2011 « Rise Industries | Interdisciplinary projects since 1999

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

You hold it in your mind all the time.

posted by on 2011.08.06, under art, exhibition, rise info, video

Rise is excited to announce the opening of “You hold it in your mind all the time.” An exhibition about physicality and perception that includes multimedia works by Michele Jaquis, Jeremy J. Quinn and Sarah Rushford of Rise Industries as well as Boston artists Heidi Kayser, Marguerite White, and Tom Wojciechowski.

We would be so happy to see you at the opening on August 11 or the artist talk on Sept 24. Or stop in during gallery hours of course!

(Please note the change in the artist talk date from the printed postcard, which says Saturday Sept 15 )

You hold it in your mind all the time.
An exhibition of experimental work about physicality and perception.

August 11 – September 30, 2011

Michele Jaquis
Heidi Kayser
Jeremy J. Quinn
Sarah Rushford
Marguerite White
Tom Wojciechowski

Reception: Thursday August 11, 2011 5:00-8:00 pm
Artists Talk/Closing Reception: Saturday September 24 2:00pm

Art at 12
12 Farnsworth Sreet
Boston MA 02210
www.fortpointarts.org
617 423 1100

Art at 12 Gallery Hours
Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm, Sunday by chance

Art at 12 Gallery presents You hold it in your mind all the time, an exhibition of multidisciplinary work by Boston artists Heidi Kayser, Sarah Rushford, Marguerite White, and Tom Wojciechowski and Los Angeles artists Michele Jaquis and Jeremy J. Quinn. The show dates are August 11 – September 30, 2011, with an opening reception on August 11th and an artist talk and closing reception on September 24th. 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.

Informed by philosphy, narrative, and neurobiology, You hold it in your mind all the time expresses and questions the folded duality of the self; the notion that the body is our infinitely personal, private selfhood, and is also a physical object in the outside world. Art theorist Gabriele Brandstetter writes of this strange doubleness “The body is a being of two leaves; from one side a thing among things and otherwise what sees and touches them.”

Heidi Kayser’s sculpture Spanning the Rift is a suspension bridge made of eyeglasses which, Kayser states,“addresses the internally confounding problem of time and helps extend perception by closing the distance between looking back and looking forward.”

Michele Jaquis’s Until I Can Speak my Mind is a short film that was inspired by a recurring dream that both the artist and her twin sister have had in which the artist is chewing bubble gum which she then spits it into her hand, only to find in the next shot that the gum is still there and is getting bigger.

Jeremy Quinn’s What Holds Us Together is a video projection that depicts the Brooklyn Bridge with its middle section conspicuously missing, while the view into Manhattan (the World Trade Center towers missing) remains intact. Traffic seems to pass into and out of a charged void that separates the two sides of the bridge in this commentary on emptiness and separation.

Sarah Rushford’s Quickening is an interactive installation. Viewers reach into a box that contains a green apple and a live video feed of their hand is mixed with a recorded video of another hand touching the apple. Viewers report feeling a strange a ghostly presence as the two images mix.

Marguerite White’s Cargo Cult is a shadow theatre constructed with cut paper and simple light
projections. This surreal narrative is a reflection on the power of visual memory and the subjective nature of physical perception.

Also included are large scale abstract landscape photographs by Tom Wojciechowski, in which familiar objects—a hand, a landscape, set up a perceptual conundrum and create a space that can’t or shouldn’t exist.

You hold it in your mind all the time illuminates a diversity of multidisciplinary contemporary art practice to suggest that what may seem to be private, even mysterious somatic experiences are actually shared perceptions that might be articulated.

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.

 

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.

Rise Industries at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry – Day 7

posted by on 2011.06.08, under art, culture, ICI Residency

Yesterday was a blur. We got into the space around 11 (Michele and Sarah) and Noon (Jeremy, after working 4 hours on other projects) and set about wrapping up some of the projects so we could start laying things out in the gallery. Technical difficulties ruled the early afternoon – trying to get video from animated gifs proved problematic. There seems to be no getting my Quartz Composer files out of that software and into video. Michele crashed her whole Final Cut suite and had to reinstall. But these little problems were not disasters, just challenges.
I put the whole video operation on pause for a while and went back to one of my globe projection drawings, translating from one projection view of the world into another projection drawing, layered and shifted. It is basically a globular projection of the world with a cylindrical (?) projection overlaid on it. But I drew the cylindrical projection in eight segments instead of twelve, so I had to interpolate the continents to work with the new divisions. I went back to that off and on over the course of the day and finally got it done by the time we left.

John Kim came by yesterday, and explained to Michele how his New Time (also known as Metric Standard Time) works, and how we can convert from our times zones (ICI time, Pacific Time, Eastern Time, India Time) to his Metric time. Its a little complicated, but she went back over all our time cards (we have been punching in and out each time we go to ICI) and filled in the Metric times for each stamp. We also had a skype visitation by Boris Margolin, who Sarah toured around the space via laptop. Boris and John’s New Time App was installed on Michele’s iphone, and tomorrow (today?) we will figure out how that one will be presented.

Several videos got output to DVD finally. Two simultaneous walks – in Munich and LA. A rotating lens reflecting the ICI courtyard canopy, two Foucault’s pendulums, again in Munich and LA, two days and two nights in Boston and LA, two cross country trips, and finally the stereoscopic videos made it onto DVD. There was a lot of testing projections for the 3d stereoscopic photographs, and we finally got just the right method of showing those.

We took a short break for dinner and got back to work. By the time we punched out, we had been there around 12 hours.

Here are some images from the past couple of days…

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.

Recording a drum set made out of balloons

posted by on 2011.06.05, under music, performance, Sound Design, Uncategorized

I just finished a 2 week recording project with balloon artist Addi Somekh.  He has traveled the world making balloon hats for people of all walks of life, and recently starred in the reality TV show The Unpoppables.  The purpose of this project was to develop the balloon drum set as a viable, recordable musical instrument, and to create a collection of balloon drum loops and samples.  We had several drummers come to play it and offer their input as the kit took a new shape and sound of it’s own. The clip here features George Bernardo playing the balloon drum set as I accompany him with an original composition on piano and synth.

pagetop


R