Sunday, June 14, 2015

Print Public: Art in Plain Sight

Kala Institute's current exhibition, through June 27, 2015, is called Print Public and features work by and about the local Berkeley/Oakland community through performances, borrowing of objects from neighbors, video interviews, and an interactive scavenger hunt created by artist Imin Yeh. Additional participating artists: Taro Hattori, Taraneh Hemami, Sue Mark, Susan O'Malley, and Swell.

A friend and I drove to the Kala gallery and picked up Imin's letterpress printed map, part of her project "Points of Interest," which had a print on the back with spaces we could add to. We took a map from the stack and pondered the task. Photographs hung in the gallery as clues. We were to use the map to find rubber stamps. The stamps were placed in boxes painted to blend into their surroundings. The first stamp was in the gallery. We found it. According to the map, we were now to walk south.



Our search launched, we headed outside.
Our senses were heightened. We began noticing everything.

The man who wasn't there.

Does the interstate disappear when off?

The second box I missed completely, but V saw it.


We began paying attention to the neighborhood,
one we usually drove through and
never had a reason to walk in.

An actual sign painter.

A former repair shop.

The third box, outside of a screen printing shop.
We took a peek inside the shop.
It was run by a CCA(C) graduate.
With him was a young man who studied at SFAI.
The world is very small.
The stamp was there, but the ink pad had been stolen.
"The day after she put it there, the stamp pad disappeared," said Conor.
She had replaced it, but the replacement, too, was gone.

On the pavement: "and all my nights / were trances / - la bruja"

"the world / has taught me / nothing. / - la bruja."

About here, a woman shouting at the world asked for a dollar.
She held our map while V gave her a handful of change.


We began noticing Susan O'Malley's signs: her project was
Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self.
She interviewed people, then chose some of their words
to make into posters and banners.
She died suddenly last March, before the exhibition was installed.

We searched and searched for the fourth box,
but found only a cut cable instead.


Back at the gallery, we asked for some tape.
We had found some "field notes" and a clean
bandaid still in its wrapper (sterile!), and a page
from a children's book and wanted to collage them
on the spot where we were missing the fourth stamp. 
I turned the "field notes" into a folded X book.

Finished, out we went again, north this time, on our way to tea,
finding more O'Malley banners along the way.



Between our first step into the gallery, through our scavenger hunt,
meeting Conor, stopping in to talk to Sarah at Jered's Pottery, and then relaxing
at Far Leaves Tea, we had spent four hours on San Pablo Ave.,
a neighborhood we had not really known until then.
You can see quite a bit if you stand still long enough.

1 comment:

Kate Burroughs said...

Sounds like a cool project. Anything that makes us stop and look around is good.
Aloha, Kate