Tia Kramer is social choreographer, site specific performance artist, and educator interested in everyday gestures of human connection. Through her practice, she rearranges elements of daily life—relationships, site and community—to create experiences that interrupt the ordinary. She aspires to engage participants in acts of embodied poetry and collective imagination.
Kramer’s work has been supported by the Seattle Art Museum OSP Residency, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Henry Art Gallery, 4Culture, Artist Trust, and the Eichholz Foundation but her biggest accomplishment to date is when her 5 year old son said “I’m already an artist, just like my mama.” Tia lives in Walla Walla, WA, a vibrant community nestled among expansive agricultural fields and the Blue Mountains.
Visit her website to see what she current work.
Performance for One Person, A series of public encounters choreographed with and for individual residents of Walla Walla, Washington
Performance for One Person, A series of public encounters choreographed with and for individual residents of Walla Walla, Washington was devised by Tia Kramer in collaboration with writer/performer Sabina Rogers and dancer Kathryn Padberg. Each performance is researched in relationship with a single audience member and created in collaboration with their shared communities. Woven into the routine of the audience member’s life, these encounters unfold over the course of hours or days and often end in one culminating event. By rearranging elements of daily life—relationships, site and community—Kramer and her collaborators blur the line between everyday and performance.
As of May 2020, two performances are complete: At Dusk We Walk Home Together, Performance for Guillermo and Three Larks, Performance for Laurie. A third is being developed for Tia’s postal worker, Phillip. Kramer approaches these performances as testimony both to the subjective state of individual bodies and to the histories that have molded them. They mingle, percolate, and pour into each other. There is no single thread, but rather a meshwork of tangled narratives.
Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA
Where we once used the stars and our intuition to locate ourselves, we now look to our phones, rarely considering our bodies in relation to celestial objects orbiting overhead.
Orbiting Together was a participatory project created by Tia Kramer and Eric John Olson. This project used a network of satellites flying over the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) Olympic Sculpture Park as triggers for messages encouraging participants to engage their somatic awareness. Individuals opted into the system create a rhizomatic positioning system composed of people in the place of technology. By the end of the two-month SAM residency, 500 subscribers participated and the project collected hundreds of responses logged on Instagram account and website.
Orbiting Together’s satellite triggered text message system was book ended by two participatory experiences that playfully embraced and critiqued the ways we interact with technology. Choreographer Tamin Totke then joined Tia and Eric to create two public programs called Art Encounters. Throughout the performances, participants received text messages directing them through a series of movements, acts of connection with strangers, and imaginary landscapes. The instructions corresponded, in real time, to satellites passing overhead.
To learn more about the text instructions, satellite triggers and to view the AMAZING contributor responses visit: http://tiakramer.com/projects. ORBITING TOGETHER was generously funded by the 2018 Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park Winter Residency and a grant from the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.
Eric John Olson
Eric John Olson is an artist and technologist based in Seattle, Washington, USA. His background in human-computer interaction led him to participatory new media and eventually to socially engaged art practices. Valuing collective experiences and cooperative ways of working, Eric collaborates with artists and community members to co-create projects and conduct participatory research. His recent work has examined topics including somatics, displacement, death, and inter-generational exchange. Eric’s work has been supported by the Seattle Art Museum, MadArt Studios, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Eichholz Foundation, 4Culture, The Seattle Public Library Foundation, and others. His projects have been written about in The Seattle Times, CityArts Magazine, Vice Magazine, The Stranger, and other publications.
Older work below, for the most recent work please check out the website above.
We Are a Crowd of Others
Dead Dad Dining Club
The Dead Dad Dining Club is a series of public meals that explore fatherlessness through reenactment and embodiment. Each meal is based on a poetic recipe about a meal that reminded the contributor of their dead or dead-beat father. All recipes were collected and published as a collection of poems in “Dead Dad Dining Club Vol. 1”. For each public meal hosted at MadArt Studio, a felt banner was created to commemorate the reenactment.
Sharing Our Voices
In collaboration with Seattle Public Library, I conducted a series of oral histories celebrating voices from Seattle’s vibrant LGBTQ community. From the interviews I directed and animated 5 short films of interviews with muppet-style puppets of the interviewees and stop animations of their stories.
Zeph Fishlyn (pronouns they/them) is a multidisciplinary visual artist and activist dedicated to personal and collective storytelling as nonlinear tools for reinventing our world. Zeph’s public projects, drawings, objects and installations nurture alternative narratives by questioning, dreaming, distorting, celebrating and demanding. Their most recent work explores absurdity, embodiment, intimacy and playfulness as sources of resilience and creative subterfuge.
Zeph is also a serial collaborator with grassroots groups focused on social and economic justice and LGBTQ liberation. Zeph has focused on creative responses to the SF Bay Area’s economic and housing crisis with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Heart of the City Collective and the Anti-Displacement Coalition among others. From 2007-2010 Zeph worked as a researcher, illustrator and storyteller with the Beehive Design Collective‘s True Cost of Coal graphics campaign, an intricate portable mural and workshop developed in collaboration with Appalachian grassroots organizations that has traveled to hundreds of cities in the US and internationally.
Selected Public Projects
The Mobile Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs (more here)
This mobile, faux office on a bicycle trailer is a research project asking the question, what can art do that government can’t? If current housing logic leads to chronic insecurity, systemic displacement, root shock, and tent cities for the many, then maybe what’s needed is a different logic.
Those We Glimpse: Gathering Our Queer Ancestors (more here)
(ongoing participatory series)
For many of us, coming out as queer casts us out from our own “official” family stories and leaves us searching for ancestors–for that larger web from which we draw strength and context.
Fabric: Raveling/Unraveling (more here)
In the context of escalating evictions throughout the Bay Area, queers occupy a complicated role, both as people at risk for displacement and sometimes as first-wave gentrifiers. What does “home” look like when you pull it out of a particular building, or neighborhood or geography? When circumstances move us, willingly or unwillingly, how do we take “home” with us? How do we prepare to make new home in new places, and who do we prepare to make it with?
More work at www.zephrocious.com…
Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr.
Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. uses the framework of art to play with and engage in the meaning of life. At times this involves the preparation, serving, and consumption of food, the making of toys, and creating, telling or listening to stories. Other times it involves different things than the aforementioned. As their work specifically occurs within the moments co-created by those present at the time, it is incapable of being reproduced identically for the purposes of commercial commodification. However, they welcome commissioned opportunities to produce content involving contexts and communities that are either familiar or new to the Artist. They are from Earth and are currently practicing Social Practice in Portland Oregon.
My work related to food is diverse in its pursuits, applications, and aesthetics.
Tables for Two is a project celebrating valentine’s day that’s had two iterations so far. On both occasions I curated a four course meal using ingredients sourced from local friends and businesses close to myself and the other project curators/facilitators. In each instance reservations were taken in advance and a space was designed with multiple tables set for two. Documentation for the Alfred iteration can be found here, and the Florida iteration can be found here.
Ice Cream Speakeasy is a project inspired by a very close relationship with friend and farmer Jerry Snyder of Sunny Cove Farm. Jerry is a dairy farmer and raw milk salesman and advocate. From him I learned everything I know about raw milk, which is a controlled substance and all together a contentious issue. Upon learning the plight of those who wish to sell raw milk at risk of arrest, imprisonment, and seizure of their very livelihood I decided to involve myself. In the project I use raw milk to make ice cream, often traveling across state lines to retrieve the ingredients. The preparation of food with raw milk from another state is illegal on both accounts. The participants of Ice Cream Speakeasy events become more aware of the precarious legality of raw milk by openly disregarding the prohibition of the substance. More images can be found here.
Sustenance & Spectacle is a two part documentary shot by friend and artist collaborator Samantha Wiechert. In the first documentary she follows me as I procure ingredients from the same Brooklyn pork store as my maternal grandparents did when they made the featured meal. Later preparing a classic Italian gravy and all the fixins’ to bring to Luke LoPorto at his shop, Timmy Tattoo. There Luke made the perfect plate, photographed it, and tattooed the image the following day. The process and product is an homage to my grandmother, Mimi Sforza, commemorating her life and traditions. Mimi is still alive today, however the tattoo is a part of a larger project where I honor my ancestors through tattoos, wearing my coat of arms on my arms.
The documentary can be found at the respective links: Sustenance & Spectacle Part I and Part II
Community pARTnerships: In 2015/2016 I spent a year in service as an Americorps VISTA. My responsibility as Community Arts Coordinator was to engage the East County community in Maryland and assist in the creation of new youth program in the community arts. During the year I organized various events and activities that sought to garner community perspective on how best to build the programming. Depicted above are a few activities that took place at The East County Community *ice cream emoji* Social. Tell Us a Story involved the simple prompt to tell the audience a story. Community Mapping was a station asking residents to share where they feel safe and unsafe by placing colored stickers on a satellite image of their community. And the Who Got Da’ Best Shoes Competition was an opportunity for community members to show off the best way they knew how, showing off their favorite kicks. Documentation of the Social can be found here. During the summer I was responsible for a youth program of my own prompting the youth to reflect on their best qualities and make a mask expressing them.
The Urban Shaman is an alter ego I developed to explore, reflect, and critique my own culture. Through the development of this persona I’ve sought out others to engage them in reflection on their culture and communities. More can be found here and here.
Roshani Thakore uses art to broaden an understanding of place, uncover histories, elevate voices, and expand a sense of belonging, all with the hope of reconstructing power. She uses her positionality and power to complicate, leverage, and advocate with people who have been marginalized to transform systems of oppression through political and community education and acts of resistance.
She uses organizing strategies, research, and conversations to understand a site and context. She uses her skills, interests, and knowledge in collaboration with a person, people, or an institution to create an entirely new work informed by all of the collaborators.
Since 2019 she is the Artist-in-Residence at the Asian Pacific Network of Oregon, a statewide, grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice. Prior to this residency, she received funding from the Division Midway Alliance Creative Placemaking Projects Grant with her project East Portland Art+ Justice Lab. She is a 2020 graduate of the Art and Social Practice MFA program. For her graduate publication, she produced some light, shades of support in our current art ecosystems. You can download some light here.
The East Portland Art + Justice Lab at O82 is a transformative space nurturing engagement, leadership, and change agents by hosting artmaking activities, festivals, discussions, artist residencies, events, and more, weaving the values, knowledge, and experiences of ROSE CDC, APANO, and O82 tenants to create our own cultural fabric in East Portland. The Lab acts as a platform that amplifies the knowledge and resources available in our community in areas of resilience, linguistic, ethnic, and cultural diversity, and resourcefulness directly by the people themselves. The Lab has started an Artist Residency Program with local artists and O82 residents lasting until November 2021. Felecia Graham and Roshani Thakore will work together on a community project on the public health topic of health and safety for black babies and mothers.
Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem
Shoshana Gugenheim is a Social Practice Artist, Torah Scribe and Educator. Her works primarily address the roles of women in traditional Jewish practice, Jewish-Arab dialogue as well as personal transformation and ritual through encounter with art making. Shoshana has served as artist-in-residence in Israel and the US where she has also exhibited her studio work and collaborations. Shoshana was one of the first women in modern times to train and practice as a Torah scribe. Her scribal work informed her collaboration, Women of the Book, whose inaugural launch was with the Jerusalem Biennale 2015. As an artist, Shoshana is drawn to both craft and fine art and applies these practices in her socially engaged work. She is a sought after scholar and speaker in Jewish communities throughout the US and Israel. Shoshana, her spouse and their two young children relocated from their home outside of Jerusalem, Israel to Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2016 in order to attend the Art and Social Practice program at PSU.
See Shoshana’s work here:
Xi Jie Ng (Salty)
Xi Jie Ng (Salty) from Singapore creates intimate encounters for a noisy world. Her works dance between social practice, film, performance (often as Pierrot), installation and writing, and have been made and presented in Singapore, USA, Finland and India. She is interested in art as a universe suspended between fiction and reality, eccentricities, ageing, family histories, circus, old and found objects, alternative communities, and exploring connections between people, space and cosmos. Last year, her first feature film Singapore Minstrel premiered at the 26th Singapore International Film Festival. Based between Singapore, Portland and the elsewheres of the world, she invents experiences for the real and imagined lives of humans.
Bindi Roadside Spa
Migrant workers in Singapore shuttle from worksites to cramped living conditions and crowded weekend hangouts. With a limited income, grooming and self-care are largely restricted to necessities. Bindi Roadside Spa, commissioned by Octopus Residency, is an alternative pop-up space of pampering and care for migrants. The natural facials are made with foods commonly used by South Asian migrants, featuring turmeric as a star ingredient, or respond to needs such as sun exposure due to work. The Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped’s mobile massage team was also engaged provide head/neck massages and foot reflexology. By creating conversations around wellness and relaxation, it is hoped that migrants and those around them will place more value on self-care in a relentlessly busy society.
Film, 87 mins, 2015
Roy Payamal is the wildest busker of a country ranked the world’s most emotionless society. An old-time pioneer of the local scene, dubbed ‘Silver Man’, he creates mind-boggling acts, taking his undermined profession as a serious art- but is his faith impossible idealism or an admirable conviction?
Unraveling the nation’s bureaucratic reaches, a discourse on culture and expression plays out, co-starring Roy’s eccentric street colleagues. Flowing kaleidoscopically from interviews and fantasy sequences, to Roy’s handphone footage of his everyday life, Singapore Minstrel is an invitation into his beautiful mind, a magical, trying universe where art and life dialogue in a tropical dream.
Sab Kuch Milega
Collaborative film, 16 mins, 2016
This whimsical and poetic tale of a circus visiting a village was dreamt up with people in rural Jodphur, India at the Sowing Seeds residency. Shot in three days on an old camcorder and using available materials, the film has a raw make-believe aesthetic. With a concept that further developed as relationships grew and ideas sprung up, villagers were cast as characters they created, in an invented world moulded into real, everyday spaces. Led by a Clown performed by me, the circus meets Grandma, Manisha, and Tarzan, dancing their way to the moon and back. The film shines a soft beam into its collaborators’ cosmic inner selves, reflecting on their ethereal connection with the dry and vast Rajasthani landscape.
Watch video here
Anupam Singh is an artist interested in the interconnections between ecological and cultural sustainability. For over 15 years, he has worked as facilitator, mediator, educator, and collaborator engaging in ideas of inner and outer ecologies. Through workshops and talks in India, he introduced art to children and teachers from public schools and district council schools, professionals, senior citizens and students of visual arts, social work, design, and science streams. He has contributed as guest faculty in various institutions including the Industrial Design Centre – IIT Bombay, and has facilitated innovative public exchanges in his practice and teaching.
Prior to his MFA in Art & Social Practice, Portland State University, he studied printmaking in India for his BVA (1997) and MFA (1999) at Rabindra Bharati University and M.S. University respectively. His practice evolved across printmaking, painting, installations, pedagogy, social projects and public art interventions. In 2013, he founded the Centre for Arts and Social Practice (CASP) which works through four chapters in Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune and New Delhi (India). A non-profit entity, CASP facilitates workshops, conversations, film screenings, community partnerships and socially engaged projects.
He has had a solo exhibition and showcased his work through group exhibitions in galleries, research platforms, and public spaces including the Pune Biennale (2015, India). His interests include working with rural and urban farmers and safe farming technologies.
ROZ CREWS Roz Crews is an artist, educator, and writer whose practice explores the many ways that people around her exist in relationship to one another. Recent projects have examined the dominant strategies and methods of research enforced by academic institutions, schemes and scams of capitalism, and the ways authorship and labor are discussed in the context of a specific art gallery. Her work manifests as publications, performances, conversations, essays, and exhibitions, and she shares it in traditional art spaces…but also in hotels, bars, college dorms, Zoom rooms, and river banks. As part of her exploration of the oppressive qualities of schools, she currently works as a full-time art teacher at a public elementary school in North Florida.
rozcrews.info or on Instagram @rozcrews