Month: April 2014

Filmmaker Alex Rivera

Irvine California РArtist talks, panel discussions or lectures that are given by artists at university events can be an interesting alternative setting to learn about practices in the contemporary art scene. Today afternoon, Filmmaker Alex Rivera talked about borders, technology and immigration activism at the University of California Irvine. The event was held by the film and media department in collaboration with the Chicano/Latino Studies Department, the Immigration Rights Clinic and the School of Law UCI.
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Alex Rivera is a digital media artist and filmmaker who uses a variety of forms to explore issues of labor, migration and cross-border-communities. The presentation started with a scene from his feature film Sleep Dealer, a science-fiction filmset in Tijuana, Mexico, which won two awards at Sundance 2008, including the Waldo Salt screenwriting award. The film scene can be described as the visual essence of Rivera’s current research and filmmaking practice as it shows the absurd contradiction between indistinction of political borders with the help of ¬†technology (eg. borderless digital spaces) and at the same time enforcement of borders through applying technology (eg. digitalization of fingerprints for deportation). According to Rivera, this contradiction is an abnormal situation which has to be solved sooner or later. The aspect of technological development or the role of technology is often neglected in many of the current research dealing with migration and border communities. Bringing in the aspect of technology to this subject is refreshing in terms of allowing the subject to be viewed from a different perspectives.

According to Rivera everything such as information, money, objects and brands are moving with the flow of transnationalism but that there are still people (‘working class folks’) divided and limited through borders. There is no doubt that national borders are important for security purposes, nevertheless their existence demand a new concept, which allows more freedom of move, especially in a time of extreme transnationalism and globalisation.

More about Alex Rivera:
Interview with the artist
Artist’s homepage

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Meeting George Herms – The How and the Why

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George Herms selecting the final works for Body Language, Copyright by Natalie Park

Santa Ana/ California, March 3rd 2014 – Who is George Herms? According to the internet he was

born in 1935 and an American artist best known for making assemblages out of discarded, often rusty, dirty or broken every-day objects, and juxtaposing those objects so as to infuse them with poetry, humor and meaning. He is also known for his many different types of works on paper, including works with ink, collage, drawing, paint and poetry.

After meeting him today and sitting behind him for more than five painstaking hours in a dark room with only light coming from the computer screen, this is George Herms to me:
A person who is unbelievably calm and patient. A person who lives art and shows appreciation for art with his whole attitude and mindset.

I met George Herms this morning for our first meeting to select the final pieces for the Body Language show. A huge number of entries came in – probably also due to the famous juror of the show. When I first heard about the meeting, I instantly got curious about what the process of selecting (or elimination) by this juror would look like. Also to see on what type of criteria and standard he would choose and review the artworks seemed to be a rare experience. As soon as we met and introduced to each other, we sat down and OCCCA member Jeffrey Frisch and me helped him scrolling and clicking through more than 500 images. He started intuitively selecting the pieces. It seemed almost impossible to zoom in every image due to their large number and our planned time, but he was very keen on viewing every single image and devoting each of them the same amount of consideration and time. After he decided to turn off the lights in the office room, I had to leave the room several times just to grasp some natural light and to walk around because I felt dizzy being kept in the little dark room with only artificial screen light as the only light source. I felt embarrassed and bad because he did not move once. His concentration and appreciation for the artists and the works he was looking at were impressive. Later Jeffrey Frisch told me that they had to meet again and ended up spending 16 hours(!) for selecting the pieces. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of explanations about WHY certain works were selected, but HOW he did it made me speechless and learn a lot about how some artists devote their time and soul for other artist and art in general. As a curator and researcher it was a precious time to learn and realize that sonetimes explanation, theory , criteria and the why is secondary compared to the superiority of the how – the process itself, the intuition and embodiment of art by the artist him-/herself.

Body Language – Installing the Show

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Body Language Installing, copyright by Natalie Park

Santa Ana/California, April 1st 2014 – The Body Language exhibit slowly starts to impress with visually captivating colors and forms.

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Body Language Installing, copyeight by Natalie Park

Today we hung most of the pieces and rearranged some of the other pieces. Installing a show and arranging the spots for the pieces is like watching a puzzle come together. The gallery room becomes the white canvas and as the individual artworks come together you arrange them in a certain way so that they create another bigger story parallel to their individual ones. As the visitor will see in the coming exhibit the viewer will be shifted not only through captivating color palettes but also he/she will be guided through history of art.

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Body Language Installing, copyright by Natalie Park

Body Language – Unpacking Day

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Copyright by Natalie Park

Santa Ana, March 30th 2014 – It feels like Christmas when there are over 60 packages and boxes with art pieces waiting for you to be unpacked.

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Copyright by Natalie Park

Today is the beginning day of unwrapping and unpacking the pieces which will be showcased in the coming OCCCA exhibiti Body Language. A show juried by George Herms and curated by us, the OCCCA members. The excitement is in the air and it is again when you realize that no good photographie of a piece can do justice to the original art piece.

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Copyright by Natalie Park