Wednesday, June 1, 2011

City Sanatorium

New exhibits "Sanatorium" and "Stillspotting" from the curators of the Guggenheim Museum offer insights and theories on managing stimulation overload... Sourced from the Museum's Website:
Information explosionImage by Emilie Ogez via Flickr
Poster depicting information overload.
While the vitality and stimulation of the urban environment can be pleasant, those living in or visiting densely populated areas, such as New York, can have wildly different experiences. The ever-present cacophony of traffic, construction, and commerce; the struggle for mental and physical space; and the anxious need for constant communication in person or via technology are relentless assaults on the senses. One wonders how locals and visitors can escape, find respite, and make peace with their space in this “city that never sleeps.”

The Guggenheim Museum responds with stillspotting nyc, a two-year multidisciplinary project that takes the museum’s Architecture and Urban Studies programming out into the streets of the city’s five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Every three to five months, “stillspots” are identified, created, or transformed by architects, artists, designers, composers, and philosophers into public tours, events, or installations. In conjunction to these site-specific commissions around the city, students from Columbia University and the School of Visual Arts are visualizing, reflecting, and responding to everyday issues of visual noise, anxiety, and stillness through interactive maps and videos that will be presented on an exhibition microsite launching in June. Together, these works weave an unexpected and cross-disciplinary web of tranquility throughout the city.

Stillspotting nyc is organized by David van der Leer, Assistant Curator, Architecture and Urban Studies, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

New York CityImage via Wikipedia
Guggenheim, NYC.
A View Inside the Clinic

New Yorkers are notably fascinated with a variety of therapies that help them cope with their hectic schedules, demanding lifestyle choices, and often complicated relationships that the city stimulates. As a result, New York counts a disproportionate number of psychotherapists, self-improvement instructors, life coaches, and the like that host intriguing sessions in equally fascinating spaces around the city.

In his temporary clinic, Sanatorium (installed as the first edition of stillspotting nyc in Brooklyn), artist Pedro Reyes combines the best of New York’s existing therapy landscape with unexpected, short, experimental treatments. In two-hour windows, Sanatorium visitors experience up to three sessions from a roster of sixteen special “urban therapies.” Upon arrival, visitors will meet a receptionist who will assign a series of “therapies” to each person. Balancing reality and parody, Sanatorium draws from Gestalt psychology, theater warm-up exercises, Fluxus events, conflict resolution techniques, trust-building games, corporate coaching, psychodrama, and hypnosis. While some of the sessions should be experienced alone, others are specifically catered to couples and larger groups. Special sessions on Sundays available for children.                                                           

More info can be found at
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  1. What a fantastic idea, and strange at the same time to be "fed" more images rather than emptying one's mind. I could never live there year round.


  2. Art therapy or therapy as art? Whichever, the concept is certainly compelling.

  3. I'm not sure that the New Yorker's "unique" quest for refuge from city living is truly justified. They are no different from any other major international city. If anything, much of the proverbial "pulse" of the city has softened. It no longer qualifies as the city that never sleeps - those days are long gone. I see the New York of today as a comfortable suburb posing as a hectic city.


  4. The vibe is still there and always will. The spirit, the intellect, the density of humanity, the nerve center, the hustle. It can never be taken away.

    J. Beloit.

  5. I was up there a month ago to see bassist Mike Watt, formerly of Minutemen fame, play at the Mercury Lounge. I humbly admit that I also performed at that club a decade prior while on a shoe-string tour with the National Trust. I was shocked how much it had NOT changed. Things seemed frozen in time, perhaps as a result of the real-estate crash and economy. My guess too is that an exodus of fresh minds may have ensued as well. Is there really the sort of urban landscape there now to foster raw innovation? The question is not necessarily rhetorical.

  6. Sounds like typical Philly insecurity. Culturally, New York is light years ahead of your struggling city.