Over the course of the next two months, artists, thinkers, architects and other cultural agents will be living and working together in a colony at MoMA’s PS1 as part of EXPO 1: New York. In an age where catastrophic mega storms have left landfills full of wreckage, the foreclosure crisis has resulted in thousands of abandoned homes, and the world often seems to be on the brink of apocalypse, communal living is a welcome alternative to the traditional house. Made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen that reflects a commitment to worldwide environmental sustainability, The Colony is a new proposal for alternative use of public space. PS1 held a preview showing of the The Colony last evening where guests were invited to engage in the political model and speak to the first batch of weekly-rotating resident artists, who are focusing on film and portraiture. BULLETT spoke with The Colony’s “hostess mama”, Anne Apparu, as she prepared vegetable lasagna with as much deft and grace as she did delivering answers.
What is your role in this expo?
I’m the hostess mama and permanent caretaker of the colony and of the people who come and live here to collaborate on an art piece.
How did you get involved in this project?
Living in communities before with some of the curators from PS1. When the project came up they decided I was person for it.
Tell me what a typical day in the colony will be like.
Well the first guests arrived today, so we have a few guidelines to get the momentum going. There’s a time for breakfast, lunch and dinner where everybody gathers and discusses the evolution of the day and their experiences living in a museum, in a commune. So I wake up, organize some breakfast, probably go out and do some of our shopping, take care of the garden, make the meals, make sure everybody knows where they’re staying and find the rhythm. And teach about communal living.
What is the goal of this whole expo?
It’s an exercise in new systems, in a collaborative new system. To me it’s about seeing what it is we want and how we can move on to a new system — like collaborative living, expressing our gifts and working together and making life exciting and fun and meaningful.
What is your primary gift of contribution?
I’m a cook. I was born on a self-sufficient restaurant in Corsica. My parents grew, hunted and bartered everything that they sold there. I was born in the kitchen.
Where is the food coming from?
Everything is from the Union Square farmer’s market — organic, local, sustainably raised. We’re doing mostly vegan, a lot of raw and I’m working with the local fisherman, so we’ll have lots of local fish. I’m trying to have a no drinking policy so we’re all very sincere with each other and [able to] be ourselves.
Can you foresee any challenges? What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of this experience?
For me, yes. I’m here for two months and some, most, are here for one week. I have to keep my center, so I’m going to be bringing in some yoga classes and really trying to make sure people don’t drink and we have a curfew. Every day is a little different, so it’s all about being extremely flexible. It’s something that I’m having fun with.
What time’s curfew?
11pm for all the guests of the residence to leave, and then lights out at midnight.
The Colony will be on display at MoMA PS1 now through September 2.