An intimate look at Oakland with marksearch, and a podcast
Posted in Culture Vulture / DIY / Good Ideas / Places / San Francisco Bay Area | No Comments |
Cities are made of stories. There are layers of them like invisible dried paint, padding our places. Any street you go down has been added to, in a way, by all the people who have walked that way before. It is not only the history of what has happened, but the living history – comprised of people’s perceptions, their ideas, their projects and motivations – that make it somewhere.
Studying this wiggly line between culture and art, history and expression, city design and use of space are Sue and Bruce of Marksearch. The combination of research and creativity they employ doesn’t set them squarely in any boxes, boxes used in most bureaucratic matters, but they’ve successfully worked with more than one local government. Their work has many practical purposes and hits on a gut level, which gives it a powerful motivational consequence. After you walk 10K Steps, or look at their documentation of WE Riders, an Oakland geography project, you’ll be drawn to explore more. You’ll consider your sense of place and the interconnectedness of the people and plants that make it what it is. At very least you’ll want to talk to people you haven’t talked to before and listen to their stories.
I sat down with Sue Mark to chat about her latest project with her husband and partner Bruce, which will take place this fall in Portugal.
This Friday, July 20th, at 8pm at Swan’s Way Co-Housing (930 Clay St., Oakland) is a fundraiser to help them on their next effort to document working hands and old world knowledge in a small rural village in that Mediterranean country. Donate to Hand That Do All here. The night will highlight their Oakland work and be a great chance to hobnob with forward-thinking locals. More info on the event below the podcast…
In my first few weeks researching my first Oakland book I found this picture of Sue and Bruce, and it led me to many inspiring conversations with them about the city and about how to document people and places with the care and accuracy of a scientist and the heart and depth of an artist.
Listen in to hear Sue’s eloquent stories, the details of her work and what’s to come:
More info about the July 20 event:
Relax with your neighbors as you enjoy this award-winning local urbanexploration, 10,000 Steps: A Profile of Four Squares.
Q+A with the artist team marksearch (Sue Mark + Bruce Douglas) after the screening.
Learn how you can support marksearch’s latest community-building adventure in rural Portugal, Hands That Do All.
Please register for this free fundraising event hosted at the historic Swan’s Market Cohousing located in Old Oakland (near the 12th Street BART Station).
Enter through the 912-936 Clay Street gate, located between 9th and 10th Streets. Walk towards the center of the courtyard, take a left at the 930 Clay St gate and walk passed our garden up to our entrance. If either one of the gates is closed, look up “Cohousing or Common House” in the directory and call or use the phone number on our flyer posted at the gate.
Questions? email: email@example.com
Film Production: Dockyard Media
Screening Tech Support: Illuminated Corridor
About 10,000 Steps: A Profile of Four Squares:
How well do we know the public places at the heart of our city? Starting in 2007, Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas of the art team marksearch began a four-year exploration of Oakland’s often-overlooked downtown squares–Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison and Lincoln–and the people who frequent them.10,000 Steps—A Profile of Four Squares follows the artists, dressed as maintenance workers and pushing a recycling cart, as they gather stories (along with the occasional piece of trash), plant gardens, and encourage connections between the groups using the parks, which are among the oldest in the city. Directed by Matt Dibble and produced by marksearch, 2011. www.10ksteps.org
marksearch (Sue Mark + Bruce Douglas), has been creating a unique brand of interdisciplinary art projects since 2000. Using kinetic vehicles, traveling signage, unconventional surveys, and official logos, they craft a conversational commons, pushing the boundaries of how community-based art can influence public policy. www.marksearch.org