Poho Posit (2011-12)


PohoPosit, involves community based creative social practice, landscape painting, video animation, sculpture, and network based interactive media.

My south Minneapolis neighborhood is full of active, civically engaged residents; an assemblage of attentive eyes and ears. Every day, via a 846-member online forum, people report and discuss a multitude of things that happen in and around the neighborhood:   a string of garage break-ins, a lost turtle, gang graffiti, a formerly-missing tabby named “Fozner,” now found, the attempted abduction of a minor, free sheetrock and shelving units, gun shots echoing through dark alleys, group yoga instruction in a park, and a garage sale!   

Because this is the community in which I live and work, the forum topics fuel my curiosity and entice me to participate in some way.  I am lured to the specific locations mentioned in the posts because I want to “see” and experience where these events were happening.  This survey has led me to create an ongoing series of hand-painted stop motion videos of specific events gleaned from the online forum.

Creating video-paintings and posting them on the online forum has become a way for me to internalize and process the information I gathered online and at each physical location, as well as to participate in the community dialogue as a neighbor and artist. The video-paintings are a re-presentation of the reported events. They posit a visual sequence of accounts that exists somewhere between reported facts and fabrications.  They add to the broader community dialogue by elevating everyday occurrences through beauty and a meditated response that, in turn, introduces a divergent vernacular.

Over the past decade, my work has evolved to take on the form of sound and/or sculptural installations and situations in which public participation is a key component.  This new work brings me back to my roots as a painter, while challenging me to incorporate new media and digital technology.  I am captivated by the possibilities of merging a pre-industrial craft (painting) with networked digital technologies (coding).  Introducing “slow media” into a hyper media world obliterates the fleeting nature of an online forum, and stretches the timeline for discussion and rumination.

This project has developed as an ongoing creative endeavor that will span several years. It is exhibited simultaneously in several interdependent formats:  as a physical installation which incorporates an interactive map kiosk, as an interactive and continually updated website, and as visible markers posted throughout the neighborhood at locations portrayed in the video-paintings.

Installation, Soap Factory for Northern Lights Art(ists) On the Verge 3
Video projections, interactive map, animated oil paintings, fiberglass topography, framed ink paintings

The physical installation included; a kiosk where viewers interacted with a searchable, hand painted map interface which was projected over a fiberglass topographic representation of South Minneapolis.  The map included 96 city blocks hand rendered in Chinese ink and 30 video paintings based on events reported by residents of Powderhorn neighborhood as reported in an online neighborhood forum.

On an adjacent wall I displayed 40 framed sections of the hand drawn map which were distributed for free to residents of Powderhorn neighborhood.

The project was also presented as the self contained website www.pohoposit.com, and as visible markers posted throughout the neighborhood at locations portrayed in the video-paintings.

SFG4 preview    SoapCast audio interview

A favorable review by Mason Riddle for the StarTribune.

Author: hapa9

My creative practice includes drawing, painting, graphic storytelling, network technology, public participation, and community land stewardship. I believe that art and creativity can serve as a critical catalyst for social and political change by engaging people in deliberative dialogue, illuminating concealed stories, building cross-sector platforms, and advancing agency and equity.

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