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On x MoMA PS1: Nova Class Ep. 2 – Strength through community

The second episode of On x MoMA PS1 Nova Class turns the focus to the aspect that gives every city its unique character: the community. It’s what makes New York City stand out to artists from all over the globe. Drawing strength and energy for movement and creativity, the local community serves as more than inspiration to NYC creatives – it ignites their human spirit.


After months of isolation, New York City residents are slowly feeling the awakening of their city. A concluded hibernation of public life and culture that is currently resulting in an avalanche of newly found and returned energy for NYC artists and creatives. 


With a palpable influence on the city and its inhabitants, the creative spirits of MoMA PS1 contribute and profit from the culture at the same time. Because to them, having the right people around them is what keeps them going. 


“I don't think any artist would choose to live in such a city as New York where you pay 10 times more than anywhere else. If it wasn't for the community here and the people, the group of artists that exists.”


Marie Karlberg / Photo by: Alice Plati
Sazón Department / Photo by: Alice Plati


Now, as NYC is experiencing its cultural spring, MoMA PS1 has its eyes set on many occasions to bring artists and communities together. After hosting the event online in the past, their Warm Up music program, for example, has been hosted as in-person event again. That means New Yorkers can finally follow the flow provided by their favorite local artists after months of solo listening in their apartments.


Among the artists eager to finally move people in person again is the fiery collective Sazón Department. Taking turns in the booth, they now realize the privilege of being up there and being able to do what they love. 


“I definitely felt like we had to sort of not only be reborn, but step it up and really show up for our people.”



Acknowledging their responsibility of reviving the NYC nightlife scene, the DJ collective also witnessed the pent up energy in their crowds since the lockdown had ended. It seems as if the newfound freedom to move, dance and be social has ignited something in them that has been dormant, waiting to be freed – their human spirit.

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And the human spirit is what creates the magic in the booth and on the dancefloor – just what Sazón Department wants to use their platform for. What they see whenever they get the dancefloor vibing to their latin-electronic sound? A safe space for everyone to fully embrace the music, the movement and themselves.


“You're not only creating for yourself. You're creating for other people to experience your art and be immersed in it.”


Sazón Department / Photo by: Alice Plati


While Warm Up reinvigorates the movement in New York City’s proverbial hips, another key event dominates the MoMA PS1 landscape as the art center prepares for one of its biggest exhibitions to date: Greater New York. 


The celebration of New York based artists will shine some light on what has been brewing within the community and its creative minds. One of the many contributors is Postwar and Contemporary artist Marie Karlberg. Using film as a vessel to continuously find a challenge, the artist finds plenty of value in movement – your own personal expression, without using any words. 


Movement isn’t just limited to Marie’s films though. All around the city, something is changing, things are evolving and adapting to the new energy received via the revival of culture and social life.


“It feels like something new is happening. Because everyone went through it, this crazy thing is still going on. But it's also exciting and I feel positive for the future.”


Marie Karlberg / Photo by: Alice Plati


“For me, the reason why I'm an artist and do what I do, has to do with dialogue, it has to do with other people it has to do with artists and my situations, my surroundings again.”


Creativity blossoms in places where creative spirits mingle – just like New York City. For Marie Karlberg, the motif to create art, to inspire others through film and movement comes from the energy exuded by fellow artists and those who come to immerse themselves in art. Another perfect example for the fruitful symbiosis between NYC artists and the community. Strengthening and nourishing both sides equally.



Whether it’s finding new energy from the same sources as before or finding new sources altogether: What matters most is that newfound energy gets returned to the communities that provide it. Because the cycle of drawing inspiration and inspiring others must continue. Marie Karlberg and Sazón Department have understood their role as artists to ignite the human spirit of their audience. It doesn’t matter if this happens via music, dance, film or any other art form – as long as energy keeps returning to the community, any artist is doing the right thing.

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