Michele « Rise Industries | Interdisciplinary projects since 1999

Gettin’ off the Ground: Contemporary Stories from an American Community

posted by on 2014.02.07, under art, culture, exhibition, news, photo, social practice

My 2009 project “26 Passports” will be on exhibit at Angel’s Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro, CA from February 9 – April 11, 2014. This is the first time this piece has been shown. More details below.

Gettin’ Off The Ground: Contemporary Stories from An American Community
curated by Isabelle Lutterodt

Opening Reception Sunday Feb. 9, 2-5pm

Angel’s Gate Cultural Center
3601 South Gaffey Street
San Pedro, California 90731

Angels Gate Cultural Center (AGCC) is thrilled to invite you to the launch of a new round of exhibitions that continue to explore how stories within the community shape the collective consciousness in San Pedro and South Bay area.

An Opening Reception for several new shows in the Galleries will be held on February 9, 2014 from 2:00pm-4:00pm. Chamber Concert at 4:15pm.

MAIN GALLERY I: Supporting Structures: A Community Arts Project – Fausto Fernandez in partnership with members of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and the Pile Drivers, Bridge, Dock and Wharf Builders Local Union 2375

This project marks the beginning of a year-long partnership with the Union. Together we will explore the story of their members and families, the history of the labor movement in San Pedro and how this impacts the community at large. Los Angeles based artist Fausto Fernandez was selected by the Joe Baker, Executive Director of Palos Verdes Art Center, to work on the project.

MAIN GALLERY II: features artists: Mwangi Hutter, Michele Jaquis, Jessica Wimbley and Eve Wood

Work has been selected that continue to explore stories relevant to the local community. The work ranges from video to sculpture and explores issues of representation, identity and personal responsibility. Visitors will be able to tell their own story through interactive art stations in the gallery.

COMMUNITY GALLERY: Symbiosis – Karena Massengill with students from Cabrillo High School in Long Beach.

San Pedro based artist Karena Massengill will be showing work alongside her students work from Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, CA. The work represents the creative conversation that emerges between artist-teachers and students.

COMMUNITY ROOM: Artist-In-Classroom will showcase young artists from South Bay schools.

Features work by young artists from local and regional schools in the South Bay/Harbor region who have been instructed by Angels Gate Cultural Center’s Artists-Teachers

Following the reception, join Grammy Award-winning Southwest Chamber Music in Building H for a one-hour program featuring violinist Shalini Vijayan playing pieces from J.S.Bach, Kurt Rohde, Lera Auerbach, and Hyo-shin Na, and talking about classical and contemporary music.

This program is part of the Music Unwrapped series of free community concerts. These informal and interactive performances are designed to break down the barriers between musicians and audiences of all ages.

Angels Gate Cultural Center galleries are open to the public Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on the second Saturday of the month from 12 – 5pm. Admission is always free.

 

Highlights from Perform Chinatown

posted by on 2012.07.26, under art, performance, review

Last Saturday was the annual performance art extravaganza, Perform Chinatown. It was a long evening, 4pm-midnight. We stayed most of the time, but didn’t see everything, and was I disappointed to miss Karen Finley at Coagula Curatorial, but here’s some highlights of what we did see…

It all started with the amazing one-man band, Keith Walsh Experience. He played for close to two hours, non-stop. Such energy and stamina.

   

Jeremy J Quinn and Jerri Allyn with Erich Wise and his hand made flag pole, borrowed by McLean Fahnestock for their Flag Raising.

Allie Pohl traced participants bodies onto a large scroll as an index of “The Ideal Woman.”

After being shaved and fit into a straight jacket, Kent Anderson Butler was dragged by his barber up and down Chung King Road in a little red wagon. I’m often intrigued by what Kent will put his body through for the sake of art.

While inside Happy Lion/Mirror Gallery, Jocelyn Foyce led participants in a meditation over rice and black and white images inspired by her travels in Tibet.

As darkness fell, Tiffany Trenda walked through the growing crowd wearing a skin tight suit that compelled onlookers to pull out their smart phones to scan her with their QR Readers. I’ve never gotten those apps to work properly, so didn’t try it, but according to her website the scanned codes link to “information on the effect of man-made materials have on the human body.”

Jeremy enjoyed being greeted by Miggie Wong as part of the gentle beings benevolent association presents Perform Wow!

  

And we both enjoyed listening to tones resonate through our forearms, as James Kennard of the Elbow Orchestra held tuning forks to our elbows, also at Perform Wow!

But the most compelling and moving piece was Elizabeth Leister‘s Disapeared. Jeremy and I walked into POVevolving just as she was setting up for her second drawing in an ongoing performance in which she traces the video projection of previously drawn portraits, played in reverse motion so that it appears as if the pencil is erasing the image of a woman. She did this three times, each with a different drawn portrait based on Los Angeles County missing person photos. You’d only know this if you stuck around long enough to hear the video’s voice over recite the missing person’s “vital statistics,” or if you read her project description. Haunting to say the least.

To see more we’ll all have to keep a look out for the video commentary by Dave Burns and Paige Wery, of Artillery.

MIA: Strange Loop at the Armory Center for the Arts

posted by on 2012.07.26, under art, screening, video

I am excited to announce the final edit of my 2009-12 project, i dream in your language, will premiere in MIA: Strange Loop, curated by Alanna Simone, at the Armory Center for the Arts, Friday July 27 at 7pm.  Here’s the press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MIA SCREENING, STRANGE LOOP
New Series Screens Video Art & Experimental Films

Please join us for the July screening of MIA at the Armory!

This month’s event takes place on July 27th at 7PM and features five projects each dealing with communication and misunderstanding.

Orgasmatique, Dramatique, Horror (2009) is a short performance questioning the portrayal of women and emotion in pornography, melodrama and horror films from Washinton D.C. artist Melissa Bruno.

Los Angeles artist Michele Jaquis envies people who speak multiple languages. Her series, i dream in your language (2009-2012) investigates the experience of seven such people, revealing the complex negotiations they undertake to translate and interpret words and meaning.

San Francisco based Whitney Lynn asks a rabbit (repeatedly) to ‘sit’ for a portrait in Commissioned (After W.W.) (2010).

The Complect Voice (Suite for Birds and Mammals) (2012) attempts to include a variety of animals in a musical collaboration with the artist Julie Rooney and composer Jonathan Sokol, both based in Boulder, CO.

The Foreignness of Language (2011) by Nina Ross explores the disruption of personal identity the artist experienced as she incorporated a second language after leaving Melbourne, Australia to live in Norway.

The MIA series began in June of 2012, founded by video artist Alanna Simone to promote the work of artists who use the moving image. Every 4th Friday the MIA series screens video art, experimental films, performance art, essay films and animation from local and international artists at the Armory Center for the Arts, 145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103 (map). Each program is organized around a theme and lasts a little over an hour. A donation of $5 is suggested.

Love Letters and Bubbie’s Sweater

posted by on 2012.06.09, under art, culture

Its been a busy art making summer so far for all the Rise members, including me. Since mid May I’ve been enjoying my two day a week schedule at Otis (as opposed to four during the school year) and I’ve been putting in a lot of time at the studio preparing exhibition proposals for work that’s been completed over the last three years and digging into a project I began last fall…

In 2004 when my family and I cleaned out my grandparent’s home after their deaths we found a bundle of letters written from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother. The plan was that I would take them all home, scan them and distribute CDs of the files to our immediate family members. I started scanning some in 2005, then several other projects took over my time and I didn’t get back to it until this past October. My grandmother’s sister has since died (back in December 2009), and we’ll be spreading her ashes in Central Park this summer. She would’ve loved to have read the letters, as Zaydie Bernett (Ben) Kahn and Bubbie Pauline (Zuckerberg) Kahn were her parents. What I find fascinating about the letters is not only the great love affair between Ben and Pauline, but also the descriptions of turn of the (20th) century New York City, Long Island and parts of Europe while Ben was traveling with the US Army – a great example of immigrants serving their new country before their citizenship was earned, but that’s another story… The letters are written mostly in English (which I believe was not a first language for either of them Ben being from Russia and Pauline being from Latvia) with bits of French and Yiddish, although I think my sister and I are the only ones in our family who referred to them in Yiddish, and I recall my grandfather yelling his corrections, “NO! ONLY MY MOTHER IS BUBBIE!” But whatever, to me any woman from the old world with grandkids and great-grandkids is “Bubbie.”

Although memory can play tricks, in most photos that I recall Bubbie Pauline wore a turquoise sweater, shell top and skirt set that she knit herself. I could tell that it was her “dressy-casual” attire. While everyone else seemed to have different clothes on, and many photos are clearly from different time periods, she seemed to wear this same outfit on so many occasions that were not weddings or bar mitzvahs, but still called for family photographs.

While in high school I inherited a matching sweater of a different color, also knit by Bubbie Pauline. My grandmother, who must have gotten it when her mother died, didn’t want it anymore.

It was a perfect puke-green color and I wore it all through high school, college, and graduate school, until a slightly embarrassing moment, when after years of wear and tear, a professor that I knew from undergrad whispered to me while at the 2000 CAA conference, “Its good to see you, but you shouldn’t wear that sweater anymore.” So Bubbie’s sweater went onto a top shelf in the closet and each time my husband and I made thrift store donations, her sweater was spared.

In addition to scanning the letters Bubbie received from her loving boyfriend who later became her husband, I began to unravel her puke-green sweater, with the intention of using the yarn to embroider something inspired by the text in all the letters. I am still not sure what exactly that will be, but for now I’m not worrying about that.

Partially through the first hour of unraveling, I felt a slight sadness. I was destroying one of the few remaining artifacts from that generation of my family on my mother’s side – the others being a set of Shabbat candlesticks and a ton of snap shots. But after a while, and I worked on this for several months, I felt a sense of satisfaction as I realized that my hands were touching every strand of yarn in the opposite way my Bubbie’s hands did.

People’s Microphony Camerata listening party at Radio Break

posted by on 2012.04.19, under art, culture, music, performance, politics, social practice
Last weekend I joined the newly formed collective, The People’s Microphony Camerata, founded by Elana Mann and Juliana Snapper. I signed up because of they said we would perform scores inspired by the People’s Mic and the Occupy Movement, which has fascinated me since I first experienced it during the Brooklyn Bridge arrests. However, I was a bit hesitant when I realized they considered it to be a Choir. To the dismay of my Grandma, Edith, who sang at the Stage Door Canteen in NYC, I don’t sing (at least not in public).

 

But… I stuck with my commitment and half way through our second day of rehearsing and workshopping scores I realized I was enjoying myself and the sound of our collective voices. I was singing.

 

You can hear the results of our first recording session as it will be played on Sunday as part of Radio Break, “an exhibition on the air, presenting twelve artworks in locations throughout Los Angeles conveyed through low-power radio transmissions during two weeks and live events held on two consecutive weekends,” curated by students in the USC MA Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere program.
Radio Break started last weekend, so you may have missed some of it, but here’s this weekend’s schedule:

 

SUNDAY, APRIL 22nd
All events at 6020 WILSHIRE (The new ForYourArt space), 6020 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

2–6pm
Richard T. Walker intervenes into Los Angeles’s visual and radiophonic space, telling the absurdist tale of one man’s quest to find the words to speak when language no longer suffices in between distance and a mountain.

3–5pm
Tune into the concerns of Angelenos affected by the financial crisis by listening to the carols of the People’s Microphony Camerata (Cynthia Aaron, Karen Atkinson, Vivian Bang, Andrew Choate, Judith Dancoff, Rachel Finkelstein, Penny Folger, Sascha Goldhor, Michele Jaquis, Allison Johnson, Elana Mann, Kimberly N, Alanna Simone, Juliana Snapper, Julie Tolentino, Annette Weisser and Becca Wilson).

6–9pm
LIVE PERFORMANCE and RECEPTION
David Schafer‘s Cage Mix: Static Age reconceives a selection of John Cage’s compositions through live electronic and processed improvisation performed alongside an accompanying installation. A reception will follow Schafer’s performance.

A listening station with all projects will be at 6020 Wilshire through April 27th.

Occupying the Brooklyn Bridge

posted by on 2011.10.05, under culture, politics

I just got back from NYC Sunday night. I was there for the Partnership for Academic Leadership on Sustainability Summit, but had plans to stay the weekend and enjoy the city. After visiting galleries in Chelsea on Saturday I met up with my friend, Evan, to see what was going on with Occupy Wall Street, also on my list of possible things to do. We got there a little after 3pm and the protesters were marching north, so after watching for a few minutes we joined them. There were so many people there – all different ages, races, genders, backgrounds, etc, all protesting for the same list of grievances mainly representing the 99% of Americans who are being harmed by Capitalist/Corporate Greed. People were chanting things like: “Banks Got Bailed Out! We Got Sold Out!” and “Whose Street? Our Street!” and “We Are the 99 Percent!” and “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Corporate Greed has got to go!” There was even some chanting, “We are Troy Davis!” It was exhilarating to say the least.


As the parade took a turn east we realized we were headed for the Brooklyn Bridge. All along the cops had been standing between the traffic and the protesters, calmly keeping us on the sidewalk, but once on the Bridge the protesters split up between the pedestrian walkway and the road. Evan and I had started on the pedestrian side, but after I leaned over to take a picture of the crowd on the road we climbed down to join them. It seemed sanctioned. I wasn’t sure what would await us in Brooklyn – speeches? A rally? Nothing? Either way Evan lived there so we figured afterwards we’d just keep on going to his apartment.


I felt the power in our numbers and I felt protected by the cops, who appeared to be escorting protesters onto the road, allowing us to block one lane of traffic while cars slowly moved along side us in the other lane. Video footage that I saw later that night, show the cops leading the march over the Bridge as they walked in front of the parade. While conflicting reports say the cops were telling protesters they would be arrested if they marched on the road, I certainly didn’t hear them. It’s hard to tell if they led us on, in order to trap us, or if they were just overtaken because of our numbers. By then the chants had evolved into “Whose Bridge? Our Bridge!” and “The whole world is watching!” It felt momentous and I was proud to be there.

About two thirds of the way over the bridge there was a sudden rush backwards by a few, while the rest of us stood our ground. Some people started climbing up the railing onto the pedestrian side, while others yelled for everyone to sit down in passive resistance. Next we were surrounded by cops, and they were telling people not to climb up. I wasn’t sure at first if we were in trouble or if the cops were just trying to protect us from falling into the East River. Then they were unfurling their orange nets and corralling us into the center from all sides – this tactic of “kettling” has been used by the police during protests in Europe and Canada, most recently in London. I saw a few protesters being escorted out with plastic handcuffs but for the most part most people were just standing around not sure what the cops wanted us to do. Instructions from the crowd alternated with “Everyone, sit down!” to “Stand up! Stand up!” It was confusing. We also got conflicting information and advice from some of the cops we spoke to – some telling us that we might be allowed off the bridge and couldn’t possibly be arrested because “there are too many people for us to process.” While others stood with blank, stoic faces of authority, implying that we were all doomed. People began shouting out a phone number and writing it on their arms. Evan and I couldn’t hear it so we just made sure we both had his fiancé, Liz’s number written down in case our phones were confiscated. The cop next to us told us not to write it on our arms because that would make us more of a target to be arrested. While other protesters insisted that the papers would be taken, so I put mine in my underwear. I was impressed with how calm the cops were and how many seemed to sympathize with us, explaining that they knew their pensions were at stake but that they were just doing their job. One even gave us continued instructions under his breath and wanted us to get the attention of a young protester he had been helping earlier. At one point he told us “Be ready to run to the other side if I tell you to.” It was tense, but I wasn’t scared. Somehow I trusted that we were doing the right thing and wouldn’t be punished for it, or at least felt that if we were going to be arrested it would be a mere inconvenience and wouldn’t be enough to make me regret participating.

After standing around for a while waiting for the unknown, a man from the pedestrian bridge above yelled “Mic Check!” and the crowd below repeated his words. Apparently this has been the tactic of the Occupiers while in Zuccotti / Liberty Park because the NYPD have not allowed them the use of a PA system or electric generators. After the “Mic Check” a call and response continued as the man relayed information about what was happening on the Manhattan side of the bridge. A few words at a time, the crowd repeated his words, hence amplifying them for everyone to hear. It was a pretty powerful thing to experience. He told us to wait patiently and that the cops were escorting us one by one off the bridge. He told us that we wouldn’t be arrested, just removed. The crowd started chanting “Let Us Go! Let Us Go!” and the man’s ongoing instructions seemed to alternate between calming and inciting us.


At that point I noticed that all traffic on the eastbound side of the bridge had been blocked and the road behind us was filling up with white NYPD busses. I could see that the cops were lining people up on the south side of the bridge, padding them down, cuffing them, giving them back their bags to hold behind their backs, and escorting them onto the busses. Evan and I watched this for a while and although he hesitated I said, “let’s just get this over with.” We walked towards the cops and lined up with others waiting to be frisked. A few girls in front of us were visibly upset and explaining to the cops that they were college students from Bard. The cops counted them off and let them walk off the bridge hand in hand. There was an uproar from the crowd and a woman behind me yelled, “I’m a college student too!” So I yelled, “I’m a college professor!” not expecting anything to come of it. Next thing I knew the cops were counting off a few more women, me included, and told us to step aside. Next we were told to hold hands and walk off the bridge and to not let go of our hands until we reached the end of the busses. We were all confused; we didn’t know if we were going to be told to get on a bus or not. It wasn’t until we got closer to the last bus that we realized they were letting us go. I texted Evan to tell him and he responded, “I think I won’t be. Can you call Liz?” Some of the women I was with were pissed for being released while our male friends were still being detained on the bridge. I was worried about Evan, but relieved to have been released and able to call Liz and tell her what was going on. It was around 6:30pm by then.
After speaking to Liz, I waited in the rain on the Manhattan side of the bridge for a long time until my phone battery was clearly dying. I went back to my hotel in Chelsea to charge it and kept trying to reach Evan, with no avail. Liz called once she got home and said she had biked downtown and saw the busses containing all the protesters. She couldn’t tell if Evan was in any of them, but could see that the bridge was pretty much empty. Several hours later she heard from him, via text, that he hoped to get out that night. He wasn’t released until 1:45am. He told me the next day, “It kinda sucked, but in the end I’m glad it happened. The braces were super tight & I was in them for 5 hours… then 3 [hours] in a cell with 6 other guys.”

By now you’ve all seen the news reports. Democracy Now! Is calling this “one of the largest arrests of non-violent protesters in U.S. history,”  with over 700 protesters detained. I’m glad to be home safe and sound, and understand my husband’s concerns that “it was a stupid thing to get involved with while traveling out of state,” but I’m proud to have participated and can’t deny its importance.

I am the 99%. I was raised in a single parent household on food stamps, free lunches, and unemployment benefits. I was educated in public K-12 schools and private colleges with extensive financial aid. I know what it is like to go to a low income health clinic because I couldn’t afford health insurance. I know what it is like to have to (illegally) purchase medications from Canada because the American pharmaceutical companies lobby the FDA against providing our citizens with access to generic drugs. I am dismayed that once married our allowable student loan tax deduction was cut in half. I am discouraged to see my students drop out of college, because the tuition is too high, and their financial aid package has decreased. I am annoyed that Bank of America has decided to charge customers $5 a month for debit card purchases in order to decrease fees for corporations like Wal Mart. I am furious that federal money is spent on war instead of education, social services and environmental protection.

Yet I am inspired by the power of collective action and proposals for alternatives to Capitalism and Corporate Greed. This is the NGB spirit.

i Scream LA! at Debating Through the Arts

posted by on 2011.06.17, under art, culture, exhibition, performance, social practice, urbanism, video


So I still haven’t had a chance to reflect on my time at ICI, mostly because I’ve been getting ready for my next exhibition: Debating Through the Arts. The exhibition is organized by Jerri Allyn and Inez Bush and opens this Saturday (6-10pm) at 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica. Come see my multimedia installation, i Scream LA! made in collaboration with Beth Peterson and Trinidad Ruiz. It will evolve all summer as we’ll be collecting videotaped interviews with residents of LA’s diverse neighborhoods, in exchange for ice cream. Let us know if you want to be interviewed by our puppets. Come on… everyone loves puppets and wants ice cream in the summer!

Rise Industries at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry – Day 6

posted by on 2011.06.06, under art, culture, exhibition, ICI Residency

While Jeremy and I were at our crit group meeting, Sarah spent the morning transcribing and re-transcribing text from The Island of the Day Before using carbon paper. The process allowed for an ever evolving abstraction to occur, similar in concept (although not aesthetically) to the degradation that occurs after a document has been photocopied too many times. Today I will attempt to translate the final abstraction into legible text again, without seeing the original sentence.

Right now Sarah and I are printing photos that we have shot over the last few days, as well as some that Nicole has sent us. Nicole’s will be juxtaposed with mine and some carbon copied text. This is one she shot of our father describing his travels between timezones to her students.

Rise Industries at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry – Day 1-2

posted by on 2011.06.01, under art, culture, exhibition, ICI Residency

I spent the afternoon at The ICI making our timecards and researching timezones.

Apparently The ICI is in its own timezone and calendar (note the Feb 24 stamp), while Rise Industries members are in Pacific Standard Time, Indian Standard Time, and Eastern Standard Time.

  
                                

Preparations for Rise Industries Residency at Institute of Cultural Inquiry

posted by on 2011.05.13, under art, culture, ICI Residency, news

Here are some photos from our first day preparing for the upcoming Rise Industries residency at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry. We will be part 8 of the 100/10 (100 Days, 10 Visions) project series and plan to collaborate across time and space with our fellow Rise Industries members from around the globe.

Thank you Anna and Elaina for a great day today! Jeremy and I are so inspired that we haven’t left the studio since we got home.

 

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