Monday, March 16, 2009

Kasper's Stories...

One reason it's been over a month since I posted.

To fill folks in, there was a community art event I collaborated on called "Kasper's Stories". It culminated Saturday on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. For me process of working on Kasper’s Stories was an exercise in seeing the self in relation to others and the individuals involved in the context of a whole community. As an artist I often feel this tug between the personal work, the exploration of the ego and personal memory and the need to do work that addresses others – feels like it belongs to something bigger. In a sense that was all I ended up doing after ten years of teaching. “My work” (as it were) almost disappeared in sacrifice to students’, the school, community projects, etc. I am working on this dance between the big picture and my intimate space and personal expression. I may have to spend a bug chunk of time now in the studio – doing “my work”. But that alone won’t fulfill me in the long run and the project and this class has given me confidence in my moves into and out of these modes – that they are legitimate and can be accessed and asked for when needed.

Here's some info and documentation:

Collective Statement:
The Site Memory Collective was begun by a small group of students from John F. Kennedy University’s Arts and Consciousness Department in Berkeley, California, housed in the historic Heinz Building on San Pablo Avenue. Our focus is on personal and social transformation through art. We engage in research, performance, and site-specific instillations exploring the changing urban landscape as seen through individual and community memories of public spaces. We are particularly concerned with what it means to create art in a time of economic crisis. Where do we turn for inspiration? How can we keep community from being forgotten?

Excerpted from the Press Release:

TITLE: Kasper’s Stories

What does it mean to create art in a time of economic crisis? Where do we turn for inspiration? How can we keep community from being forgotten? Would you miss your neighborhood Hot Dog Stand if it weren't here anymore?

"Kasper's Stories” is a community art event organized around the idea of remembering and sharing memories of Original Kasper's Hot Dogs on 4521 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland which existed in this location for over 60 years before its doors closed on 2003. This art event is geared toward exploring the ways in which a community is affected by the closure of such a pivotal meeting place, and how the skeleton of the building lives on as a beacon to better times.

"Kasper's Stories” fuses art and community. This presentation will include art objects, which were created to memorialize the hot dogs, readings of testimonials from the community about the legendary food and memories created here, as well as lemonade and cookies for refreshment.

"Kasper's Stories” was conceived and created by members of the “Site Memory Collective”, a group of graduate art students from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley. Members of the collective were drawn to the Kasper's because of its unusually shaped building and a simultaneous feeling of loneliness, love and centrality that pervaded the site and it’s surroundings.

DATE: Saturday March 14th, 2009
TIME: 12pm-2pm
LOCATION: Original Kasper's Hot Dogs
4521 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609


  1. I loved what you said about the dance between your intimate space, the bigger picture and personal expression. I think the dance is my daily challenge, so much so that I notice when I'm not dancing these days and just standing still. The stillness can be a bit awkward since I've been dancing for so long, but at the same time it can be a breathe of fresh air. Finding the balance, though, is the motivation to continue the dance. It is a huge confidence boost to know that "damn, I am a good dancer!"

    Congrats on Kasper's Stories. I'm so bummed I missed it. Looks like a blast!

  2. I'm sorry I missed this event. Thank you for posting this little recap. I am so longing to explore dance. But it is my complete...edge....should I say.
    But when I read or see performances such as this it really feels that the word? ?
    anyway I would love to talk more with you about this.

  3. me too, i wish i'd been in town to see this. good you guys documented it for those that couldn't converge that day.

    as for the dance you speak of...yeah, i too relate. wish i didn't, but it does seem a common question that artists grapple with. it comes up often in my psych grad work. (and many et ceteras!)

  4. thanks, everyone for the feedback and attention. I'd like to keep following each others' blogs, esp. since I might have time to keep up soon!

  5. echo to all the comments so far...thank you for sharing about Kasper stories, and also on internal that is sometimes over a long period of time- years can be devoted to one aspect of the self, and yet, that balance may come less as a daily practice, but in a stepping back and watching the pendulum back to the internal/your work in the studio...hmmmm, this is really hitting a chord with me. (smile) i wonder why? you are a power house of creative energy, and every place you direct that energy, benefits and grows becuase of you and your light. yes, and thank you for being in the class, it was an extreme pleasure to get to know you and your work.