Assembly 2021

$100 Project Party

Friday June 11, 5pm PST
Salty Xi Jie Ng, Harrell Fletcher, and MFA students

In Spring 2021, Portland State University Art & Social Practice MFA students were each given $100 to commission someone to do something, anything. Projects included: buying candy for an entire elementary school; continuing an AGNES VARDA FOREVER poster project; retroactively compensating for a minute of building Black excellence; taking a nostalgic driving tour around Bed Stuy, Brooklyn; paying an anonymous woman surfer to go surfing for a week. In this celebratory closing session of Assembly hosted by Salty Xi Jie Ng (alumni, artist and editor of the program’s SoFA Journal), graduate students present their projects and Harrell Fletcher (director of Art & Social Practice MFA) who commissioned the commissions, discusses the class assignment that had far-reaching, multiplier effects. The Spring issue of SoFA journal comprises interviews between students and those they commissioned with $100. Read it at come June 4.

Salty Xi Jie Ng is an artist, alumni and editor of SoFA Journal. She is based in the tropical metropolis of Singapore.

Harrell Fletcher is the founder and director of the Art & Social Practice MFA concentration at Portland State University.

$100 Project: A Bear In The Forest

Friday June 11, 4pm PST
Kiara Walls

Jordan running in the park

Kiara Walls in collaboration with Jordan Williams will present the documentation for their $100 Dollar project titled A Bear In The Forest. The piece explores the relationship between identity and emotional intelligence. Kiara and Jordan invite participants to experience their process and partake in a wellness exercise centered around expression through representation.

Participants are encouraged to come as they are.   

Jordan holding Bear sculpted from clay

Brianna’s Graduate Lecture

Friday June 11, 3pm PST
A Graduate Lecture by Brianna Ortega

Photo by Sydney Hone

Brianna Ortega’s work is inspired by surf localism, and explores what it means to belong in a place through methods of conversation, archives, and storytelling. In this lecture, she covers her work in the last three years, ranging from working globally with women surfers, to locals of her community, bunnies, and puffins. Email artist for any questions.

Place Biographies

Friday June 11, 12-2pm PST
Sign Club, a collaboration between Laura Glazer and Jordan Rosenblum

Join us for a workshop creating historical markers for places with personal meaning. As armchair tourists we will take a tour of the wide world of historical markers, examining the visual design and language that defines them—including some of the best, and worst. We will critically discuss the problematic history and legacy of their use.

The workshop will then explore the role historical markers can play in helping us understand and make meaning of places that are of personal importance. Participants will be guided through a process of writing stories about places, drawing on the skills of oral history, including deep listening, reflection, and storytelling. 

This workshop includes a presentation, conversation, creative activities, and a break.

Sign Club is the ongoing collaboration between Portland-based artists Laura Glazer and Jordan Rosenblum engaging participants in explorations reinterpreting public and private spaces. Using the concept of a sign as a starting point, participants explore giving voice to unheard and unacknowledged aspects of our environments.

Laura Glazer is a student in the Art and Social Practice MFA program at Portland State University, and graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA degree in photography. Her curiosity about people and the visible world guide her research, conversations, and collaborations. She processes and organizes research through publications and free distribution methods of printed matter and visual culture such as brochures, flyers, and postcards.

Jordan Rosenblum works as a socially engaged artist, designer, and educator. His projects include workshops, installations, and publications. He teaches at Portland State University, works as a visual designer, and co-directs the RECESS! Design Studio (in affiliation with the King School Museum of Contemporary Art)—an artist project that explores the power of design with elementary school students. He received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice program.  

Voice Shopping: Impersonation as Liberation

Thursday June 10, 5pm PST
Becca Kauffman

A performer and their microphone.

Adopting a different way of speaking, or talking like somebody else, can have a naturally freeing quality: we temporarily free ourselves, from ourselves. In this participatory workshop, we experiment with impersonation as a way of cultivating our vocal awareness.

Part group lesson, part performance, we will use the voice as a reference point for understanding the aesthetics of relational space. Grounding in vocal technique, we’ll focus on the malleability of our expression, imitation as a form of deep listening, and circumstance as a determining factor in how we communicate. 

Come try on another voice for size, and see how it can both destabilize and assert your very own identity.

This is a microphone.

Becca Kauffman is a New York-based performance artist with an interactive, genre-fluid approach to their multidisciplinary solo work. Their uniquely self-guided career through art, music, theater, comedy, voice acting, DJing, and dance began converging into the persona-driven art project, Jennifer Vanilla, in 2015, and continues to this day in the form of a forthcoming music album, out in 2022. 

Becca was a member of the experimental Brooklyn pop band Ava Luna for ten years, and is now a first year MFA candidate in Art and Social Practice at Portland State University, where they are working to incorporate socially engaged art strategies into their performance work.

A Field Guide to a Crisis

Tuesday June 10, 4pm PST
Justin Maxon in collaboration with Michelle M. Miller, Aaron Ochoa, Rachel Hill, and Kristy Lee

Mock Skill posters. Designed by Jordan Rosenblum.

A Field Guide to a Crisis is a two-year training program designed for people in recovery from substance abuse living in Eureka, CA. It aims to prepare them to be teachers in resiliency using the skills they learned in their own recovery. In a session facilitated by project manager Justin Maxon, participants Aaron Ochoa, and Kristy Lee will present their skills, while Michelle M. Miller, will lead us through an exercise asking people to engage with her skill in their own environment. *Please try to login to zoom with your cell phone.

Emma Duehr’s Graduate Lecture

Tuesday June 10, 3pm PST
A Graduate Lecture by Emma Duehr

During Emma Duehr ’s graduate lecture, she will tell a story about her art practice where her curiosity began as a toddler in Dubuque, Iowa. She will discuss a series of projects that explore the intersection of public and private spaces which examine personal and collective value.

She will discuss her work at People’s Plant Museum and the launch of ‘The Inaugural Set of People’s Plant Stories;’ the Talking Tushies project; her emerging project of House Exhibits; and the personal experience and influences for each of the projects. 

Emma Duehr Mitchell is an artist, educator, and curator living and working in Portland, Oregon. She works with collective storytelling, notion of care, and exchange through domestic practices such as gardening, craft, and mail. Addressing themes of the everyday, her work examines the intersection of public and private spaces, personal and collective value, and what it means to be qualified. 

Emma is the founder and curator of People’s Plant Museum, which celebrates the relationships between plants and people through a living collection and digital archive. She is the organizer of Talking Tushies, a project that embroiders sexual violence statistics on cloth patches and invites survivors around the world to share their experiences through writing on the project website. Her Homes for Homes project creates memorial drawings of residential buildings and archives their value through interviews with past residents. She teaches at Portland State University and is an Artist Mentor at King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA). Her work has been exhibited in Canada, Africa, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and within the United States. 

Emma is in her final term in the MFA Art and Social Practice Program at Portland State University.

Weaving Motherhood

Tuesday June 8, 1pm PST
Soheila Azadi, Visting Artist, Portland State University Art & Social Practice MFA Program

Soheila Azadi, artist-in-Residence at Portland State University, will present a series of projects on motherhood. These projects look into motherhood as a heavily gendered space which is highly private. Each project is challenging our views on motherhood by bringing what is private into public. Azadi’s presentation will be on Motherhood and its relationship to Labor, Motherhood and Community, and Weaving Motherhood.

The Grieving Walk: A Public Ritual & Performance

Thursday June 10, 12pm PST
Shelbie Loomis

Presenting The Grieving Walk, an ongoing public ritual on Portland State University Campus for mourning during a time of social distancing after the global pandemic. In this presentation, we will be engaging the topic of public grieving and how people don’t usually contextualize what they do as grieving rituals to process their emotions– this project hopes to bring awareness of our natures and habits.

The Grieving Walk Sign & T-shirt, 2021
The Grieving Walk Sign & T-shirt, 2021

Shelbie Loomis (she/her) is an artist and graduate student in Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA program. She graduated from Santa Fe University of Art & Design with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Studio Arts and currently lives in Portland. A self proclaimed economist and sociologist, her art and career has engaged with finances and social issues around elderly and death and dying. She is a member of AFT Oregon and AAUP Oregon.

Trans Boxing

Wednesday June 9, 3-5pm PST
A Graduate Lecture & Workshop by Nolan Hanson

Nolan Hanson and Brionne Davis, Trans Boxing, 2021. Image by Jia Li.

Trans Boxing is an ongoing art project in the form of a boxing club that centers the participation of trans and gender variant people. Since 2017, Trans Boxing has facilitated weekly donation-based boxing classes for t/gnc people, and have held events in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, New Orleans, Seattle, and Cincinnati. 

During Assembly this year, join us for Trans Boxing founder Nolan Hanson’s graduate lecture, to learn more about the work they’ve been doing while in the Art and Social Practice program! Afterwards, you’re invited to a Trans Boxing class, which is free and open to the public! 

Nolan Hanson and Brionne Davis, Trans Boxing, 2021. Image by Jia Li.

Nolan Hanson is an artist based in New York City. Their practice includes independent work as well as collaborative socially engaged projects, and has been shown in New York (Art in Odd Places, CUE Art Foundation, On Air Fest), Chicago (ACRE Projects, EXPLODE! queer dance: Midwest) Portland (Assembly), San Francisco (Heavy Breathing, SFAI), and Cincinnati (Wave Pool). Nolan is the founder of Trans Boxing, an art project in the form of a boxing club that centers trans and gender variant people.