Bumpkin Island Art Encampment 2011

posted by on 2011.08.03, under art, exhibition, public art, writing

I participated in the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment 2011 with the Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media. Here is more about the work I created during the residency.

Common Names is a site specific sculpture made of approximately 150 beach stones wrapped in paper, and installed near a grove of sea grasses on the beach at Bumpkin Island. The paper was wet before applying to the stones, and as it dried in the sun it took on the contours and shape of the stones. After drying, I wrote a name on each rock in graphite. The names were a combination of common names, and names of people I know.

Common Names, site specific sculpture, 150 rocks, paper graphite

Common Names, site specific sculpture, 150 rocks, paper graphite

making Common Names

making Common Names

Volunteers helped wrap the rocks, and also helped to generate name ideas. The conversation about names and naming is an evokative, personal, specific one that even strangers can easily become engrossed in. Each name and each stone seems to be for one person, and for every person.

The stones with their names nestled at the edge of the sea grasses seem vulnerable and protected at once. They are visible from far away because of their color, but their shapes and contours match that of all the stones on the beach.

Common Names, site specific sculpture, 150 rocks, paper graphite

Common Names is about the strange dual sense of self that we have as human beings. On one hand we have a profound sense of individuality and private selfhood, and on the other hand, most of what we call our identity; our DNA, our bodies, our perception, our basic human needs, almost our entire identity, is shared with every member of humanity.

Verses is an ongoing work in which prose verses that I composed are written in a stylized text, on long paper banners, and applied to the ground in areas of the landscape that are intended as views or lookout points. The banners are tilted and appear like a subtitle to the view. The two texts that I applied at two key lookout points at Bumpkin Island are the following

“Everything will be fine, your struggle, and the fighting of your mind, the pitching motions of your experience.”

“The sky will take on a yellow cast, once this cast has grown into morning, let the light of that morning fall on your hands, keep them still until the light changes.”

Verse 1 Text banner applied to landscape

Verse 2 Text banner applied to landscape


Verses shares something with Common Names. While the texts seem to talk directly to the individual reader, they also talk to every reader. I intend for them to touch the reader’s private sense of selfhood and also their sense of self as an archetype in a broad humanity. They are like bible verses in that way, speaking to the individual and the archetypal reader at once. But unlike Bible verses they ask the reader to rely on him or herself and on this world for strength and solace, instead of asking them to look outside of themself to God or to the idea of Heaven.

 

Tomorrow, in Glendale

posted by on 2011.03.10, under art, exhibition, public art

My new public artwork Tomorrow is up in Glendale, and will be showing for several months. It is presented by Glendale Area Temporary Exhibitions (GATE) along with works by Srboohie Abajian, and P. Williams. This new text-based installation spans several storefront windows on Wilson Ave, inviting viewers to ponder the future. In addition to the large graphic, a video displaying quotations about tomorrow gives the work varied contexts.

The installation can be found at the corner of E. Wilson and Maryland, across from a small city parking lot. 116 E. Wilson Ave, to be precise. It should be easy to find, what with the giant yellow text and all. Don’t miss the video, its tucked into a niche near the middle door.

Big thanks out to Tucker Neel and Eric Qvale of GATE and David O. Johnson of Leaf Cutter Vinyl for making it happen!


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Photos for the Nave show

posted by on 2011.02.08, under art, exhibition, performance, public art

Here are some photos from the show I had at the Nave Gallery for my “History of Somerville, 2010-2100″ community art project.

At the gallery.

Visitors could add their own predictions to the timeline.

About 40 new predictions were added during the show. In this photo, there are a number of hand-written notes on the wall.

This is the same wall, before the show.

At the reception, futurist Seth Itzkan gave a short talk about thinking about the future-- and then led us on a guided future-visioning exercise.

After futurist Seth Itzkan's talk, we had Future-aoke-- the open mic about the future. About a dozen brave, thoughtful souls got up, and spoke about their ideas and concerns about the future.

...Another Future-aoke speaker...

After Future-aoke, Neil Horsky and Anna Horsky played some music on instruments that haven't even been invented yet.

...and then there was Mingling...

“History of Somerville, 2010-2100″ at the Nave this weekend!

posted by on 2011.02.02, under art, exhibition, performance, public art, social practice, urbanism
Hi everyone-
 
Just wanted to let you know about an art show (and performance) at the Nave Gallery this weekend. It’s for my “History of Somerville, 2010-2100″ community art project.
 
Between Feb. 2009 and Dec. 2010, I spoke to residents about what they hoped/feared might happen in the future; collected official governmental and city plans; and think-tank vision statements– and created a history of the future based on what I found.
 
I’ll be presenting this information at the Nave Gallery this Saturday and Sunday. There will be a timeline that you can read– and add predictions to. At the reception, there will be a short talk by futurist Seth Itzkan; theremin music by Adam Schutzman; and something I call “Future-aoke”– where people can step up on the mic for a few minutes, and share their thoughts on the future. Gallery website:
 
HOURS
Saturday, Feb. 5, 1 p.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 6, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Opening reception, Saturday at 6 p.m.
 
The Nave is at 155 Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville.
 
Hope you can make it!

And here’s the future!

posted by on 2011.01.07, under art, news, public art, Uncategorized

As part of the “History of Somerville, 2010-2100″ project, we’ve put together a version of the future based on people’s ideas we collected from Feb. 2009 to Dec. 2010. (This is the final version of the project. New predictions include Somerville merging with Cambridge, Charlestown and parts of Medford to form “Peninsular City” in 2050; Whitey Bulger’s ghost saving Somerville from gentrification and artists; and a Class 4 hurricane named Igor striking town in 2045.)

All of this information about the future is available on our website as a timeline and as a free PDF book.

And… Coming soon:

-a printed version of the book!
-a book reading at the Somerville Public Library!
-an art show at the Nave Gallery!
-Future-aoke!
…stay tuned…

“The history of Somerville, 2010-2100″ is a community art project that explores what the future might be like. It is organized by Tim Devin, and was sponsored in part by the Somerville Arts Council.

Another newsflash from the future!

posted by on 2010.09.09, under art, politics, public art, Uncategorized, urbanism

It’s been an exciting time for the future! This summer, we had our Future Information table at a number of festivals, and interviewed over 20 people about the future. We’ve included them on the “History of Somerville, 2010-2100” website. Take a look if you get the chance! (Timeline combining all of the predictions is here. Archive of predictions people have sent in is here.)

Here are some of the new facts about the future you might find interesting:

–           In 2036, the Union Square branch of the Green Line is extended down Somerville Ave. to Porter Square .

–           In 2060, the city’s DPW goes bankrupt. Davis Square is overrun by the cows and goats that the city now keeps to clear away garbage and mow the grass.

–           By 2030, Somerville has become a mecca for singletons. They take the place and apartments of the families that are leaving town because of the poor quality of the city’s public schools.

–           By 2100, Somerville has channeled the rising floodwaters into planned waterways. Gondoliering becomes a popular occupation, and a new festival (Gondo Fest) joins the Fluff Fest in residents’ hearts, minds, and calendars.

We’re still collecting predictions! If you’d like to make a prediction, just email Tim at future.of.somerville@gmail.com , or visit the website for more details.

Thanks!

About the project:
“The history of Somerville, 2010-2100″ is a community art project that is exploring what the future might be like. We’ve been talking to current and former residents; gathering official plans; and collecting think-tank vision statements.

This project is organized by Tim Devin, and is sponsored in part by the Somerville Arts Council.

The Logan Airport sidewalk wander

posted by on 2010.08.18, under architecture, art, politics, public art

Walking near barbed wire and blast walls. Photo by MN.

A single sidewalk connects all of Logan Airport’s terminals with each other, and with the MBTA’s Airport Station. This sidewalk runs past barbed wire, flower beds, busy sliding doors, and walled-up access roads. Millions of people pass it each year, but few ever stop to notice it.

On Saturday, June 19, 2010, about twenty people joined me for a group exploration of this sidewalk, as part of the Common Boston festival. There were a few architects and urban planners along, as well as a man named Mike who’d grown up near the airport in East Boston; a pilot named Patrick who’d written a book about Logan’s history; some people involved in making public space more walker-friendly; and a number of other interested local residents. MassPort’s spokesperson, Kay, was nice enough to join us as well.

We set out from the MBTA station, and walked about a half mile along a lonely access roads towards the first terminal. Along the way, I gave a brief overview of the airport’s history; Patrick and Kay added a number of details. Kay also passed around internal MassPort maps of the area, which she’d brought along for us to look at. These maps filled in a lot of blank spots for me; when I was doing research for the tour, I was surprised by how many things I couldn’t find out about the airport’s structures.

At the sight of the first pieces of barbed wire, the subject of airport security came up. We talked about blast walls and barbed wire; 9/11; the airport’s history of terrorism, terrorist attempts, and sensational arrests of people who were thought to be terrorists; terrorist watch lists, and the Department of Homeland Security; and the fact that I’d had to provide MassPort with a list of the names of everyone who had signed up for the tour (presumably so that MassPort could do background checks). Opinions on these topics varied.

As we walked, Kay and I told everyone about Logan’s architectural history. Patrick added information about a number of buildings, such as the fact that Terminal E had been extended out, which explained the strange cul-de-sac at the building’s southern end. As a group, we examined and discussed the fenced-off areas for dogs (known as “PetPorts”); the airport’s special trash barrels (known as “bomb barrels”); and the strange open areas in front of the terminals. We also stopped and looked at each terminal building; the consensus was that not many of the buildings seemed designed to be looked at from the street.

Sidewalk talk. Photo by MN.

In front of Terminal B, we discussed 9/11 again, since two of the hijacked planes had flown out of Logan. I also talked briefly about the airport’s rapid expansion in the 60s and 70s into local residential neighborhoods, parks and nature preserves; as well as the resulting community protests (people laying in front of bulldozers, etc.), and the government’s backlash against them (marshals closing off entire residential areas, etc.). Mike, who’d grown up nearby, followed up my historical lecture with a number of more personal details. Kay then told us about the good that MassPort had done for East Boston in the 80s and 90s—such as paying for soundproofing homes and schools, and funding a park or two.

My tour ended at the front of Terminal A. Kay then volunteered to show everyone the third-floor walkway connecting Terminals A and E, which has a great view of the airport and the city. It also overlooks the 9/11 Memorial. We discussed 9/11 again, and then everyone went their separate ways.

MEWS-PARI this weekend!

posted by on 2010.06.02, under performance, public art
On Saturday, June 5, MEWS-PARI (the meaningful encounters with strangers preservation and reenactment initiative) will be doing its story-gathering/street theater thing at the Cambridge River/Figment Boston festival.
 
Since 2007, MEWS-PARI has been collecting people’s stories of their meaningful encounters with strangers. We’ve then been making maps and charts about them; writing dramatizations; creating free books; and reenacting the stories. 
 
At the festival, we’ll have a table with free books and dramatizations. we’ll be tape-recording people’s stories, and reenacting others with anyone who wants to join us.
 
We hope you’ll decide to join us!

“The history of Somerville, 2010-2100″ is now online!

posted by on 2010.02.17, under art, news, public art, Uncategorized
The first version of the website and book for “The history of Somerville , 2010-2100″ project is now online!
 
To download a free PDF of the book, click here. To view the project’s website, click here.
 
“The history of Somerville , 2010-2100″ is a community art project that is exploring what the future might be like. Both the book and the website present what we’ve found by talking to Somerville community members about the future. In the book and website, you’ll also find official government plans, think tank vision statements, and various ideas and concerns about the future from various other sources.
 
The Timeline section presents this material as a single timeline. In the Predictions Archive section, you’ll find the actual predictions that community members made.
 
We’ll be collecting predictions until the end of the year. If you’d like to make a prediction, please email Tim at future.of.somerville@gmail.com . All participants will receive full credit for their images, concepts, stories, and data. All material received by Dec. 31, 2010 will appear on the project’s website and in the final version of the book.
 
This project is organized by Tim Devin, and is sponsored in part by the Somerville Arts Council. The project is also on Facebook here.

Anza-Borrego Expanded Landscape in Long Beach (again)

posted by on 2010.02.13, under art, exhibition, public art, video

Anza-Borrego Expanded Landscape

My video installation, Anza-Borrego Expanded Landscape, is showing in a storefront in Long beach this month. It was actually installed in a different storefront down there last month, but I have reconfigured it and moved it to a new one, and this installation is a much better version of it, if I do say so myself. This is part of the Inspired by TED show, and is up in coordination with the TED Conference happening now at the Long Beach Convention Center.
There is a reception tonight, check the Facebook page for more info. See the Phantom Galleries LA Long Beach page here.

Reception: February 13, 2010 for 2nd Sat Art Walk 6-10 pm, 170 N Promenade, 309 Pine ave, Elm and 3rd

Its at the Pike down in Long Beach, which is where Aquarium Way hits Paseo just a block from the Conference Center. My location is across from Sharkys Mexican food and next to the Coldstone. So get some ice cream I guess. Its very subtle and looks like a dark window at first, so keep your eyes peeled. Mapped here.

In case you can’t make it down to Long Beach in time, here are some videos:

For more info on the piece, check my site.

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