oaklandFound textiles, grommets
6.5′ x 6.8

This work was created as part of the senseofplace LAB project Converting Oakland’s Waste into Dialogue... Githingi Mbire was one of the artists in the exhibition and his entire practice is about using found items on the streets of Oakland to make his art. I had the opportunity to spend 2 hours walking with him through the city as he made a site-specific work. The video I made from that experience is below.

This work continues the ideas of the exhibition: to initiate a dialogue regarding waste left on the streets of Oakland. I chose to collect only things that were white during my walk with Githingi to create a conceptual framework, and to remove the element of color from the final work in order to focus the piece. White has many connotations though. The white objects that I found on the street refer to human intimacy and vulnerability. The items that I found were: a mattress cover, the covering on a box-spring, a woman’s silk slip, a shirt cut by hand to be a muscle shirt, and a t-shirt. Due to their color [or lack of] these items seem especially frail left to the elements.

White refers to a kind of emptiness and to race – both of which are aspects of a dialogue about waste left on the streets of Oakland. The dumping problem stems from the fact that there is no free accessible pick-up program in Oakland. Is this because there’s more empty space in Oakland, so why not?  Is it because the areas where the trash is dumped is inhabited by mostly people of color?

A flag can be seen as way to communicate pride in a physical form, but in this case the flag points to an aspect of Oakland that is empty of pride.