Precipice Fund Project Update: Container Corps – An Arts Press

Container Corps is a publication design studio, printshop, bindery, and exhibition space that serves as a platform for the creation, distribution, and discussion of new arts publications. We publish books-as-projects, or books-as-works in themselves, or primary sources.

The books we publish are collaborations between artists and their ideas and our skills as editors, publication designers, and printmakers. They are works of art in themselves, rather than documentation of works in other media.

Our vertically integrated, design/build studio allows ideas (concepts, images, texts, research), materials (paper, ink, board, cloth, thread, glue), and technique (layout, typography, printmaking, binding) to coalesce into a fully realized type of publication.

Container Corps

Our press works with artists to make multiples that explore and take advantage of the book and the processes of book production. Our Precipice grant will fund three such collaborations.

Most of the progress in our project thus far has been made in the cementing of a schedule of artist collaborations for the year. There has been a little bit of shuffling of artists from our original line-up due to changing schedules and availability.

Our book projects are a specific kind of collaboration between our production capabilities and the artists’ individual practice, and these collaborations necessarily require a long gestation period. The artist must become somewhat of an expert on our processes, and we must become experts on their work. Only then do we have the language to be able to communicate and find where their ideas can engage with our parameters. Practically, this means a lot of talking, ideating, thinking, and looking before anything happens on the press. This is the kind of work we’ve been doing with our three artists thus far.

Our first artist, Heather Watkins, has finished an intense period of installations (at PSU and the Art Gym) and is now free to work with us. Our process thus far has been an ongoing series of visits between our studio and hers. We are discussing the intersections of our production processes and her art making processes, and zeroing in on a definition of what her book project will be.

Our second artist will be Israel Lund. We are excited to work with Israel because like Heather, his work is process oriented and will benefit from hands-on time with the press. We have arranged for him to be in Portland at the beginning of July, working with us at the studio. We have been skyping with him in preparation for an intense week of production. Most of the development of this book will occur during this week.

Our third artist will be Jasper Spicero. He will be visiting Portland in late July, and we will be working with him on a book made in conjunction with a very exciting larger project called Centers in Pain. He will be renting out the newly built, unoccupied Wapato Prison in North Portland for 4 days, doing an extensive installation, conducting interviews with the skeleton crew that maintains the facility, and completing a screen play that is set at the prison. The book we create will be an integral document of this larger project. Like Israel, we have been regularly skyping with Jasper so that his time in Portland is best utilized.

 

About the Precipice Fund
Administered by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, the Precipice Fund awards grants to unincorporated visual art collectives, alternative spaces, and collaborative projects in Portland, Oregon. Recognizing the barriers to funding faced by independent arts initiatives, Precipice Fund seeks to support both new and existing projects emblematic of Portland’s alternative, on-the-ground art community.

www.precipicefund.org

Precipice Fund Project Update: FalseFront

Since receiving the Precipice Fund, FalseFront has been able to host to four exhibits and featured works of performance, sound and visual art and visited numerous artist’s studios based in Portland, Oregon. Starting in February, Future Death Toll’s Edward Sharp performed three nights of noise, dance and visuals.

Each night consisted of Sharp inviting a musician and a dancer to collaborate for a continuous three-hour performance, with visitors encourage to enter and exit though-out the length of the show. Featured artists included, dancers Keyon Gaskin, Jin Camou and Danielle Ross; composers and musical engineer Jesse Mejia, Lucas Kuzma and Twon Moss.

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In April, FalseFront exhibited the paintings and sculpture of Portland-based artist Judith René Sturdevant. These particular exhibit was put together fairly quickly after the studio visit, as Sturdevant expressed interest in having all included work recent and “fresh”. She was given a little over two and a half weeks to complete the work exhibited in show titled Or Somewhere Else.

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FalseFront’s upcoming show is set to open the beginning of May with an installation from recent PSU MFA graduate Leif Anderson. Anderson will construct this installation around the entire front facade of the building, working from the idea of realty and commercial signage set in contrast with FalseFront’s rather residential location.

The Precipice Fund is allowing not only for FalseFront to exhibit these less conventional works of contemporary art in the alternative space setting, but also allowing the exhibiting artist the artistic freedom and opportunity to do the projects not likely seen in more commercial galleries.

 

About the Precipice Fund
Administered by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, the Precipice Fund awards grants to unincorporated visual art collectives, alternative spaces, and collaborative projects in Portland, Oregon. Recognizing the barriers to funding faced by independent arts initiatives, Precipice Fund seeks to support both new and existing projects emblematic of Portland’s alternative, on-the-ground art community.

www.precipicefund.org

 

Precipice Fund Project Profile: M.A.S.S.

We continue our six-week series of 2013 Precipice Fund grantee profiles with M.A.S.S. (an ambiguous acronym), a bimonthly music,  performance, and visual art and media series set in a beautifully resonant, 350-capacity sanctuary at Alberta Abbey, a historic church turned mixed-use venue in Northeast Portland. Using exceptional sound engineering and equipment, the series aims to provide a contemplative environment for group and/or anonymous reflection while cross-pollinating local and non-local artists, musicians, writers, and performers. 

Hello from  the M.A.S.S. Collective!

Our first two rounds of programming (of six total) have been an exploration that’s grown exponentially from last year’s start to the series. We were particularly inspired by the collaboration (and ensuing chaos) of last year’s closing edition of M.A.S.S., a mashup event of music, oratory, exhibition, and video projection.

We have decidedly expanded the scope of our programming since the start of the series, in concept and medium. We kicked off the year with an album release from Cloaks and performances by Pinhead In Fantasia and Nour Mobarak. Craig Flipy  prepared a sound collage of field recordings from his line of work chasing the illusive Bigfoot, and our gallery featured the Google Earth glitches of Clement Valla.

We pushed further, and perhaps more frighteningly or funnily, depending on your taste, to do METAL M.A.S.S., a special 4/20 edition on Easter Sunday. Atriarch, Joe Preston and Daniel Menche brought the doomsday, while special guest Maja D’Aoust (The White Witch of LA) brought the prophesy by way of her unique presentation style/oracle performance. Our gallery featured the first solo art show by local illustrator Joshua Hardy. This event saw over 200 in attendance.

A couple of highlights from M.A.S.S. V and VI: https://vimeo.com/93669455

We are pleased to announce the next edition of our series, M.A.S.S. VIIon June 8th with Benoît Pioulard, né Tom Meluch, known for his glacial, cinematic ambient music that brings delicate pop sensibilities into the fold. A staple of electronic, experimental label Krancy, Meluch has crafted a body of thoughtful work that’s earned his solo music (as well as that of Orcas, his collaboration with Seattle musician Rafael Anton Irisarri) frequent attention from blogs and music news.

Like a Villain is the musical alter-ego of local songstress Holland Andrews, recently voted number five in Willamette Week‘s “Best New Band” list. Her music is equally dark and uplifting, bright and frightening–unafraid of taking leaps and bounds that stretch Andrews’ emotive, adventurous voice.

Colin Manning is a multidisciplinary artist from Portland. He received his MFA in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000 and has been an active visual artist and projectionist, participating in numerous exhibitions and music performances down the West Coast.

In addition to putting the finishing touches on M.A.S.S. VII, we are shaping the latter half of the 2014 calendar with more local and international experimental musical acts, writers, performers and visual artists. For more information, visit www.mass-series.info.

M.A.S.S. VII
Sunday, June 8, 2014
8:00pm doors / 9:00pm performances
Alberta Abbey / 126 NE Alberta / Portland

About the Precipice Fund
Administered by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, the Precipice Fund awards grants to unincorporated visual art collectives, alternative spaces, and collaborative projects in Portland, Oregon. Recognizing the barriers to funding faced by independent arts initiatives, Precipice Fund seeks to support both new and existing projects emblematic of Portland’s alternative, on-the-ground art community.

www.precipicefund.org

Precipice Fund Project Update: Amur Initiatives Media Research Group

Thus far, 2014 has brought about the first online PDF publication for Amur Initiatives Media and Research. To keep with the modus of the project, we’ve been programming a variety of activities in order to explore the range that we hope to maintain throughout the duration of the project’s life span. Throughout the months of May through July, we will be representing a series of 3-4 solo exhibitions by visual artists based in Portland and beyond. Fall will bring a second publication and a multi-national group exhibition, linking Portland-based artists with a larger global community. We are working to organize a regular reading and discussion group that will also facilitate public seminars.

Here’s a quick scroll-through video of our first publication and a brief outline of where we stand in 2014.

 

About the Precipice Fund
Administered by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, the Precipice Fund awards grants to unincorporated visual art collectives, alternative spaces, and collaborative projects in Portland, Oregon. Recognizing the barriers to funding faced by independent arts initiatives, Precipice Fund seeks to support both new and existing projects emblematic of Portland’s alternative, on-the-ground art community.

www.precipicefund.org

Precipice Fund Project Update: Multiplex

We continue our six-week series of 2013 Precipice Fund grantee profiles. This week, we  hear from Multiplex, which launched in 2012 to provide a venue for emerging contemporary art and music in Portland. Multiplex showcases experimental projects from local, national and international artists, acting as a space that supports the constant growth of the artistic community.

Since receiving the Precipice Fund grant in January 2014, Multiplex has shown three local artists: Katy Knowlton, Luc Fuller, and Michael Reinsch. During this time, part of our project has shifted, as we ran into complications with our rental space and were forced to seek other accommodations for the project. Throughout April and May, we have  operated out of an annex gallery in the Holladay Studios Building near NE 24th and Sandy and opened an exhibition there by artist Patrick Cruz  (Vancouver, BC) on May 9th.

Katy Knowlton

Luc Fuller

Michael Reinsch

We have been developing a new space, S1, which we view as an extension of Multiplex‘s vision. Located in the Hollywood District of Portland, it will house galleries, artist studios, and a performance space. Programming at S1 will begin this summer with a film and talk series from London-based curator John Bloomfield, art exhibitions from Portland artist Eric Mast and Los Angeles artist Derek Corns, and a poetry series curated by Portland writer Zoe Tambling.

We are  planning a music and video festival for August and are continually reaching out to artists and curators to expand our programming.

As with any project, sometimes change is an inevitability, and we were fortunate in our transition to have support from the Precipice Fund. We are immensely grateful to have received this grant, as it has allowed us to grow and expand in ways we never thought possible.

About the Precipice Fund
Administered by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, the Precipice Fund awards grants to unincorporated visual art collectives, alternative spaces, and collaborative projects in Portland, Oregon. Recognizing the barriers to funding faced by independent arts initiatives, Precipice Fund seeks to support both new and existing projects emblematic of Portland’s alternative, on-the-ground art community.

www.precipicefund.org

Precipice Fund Project Update: Portland Museum of Modern Art

Over the next six weeks, PICA will be posting project profiles and updates from some of its 2013 Precipice Fund grant recipients. This round of  profiles begins with the Portland Museum Of Modern Art  (PMOMA), a gallery in North Portland located in the stairwell and basement of the Mississippi Records compound. With a commitment to bringing diverse and interesting shows to Portland and joining the effort to enrich Portland’s art community, PMOMA’s main emphasis is on national and international contemporary art.

In January, PMOMA presented Portland Collects, a group show curated by director Libby Werbel of work borrowed from the private collections of community members. Also in January, we partnered with Free Spirit News for A Light Spray, an evening of film and video representing over 40 artists, curated by Ashby Lee Collinson.

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Portland Collects (2014). Installation View. Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

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Portland Collects (2014). Installation View. Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

In February and March, artist and part-time Portlandite Chris Johanson showed his latest drawings and paintings in an exhibit titled Self(ish) Expression(ism). We gathered a diverse group of performers who made the opening and closing parties truly memorable, with live entertainment by Tara Jane O’Neil, Dragging an Ox Through Water, Morgan Ritter, Kildajte Moussa Abade and Marissa Anderson.

Chris Johanson. Self Expressionism. Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

Chris Johanson. Self(ish) Expression(ism) (2014). Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

Chris Johanson. Self(ish) Expression(ism). Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

Chris Johanson. Self(ish) Expression(ism) (2014). Installation view. Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

April’s show was a solo show by Pacific Northwest visionary artist Richard Tracy (a.k.a. Richart). The opening party featured a screening of the 2003 documentary short about Richart by Vanessa Renwick and Dawn Smallman. We were fortunate enough to have Richart in attendance.

Richard Tracy. RICHART (2014) Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

Richard Tracy. RICHART (2014). Courtesy Portland Museum of Modern Art.

This summer’s programming will include an installation from fellow Precipice Fund grantee Julia Calabrese, as well as a show from acclaimed artist Lonnie Holley presented in partnership with Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Because of the Precipice Fund grant, PMOMA looks forward to a 2014 full of vibrant art and community.

Portland Collects Press

Chris Johanson Press

About the Precipice Fund
Administered by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, the Precipice Fund awards grants to unincorporated visual art collectives, alternative spaces, and collaborative projects in Portland, Oregon. Recognizing the barriers to funding faced by independent arts initiatives, Precipice Fund seeks to support both new and existing projects emblematic of Portland’s alternative, on-the-ground art community.

www.precipicefund.org

Some lingering reflections

Collected from audience interviews by Ariana Jacob
“It was about relationships. Like with Linda Austen, she did the same dance, I think three times. The first time it was just her, the second time she did it with her sculptures, subtly, and then you felt you were rewarded, like, ‘oh, I recognize this dance, now it is clicking into place.’ The last time she started back-tracking through the movements the sculptures began to open up and do new things -  connecting into each other.
In Karen Sherman’s piece it was her and two other dancers and each of them had their own separate struggle. There was one part where they had this conversation, that would turn in and out of an argument where they would keep switching places with each other. It was so relatable, they each traded their places, going back and forth in a triangular argument. They made some jokes, but they were not spoken jokes, they were situational. They kind of prodded the audience too, but we became like a stiff block. I don’t think there is any role the audience is supposed to have, we are just a blob.”

“The tedious moments were, perhaps, more extended in this year’s TBA than, perhaps, last year’s. I try to be generous towards tedium because I believe in not satisfying people’s expectations all the way – that it provides a way of making people feel themselves having to deal with being the audience. But maybe it is a too prevalent color in this festival circuit’s palette. I am not sure that the audience’s reaction to it is expanding from constant exposure.”

“The small casts, and sometimes the scope of what was being dealt with, felt very personal. I don’t mean this in a political way, but it didn’t seem like the goals of the performances were to stretch out into space. They were very much about the people on stag: their experiences and their lives, as opposed to commenting on larger issues.”

“There has been a lot of visual darkness throughout the festival, and that lends itself to tacking stock of your own situation as audience. I am also a performance maker, so I check in a lot with myself about ‘what is this doing for me in the moment as an audience member.’ There were a lot of awkward moments in relation to audience logistics, like when the woman came and tied the curtain and then told us the performance was over in the Miguel Gutierrez piece, but I like that.”

 

Ariana Jacob is an artist whose work focuses on conversation as shared subjective research. Her project Working/Not working: What do you do all day and how do you feel about what you do? is on view at the Littman Gallery as a part of the Emerging Tactics exhibition curated by Recess Gallery.

Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People: And lose the name of action

Miguel Gutierrez, And lose the name of action. Photo: Ian Douglas.

Miguel Gutierrez, And lose the name of action. Photo: Ian Douglas.

by Mary Rechner

For me it’s an enjoyable risk to invite a curious adventuresome person to the theater, especially to a play or performance neither of you know much about.  I attended Friday night’s performance of And lose the name of action with my mom.

My mom sees a lot of theater and performance in New York with my dad (they live on Long Island) and each time they visit Portland we check out some music, dance, or visual art, and often all three.

My mom and I were both riveted from beginning to end by And lose the name of action.

On the drive home we talked about the way the (each very different) three male and three female dancers’ bodies and movements, as well as their utterances (as well as the costumes, lighting, and set design) captured so many disparate aspects of life: movement and stasis, pleasure and pain, connection and estrangement, dark and light, clarity and confusion, the precise and the inchoate.

“Like a great novel,” I said.

“You can put a novel down,” said my mom.  “This was unrelenting.”

True.  The simultaneity of the music, moving bodies, lighting, images on screens, recordings of philosophical treatises, and utterances of dancers (both intelligible and unintelligible) felt like wave upon wave of multisensory stimulation.  We found it difficult to make any one unified sense or meaning of the piece, and this made it very interesting to talk about.

We wondered how the piece “would have been different” if broken up into separate shorter dances, and what it would have been like to have had an intermission, agreeing that it probably would have lost some of its oceanic immediacy.

Neither of us had read the TBA Performance Program prior to the performance, thus we did not know about Gutierrez’s father, whose neurological problems “coincided with [Gutierrez’s] growing interest in the role perception plays to determine reality and how various disciplines talk about the mind body connection” until after we were home, and read the program.

The information gave us yet another thread to weave into the lively conversation we continued to have long into the evening while drinking wine and eating egg salad sandwiches.

Mary Rechner is the author of Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women.  She lives in Portland.

Noticing repetition aka Some initial themes

Collected from audience interviews conducted by Ariana Jacob

“Remixing of the real.”

“The threat of failure. Failing people’s expectations. People have really high expectations of these performances and they are paying good money to watch someone essentially pee on them. But I think that room for failure is the best thing  happening at the festival this year, because it is the only thing that can really piss somebody off. Like when I watched Adult: half of it was in the dark and these two dancers were flailing around. I wanted to see bodies like bricks and people doing something I could never do. I didn’t see shit. But ultimately that is about me and my own desires that they were not trying to fulfill.”

“If I were to note a theme it wouldn’t be surprising given my own interests. I would say popular music: explorations of pop, talking about pop, covers of pop songs, listening to pop on you tube. A lot of pop/punk sensibilities are really present.”

” A lot of slow, sustained beginnings…”

“Minimal settings and the charge they brought to the work. Noting that you don’t need excessive, loud scenery or settings to have a powerful impact.”

“Thinking about stuff that we don’t know where it is, like with the Krystal South essay, where is it? Where is the art in it? I think it is in our heads, the art is when something shifts in our heads.”

“Everybody’s got a twitch.”

Ariana Jacob is an artist whose work focuses on conversation as shared subjective research. Her project Working/Not working: What do you do all day and how do you feel about what you do? is on view at the Littman Gallery as a part of the Emerging Tactics exhibition curated by Recess Gallery.

 

Sense Memory Snacks: Smorgasbord

Collected from audience interviews conducted by Ariana Jacob

Seeing:

“A massive yellow wig: incredibly massive, four feet wide with a black-face cyclops mask and huge stuffed breasts and bum. My reaction was mostly just WHOA, but it also made me think about the implications of becoming very large.” from the Drag Ball

“The beautiful transitions of light in Linda Austin’s dance performance with David Eckard’s sculptures. It was so subtle yet so dramatic and elegant. There was this one moment with a transition from warm light to an overpowering fluorescent that was so quiet and powerful at the same time.”

“The very deliberate seating pattern of rows of seats in an inner, middle and outer circle, performers sitting in pairs talking with each other, that then degenerates – or erupts into this battle with yelling and screaming.  But everyone knows where they are going, it is still a pattern that started with the seating arrangement.”  from Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People

“The performance was complete pitch black. I think it was two violins, a viola and a cello. My mind went wild because it was so dark it just HAD to imagine stuff. It was weird. I was imagining myself in a forest walking. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed it was so, so dark. Actually, I don’t remember the music at all, it all became visual to me – the sound brought me to my visual senses.” from Third Angle

Listening:

“During Lola Arias I was really aware of all the white people in the room laughing in places that I thought were not supposed to be funny at all. Things that had to do with race or different kinds of trauma that a lot of people don’t know how to deal with. So I was hyper aware that there was a lot of laughter that seemed like it was not because something was funny.”

“Taking a bath in sound.” from Wishful Thinking

“The contrast between the loud pop song playing at the beginning while there was nothing happening on stage vs the suspended stillness & quiet of the performers.” from Trajal Harrell

“The complexity of layered voice, clarinet and little glockenspiel melding into this cacophonous blur, but yet seeming so precise. Her style is very approachable and yet domineering.” from Like a Villain

“During Linda Austin’s performance there was this one musical gesture. It was contemporary classical: piano and violin. Throughout most of the dance I had been thinking about how much I hate abstraction: abstraction really pisses me off and the sculptures were these abstracted forms. One was house-like, one was bed like, one was phallic and stood in for the man. It was all kinda pissing me off but then I realized that the music was also a kind of abstracted melody. I really connect with and have a history with that kind of music, so tapping into the musical component allowed me to cerebrally apply a new kind of thinking to the sculptures and the dance.The shift happened mostly because of responding emotionally to the music. Is emotional response an abstraction?”

Linda

Feelings:

“The red-headed fellow stretched open the other fellow’s foreskin and screamed into it. I was in the front row. I usually sit there if I can, I like the immediacy of it. As the show went on I made a pact with myself consciously and unconsciously that I would catch them if they fell, if they came over the edge of the stage I was ready and willing to reach out and catch them. It felt like it might really happen. The show got very violent but still felt controlled and tender so that I never felt in danger. I just felt that they might go some place I had no idea where, but I was ready for whatever.” from Campo

“Performance Art is hard enough, but a parody of performance art? Uhg, I might as well go play video games.” from I Will Rip Your Arms Off

“It was uncomfortable. It was hard to predict when the crowd would applaud or not because they were challenging a lot of the standards of pacing and the expectations of when something is over. When you are breaking all those things you can’t expect a certain kind of audience response. They were deconstructing it and then it gets uncomfortable – like ooh, what is happening? Crickets.” from The Blow

“Champagne headache and a need for greasy food. It is not TBA’s fault, but it has been a while since I have felt the morning after TBA feeling.

“I went to the Keith Hennessy workshop last Sunday and we were supposed to shake for 10 minutes straight. You had to shake something, you couldn’t stop. I’ve been thinking about that everyday since, and shaking. It feels so good. It changes how my whole body feels: all my energy. I want to see what it does if I keep doing it.”

 

Ariana Jacob is an artist whose work focuses on conversation as shared subjective research. Her project Working/Not working: What do you do all day and how do you feel about what you do? is on view at the Littman Gallery as a part of the Emerging Tactics exhibition curated by Recess Gallery.