Thursday, November 17, 2011

Twitter essay: working title #occupyWestlake

Currently this is in draft state: will add photos and outline to differentiate between my "essay" and conversations. Not sure how to format yet, but will work on it.

Richard Neil of Seattle Police Guild on KUOW at 10 am today: total projective identification + agent for corporate retail in downtown.
 Here's the link to Weekday KUOW interview with Richard Neil of Seattle Police Officers' Guild. He's on before Dow C.
Richard Neil has no problem with privatization of public space by corporate business in downtown, wants suburban shoppers not
 In Seattle, Pacific Place parking garage was built with HUD funds.  inside garage with wiwaxia in front
Time to reclaim public space privatized by corporate businesses downtown. HUD parking at Pacific Place   Chase ATM RT by
Kit R

RT : Time 2 reclaim public space privatized .. downtown. HUD parking at Pacific Place  And just where are those suburbanites from, Seattle Police guild Richard Neil? at these prices...    price sign  

Thanks for RT. This garage & re-open Pine are theft of public property as far as I'm concerned. Why important to occupy Westlake.

Stephen Fesler

as a planner, I largely have to agree. Mainly because public spaces owned/maintained by businesses are exclusionary and fail to..
Stephen Fesler

capture the interest of patrons. There are exceptions however, but there has to be a stong money motive and good to work inspite
Stephen Fesler

  *good design team to work inspite of status quo
It's more fun and engaging to go to a real public space with real benches, people interacting. Why street food and real parks work.
This HUD parking garage at Pacific Place is nicely appointed for suburbanites to come downtown. Why   (elevator pic)
More fancy and expensive (lighting) appointments at HUD funded parking Pacific Place.   elevators
Footnote You might be interested in my installation essay at old 911 in 1993
 The clincher: the hoi polloi need not show up to HUD parking garage at Pacific Place.    valet parking and two range rovers  

I heard that. B/c I thought it was Dow, I was completely shocked, but then I recalibrated
  Dow was trivializing, I think, but he might have been embarrassed by Neil's artless support of bizness.
The complicity of city, county officials & police officers such as Richard Neil in privatization of public space is why


and come on, it's not like these businesses are your neighbors' haberdashery, they're all soulless corporate junk sellers.
Yes, there's no Theo chocolates at Westlake; it's Warren Buffet's See's Candies!
+You must have seen new tv commercials from AMEX re small businesses: I think Amazon is defined as a "small bix 4 tax purposes."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Landscape Tale from Agriculture: An Alchemical Treatise

I believe that the Western landscape tradition effectively distances the viewer (who is characteristically middle and upper class) from the outdoors and other people.Works such as Virgil's evocation of country life in The Georgics or the landscape paintings of Poussin are the product of both rising imperialism and an urban society. The allure of "simple country life" and its cult of authenticity draws present-day middle class Americans to wilderness preservation as much as to suburbia. We can reclaim our cities and make them livable first by acknowledging our rage, our desire to escape the banality and oppression of our lives. By offering resources for installation viewers, I want to support efforts at dynamic urban solutions to the perceived agricultural crisis.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


excerpts from statements about techniques I use and why:

[re: Views and Reviews, 1999]
think of my work over the past sixteen years as expressing a theme–Land Use: An Alchemical Treatise. Some of the works explore the connections between our belief systems about society and how we treat the planet, each other. Others examine the ways traditional cultural approaches–landscape painting and the concept of Arcadia–have contributed to contemporary land use practices. In works such as Views and Reviews, I like to explore the conflicts which arise from our expectations about land use, expectations shaped by idealized art and design images and our vernacular urban setting. Using the quotation essay, I want to think about different forms of resistance and resilience as strategies, sometimes alternating, to foster our lives and activities.
I have also created shrines for community based environmental activities: Flowing Salmon Shrine and Speculations. Artists in many cultures developed shrines to incorporate both artistic and ethical values, often to express the sacred quality of a particular site, such as a spring, a tree or one with historical significance. Shrines may be local or draw visitors from far and near. I like to think of some contemporary tourist destinations as shrines, offering visitors a share in their meaning: Mt. Rainier, the US Capitol, Graceland, the Oregon Trail, the Grand Canyon, and refer to this quality in Views and Reviews.

[from the Slave Trade was Free Trade 2001]
Currently I am working on acrylic and mixed media paintings, part of two shrine series, one about Frederick Douglass, the 19th century US orator, and the others about land use. In these works I am interested in exploring the intersections of human activity, ecosystems and geologic presence. In my painting and shrines, I am trying to develop a visual and symbolic language of seeds, sprouting forms, land shapes, fish and female figures to explore the contradiction of diversity and overlapping multiplicity within a culture whose dominant ideology expresses conflict in individualism and capitalism. Each painting is framed or scrolled as though it were a laboratory specimen box, reflecting the culture’s attempt to contain such truth and control it. In installations, some large works essentially become wallpaper and are not at all necessarily contained.

Commentary on "Speculations"

Statement: Agriculture: An Alchemical Treatise is a large on-going conceptual work comprised of several approaches. Other parts of this work describe cultural strategies which mystify our relationship to the technologies of food production. The allure of simple country life” and its cult of authenticity is at lest as old (and as imperialistic) as Virgil. I believe we can reclaim our cities and make urban living sustainable first by acknowledging our rage, our desire to escape the banality and oppression of our lives. Next , by visualizing what home could be like, we plant the seeds of the work we want to do. For me, the seed is a powerful and fertile image for the process of becoming. The water in the “candle” jars is taken from my watershed.

Description of the installation
1994 mixed media, acrylic and ink on paper. The shrine consists of four stepped wooden boxes painted in black and a triptych ( domestic) hardwood frame containing hanging scrolls. the scrolls are Arches cover black. The center scroll, 5’ x 5’, contains an image of a livable city with stars falling into the ground, stars representing fertility. This is surrounded by two other scrolls containing rubber stamp images of ancient cultural and newly created symbols for seeds. Dimensions are 8'H x 13’ L x 5’ W. On the steps of the shrine are arranged bowls with green manure seeds, for building soil fertility and drainage. In front of the shrine are flats containing soil. Viewers are invited to write their wishes and commitments to a sustainable community on black tissue, and “plant” them with vetch seeds in the flats. Viewer participants are also invited to take with them seed packets for planting in the community. The seed flats were later transplanted into a community park. This is dedicated to the community of Seattle Tilth.

The following is the text of the scrolls:

The spirit of community is the breath of our hope. The blessings of rain, wind, warmth and soil are gifts--the finest materials for creation. We are grateful. Let us join together as we commit ourselves to our sacred work: harming none, caring for all.

“The earth sweats germinating power from its very pores.... the soul is the freshness of the flesh, for the body grows and thrives through it just as the earth becomes fruitful through moisture.” [The deity says] “I am the breeze that nurtures all things green. I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits. I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with to joy of life.”
Hildegard von Bingen [11th century abbess, Germany]

Reinhabitory Sketches:
“First Cuts toward Living in a Watershed Commons
“We must begin where we are, at our personal moment of perception. We seek a sense of self-in-place first of all, and a community on a human scale, evolving to a community of creatures.
“Access steps:
“Where do I live? guided initiations are offered to those who seek to know.
“What is my life work? What moves me?
“Access steps mean transformations-tourism to hospitality; urban renewal to landscape renewal;
“...The region’s unique resonance will continue to sound behind whatever celebrations are carried by it, and proclaim itself more clearly than any declarations made about it. Reinhabitants of the place, people who want to maintain a full life for themselves and for the watershed, are shaping human celebrations which respond to that resonance. Celebrations which depend on but can be shared by other species. Lives which can be part of the region proclaiming itself.”
--Frisco Bay Mussels Group

link to image and discussion

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

from Cairo on Twitpic; love sent back

صورة لميدان التحرير في القاهرة قب... on Twitpic

This is one of the best pictures I've ever seen. Robin (my son) who had spent several weeks studying in Cairo spring 2009 is familiar with Tahrir and its history. Despite the suffering today, the past week's report of the amazing resistance of the people of Egypt should inspire us all. Let's keep pressuring the US government to support these people, not repression.