There is a reason they made a show about this town; it’s so true it’s a clichÃ© : Portland is a kind of paradise. From the Tiki bar at the airport to the food truck shanty town we hit at midnight where twenty-thirty somethings fulfilled all college cuisine fantasies (the center of the parking lot contained a small circus tent where diners could enjoy they paper plated fare), the farm to table restaurants, bookstores, record stores and basement galleries named after after major art institutions, it’s no wonder people live here. What’s amazing is that somehow people who live here manage to get to work at all. And yet, Portland with all it’s West Coast consciousness is a city with abundant social services.
So for all those reason, combined with the blend of experimentalism and casual earnestness, Portland seems like a perfect site for a social practice MFA. Perhaps even more perfect site for a conference about social practice. Which is why I am here. I am covering the 5th annual Open Engagement conference for our very own Bad at Sports.
The first Open Engagement was the result ofÂ Jen Delos Reyesâ€˜Â thesis project at the University of Regina back in 2007; Reyes wanted to create a â€œdifferent kind of conference,â€ one platforming emerging and established artists while providing a site for both â€œproduction and reflection.â€ This is Open Engagement: a conference dedicated to socially engaged art practices. Delos Reyes came to Portland State to co-direct the MFA in Art and Social Practice once she had finished her MFA, and in 2010 Open Engagement came to Portland State.Â To this day, the conference is the result of collaboration between MFA students, Delos Reyes and OE Co-director,Â Crystal Baxley.Â In her opening remarks, Delos Reyes remarked on the sometimes â€œunkemptâ€ nature of the conference, highlighting that it was focused on an artistic discipline that by its very nature is influx, and sometimes messy. That directive affords a kind of experimental quality which is perhaps missing from what she refered to as a more â€œrigid professionalism.â€
The day went on from there â€” featuring a fantastic keynote from Michael Rakowitz given to a jam packed room. Rakowitz brought out a “spinning set list,” inviting select members of the audience to come up and spin the wheel and thereby determine which of his art projects he would discuss. Each “spinner” was then awarded a prize, from a small zip lock bag of Iraqi cardamomÂ to a date seed the artist had previously eaten. I then attended a panel about harm and risk in social practice, and later a Portland Art Museum event “Shine Your Light,” complete with (among other things) a reenactment of a lost Grateful Dead concert.Â I’ll continue to post about things this weekend and am going to conduct a series of interviews while I’m here as well. All of which is to say, STAY TUNED. Follow the conference on twitter via #OE2013
This week: Duncan, Brian, and Abigail Satinsky in conversation with Christine Hill at theÂ Open Engagement conference, which took place from May 13 to 15, 2011 at Portland State University.
Open Engagement is an initiative of PSUâ€™s Art and Social Practice MFA program that encourages discussion on various perspectives in social practice.
Hill has exhibited and lectured widely internationally. She has been the subject of numerous publications and she shows regularly. Recent solo exhibitions include Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York; Galerie EIGEN+ART, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig; the MigrosMuseum in Zurich and the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. Â She was included in documenta X in 1997, and has participated in numerous international group exhibitions. Her work has been reviewed extensively, including in Artforum, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Art in America and in considerable international publications. The Â³Volksboutique Style ManualÂ² is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Â The Volksboutique project Â³MinutesÂ² was included in the 2007 Venice Biennale under the curation of Robert Storr. A forthcoming review of Volksboutique sculptural work will be shown at the New Museum in Weimar, Germany in April 2012.
The current Organizational Venture, The Volksboutique Small Business, is housed in Â her studio’s storefront in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood and is open to the public. For more information and opening hours, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This week: Duncan, Brian, and Abigail Satinsky in conversation with James Voorhies at theÂ Open Engagement conference, which took place from May 13 to 15, 2011 at Portland State University.
Open Engagement is an initiative of PSUâ€™s Art and Social Practice MFA program that encourages discussion on various perspectives in social practice. In this conversation,Â Voorhies, who was a featured presenter at this yearâ€™s conference, talks about the origin, evolution, and activities of the Bureau for Open Culture, which he founded.
The Bureau for Open Culture isÂ a curatorial and pedagogic institution for the contemporary arts. It works intentionally to re-imagine the art exhibition as a discursive form of education that creates a kind of new public sphere or new institution. Exhibitions take shape as installations, screenings, informal talks, and performances; they occur in parking lots, storefronts, libraries, industrial sites, country roads, gardens, and galleries. In doing so, the Bureau generates platforms for learning and knowledge production that make ideas accessible, relevant, and inviting for diverse audiences. This model encourages overlaps of art, science, ecology, the built environment, philosophy, and design. Form, content and site are underlining points of critical inquiry for Bureau for Open Culture.
This Â interview is part of the ongoing collaboration between Bad at Sports and Art Practical. You can read an abridged transcript of the conversation here:
This week: Duncan MacKenzie, Brian Andrews Abigail Satinsky and Bryce Dwyer begin an adventure in caring and sharing called “Open Engagement.” These four adventures of love check in with all the haps in Portland over the next 6 episodes.Â Â This week they kick it live with Jen Delos Reyes and FRITZ HAEG! Take that internet.
Jen Delos Reyes (From PSU site…)
Jen Delos Reyes is an artist originally from Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Her research interests include the history of socially engaged art, group work, and artists’ social roles. She has exhibited works across North America and Europe, and has contributed writing to various catalogues and institutional publications. She contributed writing to Decentre:
Concerning Artist-Run Culture published by YYZBOOKS in 2008. In 2006 she completed an intensive workshop, Come Together: Art and Social Engagement, at The Kitchen in New York. She has received numerous grants and awards including a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant. Jen is the founder and director of Open Engagement, a conference on socially engaged art practice. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Art and Social Practice MFA concentration.
Fritz Haeg From Wikipedia…Â http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haeg
Fritz Haeg (born 1969) was trained as an architect, but his current work spans a range of disciplines and media including gardens, dance, performance, design, installation, ecology and architecture, most of which is commissioned and presented by art museums and institutions.
His work often involves collaboration with other individuals and site specific projects that respond to particular places.
Haeg’s recent architecture projects have included the design for various residential and art projects including the contemporary art gallery peres projects and the Bernardi residence, both in Los Angeles, CA. He studied architecture in Italy at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia and Carnegie Mellon University, where he received his B. Arch. He has variously taught in architecture, design, and fine art programs at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Art Center College of Design, Parsons School of Design, and the University of Southern California.
This week: Our Open Engagement series draws to a close with an interview with conference organizers Jen Delos Reyes and Harrell Fletcher.