In case you missed our regular programs from 2016–2022, here is the essential guide to the myriad of recorded projects we have produced at Special Special. Experience and re-experience it all! Here are a mix of online presentations we shared during Covid lockdown, and some heartwarming performances and workshops from our former 1st street space.
A collaboration with Lu Zhang through her project, Wildman Clab. What started as a Masked poetry event, that led to an investigation of many elements of our human experience through performance, and motion.
As part of the group exhibition Tie Me Up! Lock Me Down!, Special Special and Wildman Clab co-hosted an online performance series called “Cam Show.” Cam Show twisted internet broadcast culture into an art form, playing with notions of spectatorship and voyeurism.
Number 1 by Mia Kerin
Shibari by Kristen Lee
Carousel by Wen-You Cai
During the early days of Covid, when we were all isolated in different locations, Wen-You Cai with moderator Lu Zhang led a panel of distinguished experts, isolated in different locations, through a global journey through photographs from Wen-You’s archive, from New York, Japan, Morocco, China, and all over Europe. Some photos may be blurry but can still evoke crisp and detailed pleasures we had long overlooked or forgotten. As fellow travelers, the panelists chimed in at any moment to provide their insights, and commentaries. Additional audience members joined the tour to enjoy the momentary escape from their isolation.
Ben Shu drew inspiration from the root tubers that were on view at Special Special for Benjamin Langford’s exhibition Late Summer. Just as these plant parts spent their lives buried deep in the earth yet still contained so much vital energy and so many nutrients, the healing traditions demonstrated in the workshop targeted hidden but vital spots in the human body. The five artists and practitioners talked through how to release blockage of qi (energy), correct emotional imbalance, and properly perform exorcism.
Special Special Shopping Network
February – April 2021
Drawing inspiration from the culture of televised home shopping networks like QVC, as well as more recent platforms for online shopping campaigns such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, Special Special hosted the Special Special Shopping Network, a video series of product demonstrations and experimental performances. Artists marketed art editions in their own style and with their individual understanding of self-promotion, product advertising, and marketing.
The series includes Aria McManus’s demonstration of the proper use of the Towelkini on a lifesize model cutout, and a conceptual video by James Chrzan about time, precipitation, and experience that followed the artist’s video style.
Towelkini™ on Special Special Shopping Network
James Chrzan on Special Special Shopping Network
Lu Zhang Sells Ceramic Vessels in Flushing
For Lu Zhang’s video, she set up a small table stand at Flushing Main Street Sunday market, where she sold her Special Special Edition ceramics among other vendors selling antiques and everyday essentials. The video swings between online and offline sales strategies, combining documentary, found footage from Estar TV (a livestreamer that happened to pass through), and Special Special’s Instagram live. The original soundtrack draws from online celebrity influencer Li Jiaqi’s (李佳琦) Taobao livestreams.
For Yi Xin Tong’s and Yuchen Chang’s videos, the series posed the question: What happens when you pit artists with different understanding of art, media, and commerce against each other, and have them sell each other’s work? When approached for Special Special Shopping Network, the two collaborators had opposite reactions. Whereas Yi Xin immediately said, “We can’t perform selling very well as artists. I think that there is a separation between art and mainstream media.” On the other hand, Yuchen said, “It’s like confronting the constant pressure of capitalizing your personal narrative or even body parts, and try to own it, try to do it in an honest way. I don’t believe in the separation of art and mainstream media.” The two ended up making videos advertising each other’s publications using “marketing” approaches they found suitable to the artwork.
Yuchen Chang unboxes "NYC Fishing Journal"
Traces of Late Summer: A Conversation Between a Turnip and a Sunchoke by Bella Meyers
October 10, 2020
Who knew that a turnip and a sunchoke could have a conversation? This and other miracles were performed by Bella Meyer in a puppet performance using Special Special’s edition of Tubers felt planters, produced in collaboration with Benjamin Langford. The performance coincided with Langford’s solo exhibition Late Summer at Special Special, an installation of enlarged sculptural photographs of plants and flowers.
Celebrating the tools that enrich the artist process. This was our last group show in the space that presented the over encompassing spirit of Special Special.
Artists' tools exhibition walkthrough
Artists' Tools Demo: Che-Wei Wang Dot Blaster 8000 (Summary Video)
A demonstration of Dot Blaster on our store gate, a tool created by one of the artists Che-Wei Wang.
Bedtime Stories with Mama of the DOC
Saturdays in April we got cozy listening to Hannah Wnorowski, the creator of the Deck of Character share bedtime tales about the journey her oracle deck has taken her.
April 4, 2020: Self-Publishing
April 11, 2020: Stories from You
April 18, 2020: Love
Together Alone Music Performances
April – August 2020
Music events hosted during the early days of Covid.
Afternoon Tea & Jam Vol. 1: Tiri Kananuruk, Sebastián Morales, and Britt Moseley
Afternoon Tea & Jam Vol. 2: Britt Moseley and Wen-You Cai demo the "STP1000: Synthesizer Teapot"
Home Demo by Del Hardin Hoyle
An Evening with My Life as a Kinetic Sculpture featuring Julep Maisey and Lucky Frog
Presenting Special Special out in the world: Cuffing Club
Ongoing, an event series for friends to come together and become accountability partners for life enrichment. Friends on the hook.
What we were up to up until January 2020
Wen-You Cai accompanied by Tim Simonds and Lu Zhang discuss artistic collaboration, and creative community building. On the occasion of Wen-You's book launch of Rooster, Tiger, Sheep by Snake, and the second edition of When You Make No Art at Printed Matter on January 24, 2020.
A conversation about community between Wen-You Cai with Tim Simonds and Lu Zhang at Printed Matter.
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