paperscreen was a collaboratively-produced artwork created over two days at the Art and Social Activism Festival (October 2019, NYC), organized by Nicholas Cohn Art Projects. Rather than contribute a finished work to the Festival, Rooney chose to open up the process to the public as a call for transparency and individual participation in this politically-charged moment.
The act of pulpifying and then re-constructing these newspapers into new paper forms also served as a mode for participants to process recent histories and current events, while reimagining them with their own hands.
Produced entirely on-site using newspapers from 2016 to the present day, Rooney invited participants to pulpify pages of their choosing and then form them into individual paper "tiles" which they then wrapped around makeshift wooden frames.
Once the sheets were dry, Rooney assembled the frames into a single structure, bringing together multiple pages made by multiple people, akin to a quilting process.
When installed with light, the structure casts a shadow on the wall, which Rooney then populated with questions such as: "What are your daily rituals?" "What are your sources?" and "What do you not know?"---questions she hopes individuals are asking each time they consume a piece of media.
(Un)Forming Paper was a four-month course taught by Julia Rooney at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center as part of LMCC's (Lower Manhattan Cultural Center's) SU-CASA residency. Through weekly workshops, participants explored the endlessly versatile world of paper, learning first how to make paper from pulp, and then building up to projects that used paper as a substrate and/or building material.
We pulpified a range of fibers including abaca, cotton, Thai kozo and kenaf, paying attention to differences in transparency, texture and absorbency of the resulting paper. Eventually, we added pigments to expand the paper’s color range, and sizing that changed the paper’s absorbency.
In addition to this hands-on work, we looked at both contemporary and historic artists who use paper in fields ranging from sculpture to architecture to fashion. The course included field trips to MoMA’s Conservation Department to study issues of paper conservation, FabScrap, a textile reuse and recycling organization to gather materials, and Booklyn a non-profit, artist-run bookmakers and artist organization in The Brooklyn Army Terminal. Guest artists included Aimee Lusty, who presented unique artist books, and Mae Kazama, who introduced bookbinding.
The class’s work was made public through an open studio event in which participants shared their work-in-progress at the Center; and a final exhibition in June, where participants shared independent projects they produced.
SU-CASA is a collaboration among the New York City Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department for the Aging and the City's five local arts councils. This program is administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and supported by public funds from the New York City Council in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department for the Aging.
REMAP was a community project designed and led by Anna Adler, Corinne Cappelletti and Julia Rooney. It aimed to trace the often invisible journeys and stories of transient populations in New York City through visual art, movement, mindfulness and cooking. REMAP embraced the idea that mapping one's resources and location in and through a place, city and/or landscape can be an empowering act, generating a deeper sense of belonging and home.
In 2015, Adler, Cappelletti and Rooney led workshops at shelters and community spaces throughout New York City in which participants explored ideas of navigation, dislocation and place through collective mapping, movement and the making of manna bread using energy-rich foods such as nuts, seeds and dried fruits.
In December 2015, an open working session and community conversation was held at Jefferson Market Library. Event participants engaged in mapping, meditation, and energy-food making, as well as a community conversation on the topic of creative engagement with populations in transition between residences.
The Recipe Box was a community-based project organized by Julia Rooney in 2015 as part of the Engaging Artists residency. Rooney set up a communal box for women living at a Brooklyn shelter to submit recipes they wanted to teach each other, to cook and to consume.
Following the cooking workshops, Rooney painted a series of napkins as a celebration of these women’s stories, their recipes, and their collaboration. Each napkin includes an excerpt of one woman's recipe, traced and hand-painted onto the fabric. The napkins were installed at Hot Wood Arts Center in 2015 as part of the Engaging Artists culminating exhibition. Beside the napkins is the cookbook produced that includes the original recipe submissions and other materials from their work together.
In fall 2015, Rooney cooked a selection of recipes from the napkin set and presented the meal at a public event at UnionDocs, BK. She invited a group of strangers to stain the napkins with the food that inspired their making, and also invited participants to submit their own recipes to be shared anew.