"...circle through New York:" ISAW to Participate in a New Social Practice Art collaboration

By Rachel Herschman

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World has recently been invited to collaborate in a new Social Practice Art initiative established by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The program was founded to explore how artists can initiate projects that involve community participation as a way to foster new forms of public engagement. Pittsburgh-based interdisciplinary artists Jon Rubin and Lenka Clayton have been commissioned to design a project that brings together six different communities here in New York, of which ISAW will be one. The other parters include a local business, a school, a broadcast network, a major museum, and a church. 

A talking parrot, a high school drama class, a Punjabi TV show, a museum artwork, a congregation’s call to action, and the oldest song in the world will circle through New York in 30 unique collaborations staged throughout the city. Encouraging moments of mutual cooperation, . . . circle through New York creates connections between sites that are usually separated by cultural, economic, geographic, personal, or circumstantial boundaries. Every collaboration will challenge each partner site to repeatedly accept and care for the others’ value systems, public functions, or social character within its own routines.

Representing an interpretation of the oldest known example of musical notation in the world, ISAW will share its expertise in ancient Near Eastern music with these groups, helping them to present a Hurrian hymn in a way that relates to their communities. We are excited to welcome our partners here and to share their projects and contributions with the ISAW community. Please watch our website, Facebook page, and Instagram feed for updates beginning in March!