Wednesday, April 1, 2009


a circle drawing; 40th street Cut the

The 40th street Cut project had a year long journey of weaving a section of the Oakland earth and skies together with many lines, points and people between. For me and my learning process , I am closer to home, more resourced and connected to my neighbors and neighborhood as a result. It is spring again and all the lines layed down along the creek and the streets converge and resound in subtle ecologies. This project may be completed but the lines and channels stay open, even when they become filled back in with dirt and plumbing and condominiums.Drawing a circle. The effect of the Cut has really been about drawing as an extention of the body: outward in participatory gestures and inward in integration of observations, ideas and themes. Drawing energy up from the slides and shifts below the ground and like a metaphorical pantograph drawing power down from the catenary lines that display a lattice of latent electric energy. When framed it becomes an imaginative drawing into place.

Bringing the 40th street Cut into the gallery was a challenge of translation. Our collaborations were oblique translations. We worked to take all the conversations and material generated from our research and process and cut into it, strip it down, then lay some figurative tracks and elaborate plans specifically for The Oakland Art Gallery’s unique space. It was a real pleasure and challenge to build a space that engages people and participants with a kinesthetic and perspectival conversation, to activate an immediate attention and awareness. The multi-faceted set-like environment or setting invited active perceivers, agents of curiosity and wonder. This perceptual immediacy is drawn into the space, making a social artwork.

Faces creatively shine out from the Glenn Echo Creek community and address one another, they simultaneously meander and hold perspectives, bound in the lifestream of the neighborhood. Along these currents we can look to each other and recharge our interdependence and spirits.

The train-pantograph was originally designed in Oakland for the Key system and electrically expanded to the rest of the world. Our duel-pantograph-circling-orrery is a fascination device with kinetic sine-wave circuits and converging shadows. The translating pantograph emanations are reflected in the beauty of its copper forms.

A holistic, subtle ecology can not exist without its system circumscribing and drawing from the hidden, imaginative realm. What is unseen is imminent and like the idea of dark matter it is structuring and elaborating subtle ecologies.

By invoking the tradition of the mural and original 18th century panorama painting, (looking from the inside phenomena), the 40th street Cut’s culvert span is a view of the neighborhood as carefully blended core samples of views and fragments with loans of symbols, ideas and icons.

Plum bobs and counterweights expressed the force of gravity and its mysterious terrestrial role, holding us up toward the sun and down to the center of the earth.

Creative participation is an intrinsic counterweight to holding up an ecological image before it can be seen.