Sue Mark, Communities Crossing, 2013-2015
Photo: Gene Anderson
Kala Art Institute gratefully acknowledges support for Print Public from:
University of California Berkeley Chancellors' Community Partnership Fund, The City of Oakland's Cultural Funding Program, California Arts Council's Creative California Communities Grant, California Humanities' California Stories Grant, and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Print Public is an innovative place-making project bringing Kala Art Institute and multiple community partners together to create art installations, print kiosks, pop-up projects and other innovative acts of culture along San Pablo Avenue in West Berkeley. Artist-teams are working with UC Berkeley Department of City & Regional Planning developing distinct projects within the San Pablo Avenue transit corridor, creating an arts-integrated approach to urban planning and community activation.
Events and programming scheduled along San Pablo Avenue throughout 2014–2015
Gallery Exhibition: May 7– June 27, 2015
Cultural researcher Sue Mark of marksearch is developing Communities’ Crossing, a multi-phased interdisciplinary exploration of social shifts at the intersection of Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland, CA. Communities’ Crossing blends neighborhood stories with image and text-based signage to be used in improvisational performance interactions along and near San Pablo Avenue, one of the Bay Area’s oldest existing transit routes, to explore community identity. Interviews with residents and improvisational encounters in the community will inform ‘human billboard’ performances (Spring-Summer 2015) choreographed at outdoor public spaces. History and current social concerns will reach the community as a ‘sidewalk theater’, collapsing the delineations of audience and participant.
‘Finding Klinker’, the project’s first phase, allowed Mark to extensively research the area’s early real estate development history (circa 1880) from local historians and area archives. Charles Klinkner, (1852-1893), one of the Golden Gate region’s early real estate developers, was a man that many loved to hate. At turns blasted as a demonic charlatan or revered as a visionary, Klinkner, in his short life, engaged promotional schemes for his entrepreneurial endeavors that today would go viral. Using letterpress techniques, Mark developed a series of 2000 historically interpretive bookmarks that, since Summer, 2014, have been randomly interleaved within the shelved book collection at the neighborhood’s library (Golden Gate). The bookmarks, free to take by any library patron, include a dynamic web page that links to the Oakland Wiki, an evolving collaborative site that offers recipients more information about the neighborhood’s history.
In collaboration with neighborhood associations, the local library, and community-based organizations focused on art, food and social justice, Communities’ Crossingengages community members by fostering critical reflection about cycles of neighborhood evolution.
Susan O’Malley’s Advice from my 80-year-old self will ask a simple question: “What advice would your 80-year-old self give you?” O’Malley will gather this information with volunteers from a neighborhood youth organization through interviews along San Pablo and beyond, from people of all ages. She will also seek to develop relationships with senior communities in the area, such as Berkeley Adult Day Health Center, to engage in this conversation. Excerpts from the recorded interviews will be translated into a series of graphic text posters that will be displayed throughout the community – in storefront windows, schools, public spaces, and if possible, a billboard. A website URL will be included on the posters as well to further contextualize the project.
Advice from my 80-year-old self is a continuation of O’Malley’s interest in people, language and optimism. In many projects she employs simple and recognizable tools of engagement—offering a Pep Talk, staging a debate, distributing flyers in a neighborhood’s mailbox—to offer entry into an understood, and sometimes humorous, interaction of everyday life. “I am also interested in asking this question because I think it’s easy to forget how wise we can be. We resist our internal wisdom because of fear, fatigue, inconvenience or any number of reasons. Hearing other people’s advice reminds me that we are different versions of each other. And sometimes other people’s words magically express exactly what I’m thinking but can’t seem to pull together. While the posters will range from earnest declarations to funny observations, I can only imagine there will be a deepness of experience present in these simple phrases. My hope is that these community-authored public service announcements will reflect back our inner brilliance and perhaps allow a brief space to gently listen to our own advice.”
Taro Hattori’s community engagement commission Swan Songs will combine audio recording and sculpture inspired by, collected within, and displayed in Kala’s immediate neighborhood, where West Berkeley connects with Oakland and Emeryville. For Swan Songs individuals in the community will be asked to recall a song, which someone they personally know, sings or has sung to them in the past. Efforts will be made to approach individuals from various walks-of-life and with diverse ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. These songs will be recorded, along with the personal recollections related to the song. These recordings, along with print material displaying song lyrics and context will be installed at various locations in the neighborhoods along the San Pablo corridor, along with city-scape like sculptures made of corrugated cardboards, also created by the artist.
Taraneh Hemami is developing People Power, a banner-based project. People Power aims to give public face to the stories and histories of political activism in Berkeley and specifically along San Pablo Corridor. From the Civil Rights to Anti-War movements, from Free Speech to Occupy, the Bay Area has been central in giving voice to the fight for a free society. The project draws on historical and personal narratives to create a series of public banners for a temporary occupation of public space. The banners will weave a timeline of action and activism in the Bay Area, intercepted with narratives collected locally. The project will create public events utilizing crosswalks and intersections as public forum, creating opportunity for public gathering and exchanges with hands-on projects that invite neighborhood participation.
Swell (collaborative duo Ali Naschke-Messing & design studio ScrapD) presents Well,Being: Walking in Relationship. Swell’s project is a means to emotional, mental, and spiritual fitness. Nearly every one is in a significant relationship of some kind, be it romantic, familial, friendship, working, or otherwise. For relationships to grow with us they take some nurturing. Walking together for the sake of walking is a simple way to share an experience of just being together in the world. Swell’s bi-weekly Relationship Walks are inwardly focused on providing a vessel for us to be the family we want to be. Outwardly they offer a framework for others in relationships to follow or to use as a starting point.
Relationship Walks engage with the physicality of the neighborhood: deeply looking at, and reflecting back the South Berkeley community around San Pablo Avenue. During each walk, Swell records all the special things we see. Such sightings might be a well-loved flowering bush, a hand-made fence, a memorial scrawled in the concrete, or a curious sculpture. Swell is creating a series of intimate maps annotated with photographs, quotes and links. The maps highlight nature within the urban setting, the intervention of the human hand, and instances of unclaimed beauty. Each mapped walk is drawn via GPS with our moving bodies, and includes writings on the significance of being present, and being in relationship. Swell’s residency at Kala will produce a series of paper maps of select Relationship Walks. These maps will be given away to be used for self-guided or group walks, as part of the Print Public project offerings. At the conclusion of the project all annotated maps will be available online, at Swell’s archive.
Imin Yeh’s Finding 94710 is a print based neighborhood wide scavenger hunt with hand-carved stamps that will be hidden in plain sight along the sidewalk, parking lots, and local businesses of the San Pablo Corridor. Kala’s Gallery will be headquarters for picking up a large giveaway print, a map/matrix for affixing found stamps along your adventure throughout the neighborhood. This collaborative print between the artist and community participants is about reclaiming small bits of urban spaces through interjecting opportunities for play and discovery, prioritizing play as a necessity for our humanity. Finding 94710 hopes to unify this neighborhood through people of all ages being outside, exploring, and interacting with streets, stores, and alleys in ways that are outside of going somewhere or getting somewhere.