Dates: July 25 – August 14, 2022
Location: the cell theatre, 338 W 23rd St, New York, NY
“Pink Flamingo: Clubs in Flux ” is a collaboration between Flux Factory and Nancy Manocherian’s the cell theatre.
NYC nightclubs have always been a hotbed of creativity and have nurtured the early careers of countless talented musicians. These clubs have fostered powerful music scenes over the years, and many of them evolved into sacred spaces for dedicated local communities. However, all good things must come to an end, and as rapidly as nightclubs pop up in NYC they also shut their doors due to gentrification, restrictive city laws and ordinances around nightlife, lack of money and support, senseless tragedies, and many other reasons.
Vivid multimedia archives of nightclub experiences can invoke visions of future social-cultural landscapes and inspire changes. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an even more urgent need for archiving due to the rapid rate of nightclubs shutting down and club communities being separated through isolation, in NYC and beyond. How do we hold on to and maintain the sense of community that underground club spaces consistently provide, as these fleeting moments in time end and then begin again?
This exhibition invites three groups of artists to design their ideal (very) temporary club space and design it in the cell gallery, with the space opening and closing in the span of one week. Each exhibition will conclude with a “closing” that will include documentation and ephemera from each of the clubs.
We ask artists: what would your ideal club environment look like? Who would you invite into the space? What music would you feature, and how would people interact with the sounds they hear? What memories would you like to make in your very temporary club?
Algorithm + Rave = Algorave
Algorave + Club = Algoclub
Clubs and venues serve more than just spaces where people gather to perform, dance, and party. For the time that they exist, they serve as a persistent physical manifestation of vibes, experiences, and movements. The unfortunate reality is that these spaces can’t be around forever. However, they are kept alive in the memory, ephemera, and documentation from the experiences they create and movements they birth. As a result, these movements have an ancestry in their past clubs.
Our club space is a collaborative, community-driven, arts-based dreamscape that meets at the intersection of experiential design, visual imagery, and creative media production.
We invite those who enter the space to contemplate imaginative and resilient productions of Black bliss. Our temporary club space— cosmic formation of black bliss—exhibits a range of multi-sensory installations incorporating visual arts, experiential design, and creative media production.
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, network and community-level adversities within the Black community “reduce[d] availability of nurturing interaction in strong and positively toned relationships community-wide.
Our dreamscape as a temporary club space:
• Engages the community in co-constructing and comprehending imaginative and resilient productions of Black bliss
• Increases social cohesion by bringing local Black communities together for ongoing community participation.
Held amongst a series of interactive installations and large-scale murals, the main night will center black bliss + freedom during an evening filled with music, talent, and more. Our co-play dreamscape will be a functional, interactive space emphasizing critical connections to deepen relationships within the Black community.
Additional events will include:
• A black queer writing circle in collaboration with Abolition is a Garden, a pop-up abolitionist bookstore & community well in BedStuy
• Open visiting hours to enjoy and relax in the space
Visual Artist Andrew Fish will be paying homage to the storied NYC nightclub Limelight in the project space at The Cell from August 9th – 14th. He will exhibit multiple paintings that embody the vibe, spirit, and visual orchestra of the club’s atmosphere and reimagine the space for a dance party on August 13th, celebrating the music and energy of the era. Fish also plans to install sculptural and decorative elements to make the environment more immersive and reminiscent of the 1990s nightclub. The artist will host open studio hours during his exhibition period and invites visitors to share personal stories and historic memorabilia to enhance the spirit of community and collaboration.
For this exhibition and related events Fish has collaborated with several people who were involved in the original Limelight club scene including former cage dancer, choreographer, and actor Aesha Waks, DJ Corbet, photographer Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen, Gatien associate John DeRobbio, and many more to come.
The curators will be developing an archive dedicated to the history of NYC nightclubs featuring archival footage, interview clips, DJ mixes/playlists and old flyer images that will be housed in the gallery’s side room for the duration of the exhibition. Additionally, each club space for this group show will be documented and archived, with “ephemera” (audio, photos, videos) being added to our archive section for future visitors to grasp the atmosphere of “lost club spaces” from previous weeks.
Founded in 2006, the cell has provided a developmental home in the heart of Chelsea for works in progress by artists ranging from early career to established staples of the New York community. Originally established as a theatre space, the cell has gradually restructured into a cultural hub for food artists, cyborg theatre artists, musicians, installation artists, choreographers and more.
A note on accessibility: Unfortunately, the cell is not wheelchair-accessible and visitors must go up a flight of stairs to access the space on the second floor.