Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An update of recent goings on....

Hello strangers, I’m just checking in to tell you all what I’ve been up to. First, since last April, I’ve been working with Project Grow, which is an amazing shared studio and organic urban farming program in North Portland. I get to work with my colleagues,all artists and farmers on various projects, curate shows and generally learn about life and meaning from some of the best teachers I have ever had! LINK

I went to NYC in February with Laurel Kurtz to participate in The Incidental Person at Apexart. Laurel and I did a new version of Public Speaking, we collaborated this time with Dale Blagrove from Pride Toastmasters which is based in district 46, as is the gallery. Laurel and I spent our days gathering words in response to the question: What’s on your mind, and our evenings/early mornings typing up transcripts of gathered words. The speeches, the words, were presented at Union Square subway station over two hours on a Friday afternoon, we even had a guest appearance by a local Portland Toastmaster, Barbara Berger (Barbara was our mentor in the Civil Tongues toastmasters club, she just happened to be in town).

We also spent a lot of evenings hanging at Daddy’s which became our local in Brooklyn (right down the street from where we were staying with Ken Butler.) At Daddy’s we also met some wonderful people who contributed to our project, and generally made us feel right at home for the week we were there. We started our mornings at The Bean Bar, a great coffee shop also near us that had free wi fi and a wonderful cast of regulars.

The Curator of The Incidental Person was Antony Hudek, Antony is also one half of the independent publisher: Occasional Papers There was so much going on and we were so busy with our project that were barely able to participate in much of the larger project. Some highlights for me were: The panel discussions between Claire Bishop, Noa Latham, Julie Martin, Barbara Steveni and Stephen Wright and the skype discussion with Barbara Stevini facilitated byBasekamp, Philadelphia, hosted by Scott Rigby, Stephen Wright. And the Incidental Pancake celebration that capped the entire show at Bubby’s (a Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed project) was truly wonderful.

In December I was part of a group residency at Betonsalon in Paris. As a group we did an alternative Info Point for the new ZAC district that is being made. We basically met with local people and assisted them in creating something like a science fair exhibit that they would present to visitors on the occasion of the “opening.” This info point was a place to learn a little bit about the knowledge base and interests of people who live and work in the community. I worked with an amazing woman, Claire Chomasse, we met randomly and were able to work together sans translator because we both speak broken Italian as a second language. Claire could have chosen to present on any number of topics as she is a passionate participator in many areas, but she chose to focus on her work with the Non La Pub campaign. This is a campaign to raise awareness about abusive advertising and its effects on civil society.

While in Paris I also worked with Association Aurore, and Project Grow to facilitate a long distance dialogue between the artists at Project Grow and Parisians. This project was done with invaluable collaboration from Laurel Kurtz and Mark Johndahl in Portland. The result was an edited video of conversation back and forth over three weeks. The video screened in Paris at the Betonsalon opening inside of a tent situated just outside the gallery. The tent titled Space Comune was a collaboration with Ana Monteiro an intern at Betonsalon. Ana and I had a conversation that led us to agree that what this new community lacks is a place to be, intimate public space. The tent was our gesture towards providing an intimate public space, and to my mind illustrated the need. The tent moved around the area near the gallery and Paris 7 University, there was a map of possible tent locations available at the gallery and inside the tent.

I also got to teach a class at PSU last term (winter) Intro to Drawing. I loved it, a lot of work in a way, such a diverse group of students in terms of background and ability, it was a challenge to connect with each of them where they are, but I loved it, and by and large the students were great.

I am teaching this term at PCC Cascade which is amazing. When I first came to Portland in the early 80’s I took some classes at Cascade Campus, and again in the 90’s when I decided I needed to get some “marketable skills”. I feel really attached to and supportive of the mission of PCC, and one of the things I perceive that mission to be is ACCESSIBILITY! Had I not had my experiences at PCC I can pretty much guarantee that I never would have felt able to pursue a University program. So, this is a beautiful opportunity to give back, and also a lot of pressure: Can I be a difference to students the way that some of the faculty at PCC were for me? I’m hoping I can, and I am stunned by the poetic symmetry of this situation.

Type rest of the post here