What’s On: Ideas City at New Museum

Change of State at New Museum. Photo courtesy of New Museum.
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After Hours 2: Murals on the Bowery. Photo courtesy of New Museum.
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+Pool, a proposal to build a floating, water-filtering pool on New York City's waterways. Photo courtesy of New Museum.
Change of State at New Museum. Photo courtesy of New Museum.
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Kicking off today, this four-day festival in the heart of the Bowery is jam-packed with panel discussions, workshops and events that explore the future of cities and how art and culture are vital to their growth.

On until Saturday, May 4, the event transforms New York’s Lower East Side into a living lab where participants will exchange ideas about how to tap under-recognized and under-utilized local resources. Founded by the New Museum, this marks the second edition following the 2011 launch.

Kicking off the festival are two days of panel discussions at Cooper Union. Joi Ito, the director of MIT’s Media Lab, delivers a keynote evaluating the Internet’s (still, apparently) untapped potential. Ito’s talk is followed by four panel discussions that examine areas including transformative technologies, waste management, youth as agents of change and the city as a playground. Guest speakers include J. Meejin Yoon of Höwler + Yoon Architecture, architect Charles Renfro of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro and Lydia Kallopoliti, an architect and engineer whose research includes material experimentation.

On Friday, the itinerary features a diverse line-up of workshops that range from how to re-imagine unused space to creating a process that allows artists to consult on commercial development. A handful of the workshops are led by community advocates and designers, including Dan Barasch, a co-founder of the Lowline, and Claire Weisz, a founding principal of WXY Architecture + Urban Design.

On Saturday, an all out street fest will boast dozens of exhibitions, installations and indie workshops. Storefront for Art and Architecture will host a series of performances inside the Spacebuster, an inflatable mobile structure designed by Raumlabor. Terreform One will erect a Styrofoam tower to represent an hour’s worth of Styrofoam waste produced in Manhattan. The Canary Project will guide a DIY crash-course in fashioning a solar-powered FM radio from recycled materials. And Alexander Gorlin Architects will partner with Community Solutions to present an exhibit of proposals that re-imagine Lower Manhattan’s housing developments.

Interactive projects span the entire festival’s run. At Cooper Union, Lydia Kallipoliti presents an off-the-grid light installation with illuminated containers of tonic water, while the Sanaa-designed New Museum becomes a screen for projections of works by four artists such as animations by Cecil Balmond and paintings by Agathe de Balliencourt.

Ideas City takes place until Saturday, May 4.

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