A few months ago, VCS faculty member Amy Wilson was invited to participate in Envision NY 2017, an online art project organized by the New York-based nonprofit organization More Art. Amy’s contribution consists of a series of sketchbook drawings that portray an imagined alternate bartering economy for the city.
Here’s a description of Envision NY 2017 from the project’s website:
More Art is pleased to announce the launch of Envision NY 2017, a web-based public art project prompting New York City artists to share their vision of the city’s future. This project is meant to organically grow over the course of the next two months, as new artists will join the conversation and new works will be uploaded.
Envision NY 2017 is an experiment in political expression at a time when institutional democracy is floundering. Created by New Yorkers for New Yorkers, this groundbreaking project at the confluence of art and politics aims to harness the power of social media and spur public debate on the key issues that will shape the city’s future.
As New Yorkers decide on the city’s incoming mayor, More Art has commissioned local artists and writers to create works addressing vital topics, including culture, security, education, housing, taxes, poverty and climate change. In line with our mission, artists were asked to focus on the human element at the core of these themes, thereby offering a new perspective on the issues that affect New Yorkers. Each project has been created specifically for the web and will be released between October 17th and December 31st 2013. Participating artists include Justin Blinder, Emil Choski, Coco Fusco, Steve Lambert, William Powhida, Bibi Seck, Federico Solmi and Amy Wilson.
The site also includes the following statement from Amy about her contribution:
I deeply believe in the power of the imagination and the intrinsic value in hoping for the impossible.
I am interested in how the acts of dreaming and wishing can be transformative, both to individuals and to society, as potentially revolutionary acts to build a city based more on individuals and personal relationships than corporations.
This series of sketchbook drawings embodies this belief and represents a vehicle to explore the utterly unrealistic and utopian.
I am envisioning two main bartering spaces to be created within Manhattan, as a way to counteract the growing corporate feel and lack of individualized character that I sense in the city. Also, as a way to build bridges among people who might not otherwise come together.
However, I am aware that my project is absurd and not at all the kind of thing that would ever happen in present day NYC.
You can see the rest of Amy’s drawings at Envision NY 2017.