mabel-conceivingplace
  
When: Friday, August 7, 2015 
Time: 5:00pm7:30pm
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Front Door Gallery
As a culmination of the public programming associated with the current Room for Big Ideas project, Conceiving Place, Bay Area-based writer Dorothy Santos will be in conversation with Mabel Negrete on her work and ask questions that focus on social practice, defining place, current social and political climates, as well as how the project has evolved since its inception. The conversation will be for one hour between artist and writer and 15–30 minutes of facilitated Q&A.The evening’s program will open with a ceremonial workshop led by Khalil Anthony: SONGS FROM PLANET ZERO
Join artist Khalil Anthony on a voyage in creation and song creation. Through this interactive workshop, participants will breathe together, and create music with only their bodies and voices as instruments. Learn to use your inherent rhythm and beat making ability to conjure songs as a group and by yourself, in this improvisational based workshop that pull songs from Planet Zero; a mythical place where all things are possible, as long as imagination and vulnerability meet.From writer Dorothy Santos – “We all carry the burden of punishment in our everyday lives. But at the economic, social, and cultural level, these burdens remain invisible. Whether they are through the taxes we pay perpetuating the prison industrial complex to surveillance technologies, we live in a world where we are unable to truly navigate away from digital and physical landscapes withoutconsequence. MabelNegrete coined the term ‘invisible punishing machines’ as a response to narratives around imprisonment, political oppression, and systems of government. Her work relies on vulnerability, storytelling, and experiential practices that have resulted in works such as The Weight I Carry with Me (2010 – Ongoing) to her founding the research initiative Counter Narrative Society (CNS). The breadth of her work has served as an impactful project that aims to reverse dominant narratives that diminish the untold and often obscured stories of underrepresented and vulnerable populations.”See the entire August 2015 workshop schedule at http://thinkeringschool.sparkmakers.org/july-aug-2015-thinkering-activities/Part of the exhibition, Conceiving Place:

Through a series of public workshops, Conceiving Place will engage the Bay Area community in a conversation about our personal and societal narratives; ultimately turning the weight we individually carry into a communal work. This ever-evolving installation will also frequently include “hands on, minds on” experiences. See more at http://ybca.org/conceiving-place

Artist Mabel Negrete, the founder of Counter Narrative Society (CNS), is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring counter narratives about bio-power, urbanism, culture, and technology. Her project The Weight I Carry with Me is a reaction to the invisible punishing machine, an idiomatic, science fiction-esque research concentration she designed to examine the spatial and technological causes that produce inequality and invisible punishment — a consequence of mass imprisonment, political persecution of individuals, the prison-welfare system, urbanization, neoliberal policies, and social-urban control in the USA. She is a recipient of several recognitions including MIT Presidential Award 2009-2010 and MIT Architecture Department Fellowship 2009-2011, Zellerbach Family Foundation & W.A. Gerbode Foundation 2006, and Osher Memorial Merit Scholarship – San Francisco Art Institute 2003-2006. Her work has been presented in a variety of public spaces and cultural institutions: Boston City Hall, MA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA; Art of this Gallery, MI; De Young Museum, CA, The Intersection for the Arts, CA; Galleria de la Raza, CA; Primo Piano Living Gallery, Lecce Italy; New College of California, CA; San Francisco World Affairs Counsel, SF; and University of San Francisco, CA.

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The flickering, multi-colored lights of Shih Chieh Huang’s installation Synthetic Seduction, now on view at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, reminds me of the cellular and molecular models found in biology classrooms. When I was a student, one of the ways in which I learned about organic forms was by placing mitochondria, lysosomes, and nuclei in their correct locations in these models. Huang also re-creates life with synthetic, mundane materials, but with much more technical and mechanical sophistication. While Huang’s forms may not overtly mimic reality, his work serves as an interpretation of structures working in concert. Read the entire write-up here.

Waiting for The People - SF performance to begin. It was rather chilly out but happy we were able to grab the best (and only seats) in the 'house'.

 

Faces of fellow Interviewees

 

The start of The People - SF performance

Participating in the Big Art Group’s project, The People – SF, was a great experience. One of my dear childhood friends, Ricky Castaneda (fellow SF native and future lawyer) asked me to interview and discuss issues about community, democracy, war, and terrorism. Watching the opening night of The People – SF, I must say my favorite parts of the overall presentation involved hearing other locals’ thoughts on the aforementioned concepts. Truthfully, I wished the piece focused more on the interviews only because I found them the most provocative portions of the overall piece (NO, I did not want to see more of myself, just wanted to put that out there [Insert smiley face with tongue sticking out]). Rather, I wanted to hear more from the interviewees and hear their experiences and stories, which make San Francisco the vibrant and diverse place that cultivates a strong sense of community and awareness of these issues. Overall, I was/am proud I was able to represent my city ~ San Francisco.

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At dusk, a radiating neon green herbal leaf welcomes visitors to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. It serves as one of the first installations a visitor sees when entering the Bay Area Now 6 (aka BAN6) visual arts exhibition. The signage was created by, Bay Area artist and San Francisco Art Institute faculty member, Tony Labat. As a play on the words Yerba Buena and the rich history San Francisco brings to the ongoing political and social debate of medicinal marijuana. Historically, Labat’s work examines social and cultural issues within such a milieu of diverging and opposing opinions.

Dualing Pianos: Agape Agape in D Minor by Mauricio Ancalmo was one of the noteworthy pieces in BAN6. Ancalmo fastidiously creates the perfect amount of tension, both figuratively and literally. Various technologies coalesce to re-contextualize and re-imagine concepts such as time, placement, and discord. The large kinetic sculpture pushes the viewer’s understanding of new media and technology based work. In many ways, Ancalmo calls upon his viewer to actually listen as well as experience the cyclical nature of synthesis and antithesis.

Chris Fraser’s light installation, Developing a mutable horizon, plays with the viewer’s sense of space and perception through light refraction and offers an provocative participatory aspect to the spectator. Fraser’s experience as a photographer lends itself well in that the body dictates the light versus the light dictating placement of the body. Another photographer, Sean McFarland, explores the unorthodox nature of darkness within landscape photography and calls into question how the senses grow accustomed to what is not the commonplace. Light plays an incredibly and necessary role in capturing the perfect image. Yet, what happens when that paradigm of photography shifts to capturing that which is shrouded in darkness. How do the eyes see? Do the eyes and the sense of sight truly discern lines and shapes? McFarland challenges our retinal sense by having darkness within the photograph to be what guides the eye and our cognition to comprehending the forms as if there is something more revealing captured in the dark versus in the light.

Another standout piece was Suzanne Husky’s, Sleeper Cell Hotel. The oval pods constructed from raw lumber accompanied by quilted comforters adorning the interior is a trenchant approach at creating the antithesis of what is commonly known as a sleeper cell – clandestine and secret. Husky’s combination of performance art, functionality, and sculptural fabrications take what is private into the public sphere.

The show incorporated artists using traditional methods of art making such as Robert Minervini paintings of cityscapes under construction as well as Ben Venom’s quilts but based within a more conceptual framework. Both artists provide anomalous ways in which old technologies are being used to create advancements in the way art is created and experienced. Yet, even with all of the optimism one can muster about the Bay Area art community, the disappointing aspect of the show was the lack of artists working with newer and cutting edge technologies. Granted, there are many organizations showcasing the new wave of technologically based artists and makers but it’s a bit surprising to not see them as well represented in the BAN6 show. The diversity and range ought to make visible and obvious the ways in which the Bay Area differs from other regions versus exhibiting how we are alike. There is a specific voice here that wasn’t particularly shown. Although the selected BAN6 artists embody the broad range of art within the Bay Area, the diversity in technique and method was a bit lacking.

For more information about BAN6 click here

Originally posted to zer01 blog, please click here to view.

Mutiny Radio at BAN6

Mutiny Radio was a treat at the BAN6 Visual Arts Exhibition opening last Friday. They conducted a live broadcast of the show visitors were able to tune in and listen to on headphones provided (in exchange for your ID). Looking at art as you listened to BAN6 interviews made the experience much more engaging. Thank goodness for Mutiny Radio! Click on the image above or here to learn more about this organization.