“Side by Side:” Artist to unveil large installation on inclusion, empathy

WHAT:          Artist Pepón Osorio unveils large sculptural and media installation, “Side by Side,” at Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial event

WHEN:          Thursday, April 20, from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:        2nd Floor, Rand Hall, East

MEDIA:         The event is free and open to the public. Media members are asked to RSVP to Rebecca Valli in Cornell’s Media Relations Office at 607-255-7701 or rv234@cornell.edu.


ITHACA, N.Y. – Multimedia artist and educator Pepón Osorio will unveil his large sculptural and media installation “Side by Side” at an event Thursday, April 20, from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. on the second floor of Rand Hall.

The site-specific installation, created through a yearlong process involving interactions with members of the campus and local communities, is Osorio’s contribution as artist-in-residence to the Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) 2016 Biennial, “Abject/Object Empathies,” focusing on the cultural production of empathy. It will be on display through May 30.

The installation depicts a local family, who will remain anonymous – a matriarch and the nine grandchildren and great-grandchildren she is raising. The centerpiece of the installation is a house that is flipped and tilted on its peaked roof, wedged into the Rand Hall space from floor to ceiling.

The house is fitted with LCD screens for windows, and covered in lottery tickets promising the dream of a better life. In each of the nine windows, video is displayed of the family members. Metal and glass window and door screens partially filter the observer’s view of the house upon entering.

Largely constructed by students of the Hammerstone School: Carpentry for Women based in Trumansburg, New York, the installation invites visitors into the personal world of a family facing the challenges of daily exposure to financial turmoil, dislocation, loss and trauma through resilience and determination.

A table placed at the entrance to the installation will host a series of public conversations, organized by Osorio, among community members including Cornell students and faculty, GIAC members and downtown neighborhood leaders.

Focusing on intergenerational communication, the role of women in the community and migration, the “Encuentros/Encounters” conversations will be moderated by local farmer and community activist Rafael Aponte and include invited guests from the Cornell and Ithaca communities. A campus/community conversation is scheduled for April 21 from noon to 2 p.m.; youth and elders discussions are April 28, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and the third program, “Women: Home/Migration,” is May 5 from noon to 2 p.m.


Rebecca Valli
office: 607-255-7701
cell: 607-793-1025


Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.