Can you spot the differences?

Found after Saturday’s opening reception for New Arrangements, courtesy of Lucy Doughton. 

Ned Colclough Map

Michihiro Kosuge

Stop by to see the exhibit for yourself and make sure to pick up a gallery map, whether for wayfinding or coloring or doodling or pareidolia practice…

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Bookmarks, Chapter 2

Irregular updates on the comings-and-goings of our many, many alumni artists. just posted the edited video from their multi-camera shoot of Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol’s El Rumor del Incendio during TBA:12. Watch it again (with English subtitles to help).

PICA friend and staff alum Philip Iosca opens Moment, Monument at Fourteen30 Contemporary.

The inimitable Meow Meow (TBA:04, :05, and so much more) talks about the history of cabaret with The Guardian.

Glen Fogel (2012) opened a new exhibition at Callicoon Fine Arts in New York. Check the video to see this hypnotizing piece in action:

Jeffry Mitchell (TBA:06) was reviewed by in Art in America

Stephen Squibb reviews TBA:06 alum Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures for art agenda.

Lawrence Halprin’s Open Space Sequence of fountains in SW Portland (featured in TBA:08 City Dance…) was just listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Our Executive Director Victoria Frey shared a brief history of our DIY venues at the recent ArtPlace conference in Miami, Florida:

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A Taxonomy of Chairs

As we continue to put our office to new uses with installations, performances, talks, and events, we find ourselves thinking about furniture. A lot. Furniture in the space, furniture out of the space. Furniture on casters, furniture on legs. Empty galleries for exhibits, crowded rooms of shelves and desks and chairs for months-long residencies. But when we talk about furniture at PICA, we’re really talking about chairs. For your consideration:


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What we’re reading: Dead Flowers

Breyer P-Orridge, Red Chair Posed, 2008 | p 15 / 16 | Dead Flowers, ed. Lia Gangitano | Published by Participant Inc. & VOXPOPULI

Posted by Kristan Kennedy, Visual Art Curator

“I want to be with you” I said, to which my friend replied something to the effect of, “ewwwwwwwww!” We were talking about what you might say to someone you’re really into to express your longing. My friend took issue with the word “be.” He thought it sounded too bodily, as if “being with” someone was parasitic and the phrase was too close to “I want to be you,” like wanting to crawl inside someone’s skin sci-fi style. I assure you this is not what I meant. I think of “being” in terms of being on the same page, the same emotional space, getting lost in the love cloud, getting physical, hanging out, you know, the BROAD definition of intimacy. Still he might have been on to something… 

Today on a field trip to Powell’s, the Resource Room Committee was in search of few specific things. One of them—Dead Flowers—is an anthology of writing from various artists and curators that documents an exhibition of the same name. Curator and Director of Participant Inc., Lia Gangitano says of the exhibition, “In an effort to understand a genealogy of influences reflective of the role of the non-commercial, non-institutional space I often look at to artists who seem to have inspired, or instigated their existence.” She goes on to explain that the exhibition, which features thirteen artists, was organized around the work of actor/director Timothy Carey and was made for VOXPOPULI, an independent artist-run space in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was drawn to the book because Charles Atlas, Paul Thek, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge are all included, and it is no secret I have massive art crushes on all of them. You might say, I want to be with them… in an intimate curatorial way.

Genesis’ chapter links back to this concept of being, in h/er essay s/he runs through the beginnings of COUM Transmissions, an artist and performance collaborative that operated from 1969–1976. Founded in Hull, Yorkshire, by Genesis, COUM’s other members included Cosey Fanni TuttiPeter “Sleazy” Christopherson, and Chris Carter, who together went on to found the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle in 1976. H/er retelling of their move from commune to commune and COUM’s move towards a development of a rigorous, yet morphing set of artistic ideals is nothing short of revolutionary.

Genesis credits the beginnings of COUM’s philosophy as coming from their creative lives within two major communes: Exploding Galaxy, which was founded by David Medella in 1967, and Hoho Funhouse which followed soon after. In one passage Medella is quoted as saying, “I felt a deep dissatisfaction towards all art, all art that derives solely from one single person, and is determined by one person’s ideas and wishes.” Madella had hoped that Exploding Galaxy would usher in a flexibility in art making, community, and perhaps a dynamic new culture that could mean anything and could include anyone.

Genesis goes on to talk about h/er belief that the origins of art come from magic, first through devotion and then through illustration and then finally manifesting as commodified objects and experiences. So too does s/he describe the evolution of COUM: first as ritualistic, then as performative, and finally as an accepted art world being, in constant need of retooling and examining. The influence of the institution had changed them as much as they were changing it. 

Everything about COUM is nothing, everything about COUM is false, and everything about COUM is true.”

The collective pushed against the institution using transgression to test the boundaries of comfort. Genesis looks back at this time as important and talks about the value in constantly “redesigning” oneself. The artist uses the pronoun “we” throughout h/er essay in reference to COUM, but also to refer to h/erself. After marrying Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge in 1993, Genesis and Lady Jaye began a project to become Breyer P-Orridge, a single pandrogynous entity. They became each other and are now one.

In the final words of the beautifully stirring afterword, Gangitano quotes Genesis as saying, “the most transgressive thing right now is intimacy”. She believes it is still true, as do I. Let’s just be together!

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Call it a New Year’s Resolution we’re soon to break, but we’ve been inspired to reboot our blog with some new series of posts. “Bookmarks” is a collection of web clippings, announcements, and random finds on PICA alums and friends.

Matthew Day Jackson (TBA:06) is closer and closer to debuting his dragster.

Edmunds Asks Audiences to Take a Punt on CAP UCLA, from LA Stage Times 

Lisa Radon, Mack McFarland, BOMBlog

Inova Director Sara Krajewski receives Warhol grant to research hybrid art forms at six contemporary festivals around the world, including TBA

Tala Madani (Between My Head and My Hand…, 2011) has a major solo show going up at Moderna Museet Malmö in Sweden.

Continuity Drift, Sara Greenberger Rafferty (TBA:07) at Triple Canopy

Alex Cecchetti (TBA:12) at Shanaynay, Paris

Jeremy Wade (an alum from last week!) talks to Velocity’s STANCEcast about desserts, an impossible score and his cracking shell.

Nature Theater of Oklahoma (TBA:06, 07 and 10!) launched OK Radio, a series of podcasts with theater-makers from around the world.

John Smith (TBA:10) has gone back and re-filmed the entire long take from the Girl Chewing Gum, superimposing it over the original as The Man Phoning Mum.


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Book Tour NYC

At the beginning of January, a group from our staff flew to New York for the winter flurry of activity surrounding the annual APAP conference and a chance to visit our friends at Under the Radar, COIL, and American Realness. While there, a few members of our little Resource Room Committee went rogue, ditching out of performances to search out some of the newest archives and book spaces around Manhattan.

We’ve had our library up-and-running ever since 2000, but it seems there’s been a recent proliferation of institutional collections and reading rooms at alt spaces across the country. A lot of this boom likely stems from the long (and growing shadow) the Internet casts over our lives. How do we get individuals to engage with the physical spaces we’ve created and not just our organizations’ websites? Where do books fit in the new order?  It’s clearly on a lot of minds. The New York Public Library even hosted a panel today dedicated to the future of art book publishing. Artist-run spaces and projects just might be imagining some of the possible answers to these questions.


In New York, we met up with former PICA staffer Rachel Peddersen, who is currently at work on The Kitchen‘s digital archive. She gave us a very *top secret* peak at their new system, with which they are trying to document all of their events from their 40-year history through video, sound, programs, photos and more. It’s incredible to think that an institution that has presented everyone from the Beastie Boys to Vito Acconci to Charles Atlas to Laurie Anderson could make that content available for viewing online. It inspires dreams for our own archive….

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And That’s How It’s Done:* Pop-up dance floor

An unbelievable amount of invisible work goes into each project we present. We tend to sweep that labor under the rug and tuck away our mess in a closet before the guests arrive. I guess we just want everything to look effortless.

But it’s decidedly not, and sometimes that’s the fun of what we do. We’re proud of how our events come together—usually on a shoestring budget—so we thought it was time to pull back the curtain and show you a little of our behind-the-scenes action.

One of the skills we’ve honed the sharpest over the years is building out makeshift venues in odd spaces. Though until now, we’ve never built a theater in our own office. For Jeremy Wade’s dance performance this week, we’ve laid a temporary floor, building up layers of foam, wood, and marley. And this is how it went.


*Alternate title: This is how we do it.

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water music

Claudia Meza Water
White Box Gallery, University of Oregon, Portland
Post and photos by Nicole Leaper


Claudia Meza’s Water is intended as an interactive sonic experience. Housed in the White Box Gallery at UO’s Portland campus, Califone tape recorders hang suspended from the ceiling, speaking both individually and collectively. Intuitive gallery behavior suggests not touching, but the tape players are intended to be used. Each contains an “endless” looped tape that can be stopped and started at will by participants. The sound fills the room until it is unclear which element of the composition is contributed by which tape. The experience is immediately visceral; the surround-sound quality of multiple sources envelops the visitor on both an auditory and physical plane. From outside, the occasional Max train adds to the bass vibrations of the collected loops. Each tape offers a specific auditory layer that feels eerie, metallic, ringing. The collective sounds suggest subterranean movement, hinting at the macabre tones of old vinyl sound effects collections. A few players, I’m told on the last day of the exhibition, are broken; rendered mute through use, obscuring part of the once complete score.


Meza created the individual tracks through capturing field recordings of water, editing them digitally, and then outputting them to individual tapes. She collected the Califone players on eBay, one at a time. Many retain inscriptions from their sources, usually middle or high schools, suggesting technology once cutting edge but now nostalgic.

Meza’s work both acknowledges and rejects the loosely-binding theme for End Things, TBA:12’s visual programming. Curator Kristan Kennedy’s concept of how things matter to humans both as objects and as ideas of objects is directly suggested by the fetishized idea of the tape players, meticulously collected and fragile. Meza agrees that “we are constantly collaborating with our materials or objects at hand.” Conversely, she rejects that objects should have such a hold on human  emotions, asking “…isn’t this is what commerce is all about: the fetishization of objects and our interaction with them? We tend to give objects a lot more power than they deserve.” Continue reading

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Strike our debt/This is not a piece about gratitude

By Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen

It’s nice when there is a collision between your immediate bibliography and your immediate experience. I saw everything I’ve been reading and more in the actions and reactions of Keith Hennessy and Circo Zero last Thursday night.  And, I saw all the tropes I hate about traditional forms of carnivalesque counterpower and also some troubling and various forms of misogyny on Friday. I saw a piece about the economy that was finally saying something. I saw an attempt at an impossible model, an impossible dance, one about individuals swarming and breaking apart again. I felt myself being confused about the connection between that action and the rhetoric. I saw paintings, live images building and being destroyed. The Raft of the Medusa, human pyramids, romantic structures, bodies bound to fall. I was seduced by the sound of the banjo; I felt like it was a model more than an image or a series of images. I felt like it was an image of what looks like liberation but is distinctly not. I saw a dangerous illusion. I was thankful it existed. Did we see the same show? Yes, I think so, was it…

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The Office

We never complain, but my coworkers and I can never agree on the temperature in our office. My husband refers to celebratory occasions at his work as “the tyranny of birthday cake”. We spend the majority of our waking life at our jobs, professionally dealing with the personal idiosyncrasies of our coworkers and creating a set of family-like rituals to manage these sometimes mundane, occasionally awkward, and always important and unique relationships.

Chelfitsch 9.14.12 W.H.S. PICA TBA 2012

Chelfitsch’s Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech is a set of three vignettes that speak to the notion of “work family” with charm, humor and wit. Each part is premised on entirely realistic situations of office politics – Why do the temps have to plan the farewell party? Who keeps turning the air conditioner on high? Why is adorable (if slightly unstable) Erika being let go and what will she do now? – but through repeated speech, stylized gestures and dance moves with props, dramatic lighting, shadows and music, the piece builds suspense, elevates the pettiness and gets the audience to laugh at what they see of their own behavior at work on stage.

According to their website the word chelfitsch was coined by company founder Toshiki Okada and “represents the baby-like disarticulation of the English word ‘selfish’.” Notions of selfishness pervade this year’s festival from Bucky Fuller’s naïve dream that everyone share the world’s resources to Keith Hennessy’s warning on the desperate state of the economy, so it was quite a lovely surprise that Hot Pepper etc. – a piece so literally about work – provided a fresh breath of frivolity for the start of my weekend.

Posted by Laura Becker
Photo by G.K. Wilson

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