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 – which took place just before the onset of the pandemic – Artist Violette Bule met with community members who lived directly around Irvington Park, as well as through local churches, and Avenue CDC, to discuss and identify their hopes and dreams for Irvington Park, and surrounding neighborhood. In March 2020, the Artist also partnered with local groups to distribute an online survey which was sent out to local community stakeholders to request feedback on the quality of the park, local amenities, and to communicate their priorities for community planning and resource allocation. The results revealed a need for more community seating and lighting in the park, as well as a need for a community library, and more public gardens and green spaces across the district.
In response to this feedback, the Artist created a multi-sculpture installation that aims to highlight the needs of the community while also serving as a space for the community to congregate and enjoy. Visitors are invited to sit on the furniture, and engage with the library and micro garden, as well as view the survey results by scanning QR codes on view throughout the installation. The survey results and community feedback were also given to Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner and District H Council Member Karla Cisneros by the Artist during a ribbon cutting event in Summer 2021 where she urged them to review the data and address the local needs of the community.
Throughout the project viewing period (now through mid December 2021), Artist Violette Bule and Art League Houston will maintain the immediate grounds around the installation and the community library.
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.