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Bearing Witness: Surveillance in the Drone Age is Opening Tomorrow!

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Link to San Francisco International Arts Festival information

Link to Bearing Witness as part of San Francisco International Arts Festival

Calender for Bearing Witness: Surveillance In The Drone Age
May 21 – Jun 7, 2015 Fort Mason Center, SF
The San Francisco International Arts Festival and curators Hanna Regev and Matt McKinley present:Bearing Witness: Surveillance In The Drone Age

May 21 – Jun 7, 2015 Fort Mason Center SF, Ca

Curator’s Tour 1 – May 23 1 – 2:30pm

Convene in the Fleet Room at 1pm for viewing and discussion of works in this location before heading to the Herbst Pavilion and Cowell Theater Atrium where the tour concludes with a performance of Latifa Medjdoub’s ‘Conversations With The Root’ in the Cowell Theater Lobby at 2pm; free event

Curator’s Tour 2 – May 30 Noon – 1:30pm

Convene in the Fleet Room at 12pm for a special performance of Kinetech’s ‘Mirror #1, Time Bubble’ followed by a viewing and discussion of works in this location before heading to the Cowell Theater Lobby and Atrium. The tour concludes at 1pm with an encore performance of Igor Josifov’s ‘Wit-ness’ performance in the Herbst Pavilion; free even

Show Description:

“Bearing Witness: Surveillance in the Drone Age” is a comprehensive look at the wide reach and capabilities of technologies that trap us under a complex umbrella of surveillance technologies consisting of drones, phones and ubiquitous cameras and tether us together in unprecedented ways thanks to social media and the Internet at large. This exhibit is an opportunity to engage in conversation about the potential benefits of surveillance technology as well as the threats posed to fundamental rights of personal freedom and privacy.

The idea that as individuals we watch and, in turn, are watched on a local to a global scale within groups we self-select and by ‘eyes’ we will never see is the greatest source of angst within our current milieu of evolution toward a globally wired community. The prevalence of digital surveillance combined with ‘analog’ surveillance makes personal privacy a diminishing and prized commodity. The by-products of digital surveillance (pictures and video) immortalize both personal and public events and this documentation is readily accessible thanks to cheap memory and social pressure to network and share digitally. Easy access to information capturing devices and storage allows for unprecedented documentation of all types of data, innocuous to important, in massive quantity, which not only leaves behind the greatest footprint of a single generation’s existence, ever, but poses real threats to our identities, rights to privacy, and unique ways of experiencing life.

This exhibit features work by:
Shay Arick, Alex Benedict (1030 Art Group), Tana Lehr (1030 Art Group), Yoni Mayeri (1030 Art Group), Teddy Milder (1030 Art Group), Jane Norling (1030 Art Group), Lanny Weingrod (1030 Art Group), Anna Kaminska (1030 Art Group) and Michel Bohbot, Matthew Silverberg (1030 Art Group), Lark Buckingham, artPaul Cartier, Irene Carvajal & Alex Shepard, Justin Hoover & Rachel Znerold, Phillip Hua, Philippe Jestin, Igor Josifov, Ali Kaaf, Pantea Karimi, Jonathon Keats, Scott Kildall, Mary March & Christopher Saari, Kara Maria, Latifa Medjdoub, Wes Modes (Co-related Space), Lanier Sammons (Co-related Space), Brent Townshend (Co-related Space), Daniel Newman, Maya Smira, Melissa West, Weidong Yang (Kinetech), Daiana Lopes da Silva (Kinetech), Lisa Blatt, Tayeb Al Hafez, Antoine Kem, Trevor Paglen

Featured Events:

Panel Discussion: The Edward Snowden Revelations and the Public Right To Know – May 30 1:30 – 3pm

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and artists Phillip Hua and 1030 Art Group members in conversation with curators Hanna Regev and Matt McKinley; free event
About the Festival:

The San Francisco International Arts Festival ( celebrates the arts by bringing together a global community of artists and audiences. The organization presents innovative projects that are focused on increasing human awareness and understanding. SFIAF’s curatorial priorities include developing collaborative projects led by Bay Area artists working with their national and international peers and presenting world-class international artists who often do not have US representation and whose work is rarely (or never previously) seen in the United States.

Identity Tapestry at SVC

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All in all that was a pretty wonderful experience.  The college was so glad to have Identity Tapestry there and so welcoming to me.   I had the help of a whole team of students to help me install, as well as staff.  Both were wonderful.  It is a great thing to be invited somewhere, to be welcomed into a community and have your work celebrated and made part of that community.

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This will be the first start-to-finish commissioned permanent installation I’ve made.  “Dream Blanket” did get purchased for Sage Colleges and there is another piece in limbo as to whether it stays where it was done, but this one was made to be part of this community and it feels great.

The results were so different from previous iterations!  I expected things like “I love being in nature” being very full in this group- they are in Vermont after all,  but other things were surprising.  I’m attributing the large number of people who have seen someone dying to the nursing program, but I don’ think that’s the whole picture and it was wrenching to see.

There was a lot more strength of love in this one- “I have loved deeply” was mobbed and there was at least one iteration where it was much more empty.  There was also a sense of perseverance that came out to me, of growing beyond the past perhaps that reached across many statements.  A love of learning and a quest for personal betterment was all over the piece.  It came out in people being ashamed of their pasts, but proud in the moment, of many of the “I try” statements being so full, and many of the jaded ones being more empty.  An openness, eagerness… but also a pretty seasoned group.  I’m pleased to see the community expressed in the piece.

During both my artist’s talk and the Opening I was taken by the change that came over people.  While there were many people already excited about Identity Tapestry, there were a number of people who might have been reluctantly brought over by a spouse or teacher or friend and I got to watch those faces open up and take on interest and eagerness.

In some ways I think I’m still a teacher at heart- witnessing those “aha moments” are what we live for.   As an artist it’s that “aha moment” plus that moment of reaching someone- of seeing the artwork get right through their walls and connect with something more tender, of making them examine their thoughts and feelings, definitions and assumptions, to feel something intense and unexpected.  That’s what it’s all about.

IMG_3233 I had many excellent conversations with a whole range of people; students, faculty, staff, visitors and board members.  I already have new feedback and ideas for the projects I’m working on, and one conversation resurrected hopes of doing something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now- an interactive home installation that takes place over years.

Other possibilities are opening up.  More and more I think that soon I’ll be able to create in some large and spectacular spaces.  There are so many projects sketched in my mind waiting for the right situation and location to flesh them out and give them life.


* If you haven’t seen the piece, this video from previous iterations gives a better sense of the interaction,  motion and growth.


Written by Mary Corey March

September 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm


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This woman is awesome. Carolee Schneeman gave an artist’s talk at SFAI tonight and she just helped me re-align myself.  Art school and the art world has certain pressures, certain ideas of what is relevant or important art and how you should be making it and why and for who.  So far the take away message from every single guest artist is whatever your thing is, just keep doing it in the face of everything lined up against you.  This is a woman who was thrown up against a wall by the throat by a man who was offended by her performance piece in Paris.  She persists.  More, she persists gracefully, with humor, with love of life in all it’s beauty and horror.  She confronts people with the things they may not be comfortable seeing, but may need to see. She does not excuse herself.

Her work has been criticized for being too feminine, too messy, too painterly (painting is after all “dead” according to a lot of people since the 60’s).  She persists.  She does what is in her to do.  She is political, she is feminist and she considers herself at the heart of her practice a painter (despite that critical dismissal of painting and the fact that her work is mixed media, including performance, video and high tech aspects).

In response to my question about process (about her working from dreams and intuition but also sometimes consciously provoking things) she nailed one of the serious crippling problems in the art world now- it’s become an intellectual practice first and a creative process only incidentally.  That’s what we’re pushed towards in school.  Know exactly what you will make before you make it.  Her response to this?  “Art is not a practice.  We are not dentists.” (this got her standing applause from the students).  ‘Art is process and experimentation and intuition and moving with thing and honing them, losing them, finding them… it’s a living thing.’  I don’t think the language we use about completing art is an accident.  You think of a piece and then you “execute” it.  You’re killing it.

She reaffirmed many thing that were fading for me.  I do these sketches of my installations when I am thinking them up.  They are very ambiguous, suggestive rather than detailed.  They usually have figures in them because I want to know how people’s bodies will relate to the piece.  Very fuzzy though.  I was recently taken to task for the lack of detail in my concept sketches and told to make a proper, detailed model.  I tried to explain that for me that would kill the process.  The details are informed by the materials, the experience of making the thing.  If I drew them first the piece wouldn’t evolve properly.  That said, when I overlay the original sketch on top of an image of the piece in action I have gotten a perfect match (including the people)- but the detail… that’s in the process.

Either way.  She is now an example to me of someone who was true to herself and succeeded- someone who I think I have a lot in common with.  It gives me more conviction in pursuing my own way of working and own work.  The best thing is that she didn’t load up with intellectual ammo.  She persists with a kind of joyful, unstoppable grace and humor and intensity of living.  Well done her.

Written by Mary Corey March

November 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

Posted in art, artist talks, process