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Friday, January 18, 2008

Giving It Away

posted by on January 18 at 10:53 AM

As promised, this week’s In Art News column takes a look at what Creative Capital is paying Seattle artists to do (and here’s the list of all projects around the country):

To Five Executions in China, Utopia, and Maryhill Double, add Sun Hill Mini-Mart City Park and The Gurs Zyklus. The first three are major projects already completed by Seattle artists, each paid for—up to $50,000—by the New York foundation Creative Capital. Now Creative Capital has thrown its considerable weight behind the other two, meaning that you may soon find yourself inside an abandoned convenience store turned into a postapocalyptic conservatory by SuttonBeresCuller, or wandering through a performance installation titled after the word that has haunted Trimpin since his childhood: Gurs.

Trimpin and SBC (2005 Stranger Genius Award winners) were selected from more than 600 artists around the country to get Creative Capital’s coveted support. (Seattle filmmaker David Russo was a winner in the film and video category, for a fictional short involving male miscarriage.)

SBC’s idea for a recycled mini-mart refers to an earlier piece by the three artists, who built an idyllic haven of tranquility replete with grass, rocks, and a bench on a flatbed trailer, then parked it in the homelier parts of the city as a tiny, temporary greenbelt. For Sun Hill Mini-Mart City Park, the artists want to transform an eyesore—at a brownfield that was once a gas-station site, say: got one to recommend in your neighborhood?—into a wild indoor park with the hulks of industrial refrigerators but also meandering paths, trees, seasonal plantings, and benches. It could stay open for a few months or indefinitely, as long as the funding holds out.

Ben Beres says they envision “elements of the architecture or its previous life, whether it’s Slurpee machines or empty candy-bar racks growing plants. It will be a nice landscape, but postapocalyptic. Nature has taken over. We want birds to come in.” They’re looking for a location. (Originally the work was going to sit at the northernmost stop of the monorail, where instead of mass transit and art, there’s now a T-Mobile store.)

Trimpin’s project is also a long-mulled-over idea. As a boy in 1950s Germany, he wandered into his village’s Jewish graveyard and learned that two dozen Jews had been taken by the Nazis to an internment camp in the French town of Gurs. Many died there; survivors went to death camps.

The barracks at Gurs had also been used as a camp for political refugees from Franco’s Spain in the 1940s. When Trimpin met and collaborated with composer Conlon Nancarrow, he discovered Nancarrow had been a prisoner there. Then, when Trimpin made passing reference to Gurs in a New Yorker profile, a man whose family died at Gurs contacted him. Trimpin has letters from the time, and interviews with relatives of victims, and he’ll ride the train from his town, Efringen-Kirchen, to Gurs for the first time this summer.

The final work will be performed in Germany and the U.S., he hopes. He’s not sure what form it will take; something with song and sculpture, certainly, and maybe video appearing on a screen of steam.

RSS icon Comments


Great stuff, and congratulations to all.

I think Russo's film is a feature, not a short, though. About a male janitor who becomes pregnant. Working title "The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle", though I preferred the pithy earlier working title, "Number 2."

Posted by Eric F | January 18, 2008 11:15 AM

Actually, it is a short, but it's confusing. It's a short that's picking up the pieces of a failed feature, and then it may go back into forming a new feature.

Here's the skinny from Creative Capital:

Fish Out Of Water is a short film that combines self-referential documentary, animation and humorous, poetic narrative. Intended as a response to the filmmaker’s failed narrative feature project about a group of male janitors who become pregnant and then miscarry, Fish Out Of Water uses male miscarriage as a surreal, playful metaphor for unrealized ambitions, and as a commentary on gender roles. Russo will make this film first as a stand-alone work, later integrating it into a
revitalized version of his feature.

Posted by Jen Graves | January 18, 2008 12:40 PM

I think there's an abandoned gas station in the International District on Jackson and maybe, 6th or 7th but it's probably too small and doesn't have much of a yard around it. Or how about the old Lloyds Rocket? Probably still too small.

Posted by diana | January 19, 2008 10:10 PM

Lloyds Rocket is turning into a Hawaiian Barbeque place...I give it 2 robberies and 6 months max...

Posted by DeweyD | January 20, 2008 2:08 PM

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