Gates, Borders, Barriers: Engaging Artists Fellows


Gates, Borders, Barriers: Engaging Artists Fellows

Artists from More Art’s Engaging Artists 2022 Fellowship program presented work that highlights invisible barriers, community, and racialized society in response to Fred Wilson’s public art project, Mind Forged Manacles/Manacle Forged Minds.
Yeseul Song and Maya Simone Z. with Cinthia Chen

May 19, 2023.


This program was held at the site of  Fred Wilson’s public art sculpture, Mind Forged Manacles/Manacle Forged Minds in the plaza inside of Columbus Park, in Downtown Brooklyn.

Yeseul Song, Two Subtle Bodies, an interactive experience, 2023. Programming in conjunction with Fred Wilson's public art project, Mind Forged Manacles / Manacle Forged Minds, Columbus Park, Brooklyn, 2022-2023. Photo by Manuel Molina Martagon.
  • Project description
  • About the artist
Maya Simone Z. and Cinthia Chen, seen/unseen, performance still, 2023. Programming in conjunction with Fred Wilson's public art project, Mind Forged Manacles / Manacle Forged Minds, Columbus Park, Brooklyn, 2022-2023. Photo by Manuel Molina Martagon.

Artists from More Art’s Engaging Artists 2022 Fellowship program presented work that highlights invisible barriers, community, and monuments in response to Fred Wilson’s sculpture, Mind Forged Manacles/Manacle Forged Minds. Yeseul Song presented an interactive experience that highlights invisible boundaries and personal space, while Maya Simone Z. with collaborator Cinthia Chen developed a new movement performance and installation that built upon and interacted with Fred Wilson’s sculpture.

seen/unseen by Maya Simone Z. and collaborator Cinthia Chen
This performance incorporated movement and visual imagery to consider and amplify certain themes of Fred Wilson’s installation – particularly incarceration and perceptions of self in a racialized society. Together, the collaborating artists consider the power and implications of asserting/subverting agency, the act of surveillance, and who is looking in (or who is looking out).

Two Subtle Bodies by Yeseul Song
Two Subtle Bodies (2022) is an interactive auditory experience where two strangers (YOU!) walk inside a space experience and each other’s peripersonal space. As the two bodies move together, they generate and listen to sounds through bone conduction that correspond dynamically and in real time to their movements. The subtle body is a concept that appears in Taoism and Dharmic religions to indicate bodies that are neither solely physical nor solely spiritual, in contrast to the mind-body dualism that has dominated western thought. In neurology, the space surrounding a body is called Peripersonal Space and enabled by visuo-tactile senses. By recognizing and perceiving this soft and fluid space between us, we can lock new ways of connecting with each other by extending the sense of self and others.

Project by Yeseul Song with sound design collaboration from Jesse Simpson & Greg Halleran and garment design collaboration and production by Daniel Ryan Johnston. Originally commissioned and supported by the Korean Cultural Center in Washington, DC, Embassy of the Republic of Korea.


This event was part of “Gates, Borders, Barriers,” a series of public programs in connection with Fred Wilson’s year-long installation Mind Forged Manacles/Manacle Forged Minds. This program was presented in partnership with Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Dumbo Business Improvement District, DTBK + Dumbo Art Fund, New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, VIA Art Fund, and Pace Gallery.

Yeseul Song and Maya Simone Z. with Cinthia Chen

Maya Simone Z.
New York City-based interdisciplinary artist Maya Simone Z. (they/them) creates performance-based work that centers emotional and spiritual connections between ancestral memory, the body, and the Black diaspora’s collective capacity to dream. They examine how brain-body-spirit connections manifest in private and civic life for Black and queer folks in both national and transnational contexts. They are particularly interested in how these tensions affect Black kinship, relationships and communities as we collectively navigate the specter of Capitalist white supremacy.

Maya Simone draws on Black movement and dance traditions, multimedia experimentation, Afro-futurism, poetry, devised theatre, and deep listening to develop work. Through a Black queer, non-binary lens and drawing on Anthropological research methods, they consider the many ways that Black folks connect to spiritual and embodied ways of knowing. Mediums they employ include movement and choreography, writing, sound, installation, video, and performance.

They have worked with Sydnie L. Mosley, Jasmine Hearn, Lisa Fagan and Cinthia Chen. Maya has developed and performed in works presented at Green Space, Corkscrew Theater Festival, Theater Mitu and more, including Waters of Oblivion (2020, 2021), the way back (2020), and Give It A Go (2022). Maya Simone has completed residencies with MODArts Dance Collective (NYC), Hambidge Center (GA), Mudhouse Art (Crete, Greece), GALLIM (NYC), and Marble House (VT). They are a recent Engaging Artists (EA) Fellow with More Art and 2022 artist-in-residence with the FloodNet Deluge program at NYU Tandon.

Cinthia Chen
Cinthia Chen is an interdisciplinary artist and director based in Brooklyn and Taiwan. She is interested in art-making and performance as ritual, that both engages with the self and with community, to explore memory, hybrid identities, and future spiritualism. She uses audiovisual technologies in her work to amplify these ideas and emotions and delights in blending mythos with documentary. She has created and developed original work through Mabou Mines, Theater Mitu, Fault Line Theater, Corkscrew Theater Festival, Asian American Arts Alliance, and Creators Collective.

For her work as a video and projections designer, she was recognized at La MaMa’s Design Fest 2020. Recent design works include: “Where Are You? (New York)” (Mabou Mines), “Take Shape” (ART/New York), “Specially Processed American Me” (Dixon Place), “O – Life’s a Drag” (Guling Street Avant-garde Theatre), and “american (tele)visions” (New York Theater Workshop, assistant designer). Cinthia also works as a film editor and helps run Theater Mitu’s Hybrid Arts Lab program, which supports trans, non-binary, and women artists working at the intersection of performance and technology.

Yeseul Song
Yeseul Song is a South Korean-born, NYC-based artist who uses technology, interaction, and participation as art media. She uncovers creative possibilities of non-visual senses and creates new sensory languages using technology to advocate imaginative and equitable views of the world. With the belief that art needs to be accessible to everyone, she explores and occupies non-traditional public spaces to challenge commonly held ideas about access and accessibility of art. She’s best known for Invisible Sculptures (2018-2021), a series of non-visual experiential sculptures made of sound, warmth, air, smell, and thought. Her first solo institutional exhibition, Invisible and Existent, was shown at the Clayarch Museum in South Korea in 2021.

Yeseul is an Assistant Arts Professor at New York University Tisch’s Interactive Telecommunications Program & Interactive Media Arts (NYU ITP/IMA). Her teaching areas span interactive art and physical computing.

Her work was shown at Clayarch Art Museum (South Korea), Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum (D.C.), New York Live Arts (NY), PASEO (NM), and Art in Odd Places (NY), among others. She has held residencies/fellowships from Museum of Arts and Design, Mana Contemporary, More Art, Future Imagination Fund, and Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy, and is an alum of New Museum’s NEW INC. Her work has been supported/funded by Wave Farm, NYSCA, Embassy of the Republic of Korea’s Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C., Brooklyn Arts Council, DUMBO, GimHae Cultural Foundation, and more. Yeseul’s work won the iF Design Concept Awards and Communication Arts Interactive Awards, and her recent project has been shortlisted for Creative Capital 2023.