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 dedicated to personal and collective storytelling as magic for reinventing our world. Zeph’s drawings, public projects, objects and installations nurture alternative narratives by asking, dreaming, distorting, joking and demanding. Their most recent work explores sources of resilience in the face of structural violence. Zeph has also spent years as a grassroots cultural worker in movements for social and economic justice and queer liberation. When these strands overlap, collaborative radical stories come to life in the form of political graphics and props, street theater, and creative intervention.
Selected Public Projects
Those We Glimpse: Gathering Our Queer Ancestors
(ongoing participatory installation 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. But for every famous historical queer, there are thousands more who lived un-famous, half-glimpsed, or closeted lives. Their stories might only live on through family scandal, coded euphemisms, clues gleaned from letters and photographs. Visitors are invited to add a bird with a queer story, rumor or “might-have-been” from their own families.
I created the Restor(y)ing Space for the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) as a welcoming and flexible public space for sharing stories about home and belonging. Visitors could sit down and have a cookie and a chat, or record oral histories. The could also write questions on eviction notices from the Oakland Rent Board and slide them through the mail slot as inspiration for others’ conversations.
The Restor(y)ing Space was created in collaboration with AEMP and Fremont High students Rachelle Hughes and Hannah McDonough.
Fabric was a participatory installation using texts distilled from interviews with 16 queer and trans people about home and belonging. Storytellers ranged in age from late teens to late sixties, and had spent between 40+ years and 3 weeks in the SF Bay Area. Throughout the two weeks of the exhibit, their words slowly filled the walls of the house, along with handwritten stories generated during two participatory workshops.
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. Many of us migrated to urban centers in response to prior uprootings—by economics, by violence, by homophobia.
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…
Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr.
I like to engage in non-art activities as art. And use the framework of art to play with and engage in the meaning of life. That has often involved the preparation, serving, and consumption of food.
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, 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
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.
Adam Carlin lives and works in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is currently the Director of Greensboro Project Space, a contemporary art center at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Program Director for the Community Arts Collaborative where he creates and oversees community engaged projects for the School of Art, Theatre, Music, and Dance. He is formerly the Visiting Curator at Bennett College, Co-Director of Some Thing Spacious Gallery, and Founder of Art Maker Avenue, center for visual and performing arts in Oakland, CA. He is also co-founder and co-Director of Creek Colleges, an organization that creates schools on the banks of rivers, lakes, and creeks that are going through active restoration. He has a BFA in Sculpture from California College of the Arts and is currently pursuing his MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. He has received grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more. Carlin has most recently done projects at ZERO1 Museum, The LAB, PSU Assembly, Somarts, The Window Project at Georgia State University, and The Mondavi Center at UC Davis.
Greensboro Project Space (GPS) is a contemporary art center at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro that focuses on socially engaged art. Since opening in July 2016, GPS has quickly become the premier space to view contemporary art in Greensboro, acting as a public and creative platform for the School of Art, Theatre, Music, and Dance. GPS’s goal is to create a bridge between diverse communities in Greensboro, and students and faculty at UNCG through creative, dynamic, and collaborative public programming.
Creek Colleges are experimental schools that bridge art and environmental conservation through a barter system. We offer a range of free art courses to local community in exchange for aid in the restoration of watersheds suffering from environmental degradation. Our goal is to create an experiential learning environment that combines art and stewardship with a focus on accessibility and inclusivity.
Creek College originated in the form of a question; how can we, as artists, make the broadest impact in aiding restoration efforts? We began to ask; can a poem benefit a creek? In what ways can sound, dance, sculpture, design, and other art practices bring attention to creek restoration?
Our aim is to catalyze a public response to environmental risks, and to consider the ways in which art, education, and environment create a sense of place, security, and meaning. We partner with local watershed councils and ecologists to develop our barter system. Our classes are designed by local artists- many working at the intersection of art and conservation– for various ages, interests, and skill levels. In this way, the project creates a broad cultural context for diverse groups to connect, share, and examine the needs of the environment.