Teen Age Exhibition Proposal

Below is the description of and the proposal for an upcoming exhibition at Catharine Clark Gallery, curated by Ken Goldberg, for which we are applying – perhaps this could be a stop for the doors and related material before they are loaded onto the ship for El Salvador?

-AE

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Teen Age: You Just Don’t Understand is the working title for an exhibition that aims to illuminate and challenge the shifting roles of new media in contemporary life, from Facebook to Flickr to texting to Twitter. We seek to encourage collaboration between teens and more experienced artists. Submitted artwork can address any contemporary issues at the intersection of art, technology, and culture and can be in any format or medium (electronic, painting, photography, sculpture, etc.) but must be submitted by collaborative teams that includes at least one person under 18 and one person over 21.

Accepted works will be exhibited at Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco to coincide with the 2010 01SJ Biennial: “Build Your Own World”: http://zero1.org/01sj/2010-biennial

Submissions are due 15 March 2010

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1. Title: MetaPuentes: What is a bridge so strong it can’t be broken?

2. Concept Description:

Metapuentes will take the physical form of ten wooden doors, inscribed with conversations being held in ‘text-clubs’ between teenagers in Colima, El Salvador and high school students in Richmond, California’s Metas Program at Contra Costa College.

The cohorts of teens have been communicating via text-messaging throughout the spring semester to shape public artworks and personal dialogues around violence prevention, alternatives to teen violence and street crime, and the mentoring, tutoring, and peer counseling techniques that have worked and might work in each of their communities to create better futures for the participants involved. The first public work consists of doors to secure vulnerable houses in Colima against a recent increase in theft and gang presence in the most vulnerable area of this rural town, a series of informal housing units mainly inhabited by single female heads of household and their children. The schematic drawings of these doors are 8’x10′ framed, and include the outlines of the often erratically built doorframes and families’ notes on security, safety and need. The doors themselves will take the irregular shapes of the doorframes and will bear inscriptions selected by teens in Colima and Richmond from their ongoing conversations. They will be fabricated by laser cutter at UC Berkeley and shipped via maritime freight to El Salvador in summer/autumn of 2010.

An installation of MetaPuentes at Catharine Clark Gallery would include a series of the doors and their accompanying framed drawings in two stacks, leaning against the gallery walls, and a performance in which the Richmond cohort offers text-messaging lessons within the gallery.

3. Images

I. Metapuentes is a continuous collaboration between teens in Richmond, CA and Colima, ES around public artworks targeting public safety, violence prevention, and alternatives to gang involvement and youth crime. The first series of public artworks, eight doors for houses in the informal neighborhood of Los Mesones, Colima, will be exhibited this spring at Berkeley Art Museum as a part of the Berkeley Art Practice Department’s MFA exhibition.

II. Tracing the doorway at Rosa’s house, Colima, El Salvador

III. Casa de Morena y Noemy, Graphite on Paper, 4’x8′ (with inset detail, approx. 2’x3′), 2010. (1 of 10 drawings.)

Full-scale tracing of doorway at Morena Batres and Noemy Sanchez’ house in Colima, El Salvador, to be fitted with finished wooden door designed by Metapuentes team. To be framed with 4×8 plexiglas/light wood framing and visible from both sides of the paper with design/construction notes.

excerpts of text: we’ve never had a door here at our house. finally we took the door from inside the rooms and put it outside… thieves try to enter – people from here in town and also people from other parts. they try to find food and money to take.


IV. Eight donated doors for El Salvador: These doors will be sandblasted, laser-cut with participants’ comments on safety, home, and community security, set with doorknobs and locks and altered to fit the doorways, and shipped via maritime to Colima, El Salvador in late summer 2010 for installation in the homes of participants like Rosa, above.

4. Bios of team members

Artist, educator, and curator Amanda Eicher is currently finishing her Master’s in Fine Arts at UC Berkeley. Prior to this, she built and curated the Back Room Gallery at Adobe Books from 2000 – 2003, and has received residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts, CEC Artslink’s Global ArtLab in Kyrgyzstan, Hall Farm Center for the Arts, and Villa Montalvo. She is a contributing member to General Architecture’s community construction and design efforts in Rwanda, and has directed San Francisco State University’s Colima Project in El Salvador for the past seven years.

Mayra Padilla was born and raised in Richmond, California, where she became one of the first participants in the Metas Program at Contra Costa College. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at UC Berkeley and a PhD in neuroscience at UC Davis. She now works as a researcher with SRI International and directs the Metas Program at Contra Costa College, teaching the high school enrichment class and overseeing tutor training and the program’s five focus groups from preschool to parents.

Metas is comprised of cohorts of students and parents from ages 4 and up, with focus groups offering enrichment and peer mentoring and tutoring to preschoolers, k-4 students, middle schoolers, high schoolers, and parents. The nearly 40 participants from Metas’ high school group are working toward high school graduation, college enrollment, and preservation of their home cultures in the context of academic and employment cultures.

The approximately 60 participants from Colima are largely, though not exclusively, enrolled in local middle and high schools. Their ages range from 15 – 19 years. Many contribute to their families’ incomes as farmers, cashiers, or sellers of fruits, vegetables, and other wares. They have come together through Metas to discuss violence prevention, cultural exchange, and planning for their futures via text-messaging clubs. This group will respond to the creation of the doors with a series of public artworks to be designed, created, and implemented in California in 2011.

5. Technical requirements:

No particular technical requirements are necessary for this project aside from the use of the gallery for a text-message based performance by Metas participants.

6. Contact:

Amanda Eicher, 415 425 2636, metapuentes@gmail.com

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