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Assembly | Projects


A major focus of the conference is the connection between photography and social practice, with multiple events featuring projects by photographers from the Magnum agency made in conjunction with MFA students.

Christine Wong Yap will discuss a project she recently organized, Make Things (Happen), featuring 45 artist-created activity sheets to make things or make things happen. Activities range from hands-on, tangible art activities, instructions to facilitate interpersonal exchanges, and radical re-imaginations.

For this opening ceremony of sorts a pantheon of props made for interaction will parade through Portland’s South Park Blocks, and take up station along the pathways inviting passerby and Assembly goers to join in a moment of pointed public dialogue on important, ordinary, unusual and outlandish topics. Come be greeted by Assembly and invited into open and considered conversation as a kick off to this week of socially engaged art happenings.

Ault's talk for Assembly focuses on her recent experiences in publishing tracts and handouts and on presenting texts and publications in exhibitions.

The purpose of this lecture series is to explore and make evident the intersections of art and sports. The connections between two seemingly different things can be a powerful line to draw as it shows the variety of ways a person can exhibit commitment, drive and adaptability in their work. The artists presented in this series share a dedication to interdisciplinary work that crosses lines and disorients stereotypical understandings of artist and athlete identity.

This workshop explores how body awareness, movement, and breath can be used to clarify and inform the emotional experiences and mental challenges that arise in artistic, social, and political engagement. Participants are invited to continue this exploration throughout Assembly and present their physical findings at the Summarizing Performance.

A community-participant sourced event inviting artists and writers to create an extemporaneous collective over one afternoon. There is a group collaborative warm-up, and group story-writing. The main event is comprised of a memory-prompt (a smell, sound, etc) to which artists respond by drawing and writers write. After 15 minutes, there will be a swap of work, the writers then respond to something which has just been drawn and vice-versa. The event culminates in a performance of these paired illustrated stories.

Cassie will give an artist talk about her work. Bring your landlord. Free Baloney sandwiches will be provided.

The clay will tell me what to do next is a participatory ceramic project that explores the connection between material, belief, and embodiment. Drawing from Kabbalah and Peter Sloterdijk’s spherology, the project uses the metaphor of the vessel to consider self-orientation and functional service.

How do the aesthetics of a materials-based practice meet a public practice? At this roundtable discussion six artists from the northwest will dialogue on material knowledge, tools of social engagement, and audience participation. The conversation will include Rebecca Chernow, Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen, Jess Perlitz, Eric Steen, and Sarah Wolf Newlands and be moderated by Amanda Leigh Evans.

Set in the style of speed-dating, 25 students from Emily Carr University of Art + Design will be pitching their concepts for new community projects. This is an opportunity to experience a rush of new ideas, meet new artists, and share your feedback on a board range of projects.

Come dance and have fun with other Assembly attendees.

Limited Capacity: Tickets Required
Following on from the Postcards panel on Friday night, Saturday’s workshop will extrapolate underlying themes central to the intersection of socially engaged art and documentary photography practices. After introducing a spectrum of practitioners who engage in these kinds of practices, from local to international, workshop participants will examine how these projects are structured through the examination of ethical representation, collaboration, co- authorship, duration, distribution and spectatorship.

Lifesongs is an intergenerational arts project that promotes social inclusion and dignity for our elders. Central to the Lifesongs process is the artist-facilitated creation of original musical works by people in nursing homes and hospice care. Through intergenerational collaboration and transformative storytelling, public concerts, and community conversations, Lifesongs engages communities in healing the culture of fear and exclusion that surrounds aging, illness, and death.

For the Duration of Assembly, Assembly goers may visit LIKEWISE and receive a Portland address that will lead you and your group out of the bar to temporary satellite LIKEWISE location. This address might lead you to someone’s favorite picnic table, messy kitchen, or private yacht. Once there you have the pleasure of meeting your hosts, making new friends, and enjoying a night of unknown merriment.

In this talk Mark Menjivar will discuss the tenure track hiring process and how to integrate social practice into undergraduate art foundation courses.

Monster Destruction is a community-oriented design-build-destroy event bringing together a wide range of people from across Portland’s creative community. In advance of the event, participants are invited to build their own individual 4’ x 4’ model of a city block, and make a ‘monster costume’. Costumed participants will add their block to a giant gridded city at PSU on the day of the event, and the monsters will then dance, interact with, and destroy the giant city.

Sensory awareness, spacial engagement, movement, repetition, interaction and listening as physical action.
Activating perception and interpretation of daily events as investigation of memories and their intersection with archive and perspective.
Expanding the possibility of cognizance through explosion of familiar sensory pathways as radical activism.
Change the conversation.

Artist lecture by Phoebe Davies, who is a currently a British Council Fellow working with the PSU Art and Social Practice Program followed by an open conversation and discussion exploring attitudes towards sex.

Started in 2011, Postcards from America is an ongoing collaborative photographic experiment in creating polyphonic visual sounds. To date, there have been nine Postcards projects around the country involving nearly twenty photographers from the Magnum Photos agency. The tenth chapter, based in Portland, has been an exploration of photography and social practice, made in conjunction with the Art and Social Practice MFA program at Portland State University.
On the project’s last night, photographers Susan Meiselas, Jim Goldberg, Alec Soth, Bieke Depoorter, Peter van Agtmael, Donovan Wylie and Zoe Strauss will share their work at a one-night only, pop up exhibition at the Newspace Center for Photography.

Postcards from America is an ongoing photographic experiment. Since 2011 To date, there have been nine Postcards projects around the country involving nearly twenty photographers from the Magnum Photos agency. Portland is one of the last stops for Postcards from America and seven photographers have come here to photograph a wide variety of subjects in the city, including King School, in conjunction with PSU’s Art and Social Practice MFA Program.

In this panel discussion some of the photographers who are working on the local iteration of the Postcards project will come together to talk about the history of the project, as well as their experience of completing projects in Portland in conjunction with the Art and Social Practice MFA program.

A competition that requires participants, 40+ Russet potatoes, an axe, a chopping block and a digital scale.

The Radical Imagination Gymnasium is both a fitness regime aimed at exercising the underused muscles of the radical imagination and the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together.

The Art and Social Practice Reference Points book series, which will be featured at Assembly, illuminates discussions taking place within the radical environment of the Portland State University Art and Social Practice MFA program. Each book in the ongoing series is conceived and created by an Art and Social Practice MFA student or alumni, and explores the work of an artist or topic within the field of socially engaged art. Artist and writer Julie Ault and the program director, artist Harrell Fletcher, oversee the development of each volume.

Utilizing performative caucus-form voting, See You Again is an evening cocktail event where members of the public are invited to actively participate in voting for a socially-engaged work to be proposed to the museum for permanent collection. The SP MFA students will each champion one artwork.

As part of our public programs exploring topical issues, ideas, and inquiries in art and performance, PICA co-presents with Portland State University's Art & Social Practice Program an afternoon with leading artist and thinker Michael Rohd, whose work investigates the intersection of art, democracy, and civic engagement. Known for provoking artists and cultural institutions to ask difficult questions about how and why we do what we do, Rohd will make a keynote lecture and facilitate small-group breakout discussions exploring the ethics of intentionality and engagement in participatory and community-based art forms, driving us to consider what social practice might have to learn from civic practice.

This workshop will be a discussion of The 1967 book The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord and its themes. Discussion will be open. Please read the entire book if possible. The workshop will be limited in number so sign up early. The book is available online for free, and several books are generally available in most cities.

Strike Debt Portland builds a movement of strikers resisting all forms of oppressive debt and demands economic alternatives. We work to redefine “debt” so that our societal obligations are to our friends, our families, our communities and our civic values, not to the banks or the 1%.

Temporary (Visible Disability) Tattoo is a starting point to discuss invisible disabilities within society and how identity is constructed through a falsification prescribed by viewers.

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