For this issue of SoFA, we each interviewed people affiliated with Portland State University. Our social practices tend to engage with communities, but as a program we operate more as a satellite of our parent university. Individually, we have our own ways of connecting with campus life— teaching assistantships in undergraduate classes, working on-campus jobs, hanging out in the park blocks, taking Dance Fusion aerobics class at the athletic center, or working in the Social Practice Archive housed in the Special Collections at the PSU library. But because we primarily convene for classes off campus— at KSMoCA (Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School), Harrell’s living room, on Zoom from our respective homes (or favorite coffee shops)— it can feel like we, as a group, are disconnected from our university community.
This year, as we experience a completely open campus after an era of pandemic protocols, many of us are getting reacquainted, or acquainted for the first time, with our campus; sprucing up our studio space, doing projects at the art department’s Open Studios, or picking up free groceries from the food pantry in the basement of Smith Student Union.
This winter, we found people in departments all over PSU who are engaging with topics connected to our own areas of investigation. We are excited to introduce you to the many people doing incredible research, teaching, projects, and labor across the university.
In the interviews that follow, we meet a dance professor who wants you to notice your body in the city and the city as a body; a pragmatist philosopher who surmises the whole world is one big role playing game; the lone mascot of PSU’s athletic department who’s willing to shake everyone’s hand; a sociology professor who wants us all to talk more about death; a social psychologist devoted to trash; two graduate students with an intimate connection to their bowel movements; a critical feminist geographer using comics to explore the experience of homelessness; a critical race spatial educator uncovering the hidden curriculum within university culture; and the PSU Provost, who wants more artists’ voices in the room.
Come with us on the most in depth and strange virtual campus tour you’ll ever get!
Caryn Aasness, Luz Blumenfeld, Becca Kauffman
The Social Forms of Art (SoFA) Journal is a publication dedicated to supporting, documenting and contextualising social forms of art and its related fields and disciplines. Each issue of the Journal takes an eclectic look at the ways in which artists are engaging with communities, institutions and the public. The Journal supports and discusses projects that offer critique, commentary and context for a field that is active and expanding.
Created within the Portland State University Art & Social Practice Masters In Fine Arts. Program, SoFA Journal is now fully online.
Conversations on Everything is an expanding collection of interviews produced as part of SoFA Journal. Through the potent format of casual interviews as artistic research, insight is harvested from artists, curators, people of other fields and everyday humans. These conversations study social forms of art as a field that lives between and within both art and life.
Sponsored by the Portland State University Art and Social Practice MFA Program