Massive Urban Change creates a space for nuanced dialogue about neighborhood evolution amidst the polarized debates currently surrounding the San Francisco Mission District. First hosted by the StoreFrontLab (337 Shotwell Street @17th) from November 7th to December 14th, 2014, the project consists of visual, sculptural and conversational components. It zooms in and zooms out on the controversies by calling attention to historical context while also prioritizing individual experiences within the neighborhood.
The project begins with the installation of a photograph of Mission Street between 15th and 30th Streets. With a nod to Ed Ruscha’s Sunset Strip, this panoramic series snakes around the walls and provides the first layer of what will become a collaboratively collaged, narrative map of neighborhood change.
The StoreFrontLab space hosted visitors as both audience members and participants. The artists conducted interviews, did online and historical research, and took suggestions from audience members for how to build out the gallery’s map of changes. Visitors to the opening began the mapping process speaking to other guests at the event about neighborhood identity, history, pride, distress and hopes for the future.
The StoreFrontLab hosts experiments of community interest, lasting from one day to a month. In 201-15, they present Season 2: City Making, a series of installations, wanderings, happenings, and conversations that look critically and optimistically at our city’s future. Learn more at storefrontlab.org
Nicole Lavelle and Eliza Gregory created a series of graphic postcards for purchase that illuminate the role that the language of commerce plays in forming and representing place-based identity. Each postcard features one or more graphic renderings of business signage from Mission Street, taken from original photographs. The sale of these cards helps fund the project and acts as an entry point for conversation around familiar landmarks and what we value about the Mission.
Two of Daniel Garcia’s Switch benches will ran down the center of the gallery. These benches subtly encouraged conversation by physically suggesting that people sit facing opposite directions: the contours of each bench switch two-thirds of the way along. Made from baltic birch and fixed to welded plate steel legs, the Switch benches reinforce the values of dialogue and community-building that underscore Massive Urban Change. These benches are available for purchase. Inquiries can be sent to Danny at: a.numberstation at gmail.
SCHEDULE OF UPCOMING EVENTS
Eliza Gregory presents a reprise of MASSIVE, with conversation, postcards and assignments at Root Division's 14 RAPID: TRANSIT & TRANSITION on August 8, 2015. More info here.
Eliza Gregory is a photographer and a social practice artist with a relationship-focused project style. She has exhibited work at the Princeton Art Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum and the Melbourne Museum. She received her AB from Princeton University and her MFA from Portland State. She collaboratively runs a website dedicated to dialogues around photography and social practice at socialpractice.photography In Spring 2015 she will begin a project with SFMOMA that builds relationships between Mission-based high school students and local restaurants. She grew up in San Francisco and lives in the Mission. You can see her work at elizagregory.com.
Nicole Lavelle is an artist-designer who creates platforms for participation and collaborative publishing. She likes to say she makes work with people, place, paper, landscape, and language. She is a San Francisco native who has recently been re-transplanted back home after more than a decade, and she is currently enrolled in the Social Practice MFA program at the California College of the Arts. Her work can be found at nicolelavelle.com. Nicole has designed the visual language for Massive Urban Change, including mapping techniques, brand identity, and templates for presenting interview content.
Daniel Garcia is a designer, furniture maker, woodworker, metalworker and artist based in San Francisco. He has a Bachelor’s of Architecture from California College of the Arts and has supplemented his practice with apprenticeships in a variety of trades in an attempt to bridge the gap between design and fabrication. He currently works for the architecture firm Min|Day. See his work at contraptiondesign.com.