Reflecting on the Vibrant Past, Present & Future of the Black Experience, Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies, to Arrive at ARTECHOUSE at Chelsea Market in March

 

 

 

Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies at ARTECHOUSE. Image courtesy ARTECHOUSE Studio.

ARTECHOUSE, a pioneer in innovative, experiential art, is pleased to announce its latest exhibition, Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies (Aṣẹ), debuting in New York City at ARTECHOUSE NYC on March 22 and on display through the summer. Created by ARTECHOUSE Studio, the exhibition features the work of London-based Afro-surrealist digital artist Vince Fraser along with evocative poetry by ursula rucker. Open to all ages, the exhibition is a vibrant reflection upon the past, present, and future of the Black experience through the eyes of the artists.

Aṣẹ (pronounced “AH-shay”), the title of the exhibition is derived from a powerful mantra, affirmation, and philosophical belief held by the Yoruba people of West Africa, meaning “so will it be.” Drawn on to invoke the power to produce positive change, its spirit reverberates throughout the exhibit. Fraser and Rucker’s creative contribution, brought to life by ARTECHOUSE Studio, honors the legacy, struggles, and complexities of the Black experience with creativity, courage, and imagination.

Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies at ARTECHOUSE. Image courtesy ARTECHOUSE Studio.

“Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies continues our legacy of communicating culturally relevant themes while still pushing the boundaries between art and technology. This collaboration with Vince Fraser and ursula rucker is an important milestone in ARTECHOUSE’s efforts to amplify new artistic perspectives and voices and share technology-driven art experiences with diverse audiences across the nation,” says Sandro Kereselidze, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of ARTECHOUSE.

Continuing its reputation as an incubator for boundary-pushing artists in the new age of digital arts, ARTECHOUSE Studio collaborated with Fraser to further amplify his work at the intersection of art, technology, and activism. Aṣẹ’s visuals are echoed by pulsating rhythmic drums and evocative narration by Philadelphia-based poet ursula rucker. A Leeway Foundation Transformation Award winner known for her work with The Roots, Louie Vega, and more, Rucker’s words intricately narrate the exhibition, connecting the dots of Fraser’s imagery and speaking to similar themes of empowerment, ancestry, and social justice.

The centerpiece of the exhibition, Vision of the Black Experience, takes visitors on a journey through universal themes of resilience, cultural celebration, and the possibility of the future. Utilizing the largest seamless megapixel count projections of any cultural institution together with Hyperreal Sound technology, the installation unfolds in a four-part journey featuring Fraser’s distinctive designs and Rucker’s poignant poetry, reflecting on the current zeitgeist, the mystical realms of African culture that have profoundly influenced the global popular culture, and a vision of a hopeful future. The piece culminates into a new final chapter showcasing Fraser’s recent experiments with AI tools, demonstrating the artist’s evolution and reflection upon the potential of digital innovation to expand the boundaries of artistic expression.

Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies at ARTECHOUSE. Image courtesy ARTECHOUSE Studio.

The core cinematic experience is supported by interactive auxiliary galleries exploring the exhibition’s themes of rebirth, community, and spiritual connection, such as Thousand Masks, an audio-visual piece that celebrates the diversity of culture found throughout Africa; and Afrikanism, an interactive, futuristic African map that shifts and echoes below the visitors’ feet with captivating reimaginations of the African continent.

The ARTECHOUSE XR Bar features signature drinks curated for the exhibition using traditional ingredients from Africa, incorporating themes from the exhibition, and complemented by extended reality (XR) activations brought to life by the ARTECHOUSE mobile app. While the exhibition’s focal point resides behind guests, facing them is an entrancing installation, Iwoyi. Meaning “echo” in the Yoruba language, Iwoyi is an interactive backdrop to ARTECHOUSE’s XR Bar, using images of visitors captured as part of an intricate collage inspired by Fraser’s earlier fashionable collage work.

The exhibition will premiere in New York City at ARTECHOUSE NYC, located in a 100-year-old boiler room beneath the iconic Chelsea Market at 439 W 15th Street.

About ARTECHOUSE:

An industry leader in the field of digital and experiential art, ARTECHOUSE expands the possibilities of art and how we experience it through cutting-edge technology-driven exhibitions and experiences. ARTECHOUSE connects progressive ideas, artists, and audiences to stimulate innovation and creativity at the intersection of art, science, and technology. What started as the nation’s first digital art space is now a home, online and off, for technology-driven art innovation, with a mission to empower and fund the creation of new, experiential, and exploratory art forms that make an impact.

Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies at ARTECHOUSE. Image courtesy ARTECHOUSE Studio.

About Vince Fraser:

Having worked in the creative industry as a digital illustrator for over twenty years, Vince Fraser’s progression to digital arts was natural. Fraser, who identifies as an Afro-surrealist artist, sees himself as a new breed of artist in the digital age, combining various skills, including film and motion. With a keen eye for detail, he always experiments playfully while visually pushing the boundaries. Bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, Vince’s mission is to inspire, educate, and empower positive images of the African diaspora. Previous clients include Nike, MTV, and Adobe, just to name a few, while Vince also gained the attention of musicians like Erykah Badu, Outkast, and Usher.

About ursula rucker:

A global music and poetry veteran, ursula rucker is a skilled writer and dynamic performer who has used her fiery prose and invigorating imagery to excite and inspire listeners worldwide for nearly three decades. Born and raised in Philadelphia, rucker began to share her poetic gifts in her 20s, performing at open mics in the city before two standout performances shared her talents with a larger audience: lead vocals for the classic House song “Supernatural” and a performance on The Roots song “The Unlocking.”

rucker has established herself as a top-tier recording artist, collaborating with artists like The Roots, 4Hero, Jazzanova, Louie Vega, Doodlebug of Digable Planets, and many more. A versatile artist, rucker was selected as a top vocalist of 2020 by the popular Dance music site Traxsource and is even the subject of a mural in Philadelphia commissioned by the city’s Mural Arts Program in 2013. In 2018, The Pew Center for Arts & Change named her a Pew Fellow.

ARTECHOUSE is located in the former boiler room of the Chelsea Market, 439 West 15th Street, NYC.