Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SPORE send-off

This past Saturday, we held a SPORE send-off event at Arcadia Studios and Floating Laboratories studios.

St Louis Urban Landscape & Space Adaptation Postcard Project

Jordan Hicks is a founding member and current inhabitant of Open Lot. A home, studio, and exhibition space in St. Louis, Missouri that occasionally hosts concerts and gallery exhibitions. The space is focused on art, design, and music, but we are open to other poss- ibilities. It is a converted yeast factory, located in the Lafayette square neighborhood. Open Lot was moved in and inaugurated in October 2007.

For SPORE, he's contributed a rough run of a series of postcards high- lighting unique uses of space throughout the city. Photographer Dave Johnson, a collaborator on the project is resp- onsible for many of photos.

Included in the series is a photo of the Ackno- wledge Mural on Cherokee St created by comm- unity artist, activist and visionary Lyndsey Scott. The mural, created by comm- unity members working along with Lyndsey was destroyed by a lone member of the neighborhood association who considered the piece to be an "eye-sore". Since the mural Lyndsey has continued to be a critical member of the Cherokee St community working on a slew of projects. Recently she has become the programing coordinator for CAMP (Community Arts and Media Project).

Another postcard highlights A
rtica is an outdoor multi- media art festival, parade and workshop series developed to provide the people of the St. Louis metropolitan area with the opportunity to come together as a community through creative self-expression.

The event takes place along the Mississippi riverfront in order to revitalize an area that has been polluted, neglected and abandoned for far too long. Although our audience is primarily all of the citizens of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the whole world is invited to attend and expected to participate as co-creators during the festival.

Artica 2002 from mmmelt on Vimeo.

Keith Buchholz and Fluxus St Louis

Keith Buchholz and I met for the first time at event called Wall Ball, a fundraiser for a non-profit I work with, the South City Open Studios and Gallery (SCOSAG). That night I was wearing a red gingham apron while painting, Keith remarked that I would fit-in well with his kitchen. I laughed. Keith and his partner Paul have become good friends of mine. In many ways Keith is like an older brother, we often have weekly coffee dates in his apartment talking about art and sharing ideas. We became better friends this past year while in a fellowship program through the Regional Arts Commission this past year called CAT (Community Artist Training). Saint Louisians love their acronyms. He has contributed a set of poetry cards for SPORE.

Keith is a Fluxus artist and runs a publication known as Fluxus St Louis and Art Farm. Keith's blog is occasionally updated with shows and events. You can see a collection of his work online at the Flux Museum site. Keith will be in New York on September 11th for Flux Fest (see flier).

Fluxus is similar in spirit to the earlier art movement of Dada, emphasizing the concept of anti-art and taking jabs at the seriousness of modern art. Fluxus artists used their minimal performances to highlight their perceived connections between everyday objects and art. Fluxus art is often presented in "events" consisted of a minimal instruction, opening the events to accidents and other unintended effects.

The Fluxus artistic philosophy can be expressed as a synthesis of four key factors that define the majority of Fluxus work:

  1. Fluxus is an attitude. It is not a movement or a style.
  2. Fluxus is intermedia. Fluxus creators like to see what happens when different media intersect. They use found and everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts to create new combinations of objects, sounds, images, and texts.
  3. Fluxus works are simple. The art is small, the texts are short, and the performances are brief.
  4. Fluxus is fun. Humour has always been an important element in Fluxus.

Michael Allen and the Ecology of Absense

Met Micheal earlier this year after stalking his blog, the Ecology of Absence. Our first meeting was at Arcadia where we spent an afternoon exploring parts of the city near the studio. Michael's blog is well- known to many St Louisans and is often researched by historic preser- vationists. Michael might be best-known for discovering the plan of developer Paul Mckee in 2007 who is currently proposing a development plan for North St Louis that would result in the demolition of much of that portion of the city and displacement of current residents. Michael contributed several photographs to SPORE from the blog.

The Ecology of Absence is a voice for historic preservation and a chronicle of architectural change in the St. Louis region that started as a companion to the website of the same name. The blog focuses on changes in the built environment that come about as a city attempts to stem the deindustrialization, depopulation, shrinking public services and loss of architectural fabric that define the modern American urban condition. There is occasional coverage of other cities and rural areas. The site contains a great array of photographs as well as information available to anyone interested in these issues.

In 2007, Allen discovered that a developer Paul Mckee, was buying up hundreds of properties on St Louis's North Side using various companies one of which, Blairmont is currently proposing a development plan for North Side. The development would result in the demolition of much of the existing building in that part of the city as well as displacement of current residents many of whom have roots in the area dating generations. See the article here that was run in 2007 in the River Front Times (RFT) exposing the developer's plan to St Louis residents. Presently there are many residents throughout the city concerned with this development and actively working to stop it.

Sarah and Cam contriubute to SPORE

The day before taking off for the trip, Cameron Fuller delicately stenciled an owl he designed for SPORE's hood using plastic with spray adhesive. A technique he learned as an adolescent skateboarder in the Northwest. Both Cam and his girlfriend Sarah Paulsen, who contributed an animation to the tour are friends of mine. Really loving how so many people in our community are coming together to work on projects over the past year or so. Cam is known for transforming spaces into multi dimensional dream-like worlds often containing clouds and tree houses using masking tape as a drawing medium. He also builds constructions including giant 3-D clouds and submarines out of cardboard. Recently he installed a gypsy wagon at Laumier Sculpture park in St Louis as part of an invite installation exhibition. His other project for the show included a gypsy tent with co-collaborator animator Sarah Paulsen who contributed her film Que Sera Sera for the tour.
See Cam's work on the Bespoke website, a gallery in Chelsea New York where he installed this past spring.

Que Sera Sera is an animation about two Mexican born St Louis youth, deported in 2007 after living in the US since toddler hood after a series of unfort- unate circum- stances. Sarah worked with the brothers on a community mural she organized in an area known as Cherokee Street several years before making the animation. Recently Sarah had a painting exhibition at Fort Gondo, a gallery in the same neigh- borhood with artist Eric Repice.

Sarah organized an art/community parade, the People's Joy Parade on Cinco de Mayo that culminated at the opening. A slew of photos are online though another great website connecting many of the artists and projects on this blog Cherokee Street News. Sarah, Eric and I co-organized the Chautauqua Art Lab which took place the week following. The event brought community artists, alternative space proprietors and musicians together for a week-long interactive lecture series at the gallery. Check out Sarahs's website at and her heartfelt blog at