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!
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.
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.
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.
What will it be like? That’s up to you!
“The history of Somerville, 2010-2100″ is a community-focused art project that explores what the future of Somerville Mass. might be like.
If you’d like to participate, please let us know any of the following:
1. What do you think (or hope, or fear) you will personally be doing in the future? And when you think it will happen by? (Will you buy a condo in Union Square in 2043? Will you have twins in 2011? Will your unborn child become a famous pianist in 2074?)
2. What you think (or hope, or fear) Somerville will be like in the future? (Will there be hi-rise apartment buildings in Davis Square by 2047? Will the plague strike? Will your neighborhood be gentrified? When?)
Tell us a story! Draw us a picture! Make us a map!
All participants will receive full credit for their images, concepts, stories, and data.
We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . We hope to hear from you!
All predictions received by December 31, 2009 will be included on our website, and in our printed timeline. Everyone who makes a prediction will get a copy of the timeline.
This project is organized by Tim Devin, and is sponsored in part by the Somerville Arts Council.
This Saturday (12/5/09) I will be participating in an experimental performance event, organized by Jerri Allyn and Inez Bush. Debating Through the Arts is designed to explore creative solutions to cultural issues, and will be held from 9am – 5pm at the 24th Street Theater: 1117 West 24th St., LA 90007
Recommended times to attend:
9am for Artists Debates (will run approximately one hour)
3pm for Creative Proposal Performances (will run approximately one hour)
Audience members are also welcome to participate throughout the day in collaborative brainstorming workshops.
This daylong theatrical event based on the Model United Nations paradigm, includes 4 teams of artists acting as UN Delegates, while creatively debating the pros and cons of Freedom of Expression and Gentrification vs. Cultural Equity.
Participating artists include: Marjan Vayghan • Shana Nys Dambrot • Micol Hebron • Marissa Mercado • Michele Jaquis • Rosalyn Myles • Carol McDowell • Marcus Miceli • Juna Amano • Trinidad Ruiz • Beth Peterson • Jay McAdams • Portable City Projects with Jules Rochielle, Fred Portillo and Flora Kao
For months now Metro LA has been taunting us, running test trains up and down the shiny new tracks laid down right along Alameda and over the First Street bridge out into East Los Angeles. The trains, all clean and modern, glide by with only a driver onboard, making all their stops. The ticket machines on the platform still wrapped up in shrink-wrap, platforms themselves empty too.
Last Sunday though, we finally got to ride.
The Gold Line Eastside Extension had been coming for decades, and when the Pasadena-Union Station part of the line was completed back in 2003 the planning was already well underway. This little 6 mile, eight stop run of track may not seem like much to those in mass-transit oriented cities like Boston (I do miss the T) or New York, but it brings the gold line practically to my doorstep (well, within a couple of blocks) and opens up easy access to Union Station and the Red Line to Hollywood or Wilshire, Chinatown and its Galleries, Pasadena, and East Los Angeles from the Rise Industries Studios. Need to get to LAX? Train to Flyaway. Need to hang out at Mariachi Plaza and then hit La Serenata di Garibaldi for dinner? Two stops. Need to get to the Armory Center for the Arts for an opening? Gold line takes you right up into Old Town Pasadena. Wanna hit a farmers market on Saturday morning? Train out to East LA Civic Center. Hollywood Bowl without traffic? Take Gold Line to Red Line and get off at Hollywood and Highland for a short walk up the hill.
But while its great for Rise Industries, the real hope for Metro is that it becomes the new commuter route for people coming into downtown from East LA, and that it brings more museum goers, bar hoppers, and food eaters in to the pretty lively downtown neighborhoods within reach of Little Tokyo. Its only a short walk to 4th and Main, or Second and Hill, or even Grand and the Disney Concert Hall. As most people who have been driving down here will realize, parking sucks and is getting expensive. Maybe even some of the hipsters frequenting Hipster Sausage (aka Wurstküche) will take the train and free up my parking spaces at night.
The Little Tokyo/Arts District stop opened to some low-key fanfare on Sunday, with a small array of booths from local businesses and cultural organizations. There were some speeches, a ribbon cutting, and then a few different bands took to the podium to play for the sparse crowd. The real affair was going on at Mariachi Square two stops away in East LA, where a couple of blocks were lined with booths, packed with people, and rocking to two bandstands, one at each end. Kids drew on the streets with chalk, bounced in Bouncy Castles, or tried out some Faux rock climbing, and crowds of people milled around checking out the booths, sampling Tamales, or moving to the music.
The trains themselves were really the main attraction though, with long lines just to get on, and packed conditions (like a normal day in New York at rush hour, I suppose), it felt like we just might one day have a full-on train network connecting all of Los Angeles. While that reality is still decades in the future, plans are already in motion to further extend both ends of the Gold Line, even as progress is made on the Expo Line into Culver City. If all of Los Angeles won’t be connected by rail, at least perhaps enough art hotspots will be to warrant gallery hopping across town exclusively by train.
A couple of weeks ago I took a nice bike ride from my place up to Sunset Junction to meet a friend for lunch. Very nice ride by the way, I had forgotten Sunset has a bike lane, so I didn’t actually feel like my life was in danger the whole way there. Anyway, on the way home I came down Second Street and came across the nice new pocket park (I guess you’d call it? Lawn?) on the south side of the brand spanking new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters building. The new building is by AECOM (used to be DMJM, but maybe they found that acronym to not be corporate sounding enough?) and is really surprisingly pretty fantastic. I don’t mean surprising for AECOM, corporate joking aside they do some pretty great work and I know some talented designers who work there, but surprising to me that the headquarters for the LAPD could come out just so damn nice and open and become a part of the urban fabric so smoothly. Of course, the biggest thing is the landscaping, and the conscious choice to give the public the south lawn as the aforementioned mini-park. So now there is this great little lawn on Second Street that I totally want to play croquet on, and the rest of the site is well developed and meticulously planted. Maybe the police will take Rise Industries up on a game or two? I will try to overlook the use of decomposed granite on the upper levels instead of concrete in order to defeat skateboarding on those sweet stairs and handrails. I guess all building developers will always hate skateboarders.
I can see that this building is an exercise in trying to revamp LAPD’s image, to give downtown a very open, transparent building with inviting grounds and hope that the message translates to the organization it houses. If so, we will see how that goes. It’s certainly a great gesture. Also on site is a series of dark bronze, abstracted animal-ish sculptures by Peter Shelton which were the topic of some controversy last month. Apparently Chief Bratton hates them… as does LA Times writer Steve Lopez. I was particularly fond of them myself, especially in the context of downtown LA. Head over there and take a look for yourself though, as they read better all lined up as a kind of progression. Then chill out with a book on the new lawn, maybe some good LA Noir like Raymond Chandler or something, right?
A couple of video clips from Osborn’s Park(ing) day park last week.
I made a little ambient soundtrack of cow noises and crickets and birds so everyone could get a feel for the pasture. I the first video here you can hear it a little bit.
And a few photos for good measure. We had a great time out there, telling people about parking day, and giving out the cow balloons and flowers at the end of the day. The only problem for me was that I didn’t get to bike around LA to check out all the other parks around town. I will have to be satisfied with the summary of this years event on their web site.