Presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces.

AiOP 2017: SENSE- Thinker in Residence Blanka Amezkua’s thoughts from the first day


The AiOP 2017 festival, SENSE, has passed but that doesn’t mean we’re no longer thinking about it.  Each year, AiOP asked a few people to serve as Thinkers-in-Residence, to spend time on 14th Street and reflect on the artists, pedestrians, publics, and participation with the festival.  These Thinkers then respond in the form of writing, walking, image-making, and on-the-spot conversations with the public.  SENSE had a total of nine Thinkers and over the course of the next week or so their responses will be posted onto the AiOP blog so we may get a sense of their experiences and takeaways from this year’s festival.


Blanka Amezkua- Thoughts from the first day

I had never observed 14th Street with as much detail as I did today. Most times, the nonstop river of passerby’s makes it difficult to consider noticing the features which surround it. I took artist Alisha Wessler’s piece as my initial provocation. From her idea emerged a stream of thoughts…she led me to the former homes of well known artists such as Duchamp, Kline, Woody Guthrie, and E.E. Cummings…I felt a slight anxiety as I approached each building, hoping to find something outside that would remind me of their presence. But there was none. Yet undoubtedly, the memory in those numbers remains.

The numbers led me to mudras with Suran Song. I gestured finger movements and she defined their meanings. “Truthfulness” I made with my right hand and “Wisdom of self-reflection” with the left. She gave me a sticker with a quote by Gandhi.

I stayed in Union Square and discovered Justin Randolph Thompson’s project “Frisk Yo’ Whiskers”; I embraced the street based performance which celebrates the NYC legacy of Jazz, the piece included a marvelously wooden carved briefcase, which folded and produced sound exchanges with an amazing jazz trumpeter from New Jersey.

I took a couple of steps back making my way to the subway station and towards me came Chin Chih Yang, maneuvering a trash can and collecting any iota of discard found on his way, while caring a flat TV on his back displaying random internet images. I am familiar with Chin’s work and I often feel that out of all the artists I know; he has infinite ways of proclaiming our disregard for our environment in interesting ways, while turning his commentary into magical actions or pieces that will never be forgotten.

It was 8pm by now, the weather signaled the coming of autumn. Would it remain this time, I wondered…

Blanka Amezkua

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