Two SEE(d) Artists engage audiences to think about ownership and place

In Spring 2019, SEE(d) Artist Series presented two San Francisco social practice artists—Marcela Pardo Ariza and Ilana Crispi.

In March, Marcela Pardo Ariza invited SEE(d) to explore cultural and gender identity in her studio located at The Minnesota Street Projects artist complex in San Francisco. Pardo Ariza’s artistic project honors the tradition of theater and performance art as tools of resistance, in which she collaborates with friends and queer performance artists to co-create and rename identity through the action of making performance-based photographic works. Marcela shared her interest in capturing a gesture, the back of our head, a stance, a statement, power, and the items that speak about gender, collaboration, identity. Her process interrogates her interest in inclusivity, ownership, the audience gaze, the performer’s own collective partnership in the finished work, and asks: who ‘owns’ it?

Photography is the youngest of the mediums, it’s like over a hundred years, and it really hasn’t changed that much since. . . why is it being so uptight, can’t we just move on from that (laughter) and can’t we just let it play around just a little bit more?
— Marcela Pardo-Ariza

In May, ceramic-based artist Ilana Crispi hosted SEE(d) at her Half Moon Bay studio. Ilana shared a detailed exposé of her iterative process of mining the soil to create works of art that speak about history and place. She visually explained her labor-intensive working process of creating her own clay and glazes by digging, hauling, sifting, and then testing the soil to discover it's chemical and energetic contents. Artifacts that reflect the (his/her)story of that place are then created and brought to the greater public in a social arena of discourse and storytelling. Ilana fascination with the ground underneath feeds her connections to place and the questions inherent with gentrification and urbanization of land.

So taking the dirt from this place (Mission Dirt Project) and then making it something that I can then share with other people is a kind of radical act. I envisioned it as a kind of guerrilla land grab. So, when you think of staking your claim for the gold rush, we’re in our next gold rush here where people are trying to get ahold of this city and hold onto it and change it, make it theirs.
— Ilana Crispi

SEE(d) Creative Network enjoyed two afternoons filled with thought provoking art, poignant conversations, networking, artisan wine and food, and art objects acquired from the artists. Join the SEE(d) Creative Network to keep you feeling creative all year long.