images: Stephen Zacks, Yoshihiro Sergel
Situated on a large vacant lot in the heart of Newburgh's historic downtown, CHARGER was a beautiful and collaborative disposition of endurance by Newburgh’s student-athletes. The audience was invited to watch the runners take their marks within a snaking network of sprinklers set in the empty field. This staging of CHARGER by artist Stephen Kwok marks the first time the performance was situated in a public setting and with local athletes. Active lifestyle brand Outdoor Voices graciously sponsored the event by providing wardrobe for the athletes. The event was free and open to the public.
“In Charger, a group of runners are crouched in a starting block positions within a field of sprinklers. As the sprinklers mechanically spray water, the runners become soaked, but never break from their positions. They maintain their pose of anticipation. Within this elongated moment, Charger flickers between preparation and exhaustion, pleasure and labor, violence and care.” - Stephen Kwok
The Newburgh Community Land Bank (NCLB) is a local non-profit whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Newburgh by stabilizing and revitalizing abandoned properties. Through the Artist-In-Vacancy pilot, NCLB opens properties as temporary platforms for creative interventions.
Laura Genes is one of the 2017 NCLB artist in vacancy and a Masters of Science candidate in Art, Culture and Technology at MIT. As a Priscilla King Gray Public Service Fellow she is currently living and working in Newburgh to support the Artist in Vacancy program as an organizer, co-curator and artist. Working through curation, performance and sculpture, her recent projects tackle the question of how to to re-activate forms of citizenship that are not as accessible or attainable on a larger scale.
Stephen Kwok creates situations in which contradictions between a site and the activity within it may emerge. His work has been exhibited at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, The Center for Performance Research, American Medium, Julius Caesar, The Chicago Cultural Center, The Gene Siskel Film Center, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The Ogden Museum, and the Lawndale Art Center in Houston. He was an artist-in-residence at Delfina Foundation in London and Chez Bushwick in Brooklyn. He is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Masters of Fine Arts program and is currently based in New York.
Newburgh Elite Track Team is composed of student-athletes from local public high school, Newburgh Free Academy that train together during year-round under the guidance Coach, Malcolm Burks. The runners makeup one of the country’s premier sprint relay teams and consistently compete at the national level.
Outdoor Voices has graciously sponsored the event by providing wardrobe. Outdoor Voices is an active lifestyle brand that makes well fit clothes for sweating in. Founded on the belief that exercise doesn’t have to be defined by performance, our mission is to inspire activity for fun through all jogs of life. Outdoor Voices has offices in New York, NY and Austin, TX, and a growing community of Recreationalists nationwide.