How are communities constructed? As we create networks of friends and colleagues, we also meet folks we disagree with, sound or look different than us, or have different goals. In this social practice and video project we visit three communities separated by space and time, help them to communicate their stories in print and electronic media, and place these different spaces into contact using radio transmitters, newsletters, and semaphore flags.
Can a senior center in Iowa transmit their life stories? Can forgotten Cahokia speak to a reinvented rust-belt town? For two weeks leading up to ACRE, we’ll travel to Iowa City Senior Television Center, Cahokia Archaeological Society, and Braddock, Pennsylvania. We are interested in forcing these locations together, creating a perverse space of contact that opens our traditional understanding of location-based identity.
This project has two manifestations:
1) a series of social interactions with each community including radio, printed oral histories, and participatory actions between locations, as well as
2) a fractured video essay exploring the process of community building and the American road trip as a narrative trope. We intend the video documentary to complicate “community” and inform our interactions in each site. Our editing techniques flesh out the contradictions of community by using structural and nonlinear editing.
We ask questions. We document. We help them tell their story. What is connection? What is community? Can we be a thread that brings these groups together? When does that thread knot and break?
This is the first big project we’ve worked on together. We met at the ACRE residency last year, and spent our time there helping each other with our individual projects - in the printshop, shooting videos, and talking about our practices. We’ve been planning this project since we left, and we’re ready to work hard and long to push our skills and strengths.
Once we travel to our three locations, we’ll have two dedicated weeks at the ACRE artist residency to edit our footage into a rough cut, after which the work will be divided. The time at ACRE is invaluable, as it is removed from the distractions of our daily lives. We’ll be able to work with a sustained rigor that’s not possible without your support.
Who is in the car? Why us?
As three individuals from distinct artistic backgrounds, we work together in order to enhance our discreet practices by combining various disciplines and pushing our work into new realms of collaborative and social practice. We come from the fields of new media, printmaking, installation and fibers, but when we work together as a collaborative group we find ourselves moving out of our comfort zones into the interstitial space of social practice through experimental video and media production.
Most importantly, within the group and with our community partners, we intend to create a space for new methods of learning while encouraging unpredictable experimentation. Our geographical traversing of the country reflects our meandering and multifaceted approach to the creation of art and knowledge.
We bring skill-sets that allow us to come together to create a more meaningful interaction with each community. Dan Luedtke (Chicago, IL) will run our newspaper printing unit, Katie Hargrave (Minneapolis, MN) will produce semaphore flags, and Nick Lally (Oakland, CA) will lead radio transmitters workshops. Together, we edit the video into the final piece.
So you want to help? What will you get as a reward?
All of our rewards allow you to be involved in the project, including participating from afar and getting ephemera based on the pieces from the road.
Newspapers that our friend Dana Bassett created for the Miami Art Fair in collaboration with ACRE. She will be helping us create similar newspapers upon our return.
Postcards designed by Dan.