Team in Haiti
Swoon is a Brooklyn-based artist whose life-sized woodblock and cut-paper portraits hang on walls in various states of decay in cities around the world. She has designed and built several large-scale installations, most notably the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea at Deitch Projects in 2008. Her pieces have been collected by of The Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Tate Modern. Major pieces have appeared at PS1, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Black Rat Press. Swoon has been traveling for the past several years creating exhibitions and workshops in the United States and abroad.
Swoon is also an instigator and a collaborator. She founded the Toyshop collective and the Miss Rockaway Armada, and is a member of Just Seeds and the Transformazium. Since 2006 she has organized four large-scale raft projects and floated down the Mississippi and Hudson rivers with them. Most recently, she and her collaborators designed a flotilla of sea-going rafts that invaded the 2009 Venice Biennale.
Her artistic process is predicated on the belief that art is an immersive, provocative, and transformative experience for its participants. Although Swoon’s aesthetics can be seen as an outgrowth of street art, her engagement with ethical living and making art share a close kinship with the idealism of off-grid, barter-based cultures and economies based on sharing. She uses scavenged and local materials and embraces print media as a potent means of action for social change.
I was born in Nashville, TN. Spent the first few years of life in Pegram and Lawrenceburg, a couple of small towns. Then moved to Nashville. The youngest of five boys. I moved to Brooklyn when I was 18. Studied at Pratt Institute, receiving a BFA in photography, although now I'm entirely devoted to sculpture and installation. While enrolled I did an exchange at VCA in Melbourne, Australia; followed by organizing/participating in a residency in Winterthur, Switzerland. I travel as much as possible, leading me to various parts of the world and crevices of the country(US).
My sculptural practice is most often installation driven. To create for a specific space gives life to material and shape, color and space. I use various techniques from carpentry, welding, casting, to general assembly of chaos. Often times dragging in over-sized hordes from the depths of abandonment; adding, stacking, layering.
My last solo show, at Secret Project Robot, was a site specific installation; an abstract realization of nature diminishing the 'structure'. The installation was an inverted forest of color descending towards a crumbling room. Also, I recently received a BAC Regrant to complete an outdoor installation using found materials from the immediate area. My work reflects my interests; rotten boards, rusted stair wells, peeling paint and other such decadence of abandonment. The outcomes are usually abstract forms that deflect reference and invite the visual journey of interpretation.
Tod Seelie has photographed in over twenty countries on five different continents. Originally from Cleveland, he relocated to Brooklyn in 1997. Tod was a founding member of The Miss Rockaway Armada, and continued on to travel with both manifestations of the Swimming Cities.
His work has appeared in publications such as The NY Times, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, Marie Claire, Men's Journal, Thrasher, Vice, i-D, Art Forum, Art In America, Flash Art and Adbusters among others.
Tod has exhibited work in solo and group shows in New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Paris, Milan, Sydney, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and at Mass MoCA. His work has also appeared in photography books, such as The Vice Photo Book, Hijacked and Backyard Shakedown.
KT Tierney currently resides in North Braddock, PA and spends most days making objects or structures with a deep commitment to sustainable practices and the problem of intentionality.
Fritz Pierre-Louis is the fifth generation of his family to call Barriere Jeudi home. Living in Port au Prince at the time of the earthquake, he lost 5 buildings and 2 businesses, but he and his family were unharmed. An active member of his community, in 1996 Fritz organized the sugar cane growers in Barrier Jeudi for better wages, as well as successfully petitioning the government to protect local manufacturers of sugar cane spirits. In 2006 he and his family began reforesting the mountains of Barriere Jeudi by planting thousands of trees, including many mango trees. Fritz is currently the president of the Mango Grower's Association of Barrier Jeudi. As well he works with Waves for Water to provide potable water to the Leogane area. For Konbit Shelter, he is the guru who helps get it all done. We could not be doing this without him.http://magepa.com/
Craig Maldonado is a designer and builder. In all projects, his goal is the creation of meaningful and innovative spaces. If desired, he is able to provide clients with a turnkey experience, facilitating both design and construction. His greatest skill is the realization of a project from its inception until completion, and he is as comfortable managing large crews as well as smaller projects.
Craig marries his background in art and architecture by employing photography, drawing, mock-ups, and model-making in a sculptural process of addition and subtraction. His philosophy is materially oriented, and focused on the landscape as much as the architecture itself. He uses his resources and contacts to create site-specific teams of subcontractors, and has experience integrating a wide range of green building technologies. He is particularly interested in sustainability, workmanship, and reuse of existing materials.
Craig dedicates his time and his life to his projects. He generally works on one project at a time, devoting all of his attention to it. He loves uncovering a concept with the client, and then managing its execution. He is based in Los Angeles, but will readily relocate in order to bring to life a new and exciting project. Craig holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Washington. He has also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and at Auroville, an intentional community, in Pondicherry, India.
"Jimmy" James Cross
James is a Northwestern U.S. native who has been traveling from one creative hotspot to the next since 2003. His primary role in life is as a facilitator of projects exhibiting integrity and social merit. He is a builder and a thinker who learns from failure - whether it be observed or perpetuated. James lives in San Francisco and supplements the Konbit Shelter crew as lead positivist.
Currently working on time travel, he's using a weathered and broken human vessel to travel into the future. Although, presently his spirits still seem to be stuck, living in the past.
"First turn around. Now look backwards, towards the future... i got new glasses, and my hindsight's clearer. What's my perspective on the year?... its already 20/20."
These days I really want to be "a guy who works for artists." I'm a carpenter who can do a lot of things. I'm a clown who's smarter than I look.
Some recent and ongoing projects I am happy to have been a part of: Cyclecide Bicycle Rodeo, The Lifesize Mousetrap, Swimming Cities raft voyages, the Defenestration sculpture and SmithBuilt.
The Mango Growers Association, Barriere Jeudi
Residents of Barriere Jeudi - portrait gallery
Team in the US
Thaddeus Pawlowski is an Urban Designer for the Office Chief Urban Designer of the City of New York, Department of City Planning. He works on large scale neighborhood and infrastructure projects. He is also active in citywide sustainability initiatives including the Green Codes Task Force and a efforts to build New York City's resilience and adaptation to climate change.
He earned a Master in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. He has previously worked at the Office of Emergency Management where he developed a design competition for post disaster urban housing. He is a frequent collaborator with the design and art collaborative Normal Architecture Office (NAO) with Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss. With NAO he has produced several widely published and exhibited works including Villa #13 for the Ordos Project in Inner Mongolia, China. He is a frequent visiting critic at several design schools and lecturer on visualizing infrastructure.
Olivia Katz is from New York City, she is a graduate of the School of Performing Arts and enrolled in the City University of New York BA program for interdisciplinary studies. A jack-of-all trades, master of none, she is liaison and member of Artistic Evolution, the non-profit organization allied with Konbit Shelter. She is helping with finances, logistics, fundraising and learning the adobe building process. She helped organize Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, a civilian medical relief effort in Haiti and gained experience doing relief and rebuilding work in post-Katrina New Orleans. She is interested in the process of using creativity for sustainability and liberation.
Ethan graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering in 2008, specializing in Structural Engineering. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the Civil Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon. He lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with his cat Suzi-Q.
Sarah Walko was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. She has her BA from University of Maryland and her MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. She is a sculptor, installation artist, writer, musician, and filmmaker. She is currently the Executive Director of Triangle Arts Association, and is Art Director with the independent film collective Santasombra which shows at International Film Festivals around the world. She is currently working on new sculptures and her next film El Cadaver Exquisito will come out this fall. She has just completed several exhibitions in New York.
Dana Vincent (project consultant/translator)
Heather Jones (general assistance)
Mary Beth Burton (architect)
Lauren Larken (Artistic Evolution)
Jackson Moore (web design)