Betty Yu

What is the cHURCH? | Betty Yu | Artist Website

January 17, 2016

"The Garment Worker," an interactive media installation at the Tribeca Film Festival Interactive Showcase, 2014

“The Garment Worker,” an interactive media installation at the Tribeca Film Festival Interactive Showcase, 2014

Betty Yu is a Chinese-American NYC based filmmaker, multi-media artist, media educator and longtime social justice activist. Her documentary “Resilience” about her garment worker mother fighting against sweatshop conditions, screened at national and international film festivals including the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. Betty’s interactive multi-media installation, “The Garment Worker” was part of a 5 week art exhibit in Chinatown in 2013, and featured at Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive 2014. Betty was a 2012 Public Artist-in-Resident with the Laundromat Project and is a 2015 Cultural Agent with the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) a people-powered network.

Betty is currently on the Board of Directors of Working Films, Deep Dish TV and Third World Newsreel, three progressive media arts centers that distributes and exhibits social issue films. Betty’s work has been exhibited, screened and featured at the International Center of Photography, The Directors Guild of America, Brooklyn Museum and The Eastman Kodak Museum. In addition, Betty has more than 15 years of community, media justice and labor organizing in NYC’s Chinatown. Betty’s organizing recognitions include being the recipient of the Union Square Award for grassroots activism and a semi-finalist of the National Brick “Do Something” Award for community leadership in Chinatown.

Rachael Wren

What is the cHURCH? | Rachael Wren | Artist Website

November 8, 2015

Rachael Wren, Outlook, 2014, oil on linen, 36” x 36”

Rachael Wren, Outlook, 2014, oil on linen, 36” x 36”

Rachael Wren’s paintings combine elements of both landscape and geometric abstraction. Join us as she discusses the evolution of her work: from representational landscape paintings to pure abstractions, and now, more recently, to a synthesis of the two.

“My paintings use geometry to structure ephemeral atmospheric and natural phenomena. I am intrigued by moments in nature when air has a tangible presence, almost becoming visible – fog playing between tree branches, light peeking through clouds, the darkening sky before a thunderstorm. At these times, form and space seem to mingle; edges disappear and atmosphere becomes all-encompassing. To reproduce this sensation of dense, particulate space, I work with an accumulation of small, repeated brush marks of subtly shifting color. These individual marks echo the fundamental particles that compose all matter. They hover, shimmer, and vibrate between the crisp lines of an anchoring grid, an interplay that suggests the universal duality between structure and randomness, order and chaos, the known and the unknown.”

Rachael Wren received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Washington. She has had solo shows at The Painting Center, Schema Projects, the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Providence College. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the National Academy Museum, Jeff Bailey Gallery, Geoffrey Young Gallery, Trestle Gallery, and the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, among many others. Rachael is the recipient of the Julius Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy Museum and an Aljira Fellowship. She has been awarded residencies at Chashama North, the Saltonstall Foundation, the Byrdcliffe Art Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the Anderson Center, and the Artist House at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Panel Discussion: Ethnicity/Community/Identity/Art

Ethnicity/Community/Identity/Art | Panelists | Facebook Event

October 18, 2015

Betty Yu, New York City, 2010

Betty Yu, New York City, 2010

Artist Savas Boyraz’s work looks at Kurdish ethnic identity and community and the ways it has been disrupted by borders, wars, and government policies. His work seeks to reunite Kurdish identity and document current Kurdish experiences and communities. This panel will draw on the themes in Boyraz’s work to explore issues around ethnic heritage, community, identity, and political self-determination and the ways art can contribute to the creation of community or how art suffers as communities are disrupted or destroyed. While most of us acknowledge the need for community and desire greater connections through our communities, the term is inherently vague and as there as many ways to identify community as there are forms of identity – ethnicity, race, class, gender, sexual preferences, professions, neighborhoods, social or political interests, sports, and the list can go on and on. What are the advantages or disadvantages of the multiplicity of identities and communities in a city like New York/Brooklyn? How can these overlapping communities serve the social and political needs of the 99% or 99.9% in the face of popular media that often represents the interests of the 1%. And finally what is the role of artists and art work in creating, sustaining, and uniting communities or how is creativity impacted when artist-friendly communities are not sustained.

Pennee Bender (American Social History Project, CUNY)

Ozan Aksoy (Ethnomusicologist, New York University)
Betty Yu (Artist, U.S. Department of Arts and Culture)
Judy Pryor-Ramirez (Director of Civic Engagement & Social Justice, The New School)
Dean Moss (Choreographer, Curator, gametophyte inc.)
Maritza Arrastia (Educator, Turning Point Brooklyn)


Shellyne Rodriguez

What is the cHURCH? | Shellyne Rodriguez | Artist website

September 13, 2015


“Hope is a crack high. I mean that in the way that Beckett might have proposed it. Of course this implies that one might know what a “crack high” is. I will argue that one could know or at least have an idea. Lets strip it down to the core. A crack high is said to be so ecstatic, Saint Teresa De Avila’s thighs would quiver. But before you can seat yourself into its luscious euphoria, it is gone. The old adage, “ there is no high like the first high” rings true. And so the crack user becomes embroiled in a frenzied chase, trying to be consumed in that petit mort. Everything else is a purgatory. And what is purgatory? A quick Google search describes it as “a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are atoning for their sins before going to heaven.” What is purgatory if not the banal moments of drudgery, between happy hour, Netflix, or the escapism of one’s choice? Despair is the alternative. This ebb and flow from nothingness, to climax, to the bowels of despair might be accompanied by a gesture. How these sensations of waiting, hoping, and transcending each moment might translate into a mark, or a form, or an object is what I’m truly after.”

Shellyne Rodriguez is a Multidisciplinary Artist based in Harlem. Pulling from various sources such as street detritus, family photos, old album covers, bible storybooks, and medieval prints she creates multiple narratives that allow her to excavate personal and social history in order to then extract objects and images. Her drawings, collages, sculptures, and installations work together as a gesture rooted in Hip-Hop culture. She received her MFA at Hunter College and has presented works throughout the city including Immediate Female at Judith Charles gallery, and The Young Lords in New York at El Museo del Barrio.

Cezar Del Valle: Step up to the Greatest Show on the Midway–The Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III

What is the cHURCH OF MONIKA? | Cezar Del Valle | Review of The Brooklyn Theatre Index | Livestream

July 12, 2015


Join us as Cezar Del Valle, author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index Volume III, hosts the cHURCH OF MONIKA and discusses his new book about the history of theatre in Coney Island.

Cezar will discuss the concert saloons, vaudeville houses and film shows that preceded the Coney Island we know today. He will discuss not only the architecture, of which very few buildings are still extant, but the entertainment culture in Coney Island going back to the late 1800s. From the Coney Island Sideshow to entertainers like Harpo Marx, who made their debut in Coney Island, Cezar will explore forgotten and hidden aspects of Brooklyn’s history. He will also discuss how the history of the neighborhood can still be seen in surprising ways. For example, in events like the Coney Island Flicks on the Beach, one can see hints of the event’s predecessor: an open air theater that showed films at on the beach in the early 1900s.

Cezar Del Valle is an artist and freelance writer who has been involved in theatre for almost forty years. Since 1996, he has conducted a series of popular theatre talks and walks. He has written numerous articles on theatre history. The first two volumes of the index were chosen at Outstanding Book of the Year in 2010 by the Theatre Historical Society of America. Cezar’s artwork has been exhibited at galleries, museums, and art centers throughout the United States and is part of the permanent collections of the Tampa Museum and the Kinsey Institute among others.

Megan Hustad: Ghost Projects, Or, Where Do You Put Art You Never Made?

Megan Hustad | Website | Wherewithal Press | What is the cHURCH OF MONIKA? | Livestream

June 14, 2015


“In 2008 I had finished my first book but wasn’t really happy with it. During the months leading up the book’s publication, I kept myself occupied by writing a proposal for what I’d hoped would be my second book, an investigation into how ugliness in the places around us affects how we develop as people, thinkers and lovers. I called it UGLY and for months I dreamed of a life as the writer of this book. I imagined it would be a lot like Rebecca Solnit’s life. Long story short is my publisher turned the book down, then four other publishers turned it down. Now it’s nearly seven years later and I wrote another book, but not this one. Some days I experience UGLY like a phantom limb, wondering why an acquaintance doesn’t know I know or care about certain things. Then I remember; oh yes, you never went on record with those thoughts.

“So for CHURCH OF MONIKA I want to talk about my investigations into how people live with unmade work. Reactions range from sadness to cynicism to self-blame to blaming others, and each has its own dramas. As I see it there are two subtexts. One is worry about resources. (Do you really need to convince someone that a project is worthwhile before you can proceed with it? Do you need funding?) The other is the fear that maybe the gatekeepers and critics were right, and you weren’t qualified to make the art you wanted to make. What do people do then?”

Megan Hustad was born in Minneapolis and grew up there, in the Caribbean, and Holland. In 1997 she moved to New York and worked in the editorial departments of Random House and the Perseus Books Group before founding Wherewithal Press, an independent editorial services agency, in 2005. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Post, Slate, Fortune, The Awl, and other publications. She is also the author of How to Be Useful and More Than Conquerors: A Memoir of Lost Arguments.

Erin Gleason: Copernican Views

What is the cHURCH OF MONIKA? | Livestream | Facebook Event

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Very Own Private Garden, 2009, installation with turf, plastic mdf, Tent Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

My Very Own Private Garden, 2009, installation with turf, plastic mdf, Tent Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Join us for the cHURCH OF MONIKA this Mothers Day, May 10, as we explore our connection to light, voice, and space through a “dark” Salon. Inspired by the “re-birth” of cultural, scientific, and philosophical thought that marked the Renaissance, artist Erin Gleason will host an experimental talk where we will explore how we navigate conversations and spaces by shifting our reference point from one of light to one of darkness. Preceding the Salon, Erin will give an introductory talk about her work.

Erin Gleason is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Drawing from over a decade of professional experience in the fields of architecture, design, and branding, she works with concepts of space across multiple mediums including drawing, photography, installation, public art, participatory events, and curating. Each project inspects how we perceive, define, and shape space, and how space influences, defines, and shapes us.

Erin has exhibited and curated in the US and internationally including BRIC Rotunda Gallery (New York), FiveMyles Gallery (New York), Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh with Inverleith House (Scotland), The Pier Art Center (Scotland), and Shetland Museum and Archives (Scotland). She has won commissions for a number of public artworks including the Poetry Paths Initiative in Lancaster, PA and the Arts & Theatres Trust in Scotland. She is Co-Founder/Curator of the Crown Heights Film Festival, Co-Editor/Producer of the publication FIELDWORK (ASN Mutual Press), and Founder/Editor of Cultural Fluency, an online forum and interview series that examines the creative exchange between urbanism and art practice. Erin is a recipient of a number of grants including Brooklyn Arts Council Awards and a Russell Trust Award for research in Greenland. She is a 2013 Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellow at BRIC.

This summer, Erin will begin working towards a PhD in Philosophy at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in Visual Arts. She received her Bachelor of Art degrees in Fine Art and in Imaging Science (an individualized major combining Engineering, Anthropology, Art History & Studio Art) at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Master of Fine Art degree from the Art, Space & Nature Programme at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Karen M. Rose

What is the cHURCH OF MONIKA? | Livestream | Facebook Event

Sunday, April 19


Health is not in a vacuum. We are part of a whole and in order to feel whole it’s necessary that we remember and connect. Let’s talk about how plants medicine, ritual, and community allows you to stand in your own power.

Join us for the cHURCH OF MONIKA as Karen M. Rose, owner of Sacred Vibes Healing, discusses community in ritual in healing with plant medicine.

Authentic, knowledgeable, open and welcoming, Karen is trained in Eastern and Western Herbal Medicine and is personally dedicated to empowering individuals to make informed decisions with regards to their health and lives. This dedication led to the creation of Sacred Vibes Healing in 2002. As the owner of Sacred Vibes Healing and the Sacred Vibes Apothecary, a Brooklyn-based, community herbal apothecary, Karen is connected to both the earth and the community in which she practices, consults, and teaches herbal medicine. Her dedication to the earth, spirit, service, community and our individual divinity make Sacred Vibes Healing and its products truly unique.

Karen has been featured on FYI TV’s show The FEED, in The New York Times, Black Enterprise, New York Daily News, among other publications. She has authored articles on the benefits and simplicity of utilizing herbal medicine to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. In 2013, Karen launched her eponymous new herbal venture, Karen M. Rose, with a particular focus on helping women live inspired lives using the energies of plants, which will draw on her 15 years of work as a healer, as well as her rich life experience. Through her work, Karen will nourish the growth in each stage of an individual’s unique gestation, ultimately allowing self-realization and their divine light to shine.

Global Makeathon 2015

What is the cHURCH OF MONIKA? | Livestream | littleBits

March 29, 2015


Join us for bagels and BitBots as the KOKO Open Source staff hosts our Global Makeathon as part of a worldwide celebration of innovation, creativity, and experimentation!

You’ve seen littleBits ads all over the subway and seen what kids can make in our BitBots program – now experience a class for yourself! KOKO Open Source staff will guide you through what littleBits does, how our BitBots classes are created, and what benefits BitBots offers for our local community. Then, we will host a short workshop where you can create littleBits inventions of your own and “make something that does something.”

BitBots is a STEAM initiative that invites students to innovate, prototype, program, design, and incorporate new technology with recycled materials to “make something that does something.” BitBots uses littleBits (an electronic module toy that can be used to create elaborate circuits) and Arduino (an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to use hardware and software). BitBots constructions foster an interest in engineering, invention, sustainability and visual arts. By combining art and technology, we encourage inventiveness in participants while teaching valuable lessons on creative problem solving and engineering. We use both found and technological materials to teach lessons on the practical and cultural possibilities of innovation.

Learn more about BitBots on the KOKO Open Source website.

Sara Morawetz

What is the cHURCH OF MONIKA? | Livestream | Sara Morawetz

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Sara Morawetz’s work is an exploration of the processes that underpin scientific action. She is interested in the manner in which the constituent elements of the ’Scientific Method’ – namely observation, experimentation, method (as action) and standardization – are recounted within artistic practice and how these concepts can be further leveraged by artistic inquiry. Through her practice, Sara aims to unravel the mechanics of scientific thinking by asking: “what is method / observation / standardization?” and, furthermore, “how do these terms function outside scientific parameters in the fluid and mercurial sphere of artistic application?”. Derived from the core principles of science, her practice examines experimental investigation as a way of thinking and a mode of working, utilizing the philosophy of science as a means of critically interpreting systems, actions and processes. It is in this breakdown of artistic and scientific thinking that she aims to evaluate the volatile space between, to examine the reciprocity within conceptual systems and to validate a communal passage that seeks to filter art through a scientific idiom.

Sara’s work is both research and process-driven, often employing durational, repetitious and participatory components – elements akin to a scientific experiment. These performative actions, that either become or create the work, are devised to test and expose the internal processes of methodological labour – the exhaustive, the obsessive, the poetic and the absurd – all inherent to scientific practices.

This work is the foundation of Sara’s Ph.D. Candidature, at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, under the supervision of Dr Debra Dawes. She is currently an Australian Postgraduate Award recipient, a previous Martin Bequest Traveling scholarship winner and a visiting scholar at Parsons School of Fine Art, New School, New York, 2014.

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Prosjektrom Normanns: Transcendental Tactility

Transcendental Tactility | Press Release | Artist Bios | Facebook Event February 10-27, 2016 Opening Reception: February 13, 2015 Prosjektrom Normanns presents Transcendental Tactility, a multi-media exhibition, at Open Source Gallery. Transcendental Tactility is a group exhibition curated by Norwegian artist-run space Prosjektrom Normanns that will explore abstract, poetic, and lyric expressions of existence and […]


2016 Exhibitions
Videokaffe: Para-sites & Proto-types
Healing Arts Initiative: Sole Exchange
Boa Mistura
Soap Box Derby 2016
Dimensions Variable
i Collective


/rive: Anamorphosis
Soup Kitchen 2015
Mira Gaberova: Statue of Everything
Savas Boyraz: Back Drop
Cristian Bors & Marius Ritiu: Venus von Hamburg
Soap Box Derby 2015
Sara Morawetz: How the Stars Stand
Whitney Lynn: Rummage
Yun-Woo Choi: Endless, Seamless
Jasmine Murrell: Some Impossibility Without A Name
Tirtzah Bassel: I Want To Hold You Close
B. David Walsh: Extracted Bedroom Project
Lena Lapschina: Yes/No
Soup Kitchen 2014
Sofia Szamosi: Eat Me
Corina Reynolds: Northwestern Expansion
Emanuele Cacciatore: A Conversation with Consequence
Soap Box Workshops and Derby 2014
Mark Stilwell: The Super Defense Force vs The Tittanno Beast (The Power of the Constructonauts)
Hubert Dobler: Roundabout
Arne Schreiber: Your Stripes
Katerina Marcelja: Fragment Series
Fuse-Works: Some Assembly Required
Anja Matthes: Out-Sight-In In-Sight-Out
Soup Kitchen 2013
Katarina Poliacikova: Until We Remember The Same
Miho Suzuki: Our Children Today
We Know Not Exactly Where or How
Soap Box Derby 2013
Keith Miller: Trees
Andrea Ray: Utopians Dance
Margrethe Aanestad: Herein
David D’Ostilio: The Chopping Block
Stefanie Koseff: To The Deep
Michael Poetschko: Zona
Soup Kitchen 2012
Kathleen Vance: From the Woods
Nick Kline: Gilgo Beach
Soap Box Camp and Derby 2012
Patrick Cadenhead: Spring and Renewal