Presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces.

AiOP 2014: FREE Sneak Peek! Maria Builes “Loisaida”

Artist: Maria Builes


Tittle of Project: Loisaida


Loisaida. Image courtesy of artist.

What does “FREE” mean to you?

In my experience, there are very few things that are actually free. Usually to get something that is free one must go through some kind of struggle in order to obtain it, such as waiting in line or settling for a product that is of lesser quality.  These realities often taint what it means to receive something that is “free.”  In my performance, I parallel these issues when I offer free tostones. However, the process that it takes to make them is so time-consuming that participants are forced to decide if something free is worth their time and patience.

Why is 14th Street a compelling site for creative response?

14th street stretches from east to west and spans multiple neighborhood and experiences. The west side and the east side are contrasts, yet they unite in the middle at Union Square. Because AIOP is set on 14th Street, it allows for a vibrant and diverse audience.

What reactions are you hoping to draw from the public?

I hope that people who attend Loisaida are left to wonder what struggles those who immigrated to that neighborhood (and New York City overall) experienced, and can recognize the role that food plays in uniting and connecting immigrants to each other and to their cultures.

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