/// senseofplace LAB Mission ///
Projects are meant to facilitate a ‘being present’ in place, and utilize the context of art to heighten unmediated voices regarding places that matter to them.
“Learning how to see a place instead of making a place” – Rick Lowe
/// Artist Statement ///
Since 2008, I’ve worked under senseofplace LAB to create interdisciplinary projects that are meant to deepen the viewers’ relationship to place. senseofplace LAB emerges in the interdisciplinary space of art, architecture and social engagement. It was founded in San Francisco in 2008 – based on research/art in New York and the Netherlands since 2000.
Projects/works are intent on making visible the value that is already within in a place, to experience each place as a location of worth. Projects use social engagement strategies to produce a layered set of identification markers to recognize what imbues each location with a ‘sense of a place’. Projects are created with the perspective of those that live/work there; public authorship is an inherent aspect of the process. senseofplace LAB includes different levels of public authorship as inherent collaborative process in developing projects that heighten a relationship to place. My hope is that an active experience of place empowers people to communicate their needs for their community, and strengthen a sense of civic engagement. Everyone has a relationship to place, and I utilize this truism as a way to invite important conversations.
The theoretical area that has most influenced my practice (introduced to me in graduate school) is Situationist theory. While reading texts such as The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem and Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography by Guy Debord, I identified with the term “situationist” as someone who creates artistic situations (or uses social engagement processes) as a tool for the “liberation of everyday life” in order to negate the pervasive passivity that accompanied the ‘spectacle’ or our focus on commodity consumption. Their term psychogeography refers to how places affect us, with the dérive being a strategy for experiencing place outside of our usual prescribed movements. senseofplace LAB projects are meant to cause a shift in how we experience – and communicate that experience of – places that matter to us. Supporting people to be proactive in relation to place, and in seeing place as more than a commodity.
Projects include an awareness of time in relationship to place. They are interdisciplinary but with a strong focus on photography as both an art medium and an engagement strategy. Taking photos is a process of being present. Projects are created for many audiences: as temporary public/social engagement projects, within an art context and in collaboration with and then placed into – communities.
“Those who are truly contemporary are those who neither perfectly coincide with their time nor adapt to its demands…Contemporariness, then, is that relationship with time that adheres to it through a disconnection.” — Giorgio Agamben
/// Laurie Halsey Brown Art Bio ///
Laurie Halsey Brown is a interdisciplinary artist that connects people to places, and the Director/Founder of senseofplace LAB. She received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts. After which, she lived in New York City for ten years before moving to Rotterdam, the Netherlands for five years. She has been living in San Francisco since 2007.
A large scale interdisciplinary piece based on her residency in the World Trade Center was shown at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC in 2001, and her work afterwards has been shown nationally in places such as Exit Art, White Columns and internationally, including creating several large interdisciplinary art projects funded by the Dutch and British government. She has also had video work shown internationally in such venues as the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
In 2015, she received a Caltrans Environmental Justice: Context Sensitive Design Program grant, for a large-scale public art project at 16th/Mission BART Plaza; created a solo project in Portland; showed work at Focal Point Gallery in London, and as part of the Parking Lot Art Fair and stART-up fair in San Francisco. In 2014, she was in two exhibitions as SOMArts. She was nominated for the 2013 The Present Prize for research-based work. She was one of ten finalists for a 2012 Masterminds Grant from SF Weekly: Honoring the Bay Area’s Most Inventive Artists. Her photographs were in an 2011-2012 exhibition in the Bay Area juried by Sandra S. Phillips, Senior Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Drew Johnson, Curator of Photography at the Oakland Museum of California – and won a Jurors Choice Award. She is also included in the 2011-2012 exhibition Before the Fall at the New York State Museum.
Brown’s work has been written about in Art in America, and several times in The New York Times, and most recently in SF Chronicle, SF Weekly, The Bold Italic and KPIX. Her works are part of the permanent collection in the Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and in many private collections. She has been actively involved in guest residencies nationally and internationally including Belfast, N. Ireland; Berlin, Germany; Rotterdam, the Netherlands and in the UK.
/// Laurie Halsey Brown Teaching Bio ///
Laurie Halsey Brown has many years of teaching and education administration experience. After receiving her MFA from Cal Arts, she taught as a museum educator in many NYC museums, including the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum of Art for several years. She then worked as the Education Director at several arts spaces including Art in General and Harvestworks Digital Media Arts, followed by a position as the Media Education Coordinator for the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
She was a faculty member of the New School University, NYC from 1999 to 2012, where she designed and taught an online course titled Interdisciplinary Media and Contemporary Society. She also taught a similar class at Piet Zwart Post Graduate Fine Arts in the Netherlands. Since moving to San Francisco, she has designed and taught several photo-based workshops through SkillShare, and was the Program Director for Art With Elders in 2012. In 2014, she guest lectured at CCA and in 2015, she gave a presentation for class in the art + architecture program at USF.
/// NOTE: Please e-mail for a complete CV ///
/// senseofplace LAB projects ///
Point Reyes National Seashore Residency Point Reyes, CA
Architecture as Pedestal. San Francisco, CA Interactive temporary public project
Hayes Valley Art Works San Francisco, CA Interactive temporary public project
Parking Lot Art Fair San Francisco, CA Interactive temporary public project
Surplus Space Portland, Oregon a commemoration in several parts: an investigation of our relationship to a place (Surplus)
Solo project (with collaborators Eric Nielson, Gabe Flores and Michelle Wood)
Markings (Dear Developer) Large scale public art project installed for 3 months at the 16thMission BART plaza, San Francisco, CA
Made possible by a ‘Caltrans Environmental Justice: Context Sensitive Design Program’ grant
Market Street Prototyping Festival Portal Exchange: Public engagement installation on Market St, San Francisco, CA
In collaboration with Gensler Architects
AIA San Francisco Presentation as part of Placemaking conference
Focal Point Gallery, London UK ‘Graphics Interchange Format: 25 Years of Focal Point Gallery’. Radial Shadow gifs
stART-up Art Fair, San Francisco, CA with ASC Projects senseofplace LAB boutique. Photo installation
Cities+Schools, Berkeley, CA Guest panelist for a student presentation
SOMArts, San Francisco, CA Placed/Displaced exhibition. breathing in place: 3 part engagement installation
SOMArts, San Francisco, CA Day of the Dead exhibition. Markings (DOTD): engagement installation
NOWSF Festival Spotlight on the Panhandle: series of 3 public engagement projects in San Francisco, CA
SF Hidden Waters Public engagement project in San Francisco, CA. In collaboration with Eric Nielson
Converting Oakland Waste into Dialogue…Curatorial project about/in Oakland, CA with 5 local artists
Markings_Kezar ∆ Public engagement project in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
Nomadic Nature in Situ Worked with local artists to create 4 seasonal public interventions, in the Presidio, San Francisco, CA
Artopia, San Francisco, CA – One of 10 Finalists for Masterminds Grant
Residency with MilkBar at Sunshine Biscuit Factory in Oakland, CA. Created interdisciplinary installation: 5/7/5
Bike Rack as Public Art design contest. In collaboration with San Francisco Bike Coalition
Article for Urban Notes section of SPUR magazine
/// Articles/Reviews about senseofplace LAB projects ///
2016 John Metcalfe Take a Smell Tour of San Francisco’s Presidio Park, CityLab/The Atlantic
2014 Caille Milner, Putting the Pain of Gentrification to Good Use, SF Chronicle
2014 Robin Cembalest, 101 Women Artists Who Got Wikipedia Pages This Week ArtNews.com
2012 Jonathan Curiel, The Destination Artist, SF Weekly
/// History ///
Architectural Space. While my work has a long history of exploring a heightened relationship to architectural space, my practice became more focused on the field of architecture when living/working in Rotterdam, the Netherlands for five years beginning in 2002. I was inspired by the strong architectural scene there, which includes many well-know offices, such as OMA. senseofplace LAB views the built environment as an inherent contributor to ‘sense of place’. While working in Rotterdam, I began research into art strategies that could give communities a voice in the development of their ‘place’. My practice in NYC before that included working in many forms and many areas that led to that research. Social Engagement Works that bring art into the public space and heighten a relationship to place, began with a video projection onto a door and a public wall text piece that was created for gallery spaces in Dublin and Belfast. Following this, was the series Places We Are: site -specific video curatorial projects made for bars and on buses in New York, Belfast and Rotterdam. Net.art works were also created during this period that I saw as a form of public art, and were shown in digital festivals internationally. From 2003 to 2007, three large-scale intra-disciplinary projects were created in [and funded by] the Netherlands and UK to form the series: being there. The research and civic engagement aspects of these projects initiated senseofplace LAB’s mission. senseofplace LAB predominantly collaborates with interdisciplinary partners, in order to deepen the investigation of ‘sense of place’ and to open the work to a diverse range of audiences. Curatorial Practice This began as a way to activate a multi-layered dialogue through connecting many perspectives/artists within a project/exhibition. It was an avenue to explore ideas not necessarily inherent in my own practice. Projects were organized with a special focus on media: video, film and net.art, and on diverse audiences: in public spaces, galleries, museums and film festivals.