Cross Pollination

Cross Pollination Year 2 is complete! Check out each group’s tab for online documentation capturing these exciting investigations. For a little preview, here’s a quick reflection on the adventures of all the residencies…

This program grew out of an idea that I thought was impossible. When I first wrote the proposal for Cross Pollination to the Knight Arts Challenge, I figured it would simply be an exercise in imagining an artistic utopia. I wanted to create a setting in which artists could explore uncharted territory with each other. I wanted to find a way to play in an open sandbox. I wanted to give space to try any and everything, to ask questions that didn’t yet have answers in the hopes that we could truly experiment and risk.

Now on the other side of two years worth of work with the most fruitful, daring and game creators imaginable, I can say that Cross Pollination is the best thing I’ve ever done. There is a ton of stuff we’ve done this year:

Along with Chris Forsyth and MJ Kaufman we’ve brought storytelling and sound to subways and created poetic and trippy improvisations that explore music and language through the way they intersect with performers in the living moment.

With Mark Lord and Shelley Spector, Swim Pony took a deep dive into reflecting on perception and process, creating tiny tours, and mining the artistic potential of a floating houseboat.

In our week with Sarah Burgess and Katonya Mosley we undertook creative work and conversation about the way bodies mediate our experience of the world, how our internal stories align with our external forms, and how we speak, sculpt and sing to get to a genuine sense of truth and connection.

The wild improvisations with Nadia Botello and The Dance Apocalypse (aka Gabrielle Revlock and Nicole Bindler) fused electronic sound, scene and movement.


Our epic nearly 24 hour overnight with Sean Hoots and Lorna Williams literally took us into the air.

Joint interest in defining the meaning of “family” and “home” inspired us to prototype a playable card game with Maria Dumlao and donia salem harhoor.


And last, though certainly not least, Swim Pony navigated around the entire perimeter of Philadelphia on a 102.7 mile walk with Ann de Forest and JJ Tiziou.

There’s enough material generated from these experiments to last Sam and I the next six years of Swim Pony’s future programming. It’s, no doubt, been an incredibly prolific ride.

But more importantly, this program has reminded me of the value of creative risk. It’s shown what happens when you offer amazingly talented artists an opportunity to engage in creative process without the burden of a pre-defined product. When you let their imaginations run wild, the things they make are wilder and more imaginative. When you give space for research, newer and bolder discoveries emerge.

I know that Cross Pollination will be back in our future – both in further development with the artists we’ve bonded with here as well as in new residencies with future collaborators.  So stay tuned.

There’s a lot more to come.



PS Thanks of course to the Knight Foundation’s Arts Challenge Philadelphia and the Wyncote Foundation for making all this possible!

Swim Pony also receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s