Dreaming in the Woods
Dreaming in the Woods
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Dreaming in the Woods

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts’ 2017 season included the first stage of an ambitious three-year art commission by internationally exhibited artist and Duke University professor, Pedro Lasch. The project, entitled “Dreaming in the Woods,” is a socially engaged art collaboration between Pedro Lasch and the entire Usdan community. Lasch will work with students to experience Usdan as a place where they can explore their creative voices and treat the entire Usdan campus as a stage for contemporary art.

Envisioning the camp itself as an art medium, participants combine traditional techniques with socially engaged practices that resonate with the most contemporary forms of art production. Beyond introducing interested students across majors and minors to these new art forms, “Dreaming in the Woods” encourages all Usdan students, instructors, and staff to think of unconventional and everyday settings as fruitful sites for artistic experience and expression. 

The foundation for all collaborations of “Dreaming in the Woods” is a short story of the same title that artist Pedro Lasch wrote specifically for Usdan. In preparation for the 2017 session, Art in your Inbox released the story in eleven weekly segments, accompanied by original artwork inspired by the camp.

In 2017, students explored the themes of day and night, as well as dreaming and its techniques, and were encouraged to go beyond the areas they are usually bound to, in terms of art disciplines, as well as buildings. Organic gardening students envisioned mobile gardens and chicken ambassadors, dancers used the yellow buses to create choreographies to be performed inside them, just as our youngest Usdanites found ways to smuggle imaginary friends in and out of the camp, taking us beyond its walls.

Student art created as part of Lasch’s “Dreaming in the Woods”

In Summer 2018, these collective experiments including theater, music, dance, and the visual arts, came together in a wild, one-day aesthetic experience presented during Usdan’s 50th anniversary. Taking over a full day session, The Big Plunge presented artworks, actions, and performances produced by students throughout the entire campus. For the grand finale, Discovery children asked any and all water-friendly guests and students to join them in the pool, where they showed us how to create the biggest human whirlpool experience ever. People of all ages will mingled and collaborated on this special day, as our minds and bodies spun in circles to create a social web where traditional boundaries faded away.

In Summer 2019, the work will conclude by opening Usdan and the many projects from “Dreaming in the Woods” to the wider New York City public, also reaching beyond the city through social media and a final publication.

If you would like to be notified about our 2019 performance, please fill out the form below.