Saturday, December 29, 2007


PU held a give a way, it was very successful due in large part to some rather excellent merchandising! To see the slide show and read more please click here!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Fall Term Summary

At the orientation before the term started there were two points that were iterated repeatedly. First, this first term in particular is the time to experiment, and Second, the term is only 10 weeks long, don't dink around!

To read full text click below..

Working with a view to social practice as my core medium was in it self a new and thus experimental endevour, so I interpreted the call to experiment by starting many things with out knowing how or when they would finish. I will admit some frustration at not feeling like I have anything to "show" ie: finished projects. But when I back up and take a longer view, I see that I have generated many projects and ideas to work on. I see too that, much like life, a social practice project doesn't always fit into a ten week academic period, so I am trying to learn a new way of measuring my progress that has more to do with the time and thought put in to the process and less with the "deliverables" at any given moment. Ten weeks is a VERY short time.

Besides making progress towards learning a new way of working, the biggest challenges and accomplishments I have made this term include;
Using technology:
Having to post to this blog has presented two challenges, first and most obvious is figuring out how to do it technically. Yes its pretty straight forward, but understanding the options for functionality and how to use them has taken me a fair bit of time. The reason understanding how to use these options is important leads to the second challenge that “blogging” presents; Understanding/finding a “voice” that feels both true and comfortable to me. I am still not clear how I feel about posting my work journal in a public format. It seems to me oxymoronic. The way I interpret it, my work journal is not something that is appropriate for public viewing. Not because it is too personal, or x rated, but because it is too wordy, too abstract, involves hand drawn symbols and clues, and would frankly be both cumbersome and boring for others to look at. So I am left with the impulse to put “finished” thoughts or documentation of “finished” work on my blog. I know this is not what I'm asked to do, but there you have it, thats been my dilemma. I am slowly making progress with it....

The second big challenge/accomplishment this term came with the requirement to speak to everyone (using technology) about my work. This was both extremely difficult and valuable. I absolutely hate that we have to do this every term, and I am also absolutely grateful we have to do this every term. I have an almost childlike determination to “nail” this, I know its only through practice that I will become able to be mindful (if never comfortable) and engaged with it.

The third challenge/accomplishment is the one most directly related to my practice. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, working with social practice as my core medium is new. I am both challenged, and excited by the plethora of possibilities. Even as I am trying to get my feet under me with my own projects, Harrell presents connections and potential projects that we as a group, and I individually want to pursue. I am really starting to understand the importance of knowing my own priorities, strengths and limits. This is REALLY a new world. I am having to learn how to think about thinking differently, learn how to operate more spontaneously in the present and have more trust in my self. I haven't' dialed this yet. But I have to, because absent learning how to make more hours in the day, I will fail if I don't. I don't mean to make this sound apocalyptic, because it isn't, its doable., and desirable! It is also however a steep learning curve. This is the most difficult, and potentially most rewarding aspect of my MFA experience so far. I am looking now at how I bring my self to all of this. I am happy (not exactly the right word) about this challenge, and I am also mindful that I come to all of this with a rich past that I want to include, and build on. My job is to figure out how to do that, for myself, and also to contribute to the group.

The last thing I will say in this summary is that I am so inspired and impressed by my fellow students. I'm not competitive, but I am aware (and appreciative) of the bar being set higher and higher.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Peace gets some international exposure!

Please click here to see

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Friday, November 9, 2007


Please Click here to see a really inspirational video of a Guerrilla gardener.


Thursday, November 8, 2007


Here is a link to one really good site for Afghan War Rugs
I have just recently found a lot of sites, gotten some contacts and can now really start researching this topic for my Rug Project. The only problem is hours in the day! I am finding my ability to "multi focus" is somewhat lacking. Not only do I have many projects and interests, each project has multiple moving parts!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007


SAW... Shelter for Abandoned words is a new project that aims to direct attention to the abuse, and negligent stewardship of words. It is just developing. You can track its progress by going to the SAW BLOG (sounds like saw log, I hope it doesn't put you to sleep!)

This project is sponsored by Parallel University

If you regularly read the Social Practice group blog, you will see this same post, I am having a little bit of confusion around duplication vs dissemination of information, if anyone has any thoughts about this I'd love to hear them.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Live Recordings

mIn our contemporary art history class tonight there was a really great exchange, not surprisingly the question of “what is art” came up, as it always does. (what other disciplines spend so much time trying to define themselves?) This discourse was largely around the supposed dichotomy between social practice, and studio practice as models. I came home and started thinking about what is common between art forms that are not questioned as art now. And it occurred to me that one element is presentation in one way or another that frames them exclusively, either a white box scenario, or a ticket bought to experience them in a venue specifically dedicated to their “performance”. I am not suggesting that these parameters exhaustively encompass everything "generally accepted to be art", just that work presented in these ways tends to be more easily(or set up to be) engaged with as “art”. What these contexts have in common the more I thought about it, was less about what they include, and more about what they exclude, they exclude distraction.

What if we/I/one were to go to an event, say a protest, festival or some other public event, (or for that matter just a busy place like a shopping mall, or sports event) and offer people either blindfolds or sound blocking headphones to experience the event. by excluding sound, or vision could we intensify the senses left in tact? Would this be a way to replicate the expected context of art, so that a “common” experience could be similar to the experience of art? Could this be a viable strategy to highlight the art in everyday experience?

It seems to me this would be like offering a live sound or visual performance.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Parallel University

This is the Mission Statement for Parallel University. "PU" is a project in and of its self, and also a platform for much of the work I am doing for my MFA. Soon the PU blog will be up and running, when it is I will post a link here.

Parallel University Mission Statement

Established in 2007 Parallel University is dedicated to lending the illusion of imposed structure, and qualitative benchmarks to the self directed learning of its students. Parallel's core belief is that all people at all times create reality and value in our world visa vis their activities, intentions, and choices. Parallel University is a bridge between the received understanding that institutional validation, acquired via adherence to externally designed/imposed structures is required for self worth, and the less frequented perspective that it is the actions and intentions of individuals that create, and grant validation to, the institutions and structures they participate in.

Any credit attributed to Parallel University for knowledge gained or skills attained during the period of enrollment are strictly denied. All benefits, be they growth, knowledge, or skills are wholly and completely the responsibility of the student.
Mascot: Ruby slippers
Motto: You've always had the power

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Notes for meeting with Fritz Haeg

OCT. 29th
Points of departure from lecture:
1 Objects as vessels (personal topic: love of making and doing, how to bridge/mutually express the physical with the experiential, also objects as vessels of memory, and memory as object. place for personal symbology/poetry within a group dynamic and collaborative creation?)

2 Giving something a name (personal topic: sweat shop vs more than free trade, parallel university- working title vs “official naming”at what point does the name define the design)

3 Role of the private home (personal topic: relevance of a physical space)

4 Website as project (personal topic: mixed feelings about technology, resistance to its assumed status, pull of its possibilities, fear of its influence in (driving) the design process)

5 Teaching (personal topic: graceful interface(purposeful, gainful, confusion between) teaching and learning, learning and teaching)

6 Strong grounding in one field to explore away from, I would like to hear more about this.

You had a question at dinner looking for a word to describe what you wanted your work to achieve, you said that “accessible” wasn't the right word..... I wrote on my hand the word “gracious”, and also the word “courtesan.” I think of a courtesan as being a sometimes uncomfortable, but respected exception to the mainstream rules and expectations, a conduit for intelligent and sensual consideration, a person who embodies and grants permission for other ways of being. I think that a courtesan is also welcoming while maintaining all of her/his own strength. A courtesan is the consummate host/hostess to an alternate way of being. They blaze, and balance on, a hair fine line between definitions, just as you described your own intent. Is "courtenesial" a word yet?

OCT 31st:
Today I met with Horia, I talked to him about PU, and told him about Fritz's critique of the mission statement. He pretty much agreed with Fritz. I really feel attached to the official tone of that document, but perhaps what we need is a cover letter, or intro that is more conversational. Horia also asked a lot of good questions, in particular he brought up the topic of ceremony. Ralph and I had talked about this, but kind of left it on the back burner. I realized that thinking about that more now can help give shape to the project.

I met with Fritz this morning and we touched on most of the topics mentioned above. I started the meeting by showing him the "mission statement" for Parallel University before we looked at my talking points. After the reading of the mission statement, he asked me about the wording and intended audience. TONE He found it a little dense (in the not easy to digest sense) and talked about the fact that it might be our introduction, either printed or (especially) as a web presence. He asked me about the project and said that my conversational explanation was very different than what he read. He stressed the importance of tone to the introduction of a work, especially one in which one wants contributions, collaboration with others.

I was thrilled, as he had touched on both the topics of "naming" and "technology". We went then to the topic specifically of "naming". We didn't manage to find an answer, or any particularly new insight, but we did agree that the name, even a working title can shape the design of a project. He did put forth that in his experience the best names were short, maybe two seemingly contradictory words, and that the best thing is to have a name that both describes, and leaves expectation open to interpretation. He elaborated on what he said in his lecture about the name of "edible estates" really fueling that project.

Next was the more complicated topic of how to keep ones poetry alive in a collaborative process (the object element of this question didn't really come into it) This was a really interesting conversation, I don't really know how to write it, except to say that after I was finally able to explain my question, Fritz seemed whole hearted in his validation of the importance of this. To summarize...and this was something that was revisited through out our conversation, he said that the poetry came in the creating of a space for something to happen in, and then also, in another way, from experiencing fresh and new what people create in that space made available. This last part is what I took from the conversation, not what he said, but I think he agreed with me.

I don't want to go on and on in a point by point fashion so I will just finish up by saying what I got from the exchange (after all this is all about me right?)

I felt that Fritz came to our meeting more like a friend (hard to do with a stranger!) and was letting me sort of guide the topics, but was also (like a friend would be) really generous in sharing his own experience, and the conversation wondered where it would, with occasional change of topic by me. In particular the topics of technology (which I probably should or will elaborate on at some point) and "naming" were very distinct, and those of physical space, teaching and personal poetry were so interwoven in my mind that it is hard to parse them here. Ultimately he left me with a few very specific questions to apply to my own projects, and a vague sense of encouragement, or respect for my pursuit of them.

One last thing, the topic of the courtesan, we didn't really get into this the way I'd fantasized it going, (I was thinking of this intentional contemplation of a question he'd brought up as my thank you for his time.) But we did have an interesting few moments trying to figure out how to pronounce "courtenesial". At the end of the day the word and concept is a gift to me, I had perceived Parallel University as granting no degree, instead that the students grant themselves permission. The thinking I did about the role of the courtesan really "fleshed" out the means to that end for me. The University as Courtesan!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

An open question

videoIs technology the new “institution”? Is a facility with technology now assumed as a basic prerequisite for “legitimacy?“ Do we now consider the aesthetics and functionality of an artist's (or any body's) website to be an indication of their validity/viability? Do these elements factor into our assessment/reception of a persons work? Is any attempt to proceed with out , or stumble around, technology perceived as (assumed to be) either an intentional statement, or indication of a more fundamental and general ineptitude? Do we exist now in a "culture" that assumes technology to be an "unspoken", or implicit partner in our dialogs? Is this a new ethos?

nothing more to read right now, check back later


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rug Project

This project is just getting started, like the Sweat Shop project (which has undergone serious revisions and shall be called "the more than fair trade" project going forward) This is a long term endevour requiring a lot of research.
In part the inspiration for this project was a very small part of an exhibition of rugs (and other things) I saw in Glasgow in 1989. The Afghan rugs were really beautiful, and on first glance appeared to be made in traditional patterns with no obvious reference to anything I would understand. Looking closer I realized that the motifs were abstractions of tanks and bombs. The explanations on the walls explained (at least as I remember) that "traditional motifs" were in fact always changing, the way I understood it was that the grammar or the syntax of things would stay constant, but the nouns, or the subject matter would vary according to what was happening in the immediate environment. The other part of my impulse for this project is my concern about child labor, and slavery, also the basic topic of attitudes/perceptions of labor and its value, both external and internal.

The basic outline as it exists right now is to work with children from primary to high school age in the production of at least one rug. Encompassed in the process is all of us learning together about the history of tribal rug making, and the development of motifs (as mentioned above), the skills involved, and about child labor practices.

My rough idea right now is that we learn together what we can about these topics, design a pattern based on our own experience, and tie or weave a rug together. It is my intention that we will also in the process figure out where we would like to give this rug.

My "gold standard" goal for this project is that it could serve as a template to be modified and employed by others going forward.

If you are interested in learning about where I am in this process so far, please click the "read more" button. Also if anyone has any thoughts,(including criticism or challenges to this idea) links to information, or wants to be involved..please do chime in with a comment!

I see already that the research I need to do for this project is vast. Even as I want us all to learn together I feel I need to bring a lot of knowledge to the table before we embark. So this is where I'm at so far: I have found the name of the man that organized the exhibition I saw in Glasgow and have sent out a web of emails to locate him. He apparently has a deep and passionate interest in rugs, and the rugs I was so taken by in particular. I am learning about the rug making traditions in the middle east, and Asia. I am also gathering resources to talk to here in the states about this particular form of rug making.

I am meeting with Michael Simmons at Buckman elementary this week to see if he is interested in participating with some of his students, and have an invitation to talk to da Vinci middle school when I am ready. I am particularly interested in a possible collaboration on this project with high schoolers connected to the Native American Youth and Family Center.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Another bus story

I couldn't quite understand this fellows name, but he took my book on the bus last week (he literally took it away from me as I was reading.) He did to give it back to me after he ascertained that the only picture was on the cover. I think he may have wanted to point to the irony of me reading a book on "relational aesthetics" when I was on a bus full of people I could have been relating to. I was social practiced by a two year old! Thank you little man.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

what I leaned today!

I picked Allan McCollum up at the airport this afternoon. He is delightful. In the short time we had together, bringing him to town, making a rather round about way to the safeway, through my neighborhood, and via powells to his hotel, I learned two things. One, never use your nick name on a resume, I should always say "Sandra" rather than Sandy, I suppose Sanone is completley out of bounds. And the second was an implicit and more profound lesson. We were at the safeway looking for tiny toothpaste and shaving creams. Necessitated of course by the new airline laws. I said that a good project would be to set up an exchange at the air port where people could leave their liquids before going through security and people coming off flights could pick them up. He didn't say, oh good idea, or how would that work, he said: "Apply for a Grant". And I oddly said, ok I will! I think this is perhaps one of the differences between artist who "make it" and those who don't. An assumption that they deserve funding for their pursuits. So I will be applying for a grant for this air port exchange project. Thank you Allan!


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Free Tulip Bulbs

Look for this sign in the lobby of the art building and get your self some tulip bulbs to plant (They'll be right there by the sign)!

Dear Troops

Che Ernesto Guevara - a man who wrote about sowing the seeds of revolution but was not a particularly enthusiastic gardener - but he is someone from whom we borrow a bit of spirit. He was executed forty years ago and in Cuba October 8th, the day before his death, is called Day of the Heroic Guerrilla. Love him or loathe him, I encourage you to mark this occasion and make it your reason to get out there gardening, perhaps even with something appropriately red and revolutionary, all be it green as well. In London on Monday we will be digging in more scarlet tulip bulbs that did so well last year.

Bulbs are a great way to guerrilla garden. Take a tulip for example. Dig a hole about 15cm deep and drop a couple or so bulbs in with the pointy bit up. Then cover it firmly with soil. That's really all you need to do before it flowers in spring. Take a photo of the patch and then you will remember where you have dug in your colourful land mine. Please do share what you have done on the Community pages of the website.
Go here to learn more!

In Portland we are troop #990, please include our troop number when you post!

You may also send documentation to
and we will post it for you!

Thanks, and Love, Parallel University


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Seattle Snaps

I haven't quite got the slide show thing worked out yet (but I will with Shelby's help) in the mean time here are some snaps. and a wee video. I loved the sound and atmosphere in the Vivarium!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bus meeting

Today when I got onto the bus my favorite seat was available, the one just up to the top of the steps right behind the back door. Sitting there is like being on a ride, I don't like rides, but I like sitting there and feeling "like I'm on a ride". Michael and Uma clocked me coming up the isle (I don't mean hit me, I man saw me in a meaningful way) I "clocked them clocking me" and I wondered what was up.... soon after I sat down Michael leaned over and said "excuse me, what do you do?" I told him that up until yesterday I worked in the stacks at the library. He leaned over to Uma, and said, I was pretty close. I asked him what he had guessed I did. And he said school teacher. I told him that he was really good because I had just started school to be able to teach. I asked him what he did, and he said he was a seasonal construction worker, but mostly in summer. He told me he had a deconstruction job last week, which was really fun. And next week he has a landscaping gig, he hopes that the weather is like today, but he doesn't really care, he loves working outside. He then explained that what he is really good at is relaxing, being lazy. He told me the trick to that is to balance inactivity with moving around pretending like you are actually going to get something done. Uma was pretty shy and mostly hid behind Michael. They got off soon, we shook hands and expressed our mutual pleasure about the meeting. I was particularly taken by this experience, as Michael performed, with me as a recipient, exactly the kind of social practice work that I might do. (I am a little obsessed with the relationships that happen on buses) I loved this experience, and I feel like this is a great demonstration of the synchronicity/coincidence/connection that I am interested in, and I got to be on the receiving, responsive (rather than generative) end of it!


Points of departure

I am not quite sure how to use this space yet, I mean in terms of what is worth posting.
Here is a list of some of the things I am thinking about.
physical trails of experience
memory/rethinking-redefining memory


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Public Sweat Shop, and an introduction

Hi all, I first want to "introduce" you to Ralph Pugay. He and I will be collaborating a lot together this year. The idea for this project initiated with Ralph. He is from the Philippines and .... worked a couple of days in an outdoor, casual labor, sweat shop, producing dolls for carnival prizes in the US.

The idea is to have an out door sweatshop, producing sewn dolls for one day in a public space (I'm thinking pioneer courthouse square) There will be stations for pattern cutting, sewing, stuffing and finishing work. We project this to go for a minumum of 7 hours (at this early planning stage- although to go for 24 hours with shifts could be much better.)

We were thinking of presenting a 7 course meal, prepared by Ralph and I, as payment to the workers.

At the end of production, all the dolls will be shipped to the Philippines.

This is a brand new idea, we are just germinating, so if anyone has any ideas, wants to work with us, any thoughts at all please do stick your oar in.


first project

Ok, well the first project i am going to be working on came because of the day I took this picture. I had been called back in for a second mammogram.... really scary and lonely feeling. For any of you who have never had a mammogram, you have to go into these tiny 4x4 rooms with a curtain on one side and change into a hospital gown, and then just sit there in this little room with the curtain closed, and people moving around out side of it until they come to get you. They put some stuff on the wall and some magazines in there, but it is really surreal, your are already stressed, and you feel like a lab rat-like your own reality is suspended in this place. On this day when I went into the sadly familiar little room, I found this (in the photo). It was made on the glass of some inane framed print there. It was all made out of weird medical stuff (obviously all the components had some adhesive quality). I felt so great, so connected. I didn't feel so alone. I understood that it was other real people who just like me had been in this room, feeling much the way I did. This little work was like a message through time from some "her" to me.

I got the idea from this is; to go to places where one might be nervous to make, and leave little works, made from materials available there. My idea is that maybe just once someone else will be heartened and feel less alone like I did when I found this.

So far I am thinking about the grey hound station, especially in the bathroom. The court house, and the police station. I will also just do it where ever I happen to be if I feel nervous.

Does anyone have any suggestions, or stories about places that make them nervous-stressed?
Also, if anyone else would like to do this too, that would be great! and if you would or could send me documentation-photo or written, I would love it!


Friday, September 21, 2007

Testing one two three

just a non emergency test of the trombone.