Image of Aaron Dysart, one of the artists chosen for Rethinking Public Spaces Throughout Minnesota   
In 2017, while the building is undergoing renovation, The Soap Factory is taking in some fresh air, stepping outside the Factory and rethinking spaces both Here andThere. We’re making new connections with new public spaces throughout Minnesota and new cities around the world; asking you to pack your bags and join us on the trip.

The Soap Factory invited artists to submit proposals for projects outside of The Soap Factory that re-think public spaces, and/or utilize spaces that are often neglected or overlooked.The projects will take place throughout the state including locations such as the Twin Cities, Rochester, and Brainerd.

In addition to staff, installation support, and documentation support; The Soap Factory is providing seven artists/artist groups with a stipend of $5,000, and two artists/artist groups with a stipend of $10,000 to complete their projects.

Artists and Artist collaboratives participating in the projects are:

Maria Cameron
Andy Sturdevant and Sergio Vucci
Lamia Abukhadra and Leila Awadallah

Read all about their projects here. 

The all-night Twin Cities art festival Northern Spark returns once again with the theme of climate, this year running all along the Green Line. At one end Mizna and The Soap Factory will present a mesmerizing 10-foot-round sculpture by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri, who’s featured in Mizna’s recent environment-themed journal issue with a spotlight on her first Alien Technology piece in Dubai.

The project will start out at this year’s Northern Spark Arts Festival from June 10th sunset to June 11th sunrise. During the festival the piece will be located at The Commons Park by U.S. Bank Stadium, 425 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, Mn 55415. After the festival the piece will be relocated outside of The Soap Factory (514 2nd St SE, Minneapolis 55414) until mid to late next year.

“Big oil”–images of faceless corporations, drilling operations in far-flung territories, pipelines and spills, the Gulf of Mexico, the Persian Gulf, global industries, limited resources. But this sublimely out-of-proportion sculpture of an oil drill bit alludes to much more. Come step into its monolithic orbit; conjure its multiple meanings through a close encounter.

Alien Technology II is Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri’s second large-scale piece about the Gulf’s- and her own family’s- pearl diving past, the massive oil industry that displaced it, and their shared environments, narratives and aesthetics–pearls and oil are two rare, uniquely iridescent materials. Their physical and geographic overlaps suggest deeper entwinements the artist draws us to explore.

The Gulf pearl industry is invisible to most, a forgotten history after the economic transformation triggered by oil. But for possibly 2,000 years previous, the coastal Gulf economy was largely based on pearls. Pearl diving, trading, even pearl music: culture founded on a coveted resource, like oil.

With entrancing colors and strange appendages, Al Qadiri’s giant shimmering drill bit also evokes bioluminescent marine life, or some futuristic organic machine–alien technology, forged here through a history of pearls, an era of oil, and an environmental future open and unknown.

Read more about the project and the Norther Spark Festival here.

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