Awardee: Melanie Crean

Emerging Fields, 2016

Melanie Crean is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher based in New York. Both her teaching and artistic practice explore the relationship between speech, space and social structures of control. She works with new forms of moving image, narrative and performance to deconstruct contested sites and oppressive architectures. Crean is an Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design at The New School, teaching courses on emerging media, narrative, social engagement and visual culture. She previously directed the production studio at the arts non-profit Eyebeam; managed animation, motion capture and speech recognition teams at MTV Digital Television Lab; and produced documentaries in Nepal and India on the effects of women trafficking. Crean has received fellowships and commissions from Art in General, Performa 11, Rhizome, Creative Time, Franklin Furnace and No Longer Empty.

Project: Mirror / Echo / Tilt

Mirror / Echo / Tilt is a collaborative project between artists, educators and individuals affected by the justice system. Using magical realism as a framework, performative vignettes are translated through the body and recorded in vacant former institutions such as empty prisons and courthouses—to consider how individuals might assert agency in the reclamation of physical and psychic space. Taking the form of video, performance, text, archive and curriculum, the work envisions new language around the way we engage mass Incarceration and inserts counter narratives into the dominant media landscape, which commonly alienates and criminalizes black and brown bodies.