Northern Lights shortlisted for 5×5 public art program in nation’s capital

5x55×5 is an exciting program to commission 5 curators to each curate 5 public art projects for presentation in Washington DC during the  National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial, spring 2012.

5×5, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’s new temporary public art project, will result in twenty-five groundbreaking temporary public art installations that will be installed concurrently throughout the District of Columbia. DCCAH is seeking five highly-experienced and innovative contemporary art curators to select and work with five artists each to develop and present exciting, temporary art works in public spaces throughout the District of Columbia. The resulting twenty-five projects will activate and enliven publicly accessible spaces and add an ephemeral layer of creativity and artistic expression to neighborhoods across the District.”

Northern Lights/Artistic Director Steve Dietz was selected as one of 10 semi-finalists for 5×5. We will be presenting a final proposal in early December. Other semi-finalists here.


Participate in Creative Placemaking!

Irrigate: Art happens here

Soon, hundreds of projects led by local artists will bring new life and vibrancy to the Central Corridor Light Rail Line in Saint Paul, thanks to a new partnership between Springboard for the Arts, Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the City of Saint Paul.  Called Irrigate, this initiative spurs artist-led creative placemaking spanning the six miles of the Central Corridor Light Rail line in Saint Paul during the years of its construction. This is a unique opportunity that brings together huge infrastructure development, a high concentration of resident artists on both ends of the corridor, a diverse ethnic and cultural mix among the neighborhoods, and a city with a strong track record of artist community engagement. By mobilizing artists to engage in their community, Irrigate will change the landscape of the Central Corridor with color, art, surprise, creativity and fun.

Placemaking is the act of people coming together to change overlooked and undervalued public and shared spaces into welcoming places where community gathers, supports one another, and thrives. Places can be animated and enhanced by elements that encourage human interaction – from temporary activities such as performances and chalked poetry to permanent installations such as landscaping and unique art.

How to Get Involved

If you are an artist – of any level, experience or discipline – who lives, works or has a personal investment in Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (CCLRT) neighborhoods, Irrigate invites you to join the creative placemaking movement! Use your creative talents to have an impact on your neighborhood, your local businesses and organizations, and the light rail corridor. Starting October 22, Irrigate is offering creative placemaking training workshops, after which artists will be eligible for collaborative placemaking project funding through a simple application process. For more details and registration information for Fall 2011 workshops click here (

If you are a business, non-profit, community group, or other entity that is has a presence on the light rail corridor in Saint Paul, and would like to connect artists to your work, please contact Peter Haakon Thompson, Project Coordinator, at or 651-789-0679.

If you are a fan of artists and placemaking, revisit the website after October 15! We will have a live map to which anyone can share ideas about where placemaking can happen along the corridor, AND, over time, you can see artist-led projects take shape, find out ways to participate, and discover placemaking activities and sites to visit.

For more information, see

Other questions, contact Jun-Li Wang, Artist Community Organizer at or 651-789-0679.

Reclaim Market Street!

Reclaim Market Street exhibition still

Kiosk from the exhibition at SPUR in San Francisco

Reclaim Market Street! is an exhibition and series of public programs created by the Studio for Urban Projects and hosted by SPUR (the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association), in San Francisco, CA.

Studio for Urban Projects is an art and design collaborative that, according to their website, “perceives art as a means of advancing civic engagement and furthering public dialogue.” Together, the Studio’s core members–Alison Sant, Richard Johnson, Marina McDougall, Kirstin Bach and Daya Karam–operate a storefront in the Mission District of San Francisco and have created public art projects for the city of Seattle, and the 2010 01SJ Biennial.

Installation shot from Reclaim Market Street! exhibition by Studio for Urban Projects

This research-based exhibition largely consists of a curated set of examples of public projects and interventions that have had positive impacts in other cities that is held together by a clever exhibition design consisting largely of cardboard–cardboard seats, walls, signage, kiosks, and even flooring. The meat of the project lies in its public programs of walking tours, guided bike rides, impromptu parks, and outdoor events that challenge the public to participate in redefining what they expect from (and how they interact with) city streets.


Applications available to the public as part of the exhibition at SPUR.

Indoors, I found the way the exhibition challenges people to take immediate action most refreshing. Within SPUR are work stations displaying applications where you can immediately apply to “Create a Park,” “Make Your Own Bike Lane” or “Plant the Sidewalk.” Outdoors, their project is about gathering people together to acknowledge history while contributing to aspirational scenarios of the future.

This project is a perfect example of how artists are using their practice to help create solutions to real-world problems. Market Street is the central transit corridor of San Francisco. On one side is Ferry Plaza and the bustling Financial District, on the other side is the colorful Castro District where shops and cafes line the street. In the middle is the Central Market District. Originally a theater district, years of economic decline have left it more known for strip clubs, panhandlers, graffiti, and empty storefronts. The City of San Francisco has launched a revitalization campaign and other organizations such as the San Francisco Arts Commission and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts have been actively working to literally bring art to the street.

Jackson Strand theater with public art

Paz de la Calzada painting Central Market Dreamscape, 2011. Mural, 1127 Market Street, San Francisco. Courtesy of the ARTery Project, San Francisco Arts Commission. Photo: Lydia Gonzales.

Reclaim Market Street! adds to this local dialogue and is about using Market Street as muse in a public conversation around expand the use cases for city streets beyond automobile traffic to include safe and engaging spaces for bikers and pedestrians. Because Central Market Street District is a place people are more likely to pass through quickly, Studio for Urban Projects has created a framework that challenges people to spend time on the street. A particularly interesting program that will take place on October 15th is “Temporary Urban Experiments in Creating New Public Spaces.” Child-friendly urban planning more often than not sequesters children within fenced off playgrounds. But what if play was incorporated back into street life?

imagination playground inage from new york

The Imagination Playground installed near South Street Seaport in New York City. Image courtesty of

For this project, they are featuring the Imagination Playground Kit designed by David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group within an urban plaza that is normally dominated by concrete.

With public funds for the arts dwindling, revitalization of cities through the arts and culture is one area that is receiving greater attention in recent times. As an example, the NEA is echoing this call for a revitalization of cities through the arts by recently announcing its inaugural “Our Town” grants that help 51 communities, including San Francisco and San Jose, CA, revitalize their neighborhoods through strategies involving the arts. Creative placemaking is a challenge to reclaim our urban centers, which is precisely what Studio for Urban Projects is doing in focusing their energies toward the Central Market Street District.

Much of what Studio for Urban Projects suggests is common sense. Safe and scenic bike paths through the city, reclamation of under utilized spaces, and a move away from automobile centric civic design. It’s the thoughtfulness of the exhibition design and their collaborative ethos (Reclaim Market Street! also showcases contributions by Futurefarmers, Rebar, and the San Francisco Bike Coalition) that works best in using the arts to promote conversations that have the potential to create lasting change.

So the question is, what urban spaces would you like to reclaim?

Bruce Charlesworth: ISEA.1

Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum: Spiral Drawing Sunrise

Arriving late Thursday night in Istanbul after a full day of teaching and a drive from Milwaukee to catch my connecting flight to Frankfort from O’Hare… I am jetlagged. I’m in Istanbul for the ISEA (International Society of Electronic Artists) Festival and Conference. Given that I am two days late for the festival, my account will be limited and personal. I’ve already missed much, and will miss more. Simultaneous events are scattered all over Istanbul, and navigation is tricky.

I made it to the conference in the sub-sub-basement of a financial complex, and sat through several sessions of artists and curators presenting papers. Topics included “The Body and Digital Space,” “Philosophy and Ethics of Bioart,” “Locative Sound,” “Robotics, Interactivity and Public Space.” For more information, click here and select Paper Sessions:

That evening, I groggily traveled by funicular and tram to the Sultanamet area of the Old City and went to a Turkish bathhouse to see Southern Ocean Studies by Tom Corby, Gavin Baily and Jonathan Mackenzie.

Projected on the domed entrance hall ceiling of the 427-year-old Çemberlitas Hamam, the artwork depicts the Southern Ocean circulating Antarctica. According to the artists, the project software runs in real-time generating the ocean currents on the fly, to which are mapped various other ecological data sets.

The back-and-white visualization of wind and tide evoked phenomena both small and large: lines of crawling ants and storm-tracking satellite maps. I like the idea of superimposing vortex-like imagery on a dome, and data from a cold place onto one that features heat. As with many new media works with a sociopolitical or scientific agenda, this one was more interesting to me in terms of its real-time data mapping content and symbolism than as a formal artwork. Both the intellectual and aesthetic impact of the piece might have been served by a larger, more encompassing projection in one of the huge domed hot rooms where bathers sweat on their backs while looking upward. For technical or cultural reasons, these options may not have been feasible in a traditional hamam.

I decided to have a Turkish bath.

Bruce Charlesworth is an artist, writer and filmmaker. He one of the pioneers of postmodern staged photography and among the first artists to use video and audio to power aspects of physically immersive “narrative environments.” He teaches in the Department of Film/Video/New Genres at the University of Wisconsin Peck School of the Arts in Milwaukee. He previously reported on Ars Electronica in 2009 for Public Address.

TACTICAL ORGANIZING: The Instituent Art Practice of Public Matters

A group of guest writers have been invited to contribute to Public Address throughout 2011. Sue Bell Yank is a Los Angeles based writer and arts organizer. She is currently the Assistant Director of Academic Programs at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and adjunct faculty in the Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Her writing has been featured in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, the Huffington Post, Mammut magazine, and various arts blogs including her ongoing essay blog entitled Social Practice: writings about the social in contemporary art (–JA

Teenaged, bespectacled Magali Bravo confronts the camera straight on as she and her small brother make their way to school through the streets of South Los Angeles. Weaving past the chain link of empty lots, nondescript motels and broad, shadeless expanses, the pair enters three corner markets in search of fresh produce. In crisp white polo shirts and khaki shorts (dress code of choice for LAUSD public schools), Magali and her brother move with a confidence that bespeaks their belonging to the neighborhood – but her face betrays disgust at the processed food choices available. Wrinkling her nose at the camera, the only fresh “produce” she finds are a few sad crates of withered potatoes and bruised bananas on the floor of one liquor store.

Magali’s video, entitled “You Can’t Put a Price on That,” is one of five videos produced through a collaboration between an interdisciplinary artist-run collective and consulting group called Public Matters, the South Los Angeles Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC) Initiative, and high school students at The Accelerated School.This youth media project dedicated to exposing the challenges of healthy food access in South L.A. was only one aspect of an integrated action plan that included developing a partnership with the local city council office, creating a “youth ambassador” program at The Accelerated School, bringing together various community organizations, businesses and advocates, and culminating in two Market Makeovers. One of these “makeovers” occurred at Coronado Meat Market, a corner market run by Magali’s godfather, and her video documents members of HEAC as well as her classmates moving displays, repainting, marking clear prices, and generally redecorating the store to highlight fresh produce and healthy food options [1]. Magali was clearly the impetus behind her godfather’s participation, and her energy is palpable, infusing her fellow teens and rendering the peppiness of the thirty-something HEAC project leaders somewhat redundant.

Video: You Can’t Put a Price on That,” Magali Bravo

Public Matters, LLC, a self-described “rag-tag group of consultants” [2], is the artist-run initiative behind the production of compelling videos like Magali’s, and the connective tissue linking constituents in many-tendriled collaborations like the South L.A. Market Makeovers (2007-2009). Their goal, simply stated, is to “work with community members to create media about their neighborhoods…to develop in them a sense of ownership over these places and a belief that they can directly shape their neighborhoods’ future. The media content reflects and benefits the community that has helped create it, advancing a specific community defined agenda or initiative.[3]” Though the precise role of Public Matters shifts over time and within projects, their tendency to involve themselves in social issues of great magnitude (such as tackling South and East L.A. food deserts [4] to provide increased access to healthy food and education about nutrition) necessitates a mode of working that includes multiple partners. For Public Matters, the size and scope of these partnering institutions often matches the enormity of the problems they take on – the group has gone from working with the community organization HEAC to a research center at UCLA Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance, or REMAP), to a major inter-university research institute called the UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. Along with huge university bureaucracies also come massive funding opportunities, and additional state and federal governmental entities to answer to – for example, the current round of East L.A. market makeovers is funded by a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Los Compadres Market, South Los Angeles, 2007. Courtesy Public Matters, LLC.

Their lack of interest in one-offs and commitment to durational, sustainable projects that bring social benefit places Public Matters in an undefined, hybrid, interdisciplinary realm with many other artist-run initiatives that lack a traditional relationship to object-making and the commercial art market. By their university partners, Public Matters are perceived not as an artist collective, but primarily as on-the-ground liaisons with the most direct contact with schools and community organizations. They bring a way of engaging stakeholders through participatory media production that differs dramatically from traditional methods of public health messaging. From within their own organization, the boundaries between art, public health, social benefit are fluid, and become labels of convenience for different situations. Creative director Reanne Estrada maintains a separate studio practice, but sees herself engaged in a “continual practice of creative, collaborative problem-solving” in which her solo practice would suffer without Public Matters, and vice versa [5]. Mike Blockstein, principal and founder of Public Matters, very much considers the collective his art practice, and the various other consultants have diverse relationships to what they do as part of Public Matters. In his treatise on art and politics entitled Dark Matter, artist Gregory Sholette sums up this ambivalence towards definition when writing about similarly fluid practices: “I allow those who claim to make ‘art’ define it on their own terms, even if their identification with the practice is provisional, ironic, or tactical, as for example when art Steve Kurtz (with Critical Art Ensemble) insists ‘I’ll call it whatever I have to in order to communicate with someone.'[6]”

Project 3 (a.k.a. the Market Makeovers crew)

Project 3 (a.k.a. the Market Makeovers crew). Front row (left to right): Brent Langellier, Mike Blockstein, Reanne Estrada, Debra Glik, Alex Ortega, Heather Hammer, Rosa-Elena Garcia, Jeremiah Garza; Back row: Ron Brookmeyer, Nathan Cheng, Mike Prelip. Courtesy Public Matters, LLC

Team with Scientific Advisory Board

The UCLA-USC Center for Population Health + Health Disparities Team with Scientific Advisory Board + Community Advisory Board members. Courtesy Public Matters, LLC.

The interdisciplinary, shifting, and hybrid nature of Public Matters by no means implicates a lack of definition in purpose or goal. Rather, their organizational structure is tactical and deliberate, designed to maintain a nimbleness and flexibility supple enough to react effectively to a highly charged and overwhelmingly huge social issue. Perhaps for this reason, Public Matters has chosen to incorporate as an LLC rather than a non-profit – both Blockstein and Estrada worked extensively in the non-profit sector and understood the hierarchical professionalization necessary for such tax-exempt status. They were interested in forging “a new way of doing things as a social enterprise,” becoming essentially a for-profit entity but without any interest in generating profit – rather as a tactical method through which to form useful partnerships yet maintain elasticity in complex public situations [7]. By no means are they alone in this tactical organizing – Gregory Sholette explains that artists today are expert at imitating “a product particular to the post-industrial economy of our time” – the institution – which bespeaks a skill-set “that provides an edge when dealing with the society of risk beyond the longstanding adaptation to structural precariousness.[8]” In the case of Public Matters, this aptitude can be extrapolated beyond the precarity of artists’ positions as cultural producers and applied to the broader situations in which they insert themselves. In response to the “failed states” and “derelict institutions” that perpetuate problems as large as food deserts in the middle of enormous urban centers, artists “take up pieces of a broken world, transforming them into an improved, second-order social reality…[9]”

This oppositional motivation is perhaps too strong in the case of Public Matters, which is an extremely positive, collaborative, and optimistic organization. Yet the specific propensities which run through artist-initiated organizations like this that Sholette identifies, like “a propensity for flexible work patterns, developing gift-sharing networks, and a capacity for non-linear problem solving” allows artists to uniquely “mimic, exaggerate, or otherwise reshape given reality.[10]” Yet the ability of Public Matters to take on, maintain, and implement innovative projects alongside enormous university partnerships over long periods of time cannot be attributed to a flexible structure alone – in fact, issues of capacity and staffing plagues their ambition, and the work can be all-consuming. Rather, the success of the Public Matters model is related to a distinction between artistic and organizational practices that Irit Rogoff discusses in her article “Turning,” quoting a series of essays by philosopher Gerald Raunig. These essays mark a deep difference between “constituent” practice, in which an organization or collective exists to produce a series of protocols for both the representation and governance of their work (either in opposition to an existing market, or in spite of it). The problem that Rogoff identifies with constituent practice is that it is too easily pre-occupied with the processes through which an assembly is legitimated, and thus sabotages its own innovation and flexibility, opting instead for a regulatory ossification [11]. Rather, Raunig reveals practices like Park Fiction in Hamburg (and I would add Public Matters), as “instituent” practices. These organizations create “instituting events” that bring together a diversity of constituent practices (as in community organizations, schools, governmental entities, universities, individuals), and this plurality counter the closure of the processes at work. As Raunig describes, “The various arrangements of self-organization promote broad participation in instituting, because they newly compose themselves as a constituent power again and again, always tying into new local and global struggles.[12]”

This replicative capacity, the ability to re-invent themselves through a shifting diversity of strategies and networks, is why Public Matters can take on the kinds of projects they do with such limited capacity, and why they can navigate that fine line between “indulging the need to push boundaries and take risks, and being responsible to what we are charged with.” According to Reanne Estrada, this becomes the most integral part of the work, its most interesting and challenging aspect [13]. Public Matters faces a new aspect of this challenge in working with the USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities on their current round of East Los Angeles market makeovers. The Center is charged with researching and evaluating the work on a large scale with enough rigor and integrity to someday impact policy, and this kind of research agenda and resources were never before available to an organization like Public Matters (nor similarly scaled artist-run initiatives). The research context poses both an exciting possibility for affecting change and rigorously assessing impact, but also becomes an enormous challenge to the flexible, non-linear work patterns and instituent events that defines Public Matters as an organization. They are learning now to work around concerns about data contamination, defining control and intervention areas, and other such problematics from the research perspective. Yet perhaps it is their very nimbleness and the “license to explore” that they grant to themselves and all of their participants that will allow them to adapt to this new reality as well.

[1] “Where do I get my 5?” Public Matters, LLC,
[2] Reanne Estrada, interview with author, June 6, 2011.
[3] “What is Public Matters?” Public Matters, LLC,
[4] Food deserts are manifested by a scarcity of mainstream grocery stores, and where they do exist, they have poor quality produce and high prices. The South Los Angeles food desert is one of the largest in the country, spanning 60 square miles and encompassing 800,000 people. “South Los Angeles,” Public Matters, LLC,
[5] Reanne Estrada, interview with the author, June 6, 2011.
[6] Gregory Sholette, Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (New York: Pluto Press, 2011), 5
[7] Reanne Estrada, interview with the author, June 6, 2011.
[8] Sholette, Dark Matter, 152.
[9] Sholette, Dark Matter, 153.
[10] Sholette, Dark Matter, 152-153.
[11] Irit Rogoff, “Turning,” in Curating and the Pedagogical Turn, eds. Paul O’Neill and Mick Wilson (Amsterdam and London: De Appel and Open Editions, 2009), 44.
[12] Rogoff, “Turning,” 45.
[13] Reanne Estrada, interview with author, June 6, 2011

Art X Detroit – New Works in the Public Realm

Public Address invited Cezanne Charles to guest blog about Art X Detroit. See also her earlier post on Transitions, Transformations, and Traditions – Artist’s Role in the De-industrial City.

Art X Detroit was a five-day multidisciplinary celebration that exclusively presented newly commissioned works created by the 2008-2010 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artists Fellows, from April 6-10, 2011 with an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit ( MOCAD) and public art continuing to April 24, 2011. An exciting program of dance and musical performances, literary readings, workshops, panel discussions, public art and special exhibitions, Art X Detroit was hosted at more than a dozen venues located throughout Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center and was free to the public. Art X Detroit is supported by the Kresge Foundation.

For this first outing audiences were given the opportunity to cloud spot and shoe gaze. They could make and march wire cars in an inspired dream cruise. They could brixelate their city online and see their brixelations on buildings throughout midtown. They could view a new permanent work of public art from one of Detroit’s legendary artists and for 5 days they could pound the pavement of Detroit’s cultural corridor that encompasses Cass, Woodward and John R from Hendrie to Harper. Just the pedestrian activity that these 5 days generated made this car town feel like a different city. The festival attracted standing room only crowds for the majority of the events and a packed to capacity opening at MOCAD with live performances ensured a highly charged start to it all. While April 6 – 7 at Rust Belt to Artist Belt were devoted to discussing and showing the way that artists and creative practitioners can transform a region through a hybrid and socially engaged practice, Art X Detroit presented how artists can transform a region through – art.

This was ecstatic practice from the Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows. The public art included what will be a new permanent work by Charles McGee, Spirit Renewal.

Cloudspotting and Detroit Weather: 365 days video projection © Susan Goethel Campbell. Photo Cezanne Charles

Artist Susan Goethel Campbell offers us a guide to Cloudspotting Detroit, which focuses on the unique atmosphere of Detroit. The accordion-style brochure includes a key to identify cloud types and a map showing a bike route to interesting cloud spots in the city. Clouds in this case are manmade and often the result of industry, but there are also natural cloud formations included. Wheelhouse Detroit will be arranging guided tours of the suggested route later this season. This is a different point of view of Detroit – science meets art, meets phenomena and eventually meets bikes.

Wire Car Cruise, Video Projection: a Dance for Diego; Sculptural Object: me me me © Chido Johnson. Photo Cezanne Charles

Chido Johnson’s Wire Car Cruise is a public performance/action – a wire-car cruise on the historical Woodward Avenue was performed to the formation of Detroit’s version of Soul Train, The Scene. The participants made their dream car and chose their favorite cruising song for the performance. The cruising music and wire-cars made by diverse communities within Detroit, its vicinity and others as far as Zimbabwe, was exhibited in the lobby of the old Dalgleish Cadillac Dealership, now TechTown and a video, titled a Dance for Diego documenting the performance was shown at MOCAD. Chido, a native Zimbabwean, creates cross-cultural transpositions and transformations in his work making links between Detroit, the US and Africa. In this case the making of wire cars pushed with sticks is a cultural practice popular in the southern and central regions of Africa and Woodward Avenue is where the Highland Park Ford Plant became the first automobile production facility in the world to implement the assembly line. Woodward Avenue for years served as the home of the US auto industry and in the 50s spawned woodwarding or crusing the boulevard.

Brixels © Cedric Tai. Photo Cezanne Charles

Cedric Tai created the project Brixels, a web-based and physical mural project for midtown Detroit. Tai’s Brixel project is designed as a “generative piece of art, that evokes textiles and Razzle Dazzle Battleships from WWI by drawing parallels between the camouflaged ships that eluded their enemies and a city that avoids being reduced to an essentialized narrative.” Visitors were asked to join the process through creating their own tessellations at

Street Folk © Tyree Guyton. Photo Cezanne Charles

Finally, inestimable and inimitable Tyree Guyton created the public installation Street Folk, formed from 10,000 paired and unpaired discarded and donated shoes. This piece highlighted the plight of the homeless in Detroit and once again sees him using his abilities to engage critically into the social and environmental fabric of the city.

The public art that was part of Art X Detroit really didn’t deal with a broken city or its broken buildings, which perhaps is both compliment and critique in general to the public art that largely is created by artists that are located here. Much of the public depictions that come by way of the New York Times and recent photo books of the city follow the formula of ruin porn – and while some of the photography is beautiful, haunting and yes filled with promise and opportunity – it is harder perhaps to depict the illusive, ephemeral and transient. This is exactly what these artists have tried to capture. As exciting as these projects were, for me it was the public coming out in droves for a series of art events that will stay with me now that Art X Detroit has come to a close.

Cezanne Charles is an artist and curator who co-founded the hybrid art & design practice rootoftwo. She is Director of Creative Industries at ArtServe Michigan and directs the professional development program from the Kresge Artist Fellows.

Photo credits: Cezanne Charles

Artports Departs – a stylish, if cautious, Terminal 2 at SFO

Public Art the Musical

Sorry I couldn’t be in Miami, I was there in 2007

Sorry I couldn't Be there, Project VII, via @Platea

“‘Sorry I Couldn’t Be There‘ is a crowd-created video series. Developed by members of @Platea, the social media art collective directed by An Xiao, the series features artists from around the world explaining briefly why they couldn’t attend #rank and swing by Miami. Ultimately, the video would highlight concerns around geographic access and about who’s left out during large art fairs. For too long, the influential art centers have been located in major metropolitan regions such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, London, Beijing and Seoul. We want to highlight the parts of the world where artists are working.”–William Powhida via Hashtag Class.

Thousand Print Summer becomes the Big Print

“The Big Print” is comprised of art from 1180 kids and adults and an overall design inspired by historic Norwegian knitting patterns.

The Big Print is based on public art events around steamroller printing  during the 2008 “Thousand Print Summer,” including Northern Lights’ The UnConvention during the Republican National Convention. The resulting prints by 1180 kids and adults are now installed at St. Olaf in NorthField, MN. Congratulations ArtOrg! Join the celebrations at the Big Print Block Party 2 to 4 pm, Sunday, November 21, 2010, in Buntrock Commons, St. Olaf College.

Thousand Print Summer venues

ArtOrg started printing for kids and adults with steamrollers in the fall of 2006. The first small steamroller event for kids was at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts that September, and that was followed by a large steamroller printing event in October for a Day of the Dead celebration in Northfield. Dave from ArtOrg then successfully applied for an artist grant from Forecast Public Art to build an ongoing public art event around steamroller printing which we call the “Thousand Print Summer”. The Big Print is comprised of 1180 works of art from the 2008 Thousand Print Summer. The art was created at during ten different events: Walker Art Center, Anderson Center in Red Wing (twice), Owatonna, Stillwater, St. Cloud, Rochester, Northfield Crazy Days, Northfield Just Food Co-op, and “The Unconvention” on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis”

Walking Spiral Jetty

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty

Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty has an almost mythic status. Perhaps less so, now that is has been routinely visible for some years. According to Wikipedia

“At the time of its construction, the water level of the lake was unusually low because of a drought. Within a few years, the water level returned to normal and submerged the jetty for the next three decades. Due to a drought, the jetty re-emerged in 2004 and was completely exposed for almost a year. The lake level rose again during the spring of 2005 due to a near record-setting snowpack in the mountains and partially submerged the Jetty again. Lake levels receeded and, as of spring 2010, the Jetty is again walkable and visible.”

Today’s question – What is your dream for the future?

"Hello world, goodbye San Jose," from Christopher Baker, offscript, 300 Santana Row, San Jose, CA Today's question - What is your dream for the future? Commissioned by ZER01 for the 01SJ Biennial

I’m heading home after an amazing 01SJ Biennial. What should I see on the way?

What should I see on the way?

Re-arranging chairs in the LA River

“[Outpost for Contemporary Art] mounted a project titled “This Here and That There,” in which artist Vlatka Horvat continuously rearranged a series of 50 chairs in the [Los Angeles River] over the course of eight hours. The performance took place near Silver Lake, below the Fletcher Bridge in Elysian Valley.”
via Culture Monster

“In some arrangements, the stage seems to be set for many different scenarios: meetings, presentations, discussions, exams, interrogations, concerts, riots… Other chair configurations tends to defy altogether the everyday codes of chair-arrangement in public spaces, suggesting instead more intimate, abstract, or enigmatic encounters.”–Outpost for Contemporary Art

Taiwan Public Art Installation Project Competition

Taiwan Public ArtBureau of High Speed Rail, MOTC Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Access MRT System Construction Project
Taipei, Taiwan
Deadline: August 30th, 2010

The Department of Urban Development, Taipei City Government (DUD) along with the Bureau of High Speed Rail, MOTC is holding an international competition that invites art consultation / advisory teams to submit artist proposals for a public art installation project, to correspond with the “Bureau of High Speed Rail, MOTC Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Access MRT System Construction Project.” The selected art installation project will be located somewhere along the new airport MRT route—the specific location to be determined by the artist. The project seeks a design that will be consistent with its surrounding site and that takes into consideration visual movement, public open space, and interaction between people and public art. The airport route serves as a unique platform for the artwork to be seen by a large range of people and the competition offers an amazing opportunity to truly express the meaning of public art.

More Information: Please refer to the DUD website ( or the tendering notice on the Council for Cultural Affairs’ public art website (
Contact: Miss Rou-lan Hung in the Urban Design Division
886-2-27258285 (Phone)
886-2-27593318 (Fax).

Small Wonders