Assembly 2021


Wednesday June 9, 5pm PST
Diana Marcela Cuartas

After more than a year living in “unprecedented times” and political turmoil, surviving a global pandemic, wildfires, snowstorms, and work from home. Finally, it is time to gather and process. Pandememes is a space for study, creation, and collective reflection on what the pandemic brought to our lives, using the most accessible coping mechanism we have on our hands: MEMES!

Diana Marcela Cuartas (she/her) is a Colombian artist and 1st-year student in the Art and Social Practice program at Portland State University. In 2019, she moved to Portland, Oregon, where she has been working independently for the promotion and exchange between Pacific Northwest and Latin American artists. Diana was raised watching Peruvian TV from her home in Cali, Colombia, which allowed her to expand her knowledge about US 90’s popular culture, Mexican telenovelas, and Japanese Anime. She loves watching The Simpsons (Seasons 1 to 8), and other TV classics like The Twilight Zone and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. She used to manage a Facebook meme account about the Colombian art scene, creating original content and encouraging other critical minds to generate fresh memes too.

Our Current Twilight Zone: Auditing Whiteness in Popular Culture

Wednesday June 9, 12pm PST
Caryn Aasness, Diana Marcela Cuartas, Laura Glazer, Becca Kauffman, Roshani Thakore, Kiara Walls

What do Dance Moms, Family Guy, the Twilight Zone, and The Bachelor all have in common? Spoiler alert: white supremacy! NOT NEUTRAL, a mixed-race space for first year students focusing on racial equity and community building, invites you to join us in a critical scoring party of American culture through popular media. Using a DIY scorecard, we’ll collectively watch cringeworthy clips from classic and contemporary television shows to evaluate their relationships with race, gender, age, and ability. Perfectionism, paternalism, defensiveness— the current Twilight Zone we live in has got ‘em all! 

NOT NEUTRAL is a mixed-race space with the first year students of the PSU MFA Art + Social Practice Program led by Roshani Thakore.

White Supremacy Scorecard for you to use can be found here

Plant Show & Tell hosted by People’s Plant Museum

Tuesday June 8, 5pm PST
Emma Duehr Mitchell and YOU!

People’s Plant Museum preserves the stories and relationships between plants and people, while exploring the intersection of public and private spaces. The physical plants are exhibited in the 765 sq ft gallery space located inside a residential building in East Portland, Oregon. In the digital archive, the museum displays plants alongside interviews with their respective caretakers. All plants in The Collection have been exchanged by people through methods of propagation, trade, and donation. 

Join our curator, Emma Duehr Mitchell for a Plant Show & Tell: bring your plants and prepare to share their stories!

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 preserves 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.

The Sound of Sheep: A Communal Gaze/Graze

Tuesday June 8, 4pm PST
Mo Geiger

We all gaze at the horizon sometimes. Image of a lamb on pasture at the Dickinson College Farm, by Danielle Moser.

This participatory online sound installation overlays a specific, detailed soundscape onto places where it does not seem to belong. Together while listening, we will focus on being in physical and not digital space: gazing at our environment and grazing on sensory information to slow the pace of observation. What can we learn by layering the sounds of one place on top of another? How does this action impact our sight? 

Accompanied by sounds from a pasture in Boiling Springs, PA, participants will gather on Zoom and direct their cameras toward the environment that they are observing. Viewing an outdoor space, either in a natural or built environment, is encouraged. Existing layers of sound and motion are expected. During this time, similarities and dissonance between places can emerge through unplanned connections and imaginings.

Mo Geiger is an artist and student in Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice Program. Her work includes sculpture, performance, and experimentation with a focus on interdisciplinary processes. During her years working in technical theater, she became inspired by physical, tactile learning in a collaborative setting—a context she still prioritizes in both art and design.  She develops projects by exploring methods, materials, and living histories that exist wherever she is. More here.

Danielle Moser is a second year livestock apprentice at the Dickinson College Farm and an aspiring food animal veterinarian. Her work as a student and as a farmer asserts the need for long-term solutions to problems in our current food systems, and she has a particular interest in food animal medicine’s role in sustainability and animal welfare.

Getting to Know the Place

Tuesday June 8, 3pm PST
A Graduate Lecture by Jordan Rosenblum

In this artist talk, Jordan Rosenblum will discuss recent work, focusing on participatory projects that explore how we make meaning of our environments. These include New School Signs working with elementary school students to design signs to reinterpret their school, Interpreting Place: The Five Oaks a university class created in collaboration with the Five Oaks Museum to interpret a historic site paradoxically situated in a business park, and Untitled (Historic Home Placards) a project collaborating with a group of university students to write autobiographical historic plaques for their childhood homes. Working primarily with students in a classroom context, each of these projects play with common, public forms of communication—including signage systems, maps, historical markers, and interpretive exhibits—to create complex biographies of a place. The lecture is associated with a graduate exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, an online exhibition at the Five Oaks Museum titled What Makes a Place?, and a workshop at this year’s Assembly conference on Friday, June 11th, offered in collaboration with Laura Glazer titled Place Biographies.

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.  

Underground networks del bosque

Thursday June 10, 1pm PST
FIBRA Colectivo: Lucia Monge (Visting Artist, Portland State University Art & Social Practice MFA Program), Gianine Tabja, Gabriela Flores del Pozo

FIBRA is a collective of Peruvian women artists who will share their project Desbosque: desenterrando señales, a fungi broadcast of deforestation in Ucayali, Peru. Desbosque is an immersive installation with mycelium sculptures, sound, and light that interprets deforestation data and pulses on the same frequency as tree loss. By discussing this project FIBRA will share their collaborative process and reflect on different ways of connecting between disciplines and species. 

Please bring something to write/draw on.

Desbosque: desenterrando señales, FIBRA Colectivo. Photo: Juan Pablo Murrugarra/MAC
Desbosque: desenterrando señales, FIBRA Colectivo. Photo: Juan Pablo Murrugarra/MAC
Desbosque: desenterrando señales, FIBRA Colectivo. Photo: Juan Pablo Murrugarra/MAC
Image courtesty FIBRA Colectivo

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) International Acquisition Committee

Tuesday June 8, 12pm PST
Illia Yakovenko

International Acquisition Committee (IAC) is a collaboration between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School students and a Portland State University student, Illia Yakovenko, who together work on expanding the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) collection with international art. International Acquisition Committee was founded by Illia Yakovenko at KSMoCA in 2020. During the recent year, Illia has given a number of presentations to King School students in which he told about his childhood, Ukraine, Donetsk region—Illia’s home region—, and the ongoing war by showing his collection of postcards, badges, his artwork, and artworks of artists from Ukraine. King School students together with Illia have picked an artwork from a Ukrainian artist that they would want to add to the KSMoCA collection. At this Assembly event, Illia is going to present the collectively picked artwork, talk about IAC and its work process, and invite the chosen artist for a symbolic handover of the artwork.

A screenshot from International Acquisition Committee presentation as part of KSMoCA Artist-in-Residence Lecture Series on November 19, 2020

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA)is a contemporary art museum and social practice project inside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Portland, OR founded in 2014 by Portland State University professors Lisa Jarrett and Harrell Fletcher.

Illia Yakovenko is a precarious cultural worker, a self-proclaimed artist, curator and poet. Illia is an MFA student in Art and Social Practice at PSU who came to study in the U.S. from Ukraine. Illia spent his childhood in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine. This region is currently dealing with war caused by the unresolved past and present contradictions exacerbated by the imperial geopolitical ambitions of its neighboring state. To address that—heal, imagine, and build a more equitable, inclusive, and safe future—Illia is learning to collectively explore histories, memories, cultures, identities by means of participatory production of art.

Aasembly: A Once in a Lifetime Mental Stunt Show

Monday June 7, 5pm PST
Caryn Aasness

Scan of a notebook spread, treasures inside an envelope to be revealed during the performance. Credit: Caryn Aasness, 2021

Aasembly: A Once in a Lifetime Mental Stunt Show is a performance by a brain and its worms. You are invited into the artist’s head and welcome to leave at any time. We will be sifting through notebooks to determine what ideas are worth pursuing and which have already been done. Special guests include: Anxiety, A Dog Candle, Google, Childhood and more!

Scan of two notebook pages; Eat a Bag of Bags, and The Sun is Yellow. Drawings by Caryn Aasness (Left) and CJB (Right), 2019.

Bunny Reunion & Tour

Monday June 7, 4pm PST
Brianna Ortega

We invite your domestic bunny (or if you have a wild bunny friend outdoors) to come to our bunny reunion online! Artist Brianna Ortega will give a short presentation and will invite your bunny friends to participate on Zoom. Bunny owners can share about their bunny and then we will go on a virtual bunny tour together of Bunny Hill and the surrounding area in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Event open to the public, but if you have a bunny that you want to bring, please RSVP your bunny with us so we know to schedule a time slot for your bunny. Email artist to RSVP and for any questions.

Image of Cindy Bryden with domestic bunny and wild bunny from “The Grand Opening of Bunny Hill” April 2021 by Artist Brianna Ortega. Photo by Emma Mitchell.

Familia y Payasos

Monday June 7, 3pm PST
A Graduate Lecture by Carlos Reynoso

Through storytelling I will be discussing my origins and methodology as an intersectional artist. My graduate lecture will address my interest, curiosities, and what has inspired me from my early beginnings. The presentation is a mixture of home videos and reflections from past and present projects.