2024 MAAF for Artists Grantees Announced

Apr 01, 2024 8:00 am
2024 MAAF for Artists Grantees Portrait Grid

2024 MAAF for Artists Grantees Portrait Grid. (Apr 02, 2024)

2024 MAAF for Artists Grantees Project Grid

2024 MAAF for Artists Grantees Project Grid. (Apr 02, 2024)

Acra, NY—Acra, NY—Wave Farm announced today seventeen grantees for the 2024 Media Arts Assistance Fund (MAAF) for Artists, a regrant program with the New York State Council on the Arts.

Selected through a competitive panel process from an application pool of 222 proposals, the 2024 MAAF Grantees are: Zain Alam; Zainab Aliyu; Desireena Almoradie; Crackhead Barney; b e i n g - s o u n d ; Sofiya Cheyenne; Mark Fingerhut, Peter Burr, Bridget DeFranco, and Matthew D. Gantt; Caroline Golum; Kevin Peter He; Char Jeré; Jane Manwelyan; Diane Severin Nguyen; Miriam Simun; Evan Starling-Davis; Suzanne Thorpe and Stephanie Rothenberg; Milton X. Trujillo; and Caveh Zahedi.

The Media Arts Assistance Fund (MAAF) for Artists provides New York State media artists up to $7,500 for the completion and/or public presentation of new works in all genres of sound and moving image art, including emergent technology. Grant awards assist artists in completing new work, reaching public audiences, and advance artistic exploration and public engagement in the media arts.

Detailed information about the seventeen 2024 MAAF for Artists funded projects is available below.


Zain Alam - Meter & Light: Day (Kings County)
Meter & Light: Day enacts, in miniature, the interlocking rhythms of time in Muslim life. Through an immersive, three-channel installation, the work explores the passage of light, seasonality, and spiritual revelation—all senses of time in Islamic experience that rest on the judgments of individual human perception rather than any supreme authority. Poets and philosophers in the tradition have written on how this cyclical, spiraling sense of time underpins–and provides a connecting thread to–the structure of Muslim art from the Balkans to Bengal. The finished work will premiere in New York summer 2024. MAAF funding will support final post-production, audiovisual supplies, and public outreach.

Zainab Aliyu - freedom is a durational practice (Kings County)
freedom is a durational practice is an experimental and durational moving image meditation foregrounding anthems of celebration across the diaspora and traversing borders to fabricate an infinite, pan-African chorus of shared somatic vibrations. Drawing upon Saidiya Hartman’s notion of the chorus in Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, the piece surfaces “wayward” compositions that distort the colonial residue and remnants of empire in our ongoing struggle for collective liberation, as evidenced in the historical effigies of national freedom songs across the African diaspora, many still imbued with chauvinistic and patriarchal constructs. The text is composed from 100+ anthems, protests, hymns and freedom songs from the African diaspora, and the sound is composed from a living ethno-musicological archive the artist has been assembling in collaboration with her father, of afro-diasporic instruments across Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. MAAF funding will support completion of this work in preparation for public presentation.

Desireena Almoradie and Barbara Malaran - I LOVE YOU, I HATE YOU, I FORGIVE YOU: A History of Kilawin Kolektibo (New York County)
Joyful, raw, revolutionary: I LOVE YOU, I HATE YOU, I FORGIVE YOU is a hybrid experimental documentary that tells the story of queer Filipnxs who, in the 1990s, against a racist, lesbophobic backdrop, came together for the first time in New York City to create a safe and loving community. MAAF Funding will support completion expenses including motion graphics, sound mix, and color correction.

Crackhead Barney - Crackhead Barney vs. the QAnon Shaman: the Insurrectionist Posterboy Speaks (working title) (Queens County)
This satirical investigative journalism project is an extensive interview conducted by Crackhead Barney and Jake Chansley, AKA the Qanon Shaman. Chansley became a notorious face for the January 6 attack after storming into the Capitol bare-chested, face painted, in a fur headdress with horns. Barney and the Shaman speak together about a wide array of topics as they hike North Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona in mid December 2023. After the insurrection and the whole world witnessed the brazen attack on the United States Capitol, the QAnon Shaman was convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding and sentenced to 41 months in federal prison. To everyone’s great surprise, Chansley agreed to meet with Barney following his release from prison in mid-2023. The film takes a deep dive into the motivations and the ideas behind the wild character that took over the media leading up to January 6 and on the day of the insurrection itself. Barney expertly pushes the Shaman's buttons and gets him to express his ideas about race, politics, BLM, Antifa, Palestine, economics, and many other topics. MAAF funding will support the post-production and public presentation of this work.

b e i n g - s o u n d - The Forest of Dreamed Whispers (Columbia County)
The Forest of Dreamed Whispers is a solar-powered immersive light-and-sound installation. It combines a large number of independent LED lights flickering in sequences modeled after fireflies with multiple standalone speakers that play emergent patterns woven from field recordings, samples, and synthesized sounds. This is a work of speculative ecology seeking to extend listening into a deeper experience of connection and kinship with the beyond-human world: listening not just with our ears, but with our hearts. There are no lines here, no horizon, no grand narratives. Just a series of encounters with the small, the subtle, the ignored. MAAF funding will support post-production costs, supplies, and other expenses associated with the completion of the project.

Sofiya Cheyenne - How We Look (Nassau County)
How We Look is a short film about dwarf culture and identity, created and performed by Little People (LP). LP self-representation radically upends our history of being put on display for an average-height audience’s entertainment. Each film centers one act of image-making, from renaissance portraiture, to sideshow photography, to medical imaging, to self-representation. Cheyenne intends to screen the film at leading disability film festivals and within disability and little people communities. MAAF funding will support the film’s final post-production phase, including color correction, sound mix, and original score composition.

Mark Fingerhut, Peter Burr, Bridget DeFranco, and Matthew D. Gantt - NATURAL CONTACTS (Kings County)
NATURAL CONTACTS is a piece of malware designed to arrest control over its host machine for twenty-four hours, transforming it into a dynamic virtual garden. The piece plays with notions of time as understood by software, probing viewers’ attention and encouraging us to reimagine the possibilities of administrative technology beyond its traditional work-centric confines. Taken as a whole, the work presents a world where technology and nature coexist in a strange balance that doesn’t take into account the wishes of its user. This software effectively transforms them into a powerless observer who must not only watch their computer carry on without their involvement, but forces them to confront their non-digital lives for an extended period of time. MAAF funding will support the completion of the work, including sound design, final software development, and beta testing.

Caroline Golum - Revelations of Divine Love (Kings County)
Revelations of Divine Love is a feature-length narrative film based on the true story of a woman working outside the confines of male-dominated institutions during an era of economic, political, and social upheaval. Julian of Norwich was 30 years old, living at home, and dying of a mysterious illness when she experienced three days of extraordinary visions. Moved by these “showings,” she spends her ensuing years recording her experience in an accessible language her community will understand. This first-hand account, completed 650 years ago, is the first known book in English written by a woman. Revelations adapts Julian's writing as a speculative biopic of the author, following her evolution alongside the fomenting crises in her orbit. MAAF funding will provide completion funds for the film.

Kevin Peter He - Passage_SoftRains (Kings County)
Passage_SoftRains is a speculative audio-visual installation where the ecosystem becomes a live instrument. Passage traverses the realm of the uncanny, born from the inherent tension between digital technology and nature. Biomes are meticulously crafted as pixels, simulated and consumed, operating continuously on a computational level. What does nature look and sound like if it was born out of a computer? The project explores the entanglement of natural and artificial systems through a lush forest of cybernetic flora and fauna, simulated in a game engine with AI. Variables such as the presence of the audience, time, and the relationship between organisms foster emergent behaviors that modulate and alter the audio and visual composition in real time, forming a feedback loop within the techno-biosphere. MAAF funding will support the completion and physical installation costs of the project.

Char Jeré - Genuflect Symphony (Kings County)
Genuflect Symphony is a multi-sensory project that intricately weaves together found and archival materials to construct a dense, multimedia installation-as-opera. This immersive experience delves into the theme of shared memories with those we've encountered briefly, those we've never met, those we've known for an extended period, or those we've yet to meet. The installation takes the form of a community laboratory, where an array of instruments, automated sound objects and both made and found items converge to create a spatialized symphony. The sound sculpture serves as a dynamic representation of movement and migration within the African diaspora, employing a non-linear composition that utilizes a radio, an autonomous piano, a sampler, synthesizer, drum machine and handmade oscillators to construct a multi-layered sonic landscape. MAAF funding will support the public presentation of the work.

Jane Manwelyan - Mothers and Lovers (Sullivan County)
Mothers and Lovers is a 10-minute narrative short film about a new mother caught between the commitments she made to her straight husband and her desire for sex and intimacy with others. Set at a lakeside summer cabin in upstate New York, Mothers and Lovers is about the ongoing process of truth-telling and compromise necessary to maintain sexual compatibility between life partners who wish to stay true to themselves and true to each other. For those who love their partner but would sooner betray them than voice their desires for sexual exploration with others, Mothers and Lovers gives language and space to help initiate difficult conversations and to claim our birthright: a fulfilling sex life centering pleasure, care, and self-determination. MAAF funds will support the completion of the film.

Diane Severin Nguyen - In Her Time (New York County)
In Her Time (Iris’s Version) follows an actress named Iris as she rehearses for a leading role in a historical war film about the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, a brutal assault on Chinese civilians by the Imperial Japanese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45). Through this framework, Nguyen explores the ways that history circulates in the present—largely through popular media, partly as memory, and partly as re-creation or even fan fiction. The doubling back and collapsing of time is furthered by “Iris’ Version,” which includes the actress’ retrospective commentary about the making of In Her Time alongside her private iPhone footage. Nguyen shot much of the film at Hengdian World Studios, one of the largest film studios in the world that has also become a destination for filmmakers and tourists alike to experience a sweeping nationalist history of China. Nguyen also features some of the thousands of migrant workers who come to Hengdian each year with hopes of screen time and end up as background actors portraying Japanese soldiers or civilian casualties. Over the course of Nguyen’s film, fiction and reality fuse as she explores the limits of the ways in which history is told and uses re-enactment as a vehicle for visualizing the future. MAAF funding will support the completion of the single-channel theatrical version of the work.

Miriam Simun - Contact Zone Level 2 (Kings County)
Contact Zone Level 2 is an infinitely changing computer-generated animation exploring rewilding, belonging, and unknowing. Rewilding aims to re-stabilize imbalanced ecosystems by "translocating" keystone species to serve as “ecosystem engineers.” Two sites of rewilding collide—the Swiss Alps (rewilded with Soviet Bloc lynx) and the artist’s intestines (rewilded with ancient Mayan bacteria-yeast symbionts)—while an AI monitors the ecosystems, itching to intervene. The work explores the role of computational imaging and machine learning in ecological health; the relation of species translocation to human migration, belonging and control; and how ideologies embedded in scientific, cultural and machine intelligence shape what and how we know. MAAF funding will provide support for the completion of the work and festival submission fees.

Evan Starling-Davis - Fracture (Onondaga County)
Fracture can be conceptualized as an Afro-Surreal interactive “breathing collage.” Abstracted as a meditation-based extended-reality (VR/XR) experience—which explores emerging technologies as conduits of mindfulness—the project devises a sur/real dreamscape to unlock radical imagination within participating audiences. Investigating disparities in accessibility of the “institutionalized collection,” Fracture alchemizes Afro-diasporic objects, localized Rust Belt archives, and poetry to re/imagine curatorial practices in context of stimulating literacy development, motivation, and introspection. Explicitly, Black history, archives, and archival practices testify to the complexity of how Black life and our cultural imprints have lived, been documented, and remembered. Often, Black publics do not have pathways to content reflective of their spirits. MAAF funding will support completion, including digitizing remaining objects to be included in the dreamscape, re-coding haptics, as well as mastering audio.

Suzanne Thorpe and Stephanie Rothenberg - Tending Ostreidae: Serenades for Settling (Greene County)
Tending Ostreidae: Serenades for Settling is an immersive, multimedia installation, and performance that constructs a tale out of the science and folklore of the heroic oyster. Oysters, who are water filterers, sea level mitigators, and rich food sources, determine suitable settlement habitats through a distinction of sound signatures in underwater soundscapes. They are also sensitive to loud sounds at particular frequencies, which potentially disturb their reproductive process. Tending Ostreidae speculatively emulates an oyster’s habitat and the impacts of human noise disruptions, specifically within New York City’s waterways. The artists leverage maritime and meteorological data from New York’s Harbor to generate sound and visuals and animate sound responsive robotic oysters in sculptural reefs. This generative visual and aural composition continually responds to subaqueous stimuli of the waterways, and invites participants to query the dynamic relationships between human activity and the wellbeing of oysters. MAAF funds will be used to fine-tune technical architectures and graphics, build additional robotic oysters and reefs, and support exhibition and performance of the completed work.

Milton X. Trujillo - Care Cosmologies and Undersides (Queens County)
Care Cosmologies and Undersides is a film and memory project about care networks in Queens’ Corona, Jackson Heights, and Elmhurst neighborhoods. The film highlights different levels of collective formations working against violences of displacement and brings together the ideas of care, abandonment, and diasporic memory. MAAF funding will support both completion and public presentation of the work, including sound design, archival processes, and a premiere screening.

Caveh Zahedi - The Class About the Class (Kings County)
The Class About the Class is a personal experimental documentary about a semester-long webshow class Zahedi taught at the New School in which the students filmed the entirety of each class and also recorded “confessionals” in which they talked about whatever had happened in class that day. The film is told from multiple viewpoints–that of the various students in the class–and explores student alienation, contemporary classroom power dynamics, and drug use in and out of the classroom. MAAF funds will be used to support picture lock, sound mixing, and color correction. The completed film will be submitted to festivals and streaming services.

About the New York State Council on the Arts
The Council on the Arts preserves and advances the arts and culture that make New York State an exceptional place to live, work and visit. The Council upholds the right of all New Yorkers to experience the vital contributions the arts make to our communities, education, economic development, and quality of life. To support the ongoing recovery of the arts across New York State, the Council on the Arts will award record funding in FY 2023, providing support across the full breadth of the arts, including dedicated support for arts education and underrepresented communities. The Council on the Arts further advances New York’s creative culture by convening leaders in the field and providing organizational and professional development opportunities and informational resources. Created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1960 and continued with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the Council is an agency that is part of the Executive Branch. For more information on NYSCA, please visit http://www.arts.ny.gov , and follow NYSCA’s Facebook page, Twitter @NYSCArts and Instagram @NYSCouncilontheArts .

About Wave Farm
Wave Farm is an international transmission arts organization driven by experimentation with the electromagnetic spectrum. We cultivate creative practices in radio and support artists and nonprofits in their cultural endeavors.

Based in New York’s Upper Hudson Valley, Wave Farm is a media arts center, media platform, and arts service organization. Wave Farm offers interdisciplinary outdoor installations, residencies and fellowships, and a research library. We operate FM radio station WGXC and host many online radio channels. Wave Farm provides fiscal sponsorship, consultation, and grants to artists and organizations. For more information, please visit wavefarm.org

For more information about the The New York State Council on the Arts in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund (MAAF) visit https://wavefarm.org/grants-services/nysca-regrants/maaf-artists/about