June 18, 2009

Before I leave town…

Tomorrow I leave for the 100-degree (plus humidity!) heat of Hale County, Alabama to advise the young creatives at Project M who are busy trying to come up with a design project that will have a positive impact on the world. They’ll be toiling alongside the inspiring Rural Studio architecture students who are designing and building amazing structures for the rural poor in the area. I’ll be posting to this blog while I’m there so check back over the next few days to see how we’re faring in the blazing Southeast heat.

But before I go, here are a few things I’ve seen over the last month that are of note. I encourage you to add your own thoughts about them (or related topics) in the comments section of this post.

-I was lucky enough to catch Davy Rothbart, the creator of Found magazine, at the Intersection for the Arts this past Monday. His merry “Denim and Diamonds Tour” crew includes his brother, Peter, and the twin sister music duo, the Watson Twins, who are both performing original songs in between Davy’s hilarious readings of finds published in the magazine. The tour is still in the Bay Area, stopping tonight in Oakland at the Ghost Town Gallery, and tomorrow night in Santa Cruz at Cayuga Vault.

-There is an interesting show at the San Francisco Arts Commission gallery called Trace Elements that asks, “What are the trace elements of a City? Does the urban environment hold secrets or codes that would provide a greater comprehension of its systems, or of its human inhabitants? What remains when individuals and the places we build cease to exist? How does this evidence, these trace elements, assist us in piecing together history?” Featured artists include Kelly Tunstall, Clare Rojas, Dan Nakamura, and the Hamburger Eyes Collective. The show closes on July 3rd.

-The Venice Biennale gets invaded by the Brooklyn artist, Swoon, and her band of anarchists via boats built from New York City garbage. Read all about it here. In related activist art news, I was lucky enough to be at a creative retreat in Utah a few weeks ago with the amazing Lisa Anne Auerbach, who I hope to write about in a future post. Readers, do you have any thoughts about contemporary politically-charged art?

-Lastly, I screened the Olivier Assayas film,  Summer Hours, at the recent San Francisco Film Festival and it’s still playing all around the Bay Area. Even if you balk at the thought of a subtitled film about the French bourgeoisie, Assayas poses some compelling questions about how we value art and the objects with which we surround ourselves. The final scene makes it all worthwhile. Trust me.

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