Joyce & Castaneda Partner up to Premiere Mechanica at GARNER Arts Center’s 2017 Brick Alley Block Party

Brick Alley Block Party: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm with premier virtual reality performance of Mechanica by Molly Joyce & Leo Castaneda

GARNERVILLE, NY – August 7, 2017 – GARNER Arts Center opens its 2017 – 2018 Season with an evening of virtual reality performance, site specific dance, body painting, food and drink spread throughout three connecting industrial spaces and culminating in a sundown DJ set in a 19th century alleyway. Brick Alley Block Party celebrates the opening of GARNER’s 2017 – 2018 Season and the one-year anniversary of the on-site craft brewery, Industrial Arts Brewing Company. At this year’s event, GARNER Arts Center welcomes the premiere of Mechanica, an exploration of GARNER Arts Center as told through a virtual world.

Mechanica is an evening-length work created in collaboration between composer/performer Molly Joyce* and visual artist Leo Castaneda*. Featuring projections of Castaneda’s virtual environments along with a live performance by Joyce on her vintage toy organ, the work will explore the deep yet perhaps ambiguous history and future of GARNER Arts Center that can leave much up to one’s imagination. Mechanica address GARNER Arts Center’s history as a textile mill, reflected in Castaneda’s virtual animations which fall between fashion and sculpture, questioning exactly what can be considered what and at what point do the facets of the textile mill become something to be preserved and relished rather than disregarded. Lasting around 30 minutes, the music will hint at GARNER Arts Center’s past while also alluding to its future, due to the out-of-tune, vintage quality of the organ sound coupled with the futuristic notions of the backing track. The work will be performed throughout the evening in GARNER Arts Center’s stunning 8,000 sq ft Dye Works Warehouse space. Performances will be alternating with complimentary projection art by Castaneda and site-specific dance installations by Hudson Valley Ballet Company.

In addition to the premiere of Mechanica, audiences will enjoy various art installations and performances in adjoining alcoves & alleyways, dine from local food trucks, taste local beer, wine, and hard cider and dance the night away in a starlit 19th century alleyway. GARNER Arts Center will continue to release names of other participating artists & performers in coming weeks. GARNER is located within the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center, aka “GARNER Historic District of New York”, which is comprised of twenty-eight 19th century buildings and a Creekside sculpture trail.

Tickets for Brick Alley Block Party are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors/students/military and available for sale at garnerartscenter.org or by phone at 845-947-7108.

Molly Joyce*: Active as a composer and performer, Joyce’s music has been described as “impassioned” (The Washington Post), written to “superb effect” (The Wire), and “vibrant, inventive music that communicates straight from the heart” (Prufrock’s Dilemma). Her works have been commissioned and performed by several distinguished ensembles including the New World Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the New Juilliard, Decoda, and Contemporaneous ensembles. Additionally, her work has been performed at the Bang on a Can Marathon and VisionIntoArt’s FERUS Festival, and featured in outlets such as Pitchfork, WNYC’s New Sounds, Q2 Music, I Care If You Listen, and The Log Journal. Past seasons have seen commissions from performers such as Avi Avital, Vicky Chow, Mike Truesdell, Present Music, and the Grand Valley State New Music Ensemble, among others. Additionally, Molly has received grants from New Music USA, the Jerome Fund / American Composers Forum, and has held residencies at ArtCenter/ South Florida and Willapa Bay AiR. She has studied at The Juilliard School, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and the Yale School of Music.

Leo Castaneda*: Leo Castaneda is an artist working in the intersection of virtual reality, gaming, performance and interactive sculpture. Castaneda’s work deploys and deconstructs the socio-economic, racial, mythological and post human anatomies embedded in the structure of video games. Castaneda received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2010, and in 2014 received his MFA at Hunter College. Residencies include SOMA Summer in Mexico City attended through the Cisneros Foundation (2014), and “Of Games III” at Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi India (2015). He has also attended a semester abroad in Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, and studied in New World School of the Arts in Miami. Castaneda’s work is an effort to turn the structures of video gaming into a lens for analyzing the world. “Levels”, “Bosses”, “Items”, “Continues”, “Extra Lives”, and much more are the words that dominate the world of virtual entertainment. These labeling systems delineate and provide hierarchies reminiscent of both ancient mythologies and corporate structures, while hi-lighting the arbitrariness of their boundaries and naming. Throughout the years, the work has escaped medium specificity too with works verging into sculpture, comics, performance and virtual reality itself. Encompassed within the same exhibition space, the medium mashup is bound by image and narrative though expressing it at different speeds. The medium becomes both the thing and the interpreter of a random mythology that finds purpose and then disintegrates it, only to gain it again, ideally through the viewer’s identification as protagonist, the most powerful quality of video-gaming and virtual reality.