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Orbis Pictus - Play Well

Exhibition PLAY Orbis Pictus – Play Well. Opening Reception: Tuesday, June 26, 6:30PM – 8PM. Exhibition open through October 17, 2012.

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Featuring artists:
Michael Delia, Paul DeMarinis, Eleanor Dubinsky, Martin Janicek, Jaroslav Koran, Tom Kotik, Pavel Mrkus, Petr Nikl, Ondrej Pivec, Karel Ruzicka Jr., Ondrej Smeykal, Marianna Stranska

Series of site-specific installations in which artists and children will collaborate to create experiences in visuals, sound and motion. Over the course of sixteen weeks adults and children alike will come together to stage happenings - both freeform and through a series of events, workshops, and concerts that draw upon the instinctual play’s ability to spark imaginative growth and unite disparate individuals through non-verbal communication.

In Orbis Pictus - Play Well, the Gallery of the Czech Center New York will become an artistic workshop and sonic landscape, where through direct physical contact with the artworks participants will create a symphony of light and sound. Each work is interactive - and will only operate through interaction - with the goal of having multiple participants take cues from, and play off of one another.

As one example, visitors will be greeted by Marianna Stranska’s The Marble Slide, a large, tangled system of transparent tubes that envelops the gallery’s spiral staircase. Participants are encouraged to drop marbles into the work, which will react to a series of lights and mirrors arranged throughout the work to create a dazzling series of reflections and distortions, fulfilling a childhood dream of the artist.

Further along, Tom Kotik’s Crowd Control presents a large sculpture reminiscent of a ping-pong table featuring a ribbon speaker in the center with two pull handles protruding from either side. As viewers interface with the handles a recording of sounds from live sporting events emanating from the speaker become distorted, allowing the participants to control the sounds of the “crowd” by distorting the physical shape of the speaker. In so doing, children learn about the relationship of physicality to their perception of sound.

As a final example, Chair to be Strummed  by Michael Delia provides a large wooden “harp-chair” featuring a series of strings running along a back that doubles as a sound board. As one participant sits with their back against the soundboard, a second strums the strings, allowing the sitter to physically feel the reverberations of sound waves transmitting through their body, replicating a sensation one experiences when viewing a marching band or through loud bass speakers, yet in a more soothing, intimate fashion.

The exhibition will feature a robust schedule of events and workshops; all events are free and open to the public.



Tuesday, June 26  
6:30 pm – 8 pm Orbis Pictus – Play Well  opening Reception
8 pm- 10 pm   Solstice - a musical and visual jam session

Saturday, June 30
3 pm – 5 pm   Sound and Shadow Play I - a workshop for all ages where participants will collaborate with audio and lighting installations to create an interplay of shadows and sounds. Featuring artists Michael Delia, Jaroslav Koran, Peter Nikl and Ondrej Smeykal.

Saturday, July 28
3 pm – 5 pm   Sound and Shadow Play II – a workshop for all ages where participants will collaborate with audio and lighting installations to create an interplay of shadows and sounds. Featuring artists Michael Delia and Peter Nikl with additional artists TBD.
8 pm – 10pm  Dance of Shadows – A musical and visual improvisational performance

Saturday, September 15   
3 pm – 5 pm   Journey through Sounds – a workshop for all ages that tells the story of the development of musical instruments from its most basic essence (using the body to create music) to primitive instruments and on to classical and electronic music. Journey through Sounds is a part of the Moving Sounds Festival (www.argentomusic.org)

Saturday, September 22   
3pm – 5pm  Perception and Imagination - The New York City-based singer-songwriter Eleanor Dubinsky will teach adults and children a musical workshop on the relationship between music and visual art.
8pm – 10pm  Malý velký svět (Small Big World):  A Concert Beyond Borders

Orbis Pictus - Play Well is organized in conjunction with the exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000, curated by Juliet Kinchin, which will take place at The Museum of Modern Art in New York from July 29, 2012 through November 5, 2012.