During his tenure as The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s first Visiting Artist, Obie Award-winning writer, director, and actor Ain Gordon devised the White Box Residencies. This project invited outside artists to creatively explore the Center’s physical space—the “white box,” as it were—and to interact with the Center in some way, then produce an artifact that lived on our website. The White Box Residencies saw three iterations: a movement-based inquiry by dancer and choreographer Tania Isaac (Pew Fellow, 2010); an overnight visit from visual artist Anthony Campuzano (Pew Fellow, 2009); and musical interludes with trombonist Dan Blacksberg (Pew Fellow, 2012) and historical musicologist David Gutkin.
From Ain Gordon:
As Visiting Artist at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, I was invited to think about, refract, annotate and augment the action and trajectory of the Center over the course of a year. I began with questions. The White Box Residencies were invented as one answer to several of those questions.
- If the “white box” at the core of the PCAH online logo is the virtual center of the Center, what is the real-time physical equivalent?
- Could we create that central space (virtual and real-time) in which both artists and Center staff might enter without preconceptions of product, relationship, or form?
- Could this open-form exchange yield an artist-authored artifact available to every Center website visitor?
The invitation: an artist of any discipline is invited to “reside” at the Center for five days (consecutive or not). This time has two parameters.
- Interact with the Center in real-time (in any form)
- Manifest something born of that interaction to live online (in any form)
Upon the artist’s request, I am available as go-between, guide, or trouble-shooter. Upon their request, I step away. The artist has access to Center staff, activity, and space (within mutually agreed reason). The artist can talk with anyone, move with anyone, watch anyone, document anyone.
Once the artist has completed the five days they have time to generate the residency’s online artifact.
Then the process repeats with a new artist.