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Alphabet City Festival 2010


New York City, December 6
Toronto, December 11

Alphabet City is celebrating the publication of its 15th anthology AIR – and the completion of its five-part biblioblitz on the environment – with events in NYC + Toronto.

The thin layer of atmosphere that clings to the surface of our planet is a fragile and corrupted brew. Air is in constant, restless migration around the globe, connecting us in the most intimate fashion. From the dust storms that sweep into Beijing from faraway deserts to the smog from Chinese factories that shrouds Los Angeles, our air, the ultimate commons, is tragically defenseless. Breathing air is an involuntary physical function, but keeping the air breathable requires acts of political imagination and will. AIR considers the condition of this basic component of life on earth from a range of perspectives. It reveals the thick materiality of air, air as stinky, clotted, corrupted matter – in a word, dirty. AIR leads us to perceive air, and the imperative to protect it, anew.

Festival Schedule

AIR launch party - New York City

Monday December 6, 5 – 7 p.m.

The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design
2 West 13th St, ground floor [NB: Photo ID required for admision to the building]


AIR art + talks + party - Toronto

Saturday December 11, 3;00 p.m. – midnight

Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street Wes (Landsdowne subway station)
Presented in partnership with Toronto Free Gallery and Circuit Gallery

ALL DAY - exhibitions and print sale 3:00–6:00 p.m - MUSEO AREO SOLAR: Help build a giant balloon artwork!
6:00–8:00 p.m. - CITIES OF AIR: Readings and interviews with four AIR authors: Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, Megan Griffith-Greene, Amanda Jernigan, and Lisa Rochon
8:00–midnight - PARTY!-AIR: Celebrate with the authors, artists, designers, partners and editors of the AIR project.

MUSEO AERO SOLAR community art-making

museo aero solar is a solar energy flying museum, an air balloon, completely made up of reused plastic bags, with new sections being added each time it travels the world. It has traveled to the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Colombia, the USA and beyond. Bring your extra plastic bags and start trimming and taping some of the thousands of panels that will make up Toronto’s edition of the balloon. Artwork construction continues through February 26, 2011 – come in to work on it any time!


Diana Fitzgerald Bryden Greenhouse Effects
Henry Newell goes home to Trinidad. Diana Fitzgerald Bryden is a Toronto novelist.

Megan Griffith-Greene Parts per Million
Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat (if possible). The worls according to my tender, terrified lungs. Megan Griffith-Greene writes, edits, and sometimes wheezes in Toronto.

Amanda Jernigan Milan
Prospero, retired to the wings of his dukedom, contemplates air, and airs. Amanda Jernigan is a poet, playwright, essayist, and editor.

Lisa Rochon Catching Air
The author inhales the invisible and visible currents running through the air: from Marilyn Monroe on a subay grate to the inconsequence of Twitter. Lisa Rochon blows hot and cold air as The Globe and Mail’s architecture critic.

AIR exhibition

December 11 – February 26, Toronto Free Gallery

Wednesday–Friday 12–5pm; Saturday 12-6pm


Artwork pictured above: David Gissen Reconstruction of Midtown Manhattan c 1975 (2002)

Nerea Calvillo
In the Air (2008)
This project aims “to make visible the microscopic and invisible agents of Madrid’s air.” Nerea Calvillo is a Madrid architect.

David Gissen
Reconstruction: Smoke (2006–2010)
Recreation of the historical air above industrial Pittsburgh. Reconstruction of Midtown Manhattan c 1975 (2002) Reconstruction of Midtown Manhattan via an image of its collective air-conditioned spaces. David Gissen is a historian and theorist of architecture and urbanism.

Melissa Grey
SPRAWL : colony (2010) Melissa Grey, composer
David Byrd-Marrow, horn
Robert Kirkbride, hand-cranked sirens
cell-phone vibration chorus
Kris Saebo, double bass
Jim Briggs III, recording engineer
Through musical composition, SPRAWL: colony explores the acoustical perception and symbolic communication of the honeybee in the context of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Scored for horn, hand-cranked sirens, cell phone chorus, double bass and field recordings of beehives in Nova Scotia. Melissa Grey is a composer living in New York City. (20 minutes)

honeybee_installation (2010)
field recordings of honeybee hives in Cape Breton Melissa Grey, composer
(18 minutes)

Cynthia Lin
Drawings of Dust
Silverpoint drawings re-see the barely visible by scrutinizing the deliberately ignored and by intertwining fact and fiction. Cynthia Lin makes drawings of dust, skin, and scars in New York City.

The Living (David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang)
Living City: A public air quality interface and a platform for buildings to talk to one another
This project explores public space and the environment by developing functioning prototypes for the interactive building envelopes of the future. The Living (David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang) is an architecture practice in New York.

David K. Ross
Floating in a vaporous mass, microscopic particles of art works are breathed out of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Musée d'art contemporain on a daily basis. David K. Ross is a visual artist based in Montreal. Work on loan courtesy Bennett Jones LLP (Toronto).

Ian Spence / Franz Kafka
The Bucket Rider
A freezing man searches for fuel, his coal bucket so light he can ride it. Ian Spence is an artist and ad man living in NYC.


December 11 — February 26, Toronto Free Gallery

Wednesday—Friday 12—5pm; Saturday 12—6pm


Artwork pictures above: Christine D’Onofrio, Smarties (Group of 4), 2004.

Circuit Gallery presents TRASHFOODFUELWATERAIR, featuring fine art prints for sale from AbC's five-volume series on the environment. 

The exhibition and print sale are part of Circuit Gallery’s ongoing collaboration – Art from the Anthologies – with Alphabet City.

Find work by: Meredith Carruthers & Susannah Wesley, Michael Cook, Christine D'Onofrio, Cynthia Lin, Eamon Mac Mahon, Stefan Petranek, Susana Reisman, and Ian Spence.