Felipe Castelblanco is a Colombian/American interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of socially engaged and new media art. Recently, he constructed an invisible wall connecting children across two continents (Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh); collaborated with participants from 10 countries to turn the world upside-down (Future Tenant Gallery); and assembled a team of day laborers to paint houses—on canvas—in the streets of Philadelphia (Practice Gallery). Among his collaborative endeavors is THE DRIFT, a floating platform for creative projects that explore the rivers and waterfronts within the city of Pittsburgh through performances, lectures, and buoyant interventions. Castelblanco’s work has been exhibited in the US and internationally, including the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the San Diego Museum of Art in California, FAD festival in Brazil, FIVAC festival in Cuba, and the Valenzuela Klenner Gallery in Colombia.
Castelblanco examined the work of several contemporary Russian art collectives, such as VOINA, that engage with public space, politics and institutional critique. He researched and sketched participatory projects and public interventions exploring issues of representation, access to public space and social engagement for unlikely sites around the city. The point of departure was the fictional and historic geography of St. Petersburg described in the short stories of Nikolai Gogol. The writer, his legacy and production served as a reference to navigate and understand the ongoing dynamics, relations and tensions.