Cartographies of the Mind – House of Solutions Event 9/28 and 9/29

Dates: Saturday September 28 and Sunday September 29, 2019, exhibition runs through October 31st.
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends in September and October
Location: House of Solutions, Nolan Park House 4B, Governors Island
Event information: Event is free and open to the public
Made possible by the generous support of: Emotiv and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Cartographies of the Mind_House of Solutions_Event_Judith Modrak“Cartographies of the Mind” is a participatory installation which visualizes the brain waves of viewers as they contemplate climate change, pollution, and their relationship to planet Earth. As the viewer’s brain waves reflect thought patterns over a changing aesthetic spectrum, they become the agent for the creation of the art experience, revealing the multi-layered internal compositions of the landscape of the mind.

“Cartographies of the Mind” is created by artist Judith Modrak with research support from Julia Buntaine Hoel. This project is made possible by the generous support of Emotiv, and in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by LMCC. LMCC empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Manhattan and beyond.

The House of Solutions is a collaboration between the Human Impacts Institute and Climate Reality Project NYC Metro Chapter. The House is a place where climate solutions come to life through workshops, events, exhibits, and experimentation.

Memories Recored, Memories Stored Wins Best Director of a Short Documentary at South Europe International Film Festival

Movie Title: Memories Recorded, Memories Stored
Director: Jake Alexander McAfee
Festival website: South Europe International Film Festival
Trailer link on Youtube: Memories Recorded, Memories Stored
Award: Best Director of a Short Documentary

“Memories Recorded, Memories Stored” is a documentary which chronicles the creation of Our Memories“, a participatory artwork which weaves people’s lives and experiences into a collective memory. It was awarded for Best Director of a Short Documentary at the South Europe International Film Festival in Valencia. It was screened on Friday, May 10, 2019, at 1:20 PM at the Melia Valencia Hotel in Screening Room 1. “Memories Recorded, Memories Stored” was named “Best Documentary Short for Science and Education 2017” at the 6th Annual Madrid International Film Festival, and awarded “Best Short Documentary” at the Amsterdam Film Festival in August 2018.

Our Memories in Thomas Paine Park, 2018, New York, NY

The film follows sculptor Judith Modrak as she creates her first interactive art installation, Our Memories, on New York’s Governors Island. Modrak invites the public to complete the sculpture, sharing memories, represented by colored stones, to create a unique, transformative work of art.

Judith Modrak pictured with Our Memories in Central Park, 2018, New York, NY

“The public really seemed to enjoy participating in the installation and creating a collective memorial piece,” Modrak says, “and now it looks like the audience appreciates the film as well. It’s been an electrifying experience all around!”

This is the fourth short film for director Jake Alexander McAfee, and his first documentary. McAfee’s previous films include “The Commute” for Goodwill Industries in 2014, and “2nd Life,” which won the HBO Best Short Film Award for 2015, and qualified for Academy Award Consideration for Best Live Action Short Film. “2nd Life” caught the attention of Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, who is now a mentor to Jake and his blossoming career.  “My vision for the film was to highlight Judith’s style and artistic aesthetic.” McAfee says, “more importantly, I wanted to capture Judith’s drive and spirit as an artist, and her journey to create Our Memories. At the same time I wanted the film to reflect the impact the sculptures had on the public,” says McAfee, ” its effect on them, both their interaction with and reaction to the work.”

After many successful years as a Vice President of technology firms, Mark Lobene is now a full-time actor, producer and founder of Gramercy Empire Productions LLC. He met McAfee while co-starring in “2nd Life.” “Working with Jake once again was a real pleasure. I knew his sensitivity and strong narrative sense would come through on this project. We were honored in Madrid and we’re very thankful for this vote of confidence in our story.” Lobene says,”making this documentary fulfilled a long-held desire of mine. We were able to capture the creation of a sculptor’s work and capture the audience reaction and appreciation in one film. This, to me, was a complete feedback loop of the artistic process.”
“Often we see the completed work in a gallery, or we see it being created, but rarely do we see the start to finish which, in my opinion, should always include the viewer’s interaction. Having sculpture that was designed to be interactive, made this story that much more compelling.” The film was screened at the Queens World Film Festival and won an award in Madrid. “We appreciate the recognition from the Madrid International Film Festival, “ Lobene says, “and we hope to continue showing this documentary around the world and we appreciate all the interest in it.”Our Memories in Central Park, 2018, New York, NY

Art Review: Neuroscience takes shape in the latest New Arts Program Exhibition, March 2019

Author: Ron Schira
 Reading Eagle
Published: March 24, 2019
Article Link Here

“In the Garden of the Mind,” an exhibition of freestanding sculpture by Manhattan artist Judith Modrak, views through March 3 at New Arts Program, Kutztown. Modeling the cellular structure of the human brain, the artist represents the neurons, dendrites and other such cranial content into curvelinear statuary that oddly become creatures in themselves.

Familial Memory and Family of Memories

Measuring anywhere from a few inches to several feet tall, the cellforms occupy the floor of the gallery in a mock-surreal setting of work that looks to be made by aliens from another planet. They are made in casts of resin colored with acrylics or plaster painted with oils to offer a smooth, almost skinlike surface texture.

The shapes and forms are taken from the biological statistics provided by studies from doctors and scientists, placed in curious figurations that resemble human or animal interactions, as if having a conversation or posing in self-awareness. Arranging the work in series according to their biological categories, they seem to tell a story.

“Passion,” for instance, from the dendrites series, features a pair of plaster cells about 5 feet tall engaged in a discourse, just as “Fading Memory,” from the vital memories series, depicts a 4-foot supine organism, tendrils reaching up and inward as if struggling with something (in this case, the struggle is the dilatory effects of Alzheimer’s disease).


From Modrak’s statement: “The forms and concepts in my work bridge art and science by exploring scientific advances that increase our understanding of psychological and neurological landscapes, including the nature of memory, brain physiology, the biochemistry of neurons and neurotransmitters and the mechanics of sensory experiences. I translate these esoteric and often intangible concepts into three-dimensional anthropomorphic forms. These humanlike structures embody psychological and emotional states, often mirroring their beholders with a pronounced expression of bodily gesture.”

Another piece from the dendrites series titled “Family of Memories” portrays a sloth or anteaterlike form that is seemingly self-absorbed or contemplating something. Other pieces sit atop poles and express themselves through various gestures. Included also in the show is a life-size standing human figure titled “Ancestors and Axons.”

“In the Garden of the Mind,” Modrak continues, “unveiling as part of the New Arts Program, uses the garden as a metaphor to examine the lifecycle of experiences and memories. This site-reflective installation includes new work and sculptures from Dendrites, Vital Memories and Thought Storm — all of which use neurons and dendrites as a springboard to investigate how our brains react and respond to processing information and emotions. The current belief is that certain memories and life events create distinct patterns in our brains.”

Fading Memory

As artworks on their own, these peculiar objects are well-made and do not need scientific justification to be art. And regardless that these works lean toward abstraction and surrealism, they are to a degree representational and portray real things in the real world. They adapt natural medical conditions and appearances into a language that is, albeit analogous and metaphorical, something relatable.