Monday, February 23, 2009

Meet our Grantees - Sanlun Yishu

We have just heard from another of our 2008 grant recipients, Sanlun Yishu, by artists Lee Somers and Elisabeth Pellathy in Beijing, China.
The original description of the project:

三san (three) 轮lun (wheel) 车che (vehicle) – a versatile, cheap and compact tricycle made from modified motorcycles or bicycles.

Small yet mighty, the workhorse of Beijing moves everything from lumber to passengers. Often employed as a low-budget local taxi.

三san (three) 轮lun (wheel) 艺术yishu (art) – a mobile gallery, a custom-made Sanlun che housing an exhibition of print, drawing, sound, and video selected specifically for this context.

The primary function is to facilitate personal interaction with art for an audience outside the scope of the traditional gallery. Shifting art viewing from a passive to active interface with the community, Sanlun Yishu overlays an art-experience with daily transportation. Artists from around the globe will create works themed on urban life for the mobile gallery.

Passengers will become participants, asked to reflect on their identity in our urban world. Instead of paying a fare, participants take a work of art with them and make a creative contribution of their own. This transaction is the basis of a conversation between artists and passengers, examining urban life from multiple perspectives, forging unlikely connections across the globe.

And we recenlty heard from Elisabeth and Lee:

Please find attached somerecent pics of the project out on the streets. We have been keeping busy with this project! The pictures show Lee out driving it - which he does sometimes. It gathers a lot of interest because we wrote"mian fei cheng zuo" or "free to ride" on the window.

This is the first point of interest for many people - so far it seems well recieved and the feedback box inside is filling....Talk more soon.

Best regards,
Elisabeth and Lee

We look forward to more updates from the Sanlun Yishu mobile interactive installation which is creating "three wheeled art" in Beijing.

March 3, 2009: You will notice a comment below from artist Pete Nawara. The painting Woman with a Pearl Necklace
( ) is on the side of Sanlun Yishu. Pete, we are thrilled to hear from you and your work is beautiful!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meet Our Grantees - Ocean Beach Fire Pits

We got this note from one of our 2008 Grant Recipients the Ocean Beach Fire Pits - Rebecca Anders, Yasmin Mawaz-Khan and Charles Gadeken, San Francisco, California:

We are proud and happy to report that the Ocean Beach Fire Pits project, so generously supported by BRAF in 2008, is complete. As you know, Charlie and his crew installed their beautiful fourth Sea Star this past summer, and yesterday the fourth Firebloom successfully made it to its new permanent home on Ocean Beach!

We are so grateful for the grant support from the Black Rock Arts Foundation.

Congratulations on another successful public art installation, and thanks so much for everything!

Rebecca Anders

The experience of building a fire at the ocean’s edge is as old as human time, and a much-beloved ritual on the San Francisco coastline. Ocean Beach Fire Pits are locally made sculptural fire pits made from cast concrete or recycled steel and designed to succeed in the harsh and extreme beach environment. Taking the form of Sea Stars and Fireblooms these beautifully crafted, unique objects provide a valuable and accessible site of public interaction and connection. Already a success among the San Francisco community, the intentional welcoming aspect of the fire pits draw people together and encourage engagement between a diverse cross-section of beach visitors and the surrounding landscape.
In 2007 the San Francisco Parks Department wanted to ban fires on Ocean Beach and these fire pits were a component of convincing the Parks Department to continue to allow the fires.

We are proud to have been supporters of this project and are thrilled to see it completed.
To learn more about the controversy that fires on Ocean Beach engendered and the involvement of our sister organization, check these out:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Reporting in on Elemental Interactions - WATER

Zach Rukstela, Harley Dubois, David Zetland, Linda Gass, Henry Kaiser and our very own BRAF Executive Director Tomas McCabe

In this, the last of our Elemental Interactions series, our guests spoke on the topic of 'Water'. We brought together an eclectic mix of speakers, artists, scientists, social historians and others from our extended community and beyond. They speakers educated, entertained and enlightened us with facts, figures, history, economy, art and the rock and roll of water!
Our host, Harley Dubois, is a founding member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation and the Burning Man Board. Harley spoke of her personal attraction and experiences with water and then introduced our first speaker.

Our first speaker, a water economist, David Zetland, had lots of information to share with us about how water economics works now and changes that could be made to the water economics system to improve the sharing of water. He emphasized that if we went away with only one idea, it should be that water rationing doesn't work. David proposes a flat cost of water at the very first level of water usage, flat across all users, and then a steep step up in price at various levels above that flat rate, or, if you want more water, YOU SHOULD PAY A LOT MORE FOR IT.

Abendigo Reebs of LeakBird made a podcast of David's talk at BRAF, and if you want more information about David's point of view checkout his aguanomics blog.

Zachary Rukstela artist and "dad" of the Kinetic Steam Works, spoke about his love of all things "steam". Zach's vision includes supporting art like The Steampunk Treehouse and Zach looks forward to supporting artists through the use of steam.

Linda Gass makes art informed by her activist passion. She spoke of her love of nature and backpacking and how it inspires her to create her meticulously create painted silk quilts of waterways. She spoke about the history and practice of water management and how she hopes to use the lure of beauty in her work to encourage people to look at the hard issues confronting us. I especially enjoyed her discussion of the process of creating her quilts.

And then we heard from Henry Kaiser, Diver, Musician, and Cinematographer. He screened Hi-definition footage of diving under ice in the Anartica and he accompanied the footage with incredible music on his guitar. It was a wonderful way to end the evening. If you are interested in seeing more of his underwater photography, Encounters at the end of the World, is coming to the Kabuki Theatre in San Francisco in February as part of an Oscar Documentary Film Festival. We will be there, come check it out.

We had a large enthusiastic crowd to share this delightful evening, and although it was the end of the Elemental Interaction series we look forward to spending other evening sharing art and all of its impact with you.

Loren Carpenter, Will Roger, Laura Kimpton

Josie Shimke and "Jewel" Sue Bishop

Dana Ullman hanging out with newlyweds, Frillypants and TradeMark G.
To see a few more photos:
For additional information:

Monday, February 02, 2009

Multiverse at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

Black Rock Arts Foundation Advisory Board Member, Leo Villareal, has an amazing light sculpture at the National Gallery, Multiverse.

Multiverse, the largest and most complex light sculpture created by American artist Leo Villareal, may be seen and experienced by visitors as they pass through the Concourse walkway between the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. Commissioned by the Gallery and on view until November 2009, the work features approximately 41,000 computer-programmed LED (light-emitting diode) nodes that run through channels along the entire 200-foot-long space. The development of this LED project began in 2005, and the installation created by Villareal specifically for this location began in September 2008.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Giving Tree - Robin Banks - Meet our Grantees

Progress on The Giving Tree
Rendering of The Giving Tree

During the 2008, Black Rock Arts Foundation Grant Cycle, we gave artist Robin Banks $8,000 to complete his installation, The Giving Tree.

The Giving Tree Project is an interactive, part wind-powered, part human-powered sculpture of a 30 foot tree. It is designed to generate it's own power by harnessing the movement of tree branches and leaves in the wind, a currently untapped source of mechanical wind energy. Participants will also be able to generate more energy in an interactive playground, by swinging on swings attached to the tree. As power is generated twofold, The Giving Tree comes alive with lights, pumping water and sound, and shows the circulatory system of the tree's xylem and phloem system within.

Globally the aim of this project is to promote the prevention of de-forestation in places where illegal lumbering is a way of survival by teaching that trees can be a valuable asset of wind energy to us if just left standing, powering rural farms and villages off the grid.

See the debut of The Giving Tree at The Do Lab's Lucent L'Amour event, February 14, 2009 in downtown Los Angeles, Ca.