Bay Area Society of Art and Activism “Collective Memory” project archives alternative history — and wants you to contribute.
ART LOOKS How to put this delicately. It could be that the pop-up #BlackLivesMatter silk screening studio, the LGBT film noir appreciation society, the Marxist-leaning soccer league for single moms, the secret underground yarn-bombing society — all those things that make the Bay Area so politically and culturally vibrant, well, they may not be around forever. Consider the number of your favorite art and activism spaces that have shuttered or collectives that migrated to lower rents in the last few years alone. What will the centers of cultural resistance look like in San Francisco and Oakland in 10, 20 years?
We’re hoping there will still be plenty of new ones. (Please get on that right away.) But right now, down SOMArts Cultural Center, you can witness “Making a Scene,” the center’s current visual arts presentation documenting the past 50 years of art and activism collectives in the Bay Area, proof positive of our creative resilience. The inspiring show includes reasonably well-known endeavors (Ant Farm, porn star Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens’ “Ecosexuals” project) to colorful mini-histories of spaces like Galeria de la Raza and CELLSpace and collective efforts like ArtSpan’s Open Studios.
But more than just an art show about the past, “Making a Scene” is “a direct call-to-action that invites the Bay Area to contribute to the collective memory of the region’s spaces” — the curators want you to contribute your memories, artifacts, and photos of the activist spaces and art movements you’ve experienced here, via the Bay Area Society of Art and Activism’s History Collection Lab. The project is called “Collective Memory,” and it proposes nothing less than building an entire history of Bay Area activism, with your help.