Precipice Fund Project Update: RECESS / Moving Out


A pilot still

RECESS  is a collaborative arts initiative based in Portland, Oregon, developing and supporting projects that rupture the experience of everyday life and inspire new social possibilities. Since losing our headquarters in 2014, RECESS has been exploringthe effects of rising rental and real estate costs on arts workers in major cities along the West Coast of the US and Canada, focusing on how the resulting nomadic lifestyles and dispersed communities shape artistic production. With Moving Out, we intend to foster a new sense of regional identity by showcasing artists and projects that respond to these conditions both directly and indirectly. Our collaborators in this project include organizers at other alternative spaces and artists facing and addressing economic pressures.


soledadreleaseThe book release and performance marking the publication of Again the search, Another disappointment: a translation work by Soledad Muñoz Fiegehen, produced in-house by RECESS, was the first event in our programming. We also presented Seeing It Through, a rotating selection of video works by West Coast artists presented in collaboration with Composition Gallery, where we are guest-curating the storefront window from May to July. Other events included A Pilot For A Show About Nowhere on May 12th, a performative lecture by Los Angeles-based artist and conceptual entrepreneur Martine Syms, and a release on May 30th of an untitled sci-fi novel about debt by Bay Area artist Cassie Thornton.



Precipice Fund Project Update: Boom Arts


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Boom Arts, based in Portland, Oregon, is a boutique presenter and producer of contemporary theatre and performance from around the world. They aim to serves diverse audiences with extraordinary arts experiences from around the world, illuminating crucial issues and ideas of our time through theatre, performance, and dialogue. In January, Boom Arts brought to portland, Rodrigo García’s one man play, I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Son of a Bitch.  It was preformed at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, and featured in  featured  in the portland monthly magazine.


“Discernment and Confusion in I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Son of a Bitch” By Robert Quillen Camp, Department of Theatre, Lewis & Clark College


“…This production not only highlights and develops the thematic material of the play (the claims of traditional European culture against the encroaching monolith of American consumer capitalism, the emotional and psychological effects of widespread economic instability, and especially the emotional challenges of parenting) but it also introduces new formal confusions: first, it is being staged in a space that is primarily devoted to the exhibition of visual art, and second, the actors playing the children in this production are piglets.

These two interventions work with one another to subtly disrupt our spectatorial experience – hemmed in by a small picket fence, the actor and the piglets are on exhibition like the Goya paintings at the center of the narrative, and the pleasure that we take in the display of an actor’s virtuosic theatrical skill (provided by the accomplished Ebbe Roe Smith) becomes confused with an altogether different kind of pleasure, the joy of watching piglets just being piglets—no skill involved—their utter lack of pretension to being anything else constantly threatening to overwhelm the world of the play. Traditional theatrical wisdom recommends against the casting of animals (with some notable exceptions – Annie’s Sandy comes to mind), because the fact that we know that the animal isn’t really obeying the laws of the fictional world puts too much pressure on our suspension of disbelief. Famously, the disastrous performance of the dog cast in the 1891 premiere of the symbolist playwright Maurice Maeterlinck’s play The Blind sent its Parisian audience into hysterics at what was meant to be a moment of tragic recognition. But here, in this production, the confusion is productive. Not only because it generates the self-awareness often found in experimental theater (we all know this performance is a performance) but because, as the play’s protagonist argues, confusion is a necessary component of an authentic experience. Otherwise you might as well be at Disneyland. Here our experience is troubled, multiform, and radically incomplete.”


Precipice Fund Project Update: The Portland Pataphysical Society


The Portland Pataphysical society, is a “private social club”, that hosts exhibitions,presentations and performances in an alternative arts space now located in downtown portland.

In January, we moved the PataPDX from the living room of our second floor apartment to a live/work storefront space at the corner of NW 6th and Everett. Our new space is the most visible gallery in the Everett Station Lofts, with 10 large windows looking out onto the street. Funding from our Precipice award allowed us to build out our new gallery space, completely refinishing the floors, creating a new library area, adding storage, buying a video projector, and installing a 14 foot church pew from the early 1930′s (see image 1). Once build out was complete, we launched the first exhibition in our year long programming season: Michelle Blade’s If the Spirit Moves You (see image 2). That exhibition was followed by a solo show featuring Eugene-based artist Julia Oldham (see image 3). Oldham’s work at PataPDX received a very positive critical reception, including mentions in Port, The Willamette Week, and the Portland Monthly.


PataPDX also presented an exhibition in May that brought together a diverse group of collaborating institutions to support the work of Brooklyn-based artist Christine Wong Yap (see image 4). In conjunction with to her exhibition at PataPDX, Yap participated in a 2 week residency at c3:initiative, installed a satellite exhibition in the Project Window of PDX Contemporary, and participated in Portland State University MFA Art & Social Practice program’s 2015 Assembly conference. We have used funding from our Precipice award to pay artist fees, offset shipping expenses, and for commissioning new arts writing about our projects.









The Radical Imagination Gymnasium is both a fitness regime aimed at exercising the underused muscles of the radical imagination and the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together. Through a series of collaborative, emergent, and experimental workouts throughout May, the Radical Imagination Gymnasium provided a space to reimagine new ways of being together in the world: Walidah Imarisha’s workout facilitated collective science fiction visioning/writing on social justice issues; Tamara Lynn’s workout participants collectively imagined living 24 hours in utopiaCarmen Papalia established an open working space dedicated to the consideration of our agency in public and institutional settings; and Renee Sills guided participants through an embodied exploration of commoning.

The Radical Imagination Gymnasium is a project by artists Zachary GoughGuestwork, and Patricia Vazquez Gomez. All workshops and events were all free and open to the public. 

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Precipice Fund Project Update: Random Access Tape / Stream Room

Stream Room is a collaborative multi-channel musique concrète sound installation by deepwhitesound, an online label of free experimental audio. Hundreds of micro-compositions produced by dozens of international sound artists and musicians are randomly sequenced and broadcast via wi-fi to handmade streaming units. Each collected composition is designed to be played simultaneously as an immersive sound installation, recently exhibited at FalseFront in Northeast Portland.

streamroom-03The result is a cacophonous, randomized bombast of disparate experimental recordings, playing over and against each other, an aural metaphor of the chaotic and over-stimulating nature of the internet itself. The discord of battling sound sources and quickly transitioned content creates a type of meditative experience. Rather than aiming to reach transcendence through minimalism, senses are bombarded and inundated in a type of maximalism. The dissonant nature of the installation draws allusions to the overwhelming qualities of the internet, social media and the information age. Stream Room serves as an appraisal of this condition, an errant signal celebrated, a space for enthralled annihilation.

Random Access Tape is a 30-minute, two-sided audio cassette that serves as documentation of the project, a physical artifact from the first iteration of this never repeatable, randomized exhibition.Random Access Tape is distributed under the Creative Commons license, which encourages free redistribution and attribution of the tape, to organizations, individuals, collectives and broadcast centers who wish to aid in making the work available to the public. The physical and non-commercial circulation of work designed for digital, streaming media is a symbolic gesture meant to call attention to the very real and present role of digital media in the delivery of innovative artistic endeavors and to further the idea that free art is not forgettable art.

streamroom-01Stream Room and Random Access Tape are produced by DB Amorin for deepwhitesound, with support from a grant provided by the Precipice Fund. Visuals and printed media design by Dana Paresa. Programming consultation by Matthew McVickar.

deepwhitesound (DWS) is an international online label of experimental audio operating since 2005. Featuring multidisciplinary sound art, experimental music and composition from disparate geographic locations, deepwhitesound supports the diffusion of media and digital distribution. All work featured is offered without charge as full-release, artist-constructed digital downloads under the Creative Commons license. deepwhitesound values diverse local and net-based community, using social media as a platform for collaborative projects and communication between artists, organizers and curators.

For more information, please visit:















Random Access Tape / Stream Room

Precipice Fund Project Update: SENSINGFEELINGPERCEIVING / Exquisite Corpus

Exquisite Corpus was a collaboratively designed and facilitated workshop that provided visual and interdisciplinary artists interested in materials of performance–time, space, presence, physicality and voice–a rigorous place to study, experiment and practice. The project was made possible with the support of a grant from the Precipice Fund.


RESPONSES from PARTICIPANTS AROUND the question: What would you like someone else to explore in their performance?

“Follow your own interest. This can pertain to anything we have explored in class-going deeper into past homework assignments or anything else that has come up”:


agency. choices. Curiosity. Motivation – what motivates a person (you or someone else) to perform? – explore this.


Two parts:

1.  I’d be curious to see to being ‘on’ or ‘performing’ at 100%, 10%, and neutral.

2.  I’d also be curious to see being ‘off’ or ‘not performing’ at 100%, 10%, and neutral.


This being performed in relationship to an object.

The object has personal meaning to the performer.


What does it mean to blend, or show a range from being on to off, to go from neutral, to performing, to then not performing, in a performance?


We are so accustomed to frontal, face-to-face communication. I’d like to know more about ways of sensing, feeling, perceiving, connecting with, and communicating with the audience when performing with your back


I am curious whether or not self consciousness is the same thing as being in a performance state.


I wonder if performance can ever be turned “off”.


I am curious about presence and awareness, that internal measurement of sensing your own presence and the presence of others, when you’re “on” in terms of performing. What breaks that sense of awareness and presence? Are you able to hold it? Do you forget you are “on” while performing and if you forget but still engaged with others or the space, does that mean you are still “on”?


What are the ways in which an audience’s attention is directed?


I am curious about how one can stay “free” within their performance to make choices that both surprise themselves (and keep them interested) as well as keeping the performance “fresh” for the audience.




























Precipice Fund Project Update: Arresting Power

Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon is a feature-length documentary film that provides a historical and political analysis of the role of the police in contemporary society and the history of policing in the United States through personal storytelling as well as interviews with community organizers past and present. It provides a framework for understanding the systems of social control in Portland with its history of exclusion laws, racial profiling, red-lining, gentrification practices and policing along lines of race and class. It serves to uncover Portland’s unique history of police relations and community response. The project was supported by a grant from the Precipice Fund.

ARRESTING POWER: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon


US, 2014, 90 minutes


Precipice Fund Project Update: FRONT

FRONT provides a print-based representation of Portland dance artists while fostering conversations between local creators and national and international peers in the field of contemporary dance. The publication serves as a design-forward visual object as much as a collection of critical writing on dance. On November 22, FRONT released the fourth edition of its annual newsprint publication dedicated to contemporary dance, the production and printing of which was supported by a Precipice Fund grant.

Ed_4Poster_Final_GRAPHICS copy

ED4: BUOY focuses on dance practices and processes untethered from performance presentation and emphasizes conversations between West Coast dance makers. The newly released publication pays homage to two champions of the social potential surrounding performance: Performance Works NorthWest (PDX) and AUNTS (NYC). A brand new section, Notes from the Field presents a trove of artifacts from the creative lives of contemporary dance makers. From Houston, Rachel Cook of DiverseWorks delves into her curatorial vantage in a commissioned essay, while FRONT offers a glimpse into its recent Resource Room Residency at PICA.

 Hosted by Ristretto Roasters on Couch, the release party for ED4: BUOY was attended by friends from Portland’s arts communities as well as passersby and members of the media new to FRONT. Since the release, FRONT has mailed BUOY to contributors across the US and abroad and sent out a number of mail orders—notably for archival purposes in the libraries of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. In the coming months, FRONT will participate in the Publication Fair via Publication Studio (12/14, Ace Cleaners) and have on-site presence at the American Realness festival and bookstore (1/8-1/18/15, Abrons Art Center, NYC).


















Get a BUOY today!
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Precipice Fund Project Update: Weird Shift Storefront

Supported by a grant from the Precipice Fund, the Weird Shift Storefront was open for six months in 2014, from April through October. In that time, they hosted more than 25 events, displayed the work of 15 artists/non-artists directly, and featured over 16 presenters in the various evenings, workshops, and our signature “Micro-Talk” sessions, at which anyone who wanted to could come and share their marginalia research to a curious and eager audience. With 30 hours of regular open time per week, in addition to those events, Weird Shift was able to showcase visual, performance, video, and sound art from Portland-based, national, and international artists. Weird Shift Storefront made a space available that anyone could enter, not just an “art” crowd, and think, discuss, and experience different ways of sharing interesting material with other people.

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Weird Shift Storefront



Precipice Fund Project Update: Resident Residency

Supported by a grant from the Precipice Fund, Resident Residency invited artists to participate in their respective neighborhood association meetings as a context for developing participatory public artworks. Over the past year, six artists-in-residence worked as organizers, researchers, activists and fellow neighbors to create projects that were engaging, playful, and thought provoking in their own Portland neighborhoods.

At the end of the project, Resident Residency published a book documenting the project. The book includes writing and project documentation from each of this year’s six artists, an essay by Travis Nikolai, and a group interview about the idea and practice of Resident Residency:

Portland Neighborhood Map

“The artists of Resident Residency … recode our perceptions of where and what we call home. They draw us outside of ourselves, outside of our homes, by constructing reasons to linger in spots just beyond the boundaries of our personal property. They make us loiter. And whilst loitering create circumstances in which we exchange our peculiarities or partake jointly of the idiosyncrasies of our surroundings. In Linda Wysong’s “Sabin Now and Then”, the exchange is a formal one, where longtime residents relate watershed moments in the neighborhood’s history. In Khris Soden’s “Buckman Wonder Wander”, smaller changes and personal places are examined on a casual stroll. Ariana Jacob’s “Piedmont Neighborhood Walk Swap” turns the dérive inward as she pairs residents off for walks in ways designed to burst our “filter bubble”: the phenomenon, heightened by information age over-saturation, to seek out that which is already attuned to our particular sensibilities. Mack McFarland and Katy Asher’s piece Tug O’ War: North Portland Knockdown is less verbal but offers discourse through physical competition where audiences can know one another through victories, losses, bumps and bruises. Last, Krista Connerly’s “Reprieve From Infinite Bustle” creates an intimate exchange through shared silence in the vulnerability of a communal nap in a public place. By activating audiences through varied forms of personal exchange in spaces often delineated by private reverie, the artists endeavor to make us distinctly aware of the boundaries we place around our communal spaces, ourselves, and each other.”

- Excerpt from Where is a Place by Travis Nikolai, an essay in the Resident Residency Book

For more information and documentation of Resident Residency, please visit





Resident Residency