Decameron Row Opens This Week. 100 Artists, 1 minute videos each of their time during isolation.
Decameron Row features 100 renowned artists from around the world contribute one-minute videos to an online streetscape of clickable windows that form a collective record of this unimaginable year.
Decameron Row then, on its project’s site is ready with the first 27 videos!
The launch features contributions in music by the short form masters Check Out the artists!
Decameron Row web site
The site features writers from numerous genres including novelists Nicole Krauss, Claire Messud, Nell Freudenberger, Ben Schott, Etgar Keret, and PEN Open Book Award winner Nafissa Thompson-Spires; and poet Douglas Kearney. Visual artists include Boris Torres, Som Sutthirat Supaparinya, and Elinor Carrucci; filmmakers include Ira Sachs, Gabriela Amaral Almeida in Brazil, and Palme d’Or winning Apichatpong Weerasethakul in Thailand.
New videos will continue to launch one building each week throughout the summer until all 100 windows on Decameron Row are illuminated as a testament to this year.
It is inspired by Boccaccio’s Decameron, where a group of friends in 14th century Italy avert the loneliness of a 10-day quarantine from the Black Death by squatting in an abandoned villa outside of Florence and telling each other stories — 10 people, 10 days, 100 tales.
Decameron Row started…
“This past year, and all it has produced, has made us acutely aware of our need for community as well. As a group of friends we realized early on that coming together on Zoom every day and looking in on each other’s lives was critical to our survival” said Itamar Kubovy, one of Decameron Row’s creators.
And then “One chilly night, this past spring, we sat digitally together, unable to picture when we could meet again, wondering how everyone is facing this unprecedented situation, in different ways, all over the world. So the group started imagining reaching out their favorite artists around the globe, make sure they were okay, and asked them to send us a one-minute, very intimate, video postcard of their experience during this time” Juan Diaz Bohorquez, the site’s designer, remembered. “Instead of 100 stories like the Decameron, we’d get 100 videos and put each video in a different window on a digital city street.So, when someone scrolls over any one of the lit up windows, the name of the contributor, their field, and their place of isolation will appear on the screen“.
Click on the window, and that person’s one-minute video will play.
We’d call it Decameron Row!
“When we were deciding who to invite we were deliberate about diversity and geographical variety, but we were ultimately guided by our networks and friends,” said Sherry Huss, another member of the team. “Therefore. when the videos started to come in, these fragments of perspective started making the windows feel as it were windows into a singularly global experience, in order for the many to perceived yhe expreience as if they are sharing at once.”
Decameron Row an online ‘cabinet of wonders
“Decameron Row is like an online ‘cabinet of wonders’” explains Stefanie Sobelle, co-producer for the Row “Contributions could feature music, visual art, a dance, a story, a magic trick, a confession, or a combination — they could be funny or serious, raunchy or tidy. What we most yearned for was intimacy, however expressed. The characters in the Decameron may have had a villa, but we have a street of a 100 windows.”
Itamar Kubovy says:
“Any kind of community needs ways to gather. At this moment in time, when systems are chaotic, and the most effective form of mitigation is isolation, we must create virtual spaces to help people feel connected. On Decameron Row, we move people from all over the world into a single city block in an unnamed metropolis — they’re all neighbors, no matter how discrepant their environment is”.
“As we started gathering information about how isolation was affecting different groups around the world” says Sherry Huss, “we decided to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to raise awareness and provide resources and expertise for people who want to get more involved in helping combat loneliness under these dire circumstances”.
The Role of Creativity
“Creativity provides unique expression and texture to our lived experiences,” adds Katrina Gay, National Director of Strategic Partnerships with NAMI “As we navigate these times of isolation and uncertainty we know that, in different ways, our mental health may be vulnerable. This is happening to some for the first time and others as a continuation of their ongoing experience. The Decameron Row project provides a vital avenue for the stories and expressions of our time that can provide comfort and understanding as we navigate our own journeys”.
The Los Angeles Review of Books
It has included Decameron Row in its family of channels on its site. Decameron Row will benefit from the LARB’s diverse, widespread, culturally-minded readership and its broad public outreach.
“In an era of isolation, we’re happy to be making connections and supporting such a fantastic, artistic endeavor, which not only brings people together but allows us to glimpse into the lives of writers, artists, composers, and dancers, even while we shelter in place” says Medaya Ocher, LARB Managing Editor.
About the producers:
Decameron Row is created and produced by Itamar Kubovy, Stefanie Sobelle, Juan Diaz Bohorquez, Joe Szuecs, and Sherry Huss
- ITAMAR KUBOVY For the Freeman company, the world’s largest branded live events purveyor, Itamar recently co-founded Freeman Live Labs with Sherry Huss, a network of innovators from diverse fields working together to advance live experience design and implement it at scale. Itamar lives in New York City.
- STEFANIE SOBELLE is a writer, editor, artist, and scholar interested in the spaces of stories and the stories spaces tell. She is the author of A Building is a Book, forthcoming from Oxford University Press,
- JUAN DIAZ BOHORQUEZ, who conceptualized and created the design and artwork of Decameron Row, is an awarded director, writer and narrative designer working on pressing social issues, at the convergence of art, science and storytelling.
- JOE SZUECS (pronounced “sooch”) built the website for Decameron Row. He started his career as an electrical engineer/software developer at Hewlett Packard, and then went out on his own and developed a line of music education software as well as created multimedia CD-ROM experiences for major publishers.
- SHERRY HUSS is Co-founder of Maker Faire and a major advocate of “all things maker” in the global community. A former Vice President of Maker Media, her vision and passion have helped spark the maker movement and she has been instrumental in growing the Make: brand within the maker ecosystem.
About the National Alliance on Mental Illness
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
Join the conversation at:
Official Hashtag: #NotAlone
Decameron Row social sites and more:
- Twitter: @DecameronR
- Instagram and Facebook: @DecameronRow
- Email: info@DecameronRow.com
- #DecameronProject #Decameron
- #D2020 #lareviewofbooks
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