Ontopo facilitates the presentation of new sound art, installation, performance and film in a dynamic and participatory way. Ontopo Offsite acts as an incubator for site-based works (performance, sculpture, film-video, etc.). By platforming artists as teachers and creating cultures of improvised collective experience and resource sharing, we foster our network of artists to interpret sacred spaces, experiment with new processes and materials, and share their work with our community.
Ontopo highlights the works of Asia American Pacific Islander (AAPI) artists whose research-based works bridge connections between land, topography, cultural practice and reclamation: careful studies of topos.
In 2022, we focused on Nanea Lum and Sean Connelly, two Hawaii-based artists who expound on the relationship between the ahupua'a (land division) and deep cultural perspectives which reflect Hawaiian epistemologies. In 2023, we focus on Filipino artist Bhen Alan who creates embodied weavings that he often activates through movement.
What is your Intention when you enter a sacred space? What constitutes a sacred architecture and can we re-imagine that space? How does spiritual experience translate to our creative works and creativity as artists? Ontopo provides a temporary space for artists to test new performance work, healing modalities and site based work that allows one to work with an intimate group.
Today, land is contested space approached through the prisms of myriad ideologies. As we observe the modern transformation of our natural landscapes and ecosystems, Ontopo is invested in creating a deeper understanding of place and the reciprocal responsibility that comes with visiting, living, and producing work in collaboration with the land. When Ontopo projects inhabit a site or space, we seek to honor interspecies kinships and a site’s past and future inhabitants.
An Ontopo Offsite is experienced typically over a few days and is made up of site-specific works and performances that create intentional space for the production of work outside of a traditional studio environment. The artist’s studio, the gallery, and performance venue come together into a singular site of experimentation. Ontopo centers upon reciprocal appreciation, ritual exploration and ceremonial remixing, resilience and connectivity.
Ontopo is an off-site development platform for art production and performance. A mechanism for discovery and connection where participating artists create site specific works in various formats and media that interpret the natural surroundings and break down traditional studio space into an improvised, shared experience.
The word “Ontopo” is a neologism that shortens the word “topography” and adds the prefix “on” which is meant to translate as “on the land”.
jon (at) commonspacestudio.com