Presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces.

Arielle Falk’s “DE-INHIBITIONATORS” will inhabit at Union Square this Thursday

This Thursday, you should check out “DE-INHIBITIONATORS” presented by one of Art in Odd Places’ recent artist, Arielle Falk:

Thursday, April 21, 2011*
10 am – 12 pm
Union Square Park (South End)
14th St. btw/ University & Park Pl., NYC
*rain date: Thursday, April 28

We recently caught up with Arielle to know more about her current project.


Aiop: How’s everything since we featured you in our blog last year?
AF: Good, thanks for asking. I’ve mostly been busy working on this project, which I am thrilled to finally present.

Aiop: Why call the your recent project “DE-INHIBITIONATORS”?
AF: The sculptural structures in which the performers will be moving are called DE-INHIBITIONATORS. I titled them that because not only do they rid their inhabitants of any kind of self-conscious inhibition caused by awareness of being observed by The Other, but also, and more importantly, the idea is that our cultural practice of constructing our identities through consumption, in all its various guises, literally inhibits us both personally and societally. The structures temporarily remove all elements of one’s identity, thus freeing them from this particular mind-state that has permeated our brains, becoming almost second nature to most of us. What happens when we remove our clothes, shoes, bag, hair-styles, tattoos, ipods and other possessions – all the things that make up our personal brand? What I imagine is a sort of release, and that is what this project is about.

Aiop: How did you get started with the project?
AF: DE-INHIBITIONATORS grew out of a few previous projects, in particular, a series of sculptures entitled SUNGLASSES FOR THE FACE, which also explored some of the same themes (identity, commodification of the self, privacy, etc…) and a performance entitled THE CROSSING which was a lot about random, non-choreographed movement and the concept of personal space. I was fortunate to receive a grant from Franklin Furnace (, which made this project possible.

Aiop: Is there a specific reason why you chose to do the project during a weekday morning?
AF: I chose a weekday morning because I want to avoid major crowds (Farmer’s Market doesn’t set up on Thursdays) so that the performers within the structures could move about with more ease and have more of the run of the park. I also wanted to catch the commuters, who by also moving through Union Square, will become part of this random dance in a way. The whole thing is more about being seen by members of the general public as they make their way to their next destination as opposed to people actually consciously choosing to attend and watch my event, on for instance, a Saturday afternoon.

Aiop: What should people in Union Square today expect from your project?
AF: To see something different, unexpected and hopefully more attractive and thought-provoking than the usual scenery: DSW, Best Buy, Diesel, Forever 21, and now, a la Times Square, even a TGI Fridays!

Thank you Arielle and we are very excited about your current project.

Information about “DE-INHIBITIONATORS” can be found below. We hope to see you there!

DE-INHIBITIONATORS is a large-scale public performance art piece by artist and 2010-2011 Franklin Furnace Fundwinner Arielle Falk. Performers will inhabit 6 differently colored and sized upright, rectangular, wheeled, wooden structures/sculptures, or DE-INHIBITIONATORS, and walk them around during the day in Union Square Park. The structures will cover the occupants from head to toe yet still allow them to see (through special privacy screens) and move about, experiencing the surrounding public space privately and anonymously, free from binding elements such as the ego, the physical self, and the gaze of the other, while creating a random dance of these unexpected sculptures in the park/cityscape.
The goal of this project is to provoke reflection on the consumer driven nature of our culture. DE-INHIBITIONATORS is a response to the prevailing ideology that instructs us that to live is to acquire and that modern identity – the Curated Self – is almost entirely assembled through the act of consumption. By reducing the identity of the inhabitant to that of an anonymous, genderless entity, devoid of any indicator of class or status, these structures playfully allude to a state of mind in which all are equal and force us to consider the ways in which our excessive consumer habits numb and inhibit us on both an individual and societal level. It is Falk’s hope that DE-INHIBITIONATORS will inspire viewers to look past their own carefully assembled identities, past the commodification of the self (via shopping, Facebook etc.) and to refocus on thinking about more authentic kinds of community for the 21st century.
Interactive on many levels, DE-INHIBITIONATORS requires participation from not only the volunteers occupying the structures, but also the passersby, the general public, who by moving through the park alongside the gliding sculptures will become both audience and part of the performance. The physical landscape of Union Square, a park as well as a major shopping destination, is also a vital interactive component both conceptually and visually. By freeing their inhabitants from their constructed identities, as well as by simply existing as a free public art piece, the DE-INHIBITIONATORS will actively challenge the surrounding consumerist environment, while at the same time, their colors and shapes will constantly interact with those of the natural and man made landscape.
Arielle Falk, born 1983 in Washington DC, is a Brooklyn-based artist working in video, performance, and sculpture. She received her BA from Eugene Lang College (NYC) in 2007 and has since exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues such as P.P.O.W Gallery, Envoy Enterprises, Cuchifritos, Movement Research at Judson Church, Art in Odd Places Pedestrian Festival, BolteLang (Zurich), Antimatter Underground Film Festival (Canada), EXiS Experimental Film & Video Festival (Korea) and Festival Miden (Greece). Her first solo exhibition, Lego My Ego, held last year at LZ Project Space in NYC’s Lower East Side, was named “Best in Show” by The Village Voice.
Franklin Furnace‘s mission is to present, preserve, interpret, proselytize and advocate on behalf of avant-garde art, especially forms that may be vulnerable due to institutional neglect, their ephemeral nature, or politically unpopular content. Franklin Furnace is dedicated to serving artists by providing both physical and virtual venues for the presentation of time-based visual art, including but not limited to artists’ books and periodicals, installation art, performance art, “variable media art”; and to undertake other activities related to these purposes. Franklin Furnace is committed to serving emerging artists; to assuming an aggressive pedagogical stance with regard to the value of avant-garde art to life; and to fostering artists’ zeal to broadcast ideas.
This performance was made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Major support of the Franklin Furnace Fund was provided in 2010-11 by the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation and Jerome Foundation.
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