Ada Pinkston & Hoesy Corona: MICA Duo Examines the Past and the Now

Ada Pinkston ’13 (Community Arts M.F.A.) and Hoesy Corona ’09 (Painting B.F.A.) graduated from MICA four years apart. Pinkston focused on community arts and Corona majored in painting. Despite these differences, both have called Baltimore home for more than half a decade and continue to be inspired by the city’s cultural scene. In 2016, their passion for performance and socially engaged art saw them collaborating in the inaugural Light City Baltimore. This year, the duo will present a sequel to their prior work, “Light Happenings II.”

“Light Happenings II” is an extension of “Dark City,” the 2016 project Pinkston and Corona produced for the festival’s Neighborhood Lights artist residency in Station North. “Dark City” was a two-part project that sought to discover what gave Station North residents and passers-by light a year after the tragic death of Freddie Gray. “Light Happenings II” continues to ask the question ‘What gives you light?’ through a site-specific installation and performance program.

“We examine devastating moments in history and their relationship to contemporary acts of violence in the United States,” the artists say. “We take into account the complex history and public art found on and around the installation site, including the Civil War trail and the Baltimore World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial.” The pair also considers other pertinent issues, such as the role the Inner Harbor port played in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the construction of race in America in relation to imperialism and capitalism.

The interactive installation consists of three structures using steel, Plexiglas, paint, vinyl, LED lights, projections and video, and will involve audience participation. A curated performance program features regional and national artists who explore racial identity, queer identity, race relations, familial histories, immigration and environmental refugees.

Pinkston and Corona, who in 2014 founded the performance art laboratory, Labbodies, reveal that “Light Happenings II” is the most significant temporary public art commission they have received to date. “It has allowed us to expand our practice beyond the studio, to work with engineers, fabricators and artists beyond our network.” Considering that large-scale art projects often solicit proposals from individuals or teams that already have a history of working in similar capacities, the two are elated to have the opportunity — in their short careers — to work on such an ambitious endeavor. “We hope it will pave the way for future large-scale projects.”