On 25 and 26 June - just before the Omi Opening Sunday (OOS) - caraballo-farman participated in the Open Studios at Eyebeam (also known as Nazarianbeam). Their residency project concerns visualizations of the breast cancer - from a technical utility of MRI's to an extensive production of social signifiers bearing the pink ribbon, and from medical to aesthetic treatments of a breast.

caraballo-farman utilized breast scans - first their own, later those of others - as templates for 3D computer-generated models, to be printed on a rapid prototyping printer. This technologically objectified process produced an assembly of lego-like objects of various sizes, amorphous white shapes of tumors resting on gray scaffolding of printer supports. Here is the studio iteration of the cancerous biopolis:

The artists propose various installations of breast tumors, ranging from a monumental shape on the Met Museum's rooftop, entitled Mammogram of Henry Moore; to a pendant cast in brass, silver, or gold. Here is Leonor wearing her own:

caraballo-farman has been awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for this project.


As we drove towards Art Omi for the residency on Sunday evening, the sight of horses on Route 9H got Leo excited. She said she felt an intense urge to smell horses. So after dinner, she walked out into the night to look for horses.

Midnight came and went, and she still wasn’t back. She finally appeared again at 2 a.m. walking in out of the dark, exhausted, drenched, with sore feet. She had been lost walking for 3.5 hours straight on winding roads with no lights anywhere, not in the skies, not on the street. Except, eventually, for one house with a TV. She approached the window just as the soccer game changed to a Viagra ad. A man was asleep on the couch, dead to the world. She knocked a little on the door, but no one answered. No dogs barked. She walked back down to the road, going in circles for another hour until she found herself in front of the same house with its TV glowing like a beacon. She decided that the only way to not be lost and go around in circles was to walk back and forth in a straight line, a hundred yards down and a hundred yards back up the road, making sure the glowing window of the house with the TV was never too far from view. No cars ever on these roads at that time of night. Some furry animals crossing, their eyes shining yellow. It was getting late and scary so this time she was more determined as she walked up to the house. The same Viagra ad was playing on TV, as though no time had passed in between. She knocked heavily on the window this time. The sleeping man stirred, sat up. It felt more terrifying to see him come alive. She thought of Hanneke’s Funny Games. Leo raised her arms high and spoke in as loud a voice as she could.

“Hello sir, sorry to disturb you. I’m an artist resident at Art Omi and I went for a walk and I am lost. Can you help me find my way back?”

There was no answer. The man rubbed his eyes and reached for something behind him. She couldn’t tell whether he could see her or not.

“Please don’t be afraid! I’m just lost. I don’t know this area. Sir, please?”

The man rubbed his eyes some more. Was he scared or drunk senseless or simply indifferent?

Suddenly, he was on his feet. Then the lights went out. Leo started running back down to the road thinking that at least in the trees he wouldn’t be able to find her. She didn’t look back until an hour later, she came across the sign on Letter S road that said Art Omi. Home.

The next day, we set out to find the house. Exposed to light, the dark empty spaces of the previous night revealed themselves through a few signs – a barn, a fence, the sound of the stream. And the house.

Later, Abou delivered a letter to the house. There was no mailbox. A big dog ran down, barking loudly. Why hadn’t it barked last night? A man in his fifties, with a polo shirt tucked into khaki shorts, came out and waved the car to stop half way up the driveway.

“How can I help you?”

“I’m delivering this envelope. An artist at Art Omi asked me to bring this to you.”

The man took the envelope without blinking. On the porch, a woman swayed gently on a rocking chair.

“We have a lot of dogs here, and most of them are either blind or deaf,” he said, explaining why he didn’t want the car further up the driveway. He was jovial and eager. Was this the same man?

“Oh, so how do you like Art Omi?”

“Just started but I like it.”

“Where are you from?”

“Canada. Well, Iran originally.”

“Oh, that’s ok,” he said encouragingly.

The text of the letter delivered to the house is below:

June 28, 2010

Ghent, NY

Dear Neighbor,

I am writing to apologize for knocking at your door late last night. It was my first night in this area and I was completely lost, walking up and down the roads for several hours, desperately trying to find my way back to Art Omi. I was afraid but now realize I must have scared you too.

What happened was that I went for a late night walk and got lost in the total darkness. My only hope was the flickering light emanating from the TV set in your house. When I approached your window, I noticed you were asleep on your couch with the TV on. I hesitated at first, but like I said I was desperately afraid and it was getting very late. I went ahead and knocked and tried to explain myself in a loud voice without success. I turned back onto the road and eventually found my way back.

That’s the story from my side of the window. I would like to know the story on the other side of the window... Would you be willing to anonymously drop me a note, saying what you saw, thought, experienced or felt?

If so, please address it to:

Art Omi

c/o Artist #114

59 Letter S Road

Ghent, NY 12075

You can also drop it off in the Art Omi mailbox down the road.

Warm regards,

Artist #114

Two weeks went by. No news from Neighbor. But the neighborhood doesn't go away. Even though no activity has been detected in the white house across the road from the red barn, it is there, a constant presence. Gudrun records its reflection on the nearby pond at all hours of the day. Nothing but wind and fish catching insects disturbs its surface. No lights at night. Many bikes parked in front - not in bad shape - but no bikers.

Leo comes closer, while Nisrine refuses to go into high grass, she doesn't like grass. Leo peeks through the window. The interior is jam-packed with stuff, stuff that looks like it could have been art, and could have come from the barn over time. Now in limbo.

Back in the barn, day in and day out. It, too, empties out at night.

Does anyone remember? Where and how we started? How did we deal with the emptiness? With the proximity of other artists? How did the residency’s internal rhythms and cycles influence the shape or feel of our work spaces, of the daily work of making art (or not making art)? How were openness and privacy negotiated in the barn? Where did we place our art for it to be seen or not seen? Does the space or the image of the space over time say anything at all about the art or the artist? Does it say anything about anything?

We started photographing the studios on our floor every night when they got abandoned during dinner hours or late at night.  The photographs were always taken from the outside, we never stepped inside and we never changed anything in the room. Sometimes we waited until the last artist had retired for the night. It seemed key to us that it should remain a surprise. A gift to our neighbors.