culture « Rise Industries | Interdisciplinary projects since 1999

“Getting by in Boston” Turns 1

posted by on 2015.06.09, under art, culture, politics, Uncategorized
From the "How we get by" event. Left to right: Tim Devin, Andi Sutton, Heather Kapplow, Dirk Adams, Dave Ortega, Melinda Cross, Gregory Jenkins, Emily Garfield. Not pictured: Coelynn McIninch, Greg Cook, Jason Pramas, Shea Justice. Photo by Ho Yin Au

From the “How we get by” event. Left to right: Tim Devin, Andi Sutton, Heather Kapplow, Dirk Adams, Dave Ortega, Melinda Cross, Gregory Jenkins, Emily Garfield. Not pictured: Coelynn McIninch, Greg Cook, Jason Pramas, Shea Justice. Photo by Ho Yin Au

Last week marked the first anniversary of Getting by in Boston, or “GBIB” for short. It’s a series of meetings, an online forum, and a handful of related groups—all focused on how creative people (artists, writers, musicians & how) can survive in our famously expensive little Boston. The whole thing is pretty DIY, with different people taking the lead when they want to. And, weirdly enough, it all grew out of a single event that took place last June 4th.

That event, which Jason Pramas, Matt Kaliner, and I put together, was supposed to be a one-off thing. It was called “How we get by,” and featured 10 well-respected artists talking about how they make ends meet, and how they find the time and funds for their artwork. This was breaking some taboos, since creative folks don’t usually talk about how they pay their bills. First, it’s not how they identify themselves; second, there’s this weird notion that successful artists earn their keep from their art, so most people aren’t really upfront about the fact that they work—since it implies they’re not “successful.” So image everyone’s surprise when all but one of the speakers talked about their day jobs and their problems making ends meet. (Here’s an article I wrote about the event for the Mass. Cultural Council, and here’s Edmond Caldwell’s review of it for Big Red and Shiny.)

Over 100 people showed up for the event. There was a lot of energy there, so the next day, Jason, Matt and I set up a discussion group on Facebook called “Getting By In Boston.” After a few weeks, we also started organizing some follow-up meetings. Between the online forum and the in-person meetings, there were a lot of interesting discussions. And even some real-life outcomes.

—-The issues—-

More on the other meetings in a minute. First: what have the GBIB people been talking about? Well, there’s been a lot actually, which makes summarizing it pretty hard. But here are the four biggies:

  1. Community. Folks have been really interested in learning from each other, and figuring out ways to help each other out. There’s also been talk about the need for a greater sense of community among creative people. This surprised me at first, but it makes sense given how fragmented the creative scene really is.
  2. Money. No surprises here. The first event revolved around how few arts-related jobs there are, and how hard it is to try build a career in any given creative field—and how much work people are doing for free in the hopes of establishing a reputation that will lead to these things. This led to discussions about how little money there is in the local creative system in general, and how expensive it is to live around here—which is the reason so many talented people leave. Some solutions: coops, and sharing resources.
  3. Political situation of creative folks. One big thing that I was glad to see come up is the need for creative folks to band together and fight for what they need. There were lots of discussions about arts funding, zoning as it relates to us creatives, and social issues such as racial divides. For example, when I was getting ideas together for this post, Greg Cook told me that “Getting By helped clarify feelings I’d long had about the inequality (financial, gender, racial, sexual, age, geographic, etc.,) that so dominates the creative worlds—but perhaps previously I didn’t have the right words for.”
  4. Physical space. The high cost of living is the number one issue facing everyone who lives around here, not just us creative people. But the way this plays out for us is there aren’t many venues for producing and showing work, and the ones that do exist don’t last a long time. Just like our apartments. An online poll I put together last year showed that space was at the top of GBIB’s list of concerns; and posts by people looking for space, or announcing a space is closing are pretty common on the FB page. Rising rents force us to move around, which makes us complicit in gentrification—another topic that’s gotten a lot of play.

(There’s no way I could do justice to the whole discussion, so if you’re interested in learning more, take a look at the FB discussion group.)

—-Then there were a whole bunch of meetings—-

Like I mentioned, there was a lot of energy after the first event. But what should happen next? Did people want to move forward and get organized? Or were there existing groups or organizations that we could get involved with? Or both? At the first follow-up meeting, the consensus seemed to be that there were some wonderful organizations working already, but that we should focus on some of our own needs. We met again a few weeks later at Aeronaut (which Jesa Damora helped set up, after our first location fell through at the last minute); over beers, we discussed how we could organize ourselves, and a few people like Jason Pramas and Nancy Anderson pitched specific ideas.

—-So what’s come about of all of this? Meet the GBIB family—-

Mass. Creative Workers at the April 14th rally for living wages in Boston. Jason Pramas is in the center; Loreto Paz Ansaldo is on the right..

Mass. Creative Workers at the April 14th rally for living wages in Boston. Jason Pramas is in the center; Loreto Paz Ansaldo is on the right.

Mass. Creative Workers

One of the ideas we heard about at that third meeting was Jason’s concept of an association to “take action to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions in several creative industries.” A number of GBIB people signed on, and they began meeting regularly, calling themselves the Mass. Creative Workers. Among other things, they marched as part of the April 14 demonstration for fair wages in Boston. Anyone interested can go here for info on upcoming meetings and actions, or email them at masscreativeworkers@openmediaboston.org.

Off the Wall

Nancy Anderson also pitched an idea at the Aeronaut meeting. She was concerned about how hard it is to find a place to show your work, since there are so many artists competing for precious little gallery space. She wanted to match artists looking for places to show their work with businesses with wall space. She’s since partnered with Somerville Open Studios, and is about to go live (stay tuned). Off the Wall is a complete service for both the artists and the businesses: it curates the work, handles arrangements (including selling the art), promotes both the artists and business-partners on social media, and rotates work on a regular basis. You can email her at canis_major@mac.com for details.

The first "how to be an artist and a parent" event. Speaker James Montford is in the center. Speakers not pictured: Paige Wallis and Stacy Thomas-Vickory.

The first “how to be an artist and a parent” event. Speaker James Montford is in the center. Speakers not pictured: Paige Wallis and Stacy Thomas-Vickory.

How to be an artist and a parent?

One theme of the GBIB discussions is how to make ends meet, and still have time for creative work—something parents who are artists or writers or musicians feel pretty deeply. This realization led Greg Cook and me to start a series for creative parents called “How to be an artist and a parent.” We’ve had two events so far, and there’s also an online forum here. The idea is to swap notes on how to juggle our competing interests, how to manage time better, and to maybe find ways to help each other out. If you want to get involved, join the discussion on our Facebook page, or motor on over to our website here. You can read Greg’s summary of our first event here, and my article about the second one here.

Artists and Writer’s Mutual Aid Society

Another concern for GBIB folks seems to be a need for more community, and maybe some helpful motivation along with it. Be Be (aka Brenda Be) organized an event in Somerville last November along these lines, and called it “The Artists and Writers’ Mutual Aid Society.” She is currently reorganizing the idea as a regular series of monthly meetings. In addition to fostering community, this new group will be a place to find collaborators, share advice, and brainstorm. You can get involved by joining the FB group here.

—-The bottom line—-

Peyton, the GBIB mascot.

Peyton, the GBIB mascot.

But besides some discussion meetings, a few new groups, and a whole lot of online chatter, what’s actually been accomplished?

Each creative form has its own niche community in Boston; as a result, people who could be working together not only don’t know each other’s needs—they don’t even know each other’s names. So it was interesting to see GBIB bridge this gap for a number of people. “It started with the visual arts,” fellow organizer Matt Kaliner told me, “but the later meetings did connect with theater a bit, especially after the closing of the Factory Theater.” And once that gap was bridged, people started realizing the challenges they face were related. Matt again: “I was really struck by the similar problems across genres.”

It’s also become a place where people discuss social and political issues. Beyond all of this chatter—and, most likely, because of it—I’ve seen GBIB folks at rallies and open meetings on arts funding, as well as more in-the-weeds things like meetings on Somerville’s new zoning code, and talks on artist-led gentrification.

Besides these shows of force, this energy has translated into at least one win: a new grant category. At “How we get by,” Heather Kapplow mentioned that the Mass. Cultural Council’s grants program supports a large range of media—but didn’t really address interdisciplinary work. This is important, since interdisciplinary work is arguably some of the most innovative (since it plays with different forms) and the least supported (because it doesn’t fall into existing grant and exhibition categories). After the event, a number of us (Philip Fryer, Andi Sutton, Kathleen Bitetti, Heather and myself) decided to approach the MCC. They were very receptive, and got back later in the summer to say that they’d expanded the sculpture/installation category to include “new genres,” which is specifically designed to provide an option for those working across disciplines.

Which I think is a lot for one year. But then again, I’m biased.

—-What’s going to happen in the next year?—-

The group has been going off in different directions lately, but that seems like a good thing: people are getting down to working on the part of the problem they think is the most important. So if one of the four existing groups appeals to you, get in touch! We’re all pretty open people.

But of course, there are tons of issues that affect us here, so if something’s bothering you beyond those four issues, we hope you’ll bring it up on the forum. Maybe others will agree, and we can get started on it. Let’s make it happen.

 

Special thanks to the folks who let me pick their brains: Brenda Be, Coelynn McIninch, Greg Cook, Heather Kapplow, Jason Pramas, Matt Kaliner, Michael Goodman, MJND, and Nancy Anderson.

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.

 

Did nothing for Halloween…

posted by on 2012.10.31, under culture

Ok, I didn’t do anything for Halloween. But I have been sick the past 24 hours or so, and that kind of blew my planning. Not that I was going to get up to much anyway, but I was supposed to carve a pumpkin and possibly dress up for a contest at work. Here is a pumpkin test I did this weekend, trying to make an 8-bit pumpkin. A bit shoddy and labor intensive, I think that the idea needs CNC action to execute properly.

I am pretty bad at Halloween for some reason, and usually don’t really get into it. I have thrown a couple of costumes together in the past, but nothing spectacular.

I think this eviscerated Teddy Bear (Michele had a matching one) was the best in recent years:

Once I was a Werewolf Mechanic, because I had a werewolf mask, coveralls, and a tool box. That was OK. Kind of funny even.

So today I was thinking, if I did have the energy, and had though of this a few days ago, what would I wear? Here are some ideas I will store for next year.

Bez, dancer from the Happy Mondays. The best part about this one is that no one will get it, its like a private joke with myself. Even explaining it will not help in most cases. Also, its easy. Baggy pants, big striped shirt. Maracas. Lunatic eyes, dance like a crazy person. Bez might be my #1 choice.

The corn, from Children of the Corn. Unexpected, and self explanatory. Also easy, if you can find whole corn stalks, just tie a bunch to you. You can also whisper evil things in there.

Captain Bligh. This one is topical, as he can be wondering around looking for his ship, The Bounty. Which just sunk (too soon?). Also awesome because my dad’s CB radio handle was Cptn Bligh. Therefore mine is Son of Bligh. Any time-period appropriate nautical get up will do the job. Also, the movie The Bounty rules. Go see it.

Ernest Hemingway. No one does writers, plus he is bad ass. Can do the roll neck sweater thing and carry a Swordfish and Margarita, or go shirtless with shotgun. Talk in terse sentences. Reek of rum and the sea.
Alternately, do James Joyce and blather on in nonsense words.

For some reason I also though about going as Al Stewart, also because no one would get it. Dress kind of 70s foppy, long hair wig, carry a guitar, and respond to people only in lyrics to Year of the Cat. A surefire hit!

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.

You hold it in your mind all the time. Artists Talk and Closing Reception.

posted by on 2011.09.20, under art, culture, education, exhibition, rise info, video

You hold it in your mind all the time. Artists Talk and Closing Reception.
Saturday, September 24 · 2:00pm – 4:30pm
Art At 12
12 Farnsworth St
Boston, MA

Join us for an artists talk about this exhibition of experimental work about physicality and perception. Artists: Michele Jaquis, Heidi Kayser, Jeremy J. Quinn, Sarah Rushford, Marguerite White, Tom Wojciechowski.

The exhibition includes projected and monitor based video, sculpture, drawing and photography that takes an experimental, scientific, or analytic approach to the investigation of the mysterious nature of somatic knowledge.

See the exhibition announcement and press release

www.fortpointarts.org for more info

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!

100/10∆8: Rise Industries – Opens Tonight!

posted by on 2011.06.11, under art, culture, ICI Residency

After a crazy couple of weeks packed with making new work, the show is finally up and ready for the public. Well, almost. There is still the matter of sound to sort out today, and a shelf/plumb bob situation to figure out. Oh yeah, and I might move a computer into the lab to show a couple of digital videos. But, plenty of time right? We got at least 7 hours to get it all in there.

The opening is tonight, and the show will be up all next week.
In case you like that sort of thing, here is a link to our press release.
And here is the Institute of Cultural inquiry main site.

RECEPTION:
June 11; 7-9 pm (if you are running late, come anyway, we will probably run later)
Free to the public; suggested $5 donation

LOCATION:
1512 S. Robertson Blvd. , Los Angeles, CA 90035
(two blocks south of Pico); street parking available

The work is mostly collaborative in nature, so many of the works share authorship across the Rise Industries membership. Contributors are:

Jeremy J. Quinn
Michele Jaquis
Sarah Rushford
Nicole Jaquis
John Kim
Boris Margolin
Tim Devin
Michael Feldman

with additional drawings provided by Ashley Moore

After Sarah had to return to Boston (sniff, we miss you!) Mike Feldman came by to scope things out, work on some texts, and plan his contribution. I also went around town shooting photos of Tim’s Mappy Facts – created about LA just for the show!

Some final videos were exported, the work got hung and photographed, I built some little foam-core surrounds for a couple of things, and finally figured out how to get my Quartz Composer patch into video. Used a work-around for that, still need to figure out how to export directly.

As the ICI staff wrapped up brochures, we prepped our print for the back of them – a lino-cut with text that summed up all our works pretty well. We spent last night printing these, so you get a free print as part of the brochure!

I got to get back to my final tasks – hope to see you there tonight!

 

All of us at Rise Industries would like to heartily thank the staff at ICI that we worked with throughout the residency – it was a real pleasure to work with you all, to have the run of the space, and basically be supported in doing whatever it was we wanted to do. So, Lise, Elaina, Gina, Jojo, Steve and especially Anna (I must have bothered her with a question about every half hour over a period of almost two weeks), thanks so much for letting us into your space!

A wrap-up of Sarah’s Time with Rise at ICI

 

Here are a few more photos and info about what Rise Industries was up to on Day 6-7 of the ICI Residency. Today, Friday, is the final install day for the exhibition, and Jeremy, Michele, Mike, and John are still at ICI, but I’ve returned to Boston, and already miss it!

These two photos above,  are from the filmstrip The Air About Us; a 1959 filmstrip for grammar school students, about a range of ideas relating to air and air pressure. The slides are beautifully photographed, oddly diagrammatic and some with the same awkward humor you see in those above. The filmstrip, which I watched without audio, has a wierd tonal contrast between pedagogy and poetry, science and spirituality.  It’s an experimental text and image work in itself.

I discovered what I thought was the empty filmstrip canister on my first day at ICI. A photo of the title on top of the canister  is featured in exhibition. But, because it’s such a short filmstrip, it was actually clinging so close to the sides of its canister that  I really thought the canister was empty. The last day I was there, I happened to open the canister again and realized the film had been there all along…

The Air About Us , the phrase alone  relates to the work we did during the residency. The air about us could be the representation of  distance using two dimensions; the uncanny quality of our 3d stereographic portraits. The air about us could be the cultural distance that travel photography can put between the subject and photographer. Or, it could be about misrepresentations of sizes and distances of continents in global projection maps.  It could also be about the contrast of closeness and distance we encounter in video chatting. Also, the air about us, is about us; Rise Industries. It’s about our personal relationships and histories and the roles we organically adopt within the collaborative, and challenges we face as we make art as a collaborative with members on opposite coasts and more than one continent. Working with Rise at ICI was a fantastic experience and I want to thank Rise and ICI, so very much!

Michele Jaquis, Jeremy Quinn, and Sarah Rushford in the ICI Lab

 

Me video chatting with Boris Margolin in Boston, showing him around ICI. Time clock and multi-time zone punch card piece at the right.

John Kim and Michele Jaquis discussing conversion techniques for Pacific Standard Time to Metric Standard Time.

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