Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Project # 2 Sala de Espera: THIS IS A CITY/ Alexander Jarman & Savannah Jarman






Opening Sat. March 5, 6-9 pm               
Sala de Espera
1515 Ninth Ave. Downtown

San Diego. CA. 92101

Closing Night
Fri.March 25
Artist Talk 6.30 pm
Screening of Dark Days 7:00 pm
Social 8.30 pm                                

THIS IS A CITY

This Is A City was made using the vernacular of its subject matter, which is the relationship of a city s inhabitants.  The aesthetics of the work are partly cartographic, but the piece is not meant to be a guide so much as a document, a witness to the multiple narratives of San Diego s citizenry.

The cardboard box has many uses and re-uses, and so any one box has the ability to enter into many people s lives; many people, across many socioeconomic lines, many geographies and many histories.  Boxes can do so mostly because of their relationship to commerce.  Andy Warhol found his Brillo Boxes to be a radically democratizing blurring of any distinction between art and life, but more importantly a blurring of the classes.  Warhol famously pointed out the power of the mass produced good using Coke as an example.  The queen of England, the prostitute, the famous television star and the homeless citizen- none of them can buy a Coke that s any better than the Coke anyone else can drink.  So too are boxes included in this group of objects that are seemingly equally accessible.  Unlike a can of Coca-Cola though, boxes more often share their lives with multiple, diverse individuals before they are ever discarded or recycled into something else.



To better illustrate this point, take the following constructed narrative: A cardboard box is assembled on a factory line, then filled with consumer goods on a different line.  The box travels from its shipping facility in one state to a retail store in another.  When the goods are purchased, the box journeys to the consumer s house, where it is unpacked and placed in a hallway.  The box is discovered by a neighbor, who picks it up and uses it to house his/her belongings, as they are preparing for a move across town.  Having made the trip, the box is placed in an attic for many years before finally being discarded in a recycling bin.  The box is subsequently picked up by a homeless citizen, who uses the box to house their blankets by day and shelter them at night.
We suppose this narrative only to illustrate the possible histories and narratives imbued in a cardboard box and to argue that it is a suitable material to play document to the city.

The piece is largely installed overhead.  Often we see boxes on a retail shelf (installed either at eye level or not much higher than) or view them when they occupy a space much lower than eye level (maybe on the floor in the office, maybe as a makeshift bed for a homeless citizen).  By placing the material overhead, the stories and histories contained in the boxes and the people they represent are given a position of power.  By physically elevating them, we hope to make them unavoidable.

These vessels are not empty.  As stated before, they are full of rich narratives.  We are pleased to share these stories with you, and to remind you that you are a part of them.

-Alexander Jarman
 Savannah Jarman

PIANOS

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