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A U D I O A R T

COMPOUND 21

OPEN STUDIOS: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE OF ART (or the earliest you can remember)?

I work in a studio space called Compound 21 and in the Fall of 2006 during Open Studios, I laid out a mic, mini disc and headphones and asked people to record themselves answering this question: What is your first experience of art (or the first one you can remember)? This is a collection of the answers I received. I wasn't even there to record but people did a lovely job of holding the mic and sharing some of their early experiences.

QUORUM

"I am ________________, when I speak ________________."

I am a member of an art collective called Quorum. The first opening I took part in was for a show titled Codeswitching and the opening for the show was in LA at the Red House Gallery in Venice Beach. The title of the piece is: "I am __________, when I speak ___________" I come from multi-lingual family and since my childhood I grew up hearing a variety of languages— Armenian, French, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, American English and now British English. I have observed how when my uncle speaks Arabic he gets excited or when my Mom speaks Armenian, her voice sounds more grounded, that my Grandma feels proud when she speaks English, and my Aunt seems trepidatious when she speaks French. Each language, when spoken, seems to inspire a different emotion, cadence, essentially, a different part of themselves. I asked the maternal side of my family to fill in the blanks to a seemingly simple sentence: “I am ________, when I speak ________. “ These were their answers when reflecting upon their native tongue, adopted tongue, learned tongue, romanticized tongue or foreign tongue. Ultimately, this piece shows that while we are defined by a myriad of differences, we arrive at one irrefutable thing: regardless of diversity of language, we are tied through the commonality of being human. This piece is for sale, should you want to mount it at your home.

FOSTERING ART

ART ON MARKET STREET | Part One and Part Two.

ast year, I produced a piece for one of the local NPR affiliates here called KALW. The piece was about a program called Fostering Art where foster children were taught photography. They had an opening of their photographs and they stood proudly near each of their sections in the gallery, images they had taken of themselves, representations of how they feel on the inside and how others view them. One of the teachers in that program asked me to join them for another project this year (2006) called Art on Market Street. For a few Saturdays this summer, I worked with these kids. Their assignment was to photograph Market Street.

Market Street is the vein of San Francisco and changes a great deal from where it starts at Castro(the epicenter of gay culture in America) to Sixth Street (essentially skid roe, possibly the worst neighborhood I have ever been to in the US) to the end of Market at Embarcadero (where people shop and eat and skate). The kids took portraits of people along Market Street— travelers, drug addicts, maniacs, musicians, residents, shoppers, homeless people, seekers—and I interviewed their subjects. Many of these people had very distinctive stories to share, about their lives, what they see and hear, how they feel, what they dream of. The piece aired on Market Street and was presented at  The Luggage Store Gallery alongside the images.

 

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