Award 2017, New York

The Visible award concluded its fourth biennial Temporary Parliament at the Queens Museum on Saturday, December 2, 2017. The public jury session comprised artists, experts, and members of the general public from a multitude of backgrounds. After a day of deliberating the nine shortlisted art projects the parliament selected via an open vote the grassroots artist collective from Puerto Rico Brigada Puerta de Tierra as the recipient of the 2017 Visible award

The artist collective Brigada Puerta de Tierra (BPDT) has been founded in 2015 by Luis Agosto-Leduc and Jesús ‘Bubu’ Negrón’s and is located in a neighborhood on the periphery of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. Although Puerta de Tierra is historically and strategically important to the island, the neighborhood suffers from an aging population, lack of ownership, and a disenfranchised young working class that fights to stay in their community despite an inequitable real estate market. Brigada Puerta de Tierra is formed by children and young community members, centering its activities on the preservation and well-being of the neighborhood, its history, and its people. The collective uses art as a tool to challenge top-down standard urban development practices and operates through four key concepts: self-management, consciousness-raising, strategic planning, and collective decision-making. For the past two years, Brigada Puerta de Tierra has succeeded in an outreach community campaign with the slogan ‘Aqui vive gente!,’ engaging residents and raising awareness on the role that youth empowerment can play in flourishing a sustainable and inclusive community-centered development. This campaign frames the artists’ development theory and creative problem-solving approaches. As a result, BPDT has succeeded in negotiations between the San Juan Municipality and the Puerta de Tierra community for the acquisition of two abandoned buildings to be developed into community-driven Social Centres.

“The assembly appreciated such a strong mix of artistic visions and urban strategies operating in a beautiful, intergenerational way. The skills developed within a project of civic self-organization have been assessed as an incredible and exemplary force to resist and fight urban gentrification and the exploitation of local resources. The powerful and yet simple campaign ‘Aqui vive gente!’ shows the potential of a community when it becomes a
political constituency and strive against new and old colonizing subjects,” said Matteo Lucchetti and Judith Wielander, Visible project chief-curators.

The other nine projects which have been shortlisted from a list of 60, nominated by the 2017 Visible advisory board are: The School of Engaged Art by Chto Delat (Saint Petersburg, Russia), proposed by Martina Angelotti;  Hunger, Inc. by Elia Nurvista (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), proposed by Tang Fu Kuen; Sakiya – Art/Science/Agriculture by Nida Sinnokrot (Ramallah, Palestine), proposed by Nat Muller; The Reading Room by Narawan Kyo Pathomvat (Bangkok, Thailand), proposed by Simon Soon and Tang Fu Kuen; Inhabitants by Pedro Neves Marques and Mariana Silva (New York, USA), proposed by Margarida Mendes; Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise by Renzo Martens (Former Unilever Palm Oil Plantation, Lusanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo), proposed by Victoria Ivanova; Social Botany, Land and Turf by Xu Tan, (New York, US; Shenzhen, China), proposed by Xiaoyu Weng; IsumaTV by Zacharias Kunuk (Igloolik Hamlet, North Baffin Island, Canadian Arctic Archipelago), proposed by Candice Hopkins.

Visible’s approach has been unique from the outset for piloting the public jury format at the 2013 Award at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Subsequently, in 2015, the Award was organized in collaboration with Tate Liverpool at the Liverpool City Council, where the notion of a Temporary Parliament was inaugurated. The public’s engagement in the assessment and voting on the art projects transformed the Award into an occasion for collective learning and the expansion of the discourse instigated by and around the projects.

The Queens Museum has a long-standing commitment to socially engaged art, and it’s New York City Building was the location of early meetings of the United Nations from 1946-50, making it ideally suited to host Visible’s Temporary Parliament. This history was influential in determining the Queens Museum as a partner and will impact the design of the physical space of the Parliament which is being led by London based design studio The Decorators.

To know more about the 2017 Visible award recipient, Brigada Puerta de Tierra, read here.

To know more about the 2017 Visible Award Temporary parliament, Please download the 2017 Temporary parliament booklet.