Crossing Urban Boundaries

Alison Kotin
Risa Horn

In the Fall of 2012 and the Spring of 2013 twenty teens from Boston's public high schools collaborated with professional artists Risa Horn and Alison Kotin to create Crossing Urban Boundaries at Urbano. The two halves of this long-term collaboration, I'm from Here and Visualizing the MBTA, are explorations of the racial, cultural, and class boundaries manifest in the urban design of Boston's public spaces and services. Crossing Urban Boundaries was created in response to Urbano's 2012-2013 yearly theme Narratives of Exclusion: Racial and Cultural Boundaries in the Urban Landscape.

I'm From Here (Fall 2012)

Interactive media artist Alison Kotin and performance artist Risa Horn worked with students to explore their Boston neighborhoods, considering physical, social, and cultural boundaries between communities.

Why do we only visit certain neighborhoods and never go to others? What does the city look like from the point of view of a visitor? What do you love or hate about your own neighborhood? Where do you feel safe?

As we travelled to many sites throughout the city, we worked collaboratively to create a large art installation, live performance projects, and a web-based interactive project.

Visualizing the MBTA (Spring 2013)

Is transportation a right or a privilege? How does Bostonā€™s public transportation system impact our lives? What are the effects of inequities in transportation access? What future ideas can we imagine?

Crossing Urban Boundaries explored our relationship to the MBTA, the nervous system of our city. After discovering recent press coverage of unequal access to public transportation in Boston, Crossing Urban Boundaries sought a deeper understanding of the situation through research and exploration of the T.

We delved deeply into statistics gathered by the MBTA, from crimes to budgets. We also had the opportunity to meet with MBTA officials to ask questions and hear some expert perspectives on the workings of our public transit system. The data visualizations in this exhibition illustrated key statistics we found as we worked to imagine the possibilities for change in our transit system, and by extension in our city and our lives. Designed for public intervention, the sculptures begin a conversation: their sounds call our attention, the brightness of their form draws our gaze, and their weight alludes to the urgency of the need for a social re-imagining.

  Alison Kotin 's   work explores the interplay of performance and digital media through motion and touch-activated pieces modeled on musical instruments. 

Alison Kotin's work explores the interplay of performance and digital media through motion and touch-activated pieces modeled on musical instruments. 

 
 Risa Horn is a multimedia performance artist, dancer, and writer who uses her work to explore human connectedness, empowerment and innovation. 

Risa Horn is a multimedia performance artist, dancer, and writer who uses her work to explore human connectedness, empowerment and innovation.