Prototype for Preserving the Phylum Porifera @ MoMA

So the Sponge HQ got to relocate to New York this past week. Crammed in a van we absorbed passages of sponge biology, sounds of incisive needle felting from the back seat and much music. Momentum built as we neared the struggling, post-Sandy city. With tense focus we unpacked straight into MoMA and the vast open studio space of our host, Mildred’s Lane. Out came our distinctive pops of color, landing as Hope’s felt rug was unfurled and bright bee boxes found their place. Our materials were seriously mixed, from natural sea sponges – our conceptual starting blocks – to their lurid foam evolutions and glowing bronze and beeswax casts.  At hand – giant balls of burnt orange and deep lilac wool.

Children swarmed in, utterly intent on needle-punching sponge forms and, like the best fairy tales, someone’s thigh got pricked.  Our story continued on screen, looping with shots of the HQ’s beehive, neon tetras and gushing water – immaculately edited and scored, of course. Everything connected – not just the living, breathing turtles wallowing in the Mildred’s Lane interior and the Reggio Children’s reef scene – we had dive visuals too, which included Kalymnos, Greece – the sponge stores now bereft of native samples and forced to import from the Caribbean.

Interaction was plentiful – yes, some 98 folk stopped by to chat, potter and savor our HQ honey. We made friends, brewed tea on a braided rug (thanks Fritz Haeg) and lived the gestalt – trans-disciplinary and cross-generational, multi-sensory and impressively multiplied. It all happened and we gave gifts – a bronze sea sponge and our best ephemera  - all now safely archived.

We’re keeping going and are back in Richmond to proliferate more prototypes for the phylum porifera on Friday 30th November between 5pm and 8pm. Come and join us.

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