Photos by Laurie Halsey Brown
Does Oakland’s ‘sense of place’ include massive amounts of unwanted materials left in public spaces? In order to highlight this issue, senseofplace LAB invited four artists with strong relationships to Oakland to transform materials left on the streets into artworks – in order to create a dialogue regarding Oakland’s public space.
The video was made by senseofplace LAB during a walk with Githingi Mbire as he made a piece on the street.
GITHINGI MBIRE was born in Kenya and lives/works in Oakland. firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1903-1960 the The Key System, a privately owned company provided mass transit throughout the East Bay. Atop each of the Key System’s trains were a pair of pantographs which collected electric current from overhead wires to power the cars. The pantograph at the top of the sculpture was the starting point for the piece.
For my project I worked with a large, brown leather couch that I found on the street. I was specifically drawn to the leather that was worn from years of use. The first step was to dismantle the couch and inventory the various materials. This left me with piles of leather, hardwood, string and couch springs. While dismantling the couch I discovered loose coins that had fallen out of pockets and hairpins that had made their way into the crevices of the couch. -Jeff Hantman
Jeff Hantman received a BFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995 and has been living and working in the Bay Area for 18 years. He has attended the Recology artist in residence program in SF CA, AIR artist in residence Krems program in Austria, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside CA. http://www.jeffhantman.com
Brian’s piece uses a found truck tire in relation to a video triptych depicting shipping container cranes and trucks at the Port of Oakland.
Brian King is an installation artist exploring feelings of alienation and displacement brought on by modernity, secularization and the disintegration of the previous social order. Using three-dimensional objects, film, video, and sound, the artist creates installations that question the viewers’ assumptions about their reality. Incorporating mythological elements to mine their value as psychological archetype, the artist constructs narratives examining human nature through its archetypal progeny. www.brianhowardking.com
My work often deals with issues around waste and waste management, which is perhaps why I was selected for this project. In its execution I was thinking about this, but also about issues pertaining to place, land ownership and public/private dynamics. Mountain lions are native to the hills and valleys of Oakland. Though generally shy creatures who keep to themselves, and who will always try to avoid human contact, (they have been termed “the ghost cat” because they are so difficult to spot) still, in recent years as we have encroached on their remaining habitat and hunting grounds, they have occasionally wandered into inhabited lands. This occurred in 2010 in Berkley and the animal was killed. In California we have a strange relationship to wildlife, we want it to exist and we pride our state for having it, we like for it to be close… yet we cannot tolerate it being too close.
It is not a coincidence that the chosen location for this on-site work is in the corner of a fence opening. These cats mark their territory, as do we. But there are always corridors, overlap, liminal spaces. This space is a thoroughfare for people in cars, and conversely a home for the homeless. A place that divides one type of neighborhood from another, Taggers mark their territory here, and children play in the park behind it.
Coincidentally when we installed the work we found a small jaw bone from some sort of large rodent, possum or raccoon. This is still a wild place. – Alicia Escott
Alicia Escott is an artist living in California. Her work addresses the processes of commercial mediation in late capitalist society as well as the individual and collective experience of loss, heartbreak and longing.
She holds an MFA from California College of Art, where she received the Richard K. Price Scholarship in painting and a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. Escott has been an artist in residence at Djerassi Artist Residency, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and the JB Blunk Artist Residency. Her work has been shown in numerous institutions, galleries and alternative spaces, as well as published in literary journals they are collected publicly and privately, where facilities exist they have been recycled, and others have been littered on wilderness preserves throughout the country. http://www.aliciaescott.com