Tag Archives: art

Structures of Support: Health and Healthcare

A version of our ongoing Structures of Support project that focuses on health and healthcare for an exhibition titled "Take Care" at Weinberg/Newton Gallery.

Structures of Support is an ongoing, multi-phase project. Our goal is to develop a clearer understanding of how our support structures are created and maintained, and how we might then work to build more resilient and robust support structures in the future. We were invited to participate in an exhibition “Take Care” at Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago to explore how health and healthcare are reflected in our experiences of having and/or lacking support. Healthcare, we have found, can hold within it both empowering and diminishing experiences.

The Think Tank that has yet to be named always begins our work with research. For this project, we used multiple methods of data collection to seek out experiences of the healthcare system, feelings about health, and questions about support networks. The individual responses and narratives become the backbone of our visualizations. The work is a sensemaking exploration through which we invite you to explore the experiences of others. We hope you can see yourself within and in contrast to responses. In understanding where we stand, and where others stand, we hope we can work together to create more robust structures of support.

Click here to complete the Structures of Support Healthcare survey.

Weinberg/Newton Gallery has a unique model. This exhibition is organized in partnership with the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force and aims to shed light on systemic barriers to quality healthcare through the lens of breast cancer. This group exhibition explores themes of care and community, vulnerability and support by way of painting, photography, immersive sound, and text. An array of interactive programming, including screenings, panel discussions, and more, will take place over the course of the exhibition. Artists include Indira Allegra, Laura Berger, Joan Giroux, and The Think Tank that has yet to be named

Our Imaginary Archive

The Think Tank was recently invited to to participate in Imaginary Archive, an ongoing project organized by Gregory Scholette. The project is a collection of real and fictional printed materials documenting a future “whose past never arrived,” according to Scholette.

This iteration will be presented as a part of an exhibition, “Traces in the Dark,” curated by Liz Park at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. The exhibition runs from February 4th to March 22nd. We hope you’ll take the trip to come see our contribution.

For our part, we’ve created a collection of materials about the fictional public art project, psychylustro II, undertaken by the Mural Arts Program. Some background on the collection:

In 2014, Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program installed a public art project called psychylustro along the northeast Amtrak and Septa rail system. With paint sprayed directly on the ground, vegetation, trees and structures along the rail line, the piece was “conceived as a temporary installation, but [one which] changes over time as the elements gradually reclaim the space.” Mural Arts asks the viewers to “think of it as a real-time landscape painting, where the ever-evolving city is the canvas and your window is the frame.”

Fast forward to 2018. The City of Philadelphia and particularly the local school district have (again) come under significant financial stress. As a strategy to create revenue, the city starts selling parcels of land in Fairmount Park. The Wissahickon Creek Trail soon comes under threat and the Mural Arts Program partners with several other city agencies to install psychylustro II in the park. The express goal of the project is to generate additional revenue for the park system through a series of exclusive tours and related touristic packages. The second iteration of the public art project involves spraying water-based paints on the banks of the creek and on some of the historic WPA-era structures that are in disrepair.

This collection is contained in the archives of the University of Pennsylvania and was donated by the Friends of the Wissahickon, an organization which for several decades has been the caretaker of the Wissahickon Creek and its trails. Objects included in the archive have been gathered from the sites of both the original psychylustro and subsequent psychylustro II. The documents include (real) history and correspondence surrounding the Mural Arts Program, from its early history as an anti-graffiti initiative up until the (fictional) 2018 installation of psychylustro II.

Here is some background on the Imaginary Archive project. Past contributions to the archive can be viewed here.

Flag making at Germantown City Hall

As a part of the Germantown City Hall project, Meredith and I worked with community members young and old to create flags for Germantown. Participants showed their true colors by including images of what was important to them, ranging from “Monster Trucks on Germantown Ave” to beautiful appliqué vegetables. The potency of a flag was clear to us when we were working with the after school daycare next door to City Hall. We caught the kids waving their flags silently and staring at them with pride.

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Germantown City Hall Opens!

Thursday saw the opening of Germantown City Hall, our collaboration with Jacob Wick and Information Department which is part of the 2013 Hidden City Festival.

In this project, we are transforming a long-shuttered building known as Germantown Town Hall into a multipurpose public space offering a performance and meeting area, a reading room/lending library, an office/copy center, and workshop room. Residents of Germantown will have free access to City Hall and are invited to schedule meetings, performances, and events in the building. It is our hope that the City Hall become, first and foremost, a civic space in which dialogues amongst and between the citizens of Germantown may occur.

As residents of Germantown, we are thrilled to be working on this project and making this space available to our neighbors. The people we have met over the last few months and the relationships we’ve created have been inspiring and humbling. And we look forward to meeting so many more folks during the next six weeks that the project is open.

To get involved, find out more, or share leads, please contact info@gtowncityhall.net or call us at 575-446-3676. Stop by Germantown City Hall and say hello. Visit the website and online calendar to learn more about the various events happening in the space or to schedule your own events.

Cleaning Up for Germantown City Hall

Preparations are well underway at the Germantown Town Hall for the opening of Germantown City Hall, our collaboration with Jacob Wick and Information Department which is part of the 2013 Hidden City Festival. Last week, we had help from some amazing volunteers and Hidden City staff to begin cleaning the space and moving in donated furniture. As we begin to inhabit the space, the power and possibility suggested by the building becomes more and more clear.

From May 23 – June 30, the Germantown Town Hall building will reopen as Germantown City Hall, a multipurpose public space offering a performance and meeting area, a reading room/lending library, an office/copy center, and workshop room. Residents of Germantown will have free access to City Hall and are invited to schedule meetings, performances, and events in the building. It is our hope that the City Hall become, first and foremost, a civic space in which dialogues amongst and between the citizens of Germantown may occur. To get involved, find out more, or share leads, please contact info@gtowncityhall.net or call us at 575-446-3676.

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30 Readings on Neutrality as it relates to Art, Politics, Biology and Space: Think Tank Reader Vol. V

30 Readings on Neutrality as it relates to Art, Politics, Biology, and Space, Volume V in the Think Tank's reader series, was a part of “Public Things” at Analix Forever in Geneva, Switzerland. The texts explore the notion of neutrality within the context of Switzerland’s political neutrality. This reader was created in March 2010 by Katie Hargrave, Meredith Warner, and Heath Schultz.

Volume V, 30 Readings on Neutrality as it relates to Art, Politics, Biology and Space, is part of an occasional series of educational readers by the Think Tank that has yet to be named. This reader was created in conjunction with Prototype for a Pedagogical Furniture II to contain and present Reader V and a PHPM (Publicly Held Private Meeting) Instructional Pamphlet.

As a prototype, this piece is the second iteration of small-scale, mobile furniture which might be deployed in various contexts to assist in educational and dialogical projects. In this version, we included a reader on neutrality as well as an instructional manual on how one might conduct a PHPM (Publicly Held Private Meeting). This gesture was intended to encourage the viewer to use the mobile unit to facilitate his or her own Publicly Held Private Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, a neutral state.

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This project is part of an exhibition entitled “Public Things” at Analix Forever and organized by Conrad Bakker. As stated: “The exhibition Public Things focuses on the role of contemporary artworks as ‘public things’ that point to the dialectical relationship between a specific object and its context, between the private space of a gallery and the public space of the city, between a material thing and its network of relations.”

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Download the reader → 30 Readings on Neutrality as it relates to Art, Politics, Biology and Space

Publicly Held Private Meetings

During the first years of the Think Tank that has yet to be named, the Publicly Held Private Meeting was a format we often used to investigate with others pressing and localized issues within the space of the city. These conversations were performative, collaborative, and site-specific interventions organized according to the logic of the absurdist bureaucracy that once characterized the Think Tank.

What Happens When Governments Collapse?

What Happens When Governments Collapse? convened on September 9, 2009 in the courtyard of Philadelphia’s city hall to explore the possibility of government shut down in the midst of the global economic crisis. Participants included Jethro Heiko, Meredith Warner, Jeremy Beaudry, and Mike Seidenberg.

Scrutinizing the Cartography of Talent

Scrutinizing the Cartography of Talent convened on May 22, 2007 outside a lecture by Richard Florida, who first theorized and describe the Creative Class. It was a conversation about the utilization and marketing of the creative city and the artist as an economic savior. The conversation was initiated by Meredith Warner and included Jeremy Beaudry, Lena Helen, and Kenny Deprez.

So What is Metaphorical Agency Anyway?

So What is Metaphorical Agency Anyway? occurred on December 26, 2006 on the sidewalk in front of vacant riverfront site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The conversation investigated the use of metaphor to narrate social movements and complex political problems. The conversation was initiated by Jethro Heiko and included Meredith Warner, Jeremy Beaudry, and Kenny Deprez.

How do we decide where “from” is?

How do we decide where “from” is? was held on August 20, 2006 in a moving train car of the Market-Frankford El in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The conversation was initiated by Jeremy Beaudry and included Lena Helen, Meredith Warner, and Sharif Pendleton.

On the Sidewalk with Lawn Chairs Looking Professional

On the Sidewalk with Lawn Chairs Looking Professional explored the role of artists in communities and their relationship to gentrification and economic development. It was held in the Kensington section of Philadelphia on July 11, 2006. The conversation was initiated by Lena Helen and included Jeremy Beaudry, Jethro Heiko, and Meredith Warner.

DPPI01: Davis Square Tiles

The Davis Square Tiles Project was a Distributed Participatory Public Investigation begun in Somerville, MA in April 2009 as a way to capture gentrification through participants in a mid-80’s public art project. Participants included Katie Hargrave, Nick Jehlen, Jethro Heiko, Meredith Warner, Jeremy Beaudry, and Heath Schultz.

In 1980, Jackson Gregory and Joan Wye of the Belfast Bay Tile Works worked with children aged 5 to 13 at Somerville’s Powderhouse Community School to create 253 tiles that were installed in the Davis Square subway stop. These tiles, part of the Arts on the Line program that placed art in and around MBTA rapid transit stations, present a unique opportunity to look back at how Somerville has changed since the opening of the Red Line extension in 1984. This “Distributed and Participatory Public Investigation” project collected the personal histories of people who created the Davis Square tiles and published them at http://davissquaretilesproject.com/.

This project was initiated by the Think Tank and followed through as a joint effort with The Action Mill. 

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25 Texts on “Community” in Question: Conversations on art, activism, and community: Think Tank Reader Vol. IV

25 Texts on “Community” in Question: Conversations on Art, Activism, and Community was developed in April 2009 as Volume IV of the Think Tank's ongoing reader series as a way to explore the idea of community and the assumptions that inform this powerful concept. This reader was created by Katie Hargrave, Heath Schultz, Meredith Warner, Nick Jehlen, Jethro Heiko, and Jeremy Beaudry.

Volume IV in a series of occasional readers by the Think Tank that has yet to be named explores the idea of community and the many assumptions, ambiguities, and boundaries that inform this powerful and oft-cited trope found in contemporary urban society. We believe that to better understand how community is defined — that is, created, delineated, cohered, dissolved, complicated, contested, infiltrated, invaded, and generally transformed — will prove instructive for guiding our — artists’ and activists’ — capacity for collaborating with diverse groups of people in the struggles for social, spatial, and economic justice.

This reader accompanied the walking workshop “Community” in Question: Conversations and readings on art, activism, and community vis-à-vis the Green Line Expansion, which investigated the proposed public transportation expansion (MBTA Green Line) into Somerville-Medford and examined how residents respond to (both for and against) changes in transportation and how transportation affects their cities.

The reader is organized into the following sections: Theoretical discussions on Community, Learning from Activists/Organizers: How to participate in a community, [Common] Space, Artistic responses to Community, Building Communities.

Download the reader → 25 Texts on “Community” in Question: Conversations on art, activism, and community

As an appendix to the reader and to the “Community” in Question project, the Think Tank that has yet to be named also complied History & Resources on the MBTA Green Line Expansion. This is an incomplete but useful glimpse into the historical record regarding the Green Line and Red Line transit expansions in Boston.

Download the appendix → History & Resources on the MBTA Green Line Expansion

“Community” in Question: Conversations and readings on art, activism, and community vis-à-vis the Green Line Expansion

“Community” in Question: Conversations on art, activism, and community was a walking tour exploring the notion of community in early April 2009 for the conference entitled “Convergence: The Intersection of Arts and Activism” at Tufts University. Participants included Katie Hargrave, Heath Schultz, Meredith Warner, Nick Jehlen, Jethro Heiko, and Jeremy Beaudry.

This multi-layered project was presented as part of a conference entitled “Convergence: The Intersection of Arts and Activism” at Tufts University in early April 2009. Co-sponsored by the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and Massachusetts Campus Compact, the conference gathered together artists, activists, and educators interested in social justice and the arts.

The walking tour and conversations investigated the proposed public transportation expansion (MBTA Green Line) into Somerville-Medford and examine how residents respond to (both for and against) changes in transportation. Leaving from the Tufts University campus, our walking and talking followed a portion of the proposed route of the Green Line expansion, visited 2 proposed T stop locations, and then culminated at Davis Square Red Line T stop.

This project proposed to explore the idea of community and the many assumptions, ambiguities, and boundaries that inform this powerful and oft-cited trope. Our project involved two convergent courses of research with respect to community — one general and one topical. Generally, we addressed the nominal subject of the conference: the relationship between art and activism. Topically, we undertook a case study local to Somerville-Medford: the relationship between gentrification and the expansion of Boston’s public transit system.

Turning to the specific and the local, the problems of defining community became very apparent when we considered the proposed expansion of the MBTA Green Line into Somerville and Medford. The expansion, with stops in Union and Ball Squares, proposed to effect the areas immediately surrounding Tufts University, much like the 1980s expansion of the Red Line into Davis Square. By looking into the historical record and colloquial memory surrounding the Davis Square extension, we revealed a precedent for questioning the effects of the newly proposed transit expansion.

The character of Davis Square is said to have changed quite a bit since the completion of the Red Line station in 1984. More money and business came to the Square, more public art and new infrastructure; but with this also came increasing rents that, when coupled with the loss of rent control and other public housing assistance, ultimately displaced lower income residents away from the new station. This indicated a tension between the desire for more public transportation with the potential gentrifying consequences of such public transportation expansion– especially those expansions that connect high-end urban centers with outlying neighborhoods. We hoped to examine how residents respond to (both for and against) changes in transportation and how transportation effects their cities and neighborhoods in order to further investigate key questions about the nature of community.

The tools and tactics used to execute these overlapping analyses of community were: creating an educational reader on community, organizing PHPM’s within Somerville-Medford involving key stakeholders of the MBTA expansion, and facilitating a workshop within the Convergence conference that created a dialogue in order to frame a critical conversation with conference participants about the notion of community and how artists (and activists) engage productively in the communities.

Download the reader → 25 Texts on “Community” in Question: Conversations on art, activism, and community

Download the appendix → History & Resources on the MBTA Green Line Expansion