Jordan Rosenblum works as an artist, designer, and educator. He employs non-traditional research and social engagement strategies to explore possibilities for fostering community connection and resilience as we move out of the era of the Anthropocene.
Jordan has held positions as a book designer, creative director for a tech start-up, and independent content strategist serving clients including HarperCollins, The Tribune Companies, Random House, and numerous non-profits and small businesses. He has worked in small-scale agriculture and as the coordinator for the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Community Farm in the Bronx. Jordan has facilitated workshops exploring mindfulness and creativity, the relationship between personal ancestry and our shared future, and the impact of personal narrative in group decision making. He teaches as an adjunct instructor of design at Portland State University.
Jordan’s work is guided by a deep curiosity with how people communicate through social interaction and collaboration, and how art and design can serve as tools for deepening understandings of ourselves and our world.
Brianna Ortega is an artist & educator living between Portland, Oregon and the Oregon Coast, and has moved 26 times in her life. Ortega utilizes art for exploring the relationship between identity and shifting environments, often through questioning social and personal boundaries. Utilizing socially engaged practices through video, performance, experiential workshops, and other avenues, she has shown & facilitated her work in Italy, Portland, SDAI (San Diego Art Institute) in San Diego, CBAA in Cannon Beach, and SDSL in San Diego.
In December 2017, Ortega founded Sea Together, a global surf publication to unite and rewrite women’s surfing through art, writing, and community. This collaborative project questions power structures in surf media and culture through existing as an empowered platform for the voices and expression of female surfers globally. The design is by Angela Blumen and the copy editing is by Mikaela Horvath. After launching a Kickstarter in May 2018, Issue 001 was printed and explores personal identity.
Contact Brianna at email@example.com.
Belonging in the Library (Conversation and Site-Specific Performance)
I walked around the Parkblocks of Portland, Oregon asking 50 strangers to respond to the question “What does it mean to belong somewhere?” in a 50-page book. While having a conversation with each stranger, they each wrote a response on their own numbered page in the 50-page book. I tore out each page of the book as a performance, and placed each page into selected library books, matching the page number with the page in the selected library book, at the Central Library in downtown Portland, Oregon. A Dewey Decimal code list now exists in the book with no remaining pages in it. By using Dewey Decimal Code list in the book, anyone can find where the 50 pages now belong in the Central Library, and see if the writing still belongs on the assigned page in the specific book or not.
When a stranger or new acquaintance asks me the “Where are you from?” question, I hand them a map with data. It is up to the person to determine where I am from based on evaluating the data on the map. If you want to email me that question, I will send you the map.
Local Fruit (Live Performance & Video Remakes)
In this live performance, I ate local fruit from each state I have lived in. Each box of fruit had a large label identifying where it was from: “Washington Local Blueberries,” “Hawai’i Local Pinneapple,” “California Local Strawberries,” and “Oregon Local Apples.”
The performance began with me saying “I am a local.” I repeated “I am a local” over and over while simultaneously eating the fruit. I stuffed my mouth with more and more fruit while repeating the phrase, increasing the speed of placing more fruit into my mouth and increasing the speed of chewing over several minutes. Eventually, too much fruit was in my mouth, so the “I am a local” words became more and more blurred from “I am a local” to “I am local” to indistinguishable words. Fruit came flying out of my mouth and out of my hands all over the table, as the speed of eating and talking progressed almost violently. The audience finally could not distinguish the words “I am a local” coming from my mouth due to the amount of fruit being stuffed into my mouth. Finally, the amount of fruit inside of my mouth stopped my ability to say “I am a local” at all.
The work was created as a response to people socially engaging with me in my day to day life. When I am in Oregon, people label me as, “the girl from California” or “the girl from Hawai’i.” And when I am in California, people label me as “the girl from Oregon.” When I am in Hawai’i, people label me as, “the girl from California” or “the girl from Oregon”. According to people’s social engagements with me, I do not feel that I am a local anywhere. I created this work as a response to the everyone who labels me as a local of somewhere other than where I am located with them at that moment in time.
Control (Participatory Performance & Performative Video Installation)
Shown from April 1, 2017 through May 15, 2017 at the “DIVERGE/CONVENE: CONTEMPORARY MIXED MEDIA” exhibition at SDAI in San Diego. A video performance was playing on repeat on a computer monitor with mouse and keyboard available for use. The video performance itself became an socially interactive performance by the audience/viewer using the mouse and watching the video performance on the screen. The viewer experiences a loss of control with the relationship of the spaces on the screen.
Elevator Locals (Site-specific Performance & Conversation)
From a physical and aesthetic standpoint, elevators are a space of non-belonging. Most elevators look similar, with plain walls and no decorations, similar to the feeling of airports and Costco. You would not normally think you are anywhere in particular, for you could be anywhere.
I spent hours across multiple days existing in elevators on the Portland State University campus. While inside of the elevators, I told strangers that I was a local of the elevator. I asked them questions such as, “Are you a local?” and together, we explored the meaning of what it means to be a “local.” Strangers responded in multiple ways, including: ignoring me, walking out of the elevator, staring at the wall silently, telling me I cannot be hanging out in the elevator and how I must leave, partaking in conversation with me about localism and identifying ourselves as a local or not, explaining their personal history of developing a relationship with that specific elevator, and asking what it meant to be a local.
Artists Annie Benz and Hana Gustafson documented this project and provided morale support to me in the elevators. We were kicked out of the elevator three times, even though we were performing as locals of the elevator. We were kicked out for having two chairs in the elevator, for “hanging out” in the elevator, and for taking photos.
Local Map (Conversation, Public Performance, and Map)
I talked with strangers around downtown Portland to determine if they were a local or not. If they were a local, I would ask them what their favorite part around the Park Blocks (in downtown Portland, Oregon) was, and if they were not a local, then I would not ask them this question. I let them know that I was creating a local map, featuring locals’ favorite spots. I paid locals $1.00 in compensation for sharing with me their favorite local spot. I created a map, featuring all of the spots around the Park Blocks. Locals were given the map for free, and non-locals had to pay $2.00. Both locals and non-locals were notified about the varying price difference. I asked a few people if I could take a photo with them or of them, with the map. This project considered the social and capitalistic social power structures and privileges that come with being a local or non-local in the world.
Nola Hanson is an artist and organizer living and working in New York City. Their interdisciplinary practice uses movement, sound, object-making, and performance to mobilize critical interventions that center the role of embodiment in contemporary social systems.
Nola’s work has been shown in Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York City. They were selected as a featured artist for the annual public art festival Art in Odd Places 2016: Race, and in 2018 they were the Artist in Residence for On Air Fest in Brooklyn, New York. Currently, Nola is participating in the Engaging Artists Fellowship through More Art, a non-profit organization that supports collaborations between professional artists and communities to create public art and educational programs that inspire social justice.
Nola is the founder of The Trans Boxing Collective, a trans-led organization that facilitates TGNC access to the sport of boxing through an interdisciplinary and socially engaged approach. They received their BFA in Painting, Drawing, and Art Criticism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2014, and is currently an MFA candidate in the Art and Social Practice program at Portland State University.
work:audio: Drill Meditations, 2018
Tia Kramer is a site specific performance artist, educator and social choreographer interested in gestures and actions of human connection in the everyday. She creates experiences and events that prioritize empathy and engage participants in collective self reflection.
Tia works both individually and collaboratively. Since 2014, she has been collaborating closely with choreographer, Tamin Totzke; together they produced Study of Time and Motion, a large-scale group performance series and film project presented at Henry Art Gallery, Seattle’s Georgetown Steam Plant and along the banks of the Duwamish River. They are currently developing an interactive performance, Each Other, recently shared in a series of public open rehearsals at MadART Studios in collaboration with the project, WE ARE A CROWD OF OTHERS. Her work has been funded by 4Culture Historic Site Specific Project Grant, Washington Artist Trust and Duwamish Revealed. Her events have been experienced both nationally and internationally. Emerging from rich fiber and craft traditions, she considers labor, community and habituated gestures foundational elements of her artistic practice.
Study of Time and Motion
Study of Time and Motion was a collaborative performance project co-produced with choreographer, Tamin Totke and performers: Ezra Dickinson, Mary Margaret Moore, Rachael Lincoln, Kt Shores and Aaron Swartzman, environmental designer: Grant Bowen, and historian: Elissa Favero. This multifaceted project challenged contemporary notions of productivity by prioritizing human connection. Through a series of site specific performances and durational open rehearsals we reactivated Seattle’s vacant Georgetown Steam Plant and the Duwamish River it once relied upon. Building upon our research of Steam Plant Designer Frank Gilbreth’s study of efficiency and inefficiency, we transformed repetitive object-oriented gestures into human-to-human relationships to reveal the qualities of human connection, support and care. Incorporating video installation at the plant and public signposts along the environs of the Duwamish River, this interdisciplinary project invites participants to ask:
What impact does our desire for progressive perfection have on human interaction and our relationships with constructed and natural environments?
Our research and accumulated knowledge on Gilbreth’s Study of Time and Motion was activated again for another site specific performance series, Approaching Proximity, created for the exhibition Six Weeks, in Time, at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, WA. Collectively our group of performers mirrored gestures of the audience and dissected solo pedestrian acts — putting on and taking off a jacket, tying shoes, checking a smart phone — creating opportunities for audience to consider their own physical experiences and embodied participation in cultural construction.
Each Other (working title) was a public open rehearsal series presented at MadArt Studios during our residency from Nov 2016 through Jan 2017. Building upon interactions with the public, we began collecting gestures that will be the seeds for our next group work. Each Other is both a response and an offering in this turbulent political era. We are attempting to solve the incalculable problems of our times by examining the body as a record of lived experience and a vehicle for deep empathy.
Short Talks, Short Walks
Short Talks, Short Walks are a series of site-specific plaques installed at Smoke Farm in Arlington, WA. After Anne Carson’s ‘short talk’ poetic form, the text illuminates a connection between participants physical experience on the farm and overlooked experiences from their everyday life. The poetic signs conclude with a directive to enact a physical gesture that connects the act of reading to their somatic experience.
Eric John Olson
Eric John Olson’s work focuses on participatory art practices and social engagement. He has been awarded project grants by the City of Seattle, 4Culture, Seattle Public Library and The Project Room. His work has been written about in The Seattle Times, CityArts Magazine, The Stranger, Spin Magazine, and The Creator’s Project.
Recently Olson worked with contributors across the United States to create the “Dead Dad Dining Club Vol. 1”, a collection of poetic recipes that remind people of their absent fathers. During a residency at MadArt Studio, Olson co-hosted weekly public meals with authors based off their story and sewed large felt club banners to commemorate each meal. In 2015 Olson worked with The Seattle Public Library to conduct oral histories with members of Seattle’s vibrant LGBTQ community and created a series of short videos from the interviews. Interviewees were recreated as muppet-like puppets and memories were stop-animated. The work is now in the permanent public archive of the library. In 2014, Olson worked with Samuel Wildman on a public art project that solicited advice from octogenarians in retirement homes and created a marketable health and lifestyle plan called “Be Vintage”. The project attempted to reframe the role of retirement homes in our communities by creating a web based platform, thematic podcasts and a public ad campaign. The project was shortlisted on Creative Capital’s “On Our Radar” after making it to the third round of the 2015 Emerging Fields award process.
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 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 sources of resilience in the face of structural violence. From 2011-2015, Zeph focused on creative responses to the SF Bay Area’s economic and housing crisis, in collaboration with grassroots groups like the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and Heart of the City Collective. 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.
Parallel to their creative life, Zeph has spent years fighting for real-world change in movements struggling for social and economic justice and queer liberation. When these two strands overlap, collaborative radical stories come to life in the form of political graphics and films, street theater, and creative intervention.
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 is interested in using collaboration with artists and non-artists to examine, redefine, and envision new identities and environments through mediums such as drawing, painting, photography, video, movement, processions, storytelling, protests, dance, design, and more. Her work is site-specific; her last body of work was developed in Queens, New York – the most diverse place in the nation and one of the pioneering places for socially engaged practice. While her time in New York, she studied with Andrew Ginzel, worked with the Queens Museum under Tom Finkelpearl’s stewardship, volunteered at Immigrant Movement International, and was part of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective.
In 2018, she will be the Jade District Contemporary Artist in Residence through the APANO and Division Midway Alliance Creative Placemaking Projects Grant, and will collaborate with Anke Schuettler and the Free Mind Collective for the project Answers Without Words, funded by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s Precipice Fund.
Additionally, while in Portland, she is learning more about the resistance movement in Portland’s art landscape through PoC leaders, visionaries, and cultural producers. She is also exploring the South Asian experience in Portland through its restaurant kitchens. If you are interested in sharing a South Asian meal with her, please contact her at rt(at)roshanithakore(dot)com. You can also find her at the King School Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Columbia River Correctional Institute.
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