Rethinking Your Neighborhood: A Collaborative Experience by Artist Violette Bule is an interactive public art installation located in Houston’s City Council District H at Irvington Park. It is an invitation for visitors to engage in a collective experience of constructing a shared vision for their community. Rethinking Your Neighborhood is a catalyst for unified advocacy with community leaders and elected officials—starting with the collection of information based on interviews and surveys, followed by playful interactions with the grid and sculptures, and deepening with the thoughtful understanding of the information presented, sparking creative proposals and continuing collective action towards an enriched neighborhood.
In the early planning stages of this installation, Artist Violette Bule met with community friends and neighbors around Irvington Park, local churches, and the Avenue CDC. Bule talked with community members about their neighborhood, and discussed their hopes and dreams for the future of the area. These organizations helped the artist in disseminating her survey and project updates. Through their dialogue, Bule created a public art piece that speaks to the immediate community’s vision and hopes to present a space for more conversations and collective change to take place. Some of the points that came up in their meetings were the need for more community seating and lighting in public parks, a community library, and more public gardens and green spaces. Bule visualizes these aspects with an artistic lens, highlighting the future possibilities of Irvington Park through advocacy for the local community.
Visitors can view the collected community data by scanning QR codes available around the installation. Bule compiled the data from these interviews and surveys into folders and presented them to Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner and District H Council Member Karla Cisneros during her ribbon cutting on Saturday, June 12th, 2021. This project challenges traditional notions of public art and supports artists who are experimenting with the ways people interact with public art, who are re-imagining public spaces, and who strive to express stories of social justice and equity in their practice.
Throughout the project viewing period (now through Fall 2021), the Artist Violette Bule and Art League Houston will maintain the immediate grounds around the installation and the community library. Community members are invited to sit on the furniture and engage with the library and work as they envision the future of their neighborhood. We welcome community feedback and discussion.
I am a Lebanese – Venezuelan, conceptual artist and photographer, fellow of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center at the University of Houston, and an MFA student at the University of Houston. I studied at the Escuela Activa de Fotografía in Mexico City, and hold a Diploma in Photography from the Centro Nacional de la Fotografía, Caracas, Venezuela.
My projects consider a wide range of subjects within the context of their daily circumstances. While anchored in photographic practices, I engage other media, sometimes fostering spectator interaction. As an artist-photographer, I move beyond the documentary record by addressing the fantastical within reality and by deploying satire in order to channel my critical posture in regards to a variety of social issues. Conjuring fictional narratives staged in urban spaces, I seek to highlight the often-overlooked complexity of some of these issues. In my art, I resist and challenge the commonplaces dominating mainstream discourse at either end of our polarized political landscapes. I am committed to the power of image-making to spark radical change from within.
Recently, I exhibited Echo Chamber at Transart Foundation in Houston, Texas, and I am a participating artist in the Insta11ations, a city-wide temporary public art initiative led by Art League Houston and made possible by the Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Houston Arts Alliance. My social engagement projects have been presented in several academic institutions such as Brown University, Pittsburgh University, Rutgers University, Musashino Art University (Tokyo), Cornell University among others. My work is part of private and institutional collections, including the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, Venezuela. I received a SOMA SUMMER grant awarded by the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. I have exhibited nationally and internationally at Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan; Paris Diderot University, France; NegPos Galerie, France; Galería EspacioMAD, Venezuela; ArtMedia Gallery, Miami, and Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York. I participated in several contemporary art fairs including PINTA London and New York; Link Art Fair Hong Kong; Feria Iberoamericana de Arte in Caracas; the International Photography Festival in Pingyao, China.
My projects have appeared in both print and online books and magazines such as Marking Time Prison (Rutgers University), Sueño de La Razón Latinamerican Photography Book, Analytic Room, Creator Projects, and others. I’m a founding member of www.dismantlingthesimulation.com, a visual arts collective formed in 2014 responding to student protests in Venezuela and engaging in critical dialogue about the country’s polarized political environment.