NJ Lawrence, their 80-year-old mother, as these three artists find themselves together in their native New York for the first time in 50 years.