BRIC Open, BK Reader, BRIC festival, art installations, concerts, Black Gotham Experience, Shared Studios, Under the Same Sky…We Dream, talks, art exhibitions, Bordering the Imaginary, diaspora art, immigration, Paola Mendoza, Kamau Ware, The Chamana, Lido Pimienta, Blitz the Ambassador,
Photo credit: BRIC

This year’s BRIC Open highlights the theme ‘Borders’ and features performances by Lido Pimienta and Blitz the Ambassador; a series of talks and screenings of short films, a walking tour, and multi-dimensional art to inspire all senses!

Blitz the Ambassador. Photo credit: BRIC

The second annual BRIC Open, a free four-day festival of arts and ideas, returns from Thursday, April 26, to Sunday, April 29. This year’s festival theme Borders presents complex experiences of moving across geopolitical and ideological borders, illuminates the way real and imagined borders intersect, and celebrates the capacity to create connections across boundaries.

“The BRIC Open reflects the essence of BRIC with bold programs across performing arts, contemporary art, and media that are amplified and enriched through community participation,” said Leslie G. Schultz, president of BRIC. “It’s a unique twist on a festival and adds a larger slate of diverse voices to the rich landscape of New York City festivals.”

Writer, filmmaker and activist Paola Mendoza. Photo credit: BRIC

A conversation with writer, filmmaker and activist Paola Mendoza kicks the festival kicks off on Thursday, as she shares ideas on the role of intersectionality in art and politics, the barriers encountered when building a movement and her own stories of breaking down personal and physical borders. Mendoza is a critically acclaimed film director whose films have continually tackled the effects of poverty and immigration; she also served as the artistic director for the Women’s March on Washington.

On April 27 and 28, Kamau Ware of  Black Gotham Experience, a visual storytelling project that celebrates the impact of the African Diaspora on New York City, will lead a more interactive form of a talk: During a 90-minute walking tour through Downtown Brooklyn, participants can reflect on borders within their own minds and the boundaries that define their movements through private, public and urban spaces.

The exploration of borders will look towards the people most impacted by a world of invisible lines on Friday, April 27, when BRIC hosts an Immigration Action Fair where attendees can learn from local organizers how to best take action.

Friday will also bring a triple-bill concert with performances by Mexican pop band The Chamana; Lido Pimienta, the first recipient of Canada’s esteemed Polaris Prize for a Spanish-language album, and international hip-hop artist Blitz the Ambassador with his signature blend of classic hip-hop, West African and global rhythms.

The genre-crossing series of short films Border Shorts will be at the center of the BRIC Open on Saturday, April 28. Created by a diverse slate of filmmakers, this eclectic series of short films speaks to the need for empathy and neighborliness in this time of division. Films include The Town I Live In, directed by Matt Wolf and Guadalupe Rosales; Stefon Bristol’s See You Yesterday; Sriyanka Ray’s Feet in Two Worlds: Mohammed Fayaz, Queer Muslim Artist; Norman McLaren’s Neighbours and Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, directed by MolMol Kuo, among others.

Under the Same Sky – an art installation by Erica Harrsch
Photo credit: BRIC

Multi-day exhibitions and art installations will also be accompanying the festival. Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas, examines the complicated relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The immersive installation Under the Same Sky…We Dream reflects on immigrant rights and is dedicated to the families who risk confronting the dehumanizing nature of immigration politics in an attempt to actualize their dreams. The multidisciplinary art, design and technology collective Shared_Studios presents BRIC Portal, a global art initiative that employs virtual portals that allow participants to come face-to-face, as though in the same room, with someone across the globe.

BRIC Portal, an art-tech installation that connects users all across the globe through virtual portals. Photo credit: BRIC

“With this year’s BRIC Open, we’re exploring a broad notion of borders—geopolitical, ideological, personal—with the idea that creating fluidity in or resistance to one kind of barrier can inspire greater empathy and creative action against other types of borders,” said Emily Harney, deputy director for Programming Initiatives of BRIC.

For a full list of events, go here.

BRIC Open

When: Thursday, April 26 – Sunday, April 29 | Free with RSVP.

Where: BRIC, 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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