No More Water brings together emerging artists Tahir Carl Karmali and Justin Sterling to respond to the Old Stone House’s unique space. Both artists use reclaimed and abstracted vernacular materials––including used cell phone batteries and broken windows––to symbolize local and global policies that contribute to inequality and displacement. The title No More Water also implies our current climate emergency (characterized by increased floods, wildfires, and water contamination) and an urgent call for action.

The artists chose No More Water to reference James Baldwin’s 1963 publication The Fire Next Time, which begins and ends with the line, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time!”, quoting the spiritual Mary Don’t you Weep and alluding to the Old Testament story of God flooding a corrupt earth. The Fire Next Time is considered a galvanizing text for the American Civil Rights movement in its examination of racial injustice and its call for all people of “consciousness” to “change the history of the world.” Situated at OSH in a reconstructed colonial farmhouse and Revolutionary War battleground, Karmali and Sterling’s work helps confront uncomfortable truths of the past and present while also suggesting possibilities for transformation.

Both artists explore the potential and limitations of art’s role in addressing injustice. Karmali describes his installations as “deceptively beautiful or attractive, as an art form, allowing the viewer to savor them as primary material before a layer of trauma (of migration, of displacement, of labor) slowly reveals itself.” He presents new and site-specific work from his ongoing STRATA series, which consists of layered raffia dyed with cobalt extracted from cell phone batteries, referencing traditional Congolese kuba cloth and the exploitation of cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sterling’s sculptures made of broken windows and other urban detritus, by contrast, retain more of their original, sometimes jarring forms, alluding to the controversial policing policy of the same name as well as other forces that contribute to displacement, gentrification, and mass incarceration. Yet they offer myriad “attempts to fix, recycle, or archive” as an alternative to discarding. Both artists metaphorically push back against the destruction of both local communities and our larger environment, while simultaneously placing the viewer in close physical proximity with the impact of this destruction, challenging a “culture of indifference.”

At the August 15 opening at 7pm, Justin Sterling’s opening performance will combine trumpet and movement improvisation to respond to the work on view, also alluding to his roots in New Orleans, an area with a history of natural disasters and rebuilding.

Funding for No More Water is made possible, in part, by the Puffin Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Jen Kutler operates one of her instruments

Musical Ecologies returns to OSH for a seventh season of music and conversation. The season continues with artist Jen Kutler, who will perform a work using one of her unique interactive electronic media systems.

Jen Kutler is a multidisciplinary artist and performer. She modifies found objects that are cultural signifiers of power, gender, queerness and intimacy to create atypical instruments and sculptures. Her performances feature many of her instruments incorporated with immersive field recordings to explore common and discrepant experiences of familiar social tones in immersive sound and media environments.

Founded in 2012, Musical Ecologies is a monthly symposium on music and sound. Curated and hosted by composer Dan Joseph, each event focuses on a single artist. Each presentation is preceded by an extended conversation between the artist and curator.

Admission is $10, advance tickets are available here.

a green apple on white background with text that reads "Grow!"

Follow the life cycle of an apple seed through four seasons in this lovely, interactive performance for very young children.

Young audiences and the storyteller plant a seed together and help it grow, while learning gentle and charming songs and ASL signs to help tell a story of seasonal growth.

Get your tickets here.