Saturday, March 13, 2010
News from the studio:
Goal 1. Hang with the doggies
This year I have been thinkin about what things I am hoping to do this year. The first and foremost is to find an inexpensive complete cure for cancer available to anyone who may need it. As my mother continues to fight against small cell lung cancer, my family and I keep thinking how lucky we have had an extra healthy year with her with crossed fingers for many more years.
As for the studio, I hoping to purchase some new equipment, focus in on some much covenanted show opportunities, write some grants and curate more. Oh yah, make a new body of work. Curating is number one on the list. This the proposal I'm working on. I am currently finding a venue to show & have 25 artist interested in participating:
Do you remember as a child going on a scavenger hunt? The challenge of looking for things with a map, compass or trusted instinct, combined with pure exhilaration? Then the enjoyment of the found object while sharing the adventures tale. I would like to propose a scavenger hunt with a group of artist in the Oregon Health and Science University’s Historical Collections & Archives.
In our current social and political climate there is a huge amount of discussion concerning the restart of the state of the union: the health of our nation and its people. We are all trying to come up with solutions. In my own pursuit, I began at first trying to approach it as a citizen, consumer and scholar of society. I soon realized that this was a behemoth under-taking alone. They say that history repeats itself, so I considered going on a “scavenger hunt” in the realms of history and health. In my own work, I often recontextualize ephemera and objects to create narratives reflecting personal histories and situations within the collective American Society. My main focus is to manipulate old imagery with new technology.
I remembered OHSU’s large Historical Collection and Archive embracing both history and health. Collections are a protest against forgetting our history. I contacted and meet with Sara Piasecki, the history of Medicine Librarian, and spent a large part of a day viewing the collection and learning firsthand from her. In our discussion on the current restart we reflected on healthcare, jobs and other issues that are facing Americans today.
While “hunting” through this collection a unique opportunity arose is my mind. According to Piasecki since OHSU’s inception it mostly graduates primary care physicians. These physicians have been and are on the line of fire concerning social & economic issues. Many have donated their administrative and fiscal records, board minutes and reports, books, diaries, illustrations, journals, manuscripts, memorabilia, instruments and equipment, personal and official correspondence, photographs, oral history and scrapbooks to the collection. This collection therefore combines the art of carefully transcribed information with found and created objects. Many of these donations have wear from the owners use, a human mark that someone has traveled this road before. Some examples include: As more diseases start to resist cures like the current out break of swine flu: the collection has been contacted for all its records and findings of the 1918 outbreak. Or TB, long considered cured, what do the late stage look like? They are all painstaking described, illustrated and carefully cataloged with in this collection.
And yet an interesting dichotomy was exposed during my short visit. The working collection with its former book to body connection was contending with the modern day medical student. Todays student often doesn't even touch a textbook or draw any of his experiments but downloads information to his pda while taking digital images for reference and learns from other virtual representations. This displacement of the book has also made long established medical professionals wistful for older wisdom.
This begs for attention as we as a society try to standardize our bodies and culture. This collection is a window into how far we have come in our ability to troubleshoot. From one doctors Mason belts to another receipts for services: 2 pigs taken in exchange for mending of a broken arm. This collection records the work professionally and publicly in the effort to create a better and healthier union. It also acknowledges and reinforces the wonder of the body and its differences within our culture. Of greater importance is the “hunting” and troubleshooting, the finding and responses to situations.
This treasure filled collection can be “hunted” and recontextualized for the modern viewer. This would be my first large scale attempt to “hunt” through a collection as an emerging artist. I plan to pursuit a Masters in Conservation degree, with the hope of curating shows pertaining to recontextualizing collections for modern viewers. This opportunity would help me to prepare and improve my curator skills. I will send a group of artist including myself on a “savager hunt” in the OHSU collection. The item “found” would then be interpreted, inspire, be recreated and any other number of possibilities into the creation of new pieces (without any harm done to the item “found”) in hope of creating a new “solution.” I could envision this show being as small as 14 - 17 artist yet growing to accommodate 20 - 25 with the majority.