The Invisible City Project was conceived in 2013 as a platform for celebrating Greater Hartford’s distinct characteristics as expressed through the art of dance and performance. While there are so many people doing so many interesting things in and around the city, so much of it is overlooked by most, as if an invisible city runs parallel to commonly held perceptions of the place. It is reminiscent of the Park River (or Hog River) which once flowed through the city center, shaping city life along its path, but was buried in the 1940s to keep devastating floods at bay. Replaced by a network of roads and highways, the now subterranean river continues to flow beneath the surface, providing an apt metaphor for the city’s seemingly latent vibrancy. Though few are aware of this compelling aspect of Hartford’s history, interest in the river is being renewed daily as artists, environmentalists, adventure seekers, and historians find ways to make the unseen visible. Perhaps now is also the time to renew interest in our other buried treasures, working together to unearth the dynamic, culturally rich Hartford that exists right beneath the surface. The Invisible City Project sets out to shed light on this Hartford that is often invisible to the naked eye, but inevitably seep into and through the work of its artists.
•How is Hartford-ness defined, and how do we experience Hartford-ness through the art produce in and of this place?
•Are there artists once lived and worked in the Hartford area but are now living and making dances elsewhere, whose work still reflect Hartford-ness?
•Might we learn something about ourselves by engaging with these works, and each other?
•What if the city you lived in was personified as an artist and how might your growing awareness of the common elements unifying its diverse body of work, shift your sense of place?
Through this website and dynamic programming at The Garden Center for Contemporary Dance, the project sought to connect local artists to each other, audiences, extended networks beyond our borders, essential information and resources, while fostering a meaningful sense of place. Acknowledging that existing models have been insufficient in catalyzing a thriving contemporary dance ecology thus far, TheInvisible City Project provided a platform for imagining and experimenting with alternative strategies in support of a resilience community of artists.
The Invisible City Project website/blogsite was designed to serve as a virtual commons, providing artists and audiences the opportunity to dialogue about the artists making work in Greater Hartford now, and placing that work in their appropriate social and historical contexts. Words and images–in the form of interviews, essays and videos–were primary vehicles for documenting and sharing this investigation.
If you are interested in perusing The Invisible City Project website’s original content, much of it can be found archived on the Scapegoat Garden site. The hope is that the seeds planted in The Invisible City will continue to provide a valuable point of reference for future efforts to cooperate, aggregate information, share resources, and advocate for sustainable local dance ecologies.