Welcome to The Invisible City …

… a communal ritual of weekly art-making practices to re-imagine social spaces in an urban setting.  It is funded by the Tucson Pima Arts Council, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and individual donors.

The collaborative brainchild of Lisa Bowden and Kimi Eisele, The Invisible City is a site-specific artist laboratory in Downtown Tucson. A collaboration between NEW ARTiculations Dance Theatre and Kore Press, the project brings dancers, writers, visual artists, and musicians together for 4 weeks to create work that investigates public space through process-based explorations and performance.

As urban growth in Tucson has prioritized highways and tract housing development over central plazas, affordable live/workspaces, and desert landscape, public space has become increasingly decentralized, dehumanized, and “invisible.” Given the lack of literal pathways for human contact and communication in the current downtown area, The Invisible City asks women artists to imagine what a more humanist city might look like and how it might function.

Our work will focus on variety of urban environments, with particular focus on the “unseen,” “forgotten,” “overlooked,” or “ignored”—i.e., vacant lots, alleyways, civic interior spaces, official and non-official plazas, and others. Using our respective mediums–text, movement, visual art, film, photography, sound—we will work collectively to respond to, interpret, and posit new “human architectures” for these spaces.

The Invisible City is also a response to an ongoing “studio space crisis” in the changing downtown landscape. We hope our work will contribute to current city- and county-wide conversations about the role of arts and culture in creating economic growth and regional identity.

Some central questions the project poses:

1. What kind of city is this? How does it breathe? What’s missing here? What’s fully present? Where is it alive? Where is resuscitation in order?

2. What are the ways in which language/text, movement, and sound can interact as artforms? How do other genres challenge and enhance our own?

3. How do constraints (time, space, other) influence artistic innovation?

4. What alternative perspectives can women artists in collaboration offer a multicultural city in flux?

5. What can cross-genre artistic practices offer a community as a model for creative diplomacy in action?

6. How might a transparent artistic process and time-based performance influence how public space is experienced or perceived, especially contested space?

7. How will ephemeral processes and time-based performances be best documented as a publication?


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