Thursday, August 7, 2008
I began my forays into critical and cooperative art expressions sometime in college (UCSD - woot!). Lecture halls and sections were filled with bodies, a poor representative cross section of a patronage of privilege.
Yours truly was part of this mass.
The work produced in studio, media, computer, and photography classes ran the range between personal expressions of ebullient and potential Frida Kahlo's, Robert Frank's, Eric DeGuia's to the despondent, and maybe hung-over 'bohemian' or 'dandy' students.
I began to grow towards a critical discussion in sharing an ever growing knowledge base that included a pedestrian-art relationship (one that physically places art/object in direct opposition to the spectator). However, it's one thing to keep the discussion between academics, it's another to build your chops up by affiliating and collaborating with those "outside" the academy and art production.
Luckily, there was one extremely welcoming professor on campus (Grant Kester) who would point me towards several directions that I continually explore.
One of the directions that I was pointed towards, is a group called WochenKlausur.
(If you have time, please go through their FAQ, and the ART links to get a sense of context)
Certainly not the only group to explore dialogical art productions, there are plenty of individuals (Suzanne Lacy), organizations, and collectives (SF Print Collective) that exercise a more collaborative and pedagogically-friendly approach. However, WochenKlausur has a track record, model, and philosophy that builds bridges between and blurs the concept of art and politics.
Revisiting their website and noting their evolution only makes my brain synapse's go wild and inspire projects that apply a similar methodology.
What if I were to apply such strategies to encourage dialog between developers, residence -- from the rich to the transient -- service providers, business owners, etc. What would that look like?
Perhaps a pre-approved commandeering of 6th Street and Natoma: Imperceptibly occupy a space with a small unit constructed of hundreds of cardboard boxes, or an intricate shell of shopping carts that would house a "warm" space, replete with fresh donuts, fruit, and coffee -- the ideas are endless.
The intent of such constructed spaces are to encourage moderated dialog and political dealings. Can you imagine a 'casual' conversation between two planning commission members and two schoolchildren, and the vehicle of conversation would be crayon drawings based on the theme of home... or even using this space to share cooking tips from an SRO resident and a local grocer... and having these documents integrated into an Environmental Impact Report?
Or, if documented dialog isn't the cup of tea of collaborators, perhaps daily data collection of 6th street goings on. Arguably, this could potentially encourage more surveillance, however, maybe with the inclusion of oral history, video, or photo essay all contained on some accessible database -- would be humanizing. Perhaps the information disseminated would act as an appropriate litmus or forecast that would effectively incite involvement -- in addition to rallies, the public would be in the halls more often... oh wait that's what I'm trying to do on this blog ;P
These ideas aren't pipe-dreams that will lay stagnant, with the relationships that I'm hoping to nurture I'm sure in due time something WochenKlausur-esqe will manifest. Trust.
Who's with me?