WPKN Archives: Live Culture- Episode 13

Episode Info

Live Culture

Original Aired:
Saturday, March 26th, 2016
11:00AM to 12:00PM

1 hour

Saturday, March 26th, 2016 11:00AM

robyn art culture shapiro mohamad hafez lowline liveculture marthawillettelewis realartways


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Episode: Live Culture- Episode 13

This month’s guests are artist Mohamad Hafez who has an exhibit at Real Art Ways, Hartford, and Robyn Shapiro, deputy director of the Lowline, a project taking place in Manhattan to create the world’s first underground park.

We begin in conversation with Mohamad Hafez, whose exhibit Desperate Cargo opened at Real Art Ways in Hartford on March 17th. Syrians worldwide continue to struggle to comprehend the recent aftermath of the Arab spring and its impact on their home country. What initially began as a Syrian uprising against injustice, tyranny, and marginalization of the country’s populace is now resulting in the largest humanitarian crisis of the 21st Century.

An artist and architect, Hafez was born in Damascus, raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and educated in the United States. Hafez’s art reflects the political turmoil in the Middle East through the compilation of found objects, paint and scrap metal. Using his architectural skills, Hafez creates political microcosms of life in this fraught environment. Desperate Cargo is a multimedia installation that incorporates a life raft, miniature elements, and photography, focussing on the war and the current refugee crisis facing us all now.

Desperate Cargo is on view until April 24th at Real Art Ways Hartford,to find out more:

visit Mohamad's website here: http://www.mohamadhafez.com/

The charity organization Aid All Syrians here: http://www.aidallsyrians.org/

During the second half of the show, Martha will be in discussion with Robyn Shapiro, deputy director of The Lowline - the world’s first underground park, slated to open in 2020, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We will discuss the technology, artistry, and challenges that are involved in such a massive undertaking and why this could be a model for other such projects globally. Robyn oversees many of The Lowline’s core activities, from community engagement to strategic projects, including The Young Designers Program, which focuses on solar power projects with students.

The Lowline proposes innovative solar technology to illuminate the historic Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, just below Delancey Street. The site was opened in 1908 but has been unused since 1948 when trolley service was discontinued. Despite six decades of neglect, the space still retains remnant cobblestones, crisscrossing rail tracks and vaulted ceilings. It is also directly adjacent to the existing JMZ subway track at the Essex Street subway stop– so park visitors and subway riders would interact daily. This hidden historic site is located in one of the least green areas of New York City— presenting a unique opportunity to reclaim unused space for public good.

Designed by James Ramsey of Raad Studio, the proposed solar technology involves the creation of a “remote skylight.” In this approach, sunlight passes through a glass shield above the parabolic collector, and is reflected and gathered at one focal point, and directed underground. Sunlight is transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish underground, transmitting that sunlight into the space. This technology would transmit the necessary wavelengths of light to support photosynthesis, enabling plants and trees to grow. During periods of sunlight, electricity would not be necessary to light the space.

Currently The Lowline Lab is open -- a free community gathering space that displays cutting-edge solar technology and serves as a laboratory for lighting and horticulture experiments. The Lab also features cultural and community events. By 2020, The Lowline aims to have completed negotiations with the MTA and the City to build and operate the underground park.

Visitors may visit The Lowline Lab during the weekends, until 2017:  http://www.thelowline.org/get-involved/lowline-lab/

Show: Live Culture

Live Culture is a discussion of ideas in and around contemporary art, with monthly themes and guests. Join host Martha Willette Lewis on the last Saturday of every month from 11am - 12 noon for an engrossing hour of talk and music.

Listen to PODCASTS of the show on the PKN Soundcloud LIVE CULTURE playlist here!

SUBSCRIBE HERE for  monthly information about the forthcoming episode.

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