Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts!
promo video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ulwcLVzT7w
and their opening ceremony is in two weeks!

When my friend, Gregor, mentioned GAFTA to me, we talked about how it promises to revitalize the Tenderloin district in San Francisco (for those of you outside of SF, the Tenderloin is the city's overt area for in-your-face drugs, crime, and homelessness).

"If the area is going to be taken over by this digital arts megaplaza," I asked, "Where are all of the homeless going to go - pushed out?"

Gregor said yes, it's almost comedic how overt GAFTA is in their YouTube promo video, with even a clip of a homeless person is pushing a grocery cart away.

Anyhow, GAFTA seems pretty exciting. I'm not sure if they are going to produce something that sells to the average consumer, but the average consumer can walk in and ooh and .

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, just a few blocks away in downtown San Francisco, has always included interesting young, digital art, but never on such a focused, dedicated scale as GAFTA - so I wonder what their reaction will be to GAFTA. Perhaps this is a real movement to digital art rather than physical hand-made art. I recently happened to meet with the curators at MoAD (Museum of the African Diaspora), also in downtown SF. They regard themselves as a museum of ideas, rather than objects, and have lots of touch screens or films rather than antiques or relics.

It seems more like a community media center with artists in residence - a place to go for start-ups to collaborate when they have a crazy futuristic project, and for others to touch screens and ooh and ah at the magic.

The workshops will introduce people to tools like Processing.org ("Initially created to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context").

Also, I think what is most fascinating about the exhibitions is that they are all - through the use of technology - able to present different perspectives on our reality: http://www.gaffta.org/2009/08/23/inaugural-exhibition-open/. For example, Camille Utterback and Stamen Design's exhibitions give new ways of looking at the Tenderloin neighborhood itself. This is the epitome of post-post-modernism (the sense that there is no single reality, but infinite perspectives) - and that technology, films, multimedia - can help us tap into the dimensions in-between (like Being John Malkovich's 7 1/2 floor).

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