Germinate. Short. 2015 Terrain Biennial

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Started by artist Sabina Ott in 2011, Terrain Exhibitions is a series of site specific installations all around the world on artist’s porches, balconies, and lawns. On August 23rd, the 2nd Terrain Biennial block party took place in Oak Park, IL and other locations around the country. The following images are just a little snippet from the event in the different Oak Park Locations.

Also check out more coverage on the Terrain Biennial by the Chicago Tribune and Newcity

Other People’s Pixels Interview with Diana Gabriel from The CG Team

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I’ve managed my online portfolio through OPP for quite a few years now. I love it because it’s easy to manage and it has quite a variety of templates and other cool features, but it wasn’t until a few months ago I found out they have a pretty legit blog full of wonderful interviews with some of the artists they host. I was approached by the talented, Stacia Yeapanis, who writes the interviews, to do one for the end of summer. It finally came out today. So here it is:

Interview with Diana Gabriel

If you like to see the site, here is mine:

Diana’s Online Portfolio

String and wood

Dual World: Templo Girasol

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Templo Girasol

Dual World comes from W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of Double Consciousness. The title of the series is a play on the gaming term, dual wielding, for fighting with a weapon in each hand. The double exposure photos were made in-camera by shooting twice before advancing the film.

Templo Girasol, or Sunflower Temple, was shot last winter on Sunflower Lane in Hoffman Estates. The first exposure is my shadow over a temple that we carved out of a snow pile. The second is the reverse view of a sunset between the houses across the street. After developing, I liked the way the sky in the first shot came out as a rich and dark blue, making the orange of the sunset pop, as if it completes the sky in the second frame. I was also happy about the way the rooftops in the second frame broke up the color of the snow in a geometric way.

I get my color film developed at CSW Film Systems; the best kept secret in town.

To Tempestt, With Gratitude

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Tempestt Hazel of Sixty Inches from Center
Tempestt Hazel of Sixty Inches from Center

We met Tempestt on a whime. She gave our friend, Angela Bryant, a platform to write about her studio practice so we reached out to her blog for possible collaborations. Our relationship with Sixty Inches from Center has since been a source of inspiration and growth. The last time we wrote about our work with them was leading up to Pay It Forward but we’ve stayed in contact since. Last month, Tempestt wrote an open letter to those of us that call Chicago home.

“This place, with all of its beauty and its faults. Embracing all of its messes that I willingly inherit. I love this city with a kind of love that is unexpected, constantly nurtured, frequently tested, and feverishly cultivated. One that embraces the complicated, unapologetic, stubborn, and enduring tangle of it.” T.Hazel – Sixty Inches from Center

It hasn’t been the easiest of times here but we stay to build something better. That’s not to say that displaced Chicagoans aren’t fighting the good fight, or that there aren’t circumstances that could pull us away from home. However, the unapologetic stubbornness Tempestt speaks of is etched deeper in our bones with each passing winter that we survive together. The lists that she lays out for reasons to stay and go are both heart wrenching and empowering. She’s a leader and an ally in the journey that we started 3 years ago. The nurturing space and social goldmine that she created in SIFC reciprocates the courage and opportunity that she gets from the community. We’ve been juggling a lot of different hats lately so there hasn’t been enough time to write about some of the victories we’ve had through our work with Sixty, so here’a a recap.

Mario Over Niagara

Finding Truth from the Inside by Mario Contreras

Two victories for me with this one. I graduated from Southern Illinois with to motivation to get published. The CG Project offered a chance to self-publish for some time before eventually making content for the Sixty Inches for Center blog. This piece in first issue of a digital magazine gave me a real sense of accomplishment which was amplified by the fact that they paid me to write it.

The second victory is that the first episode of my next documentary project was published as part of the post. The significance of this is two-fold: First, it shows that someone else believes in my project enough to stand behind it. Second, my documentary was published as a piece of contemporary art. To use her own words, I’m grateful that Tempestt is “…reaching out, pushing through, and breaking the limits I place on myself, and [giving] me the courage and opportunities to do so.”
Rock on

Experiencing the Moment by Diana Gabriel

The second issue of the SIFC Magazine is called Ephemeral and it was a great chance to preserve a step in the relationship between Diana and Rita Grendze. A residency that they collaborated on through Water Street Studios was coming to an end and they both work in non-permanent art so they recorded a conversation while sorting through material for the piece that they’ll assemble next year.

The topics they cover are relevant to artists, audiences and curators. Ranging from how to take part in the process, why to program non-permanent art and what it is like to know your work won’t last forever. It’s also an important piece to anyone that’s interested in the ethics of consumption within art.

Contribute to Sixty Inches from Center

There’s an open call for submissions to the next issue of the SIFC Magazine. The theme for this quarter is Gatekeepers, Tempestt, Jenny and Reuben are very kind and supportive Gatekeepers but you might want to pitch them some experiences you’ve had with not-so-sympathetic Gatekeepers. Maybe you have a story about a time that you were charged with deciding who gets into a show… Whatever your story may be, they’ll pay you $50 if they publish your story.

“In February we’ll be launching an issue focused on the entities that facilitate the arts by publishing, teaching, funding, and promoting new works or stand between artists and access to these resources. Who decides what is created, and how? Is the power in the appropriate hands? If not, what can be done to rectify that? We want to explore the topic through one-on-one interviews with the gatekeepers themselves, through firsthand accounts from those who’ve been affected either positively or negatively by these issues, and through alternative routes around the gates being kept.

If you’ve got an idea for GATEKEEPERS, send us a clear and concise pitch by Monday, December 15. The more specific, the better. We’ll let you know if your pitch has been accepted by Friday, December 19, and your first draft will be due on Sunday, January 25. The issue will go live on Friday, February 20. Contributors will be paid $50 for a completed article.” – R.Westmaas – Sixty Inches from Center

“You say you want a revolution. Well, you know…”

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We witnessed a mini-revolution here in Illinois this week. You’ve heard of the Republican wave that took the House and Senate this week. Our candidates, Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Senator Richard Durbin, survived but it came as a shock to many of us that businessman, Bruce Rauner, will be our new governor. There’ve been low spirits and griping among many in the northern part of the state. How will we survive these next six years with Scott Walker 2.0 at the head of our government?

Outside of the “population center” people are happy about the news, as long as we have some change to the old, corrupt system… Time to see how that hopey changey stuff works out for all of them. Only time will tell how this all plays out but we’re the one’s that have to struggle though it. Woe is us, right?

Violence in Mexico has lost the power to capture headlines in the past decade but that doesn’t mean it’s gone. The fact that the PRI, a politcal party that ruled the country for decades before losing control at about the same time that the violence was ramped up, is now back at the helm of the government could be one of the reasons that we hear less about this problem. I’m too far outside the bubble to fully understand what’s happening down there but the disappearance of 43 student protesters was a story that nagged at me like a toothache that I’m afraid to have checked out.

The way I’ve heard the story is that some students were handed over to the cartels because they were at risk of disrupting a party that was being held by a Mayor’s wife. The charred remains of the young protesters were found and the cartel has admitted to the killing. This cooperation between the drug trade and government to shut down dissenting voices doesn’t come as a surprise but it does echo throughout Mexican history. The story of the Niños Heroes de Chapultepec isn’t exactly the same but the loss of engaged young people that stand proudly in defense of their country is. For them to die at the hands of their own government doesn’t sit well.

Last night, the bubble that I felt outside of burst when the Attorney General of Mexico ended a press conference by saying “Ya me canse/I’m tired” and walking of out the room. This appears to have set the country on fire. I’ve seen a few images here and there, of the National Palace on fire and police huddled together in riot gear about to be over taken. The hashtag  has overtaken . The people finally agree with the government about something, they’re tired too and they’re not going to take it anymore. This is both inspiring and terrifying. My feelings about it are tied in a knot.

That’s all I can get out at the moment but I’ll say that I’ve checked my privilege. Any loses I’ve chalked up in the last few weeks pale in comparison to what’s happening in Mexico City right now. An old friend had a saying that applies to my problems here at home “Cry two tears in a bucket.”

*This isn’t reporting. It’s an unresearched account of my reactions to something that’s happening right now, in a city far, far away but close to my heart.

PS. As I proofread this post, a story came out saying the fire was either staged or the work of a single “anarchist” who was protected by the men in riot gear… We’re going to have lots of conflicting narratives on this one.