29 Prospect Street,. Newburgh, NY 12550

March 24 - April 15, 2018

Opening reception: Saturday, March 24, 5-8 PM; Artist talk with Hanny Ahern at 6 PM

Teen art and tech workshop with the artist, Saturday, April 7th, 12 - 2 PM (Free; for ages 13 - 17 RSVP

Closing reception Sunday April 15, 5-8 PM

Public hours: Saturday and Sundays 12-5 PM (Excluding Easter Sunday, April 1st)


STRONGROOM is pleased to present SOFTEN, a video animation and site-specific installation by Hanny Ahern at 29 Prospect Street, Newburgh, NY.

At the forefront of Hanny’s practice is a focus on capturing, mirroring, and redirecting what we may consider ordinary. By using a “media-agnostic” approach to imagery, conditions, or interfaces of modern life, Hanny exaggerates and redirects complacent symbolic systems back to the viewer, infusing them with realism and eerie optimism. For her Strongroom installation, Hanny utilizes the many corridors and bizarre framing of  29 Prospect Street to create a unique experience that invites visitors to both view the installation from a fixed point, as well as enter the space as a participant. Anchoring the installation is a looped projection depicting collaged imagery that is also sculpturally expressed in the space. A tape exclaims caution but reads as “Soften,” redirecting the trigger of danger and throwing “caution to the wind.” Similarly, fast moving imagery of Disney characters, casual cartoon catastrophe, and exploding hearts, are swept away by smoke the moment they are crystallized. These elements come together into a visual and spatial reconfiguration of familiar symbols, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s quote “Imagination is the only weapon on the war against reality.”  

Hanny Ahern has a BFA from Bennington College and in 2012 graduated from NYU’s prestigious and creative Interactive Telecommunications Program. Hanny was the founder of Stream gallery in Brooklyn as well as POWRPLNT, a learning center for youth and tech in Bushwick. Most recently Hanny was a teen educator at DIA Beacon, and was also invited to Detroit to attend the “artist Campaign School” training artists to take on politics.

Hanny’s experience as an educator and an activist is very much part of her work rather than supplementary to it, and she seamlessly expresses the way art can be a loophole for learning, taking on new perspectives. In a workshop with teens on April 7th, Hanny will focus on the themes in her installation by exploring media techniques, including green screen animation and Augmented Reality. The workshop will aim to empower participants to play with imagination, increase their media literacy, and consider symbolism with a sense of humor.


Special thanks to Tom Schmitz and the Left Tilt Fund for making this exhibition possible.