My visit to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California on Friday, September 8th was initially a field trip assignment for my Social Movement and Social Media course at UC Berkeley. But by the time I finished exploring the different exhibitions from Damon Rich, Jae Shin, and Tania Bruguera I was not only intrigued about the social impact that these artists are taking part of but I also felt a personal connection in their work.
On the second-floor Damon Rich and Jae Shin exhibit, Space Brainz was displayed. Rich and Shin partners at Hector work in architecture, urban design, designing, and exhibitions. Within their partnership, they also help build communities by facing the odds and making an impact in popular education and community organizing. The goal behind Space Brainz and Hector is “Building with roots in organized communities” (Shin). The exhibition pieces illustrated issues over space and who gets to use it for what “stores of oppression and liberation built into the landscape” (Rich). The stories also talked about the struggles that led to building a standard American city. With their passion and expertise, they have been able to rebuild communities such as, Newark Riverfront Park and Survival 3000 and create better living spaces and urban environment while “keeping the nurturing the roots of that in organized communities” (Rich).
On the first-floor Tania Brugueras exhibition focuses on several long and short term artworks and action projects. Bruguera has worked more than thirty years in addressing power through performing art and activism. And in depth focusing on social and political movements by reformulating images and organizational power. One of her current projects is the Immigrant Movement International. This project initiated while Bruguera was in Paris in 2006 and during her visit an increase in police violence was occurring against undocumented immigrants. She wanted to make an awareness to the issue by cooperating with arts organizations and creating a space where people could have conversations about immigrants’ rights and present elements from prior series of the project. One of the series within this project that she has initiated is, The Francis Effect. It is a petition requesting Pope Francis to allow Vatican City citizenship to all immigrants around the world, particularly undocumented immigrants and refugees. In this project Bruguera asks to vote (yes or no) on the question “Borders Kill, Should We Abolish Our Boarders?” If you would like to take part of the The Francis Effect, you can sign the petition online by going to dignityhasnonationality.net.
It is inspirational to see how these artists have helped push for social and political change and in many ways, it has inspired me to help make a change in my community.
Damon Rich and Jae Shin Space Brainz-Yearba Buena 3000. Damon Rich and Jae Shin Space Brainz-Yearba Buena 3000, Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, 2017.
Talking to Power Hablandole Al Poder, Tania Bruguera. Talking to Power Hablandole Al Poder, Tania Bruguera, Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, 2017.