(processing) – Bay Area Artists and the Archive

Collective Memory at UC Berkeley’s Worth Ryder Art Gallery, October 7-23

Tony Vaguely, Diet Popstitute, and Alvin at some Klubstitute event or other, c. 1991. Photo possibly by Daniel Nicoletta.

From the “Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive” – Tony Vaguely, Diet Popstitute, and Alvin Orloff at a Klubstitute event at Crystal Pistol, SF, c. 1990. Photo by Daniel Nicoletta.

The Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive got a huge boost this summer from our friends at SOMArts Cultural Center when we were invited to partner with them for Making A Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. Our history collection work for them garnered some excellent coverage from 48hills.org and the San Francisco Chronicle.

This fall, the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism is pleased to have the Collective Memory: Art & Activism Archive included in (processing) – Bay Area Artists and the Archive, an exhibition of ten Bay Area artists whose work addresses society’s endless accumulations.

Featuring: Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, Carrie Hott, Rose Khor, Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang, Heather Murphy, Sugata Ray, Danielle Schlunegger, Andrew Ananda Voogel, and Tali Weinberg

Wednesday, October 7th – Friday October 23rd, 2015
Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 7th, 4 – 7pm

Worth Ryder Art Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12 – 5 pm
Free, Accessible, and Open to the Public

These artists approach the archive in a variety of ways. They work with institutional collections of irreplaceable cultural objects, and personally significant items some might call junk. They do research in libraries, attics, on the internet, on the road, and in the wild. They offer reappraisals of buried histories, and tell fanciful stories about imaginary worlds. They take abstract information and make it immediate and sensual, and use spreadsheets to collate the ineffable. They borrow, they steal, and they give back. They organize and they scatter.

At a time when many feel betrayed by an information age that has seen our private lives abducted by the database, these artists offer strategies of processing “the archive” that are intimate and intuitive, yet critical and research based.

The Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, represented by member Elizabeth Travelslight, is presenting Collective Memory, an online archive modeled on Wikipedia with the goal of collecting and making available the prolific and longstanding history of art and activism in the Bay Area. People with knowledge of relevant histories and/or documentary materials are encouraged to contribute to the archive – a scanner and computer are available.

Carrie Hott’s research-based practice reimagines invisible histories through drawing, video, and installation. Her video Power Principles uses the electrical grid to investigate historic and current uses of the word ‘power’; her intuitive mechanical drawings are woven into found instructional footage. She is also currently working on a project to re-envision and transform the Archive Room at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

After researching the history of Chinese migrations at Stanford’s archives, Rose Khor found the richest source material was her collection of old family photographs. The Familiar series of delicate photocollages present these images layered with translucent domestic materials, creating a private symbolic language that both obscures and heightens the gaze of her ancestors and their knowable and unknowable histories.

Since 1999 Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been collecting plastic debris from a 1000 yard stretch of Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The resulting collection is a testament to our wasteful and destructive environmental neglect and serves as an anthropological record of the values of our culture. Visitors are asked to help sort and categorize the collection and to identify unknown objects.

Heather Murphy’s new media installation The Trending Project recontextualizes the viral videos and internet content we are bombarded with everyday. In a hyperactive, jarring, absurdist manner, images of violence and social struggle are juxtaposed with vapid entertainment, all of which spread through the internet during the same week. Only virtually present in the space, this work must be accessed through wifi enabled devices.

Sugata Ray, Assistant Professor of South Asian Art, UC Berkeley Department of Art History, teaches a course Silent Archive/s, among others. He will be presenting several examples from his personal collection of ephemeral objects that embody stories both quotidian and curious from the circulation of people, goods, and information in the colonial era.

Danielle Schlunegger, whose work is influenced by 18th century Wunderkammer (Cabinets of Curiosities), is the founder and curator of the Marcus Kelli Collection. She makes repairs to artefacts and recreates extinct animals based on the field notes and journals of amateur naturalist Marcus Kelli. Stories of an Outsider in Nature presents his discoveries in a portable museum space.

Andrew Ananda Voogel is presenting an installation based on documents he uncovered at an archive in Georgetown, British Guiana that record his Indian great-grandparents’ arrival in the Caribbean as sugar-cane cutters indentured to the British Colonial Government. Paralleling this research, Voogel underwent his own departure, and has spent the last few years traversing the periphery of the West Coast, exploring the geography as archive. The resulting intentionally dim video installation exists on the border of visual perception, overlaying the California landscape with the presence of the Middle Passage.

Tali Weinberg’s Drought Portraits are subtly textured, tinted, and tactile weavings based on historical data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. The resulting patterns are developed through coded spreadsheet calculations, and woven with California-grown organic cotton dyed with a variety of plant dyes and mineral mordants.

Please join us for an Opening Reception from 4 – 7 pm on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015.


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Posted in Art & Activism Quarterly, Art Exhibitions, Artist-Activists, Bay Area, Collective Memory, Events, Posts

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