Postcard from NYC

Team Leader Jeremy Pickard shares discoveries from New York

Briefly introduce yourself and your team. 

My name is Jeremy Pickard. I'm the captain of Superhero Clubhouse, the primary curator of EARTH, and a NYC Team Leader. My team is made up of a dozen NYC artists of various backgrounds and specialities: clowns, musicians, dancers, a Croatian climate scientist, a French environmental policy expert, and more.

How did your team approach the topic of overpopulation?

Although we've been generating lots of material, our primary project is a series of individual "time capsules" set within the container of Beethoven's Fifth. Each performer is filling each instrument line with movement, text, and images that represent their personal relationship to overpopulation in this present moment of their lives. We're using Beethoven's Fifth both because it is as relentless as NYC, and also because it allows us to deconstruct a familiar global icon in order to look at it with greater scrutiny and respect. Similarly, for us to look at global population, we must delicately deconstruct elements of our lives and culture that we take for granted. 

We're also writing phone conversations between our present selves and our hypothetical future great-grandchildren, in order to support a hypothesis that quality of life is relative. 

How did your environment or location influence your work?

Regarding our terrior: NYC is always a microcosm of global conversations, but how NYC confronts its own population growth offers a powerful lens through which to examine the problems and solutions associated with too many people. Riding the subway at rush hour, hailing a cab in the rain, finding an apartment, trying to get into a popular bar or concert... There's no escaping the millions of people densely packed into small areas. It feels like the city would implode with any more people, yet multitudes continue to flock here, forcing the city to adapt. 

The arrangements we make in order to not run into/kill each other are ingenious, but precarious. For many of my teammates, just getting through a day in NYC is like surviving a gauntlet. We've attempted to include this feeling of living in an impossible, relentless, overpopulated place, and then added to it the consideration of how our lives-- and the city's life-- would need to change if we all had children. 

How did your the other EARTH teams around the globe influence your work?

Regarding stealing from other teams: after learning about Byron and Lyrica's plan to film their video project in a tiny bathroom, treating it as if it were their entire apartment, my team made "yoga mat apartment tours", imagining how they might practically live in a home that was no wider or longer than a yoga mat.