Survey West Collaborative engages architecture and site symbolically as they collapse past, present and future in their large-scale outdoor installation, This House has a Bright Future. Engaging the metaphoric potential of Side Street Projects' current headquarters in Pasadena, SWC will build a monumental, temporary, site-specific piece. The sculptural installation will debut during Pasadena's Art Night, and a series of kids' workshops will be offered in conjunction with the project.
SWC's installation will sit atop one of the on-site foundational ruins that include a neighborhood barbershop, an apartment building, and Maitza's taquería. The site also boasts the Decker House, one of the oldest Victorian houses in Pasadena, now boarded-up, weathered and ghostly, yet protected for its historical significance. Each of these buildings, except for the Victorian relic, was torn down to make way for the Heritage Square Development; a project intended to revitalize the area. Neighborhood concerns threatened the development and the project came to a halt as the economic crisis made breaking the impasse impossible. An eyesore of a vacant lot remained and Side Street Projects, a completely mobile, artist-run nonprofit organization, moved in and transformed the space through education outreach and artist services.
As the Pasadena Community Development Commission reviews new proposals for this stalled housing development, Survey West explores relationships between the progress, development, hopes, and history of this particular site. Survey West has created both ornate and distressed sculptural signifiers for the site's distant Victorian past, the neighborhood's recent past, current visions of local NW Pasadena children, and notions of the future. Together, they will be mapped onto a singular footprint of the old foundation, becoming a visually striking architectural intervention.
The duo will represent the future through six sets of brightly painted scaffolding that form a new floor plan for the viewer to enter. This representation of the future will physically embrace its own past as Victorian embellishments, barbershop stripes, Maitza's horseshoes, and local children's portraits and ghost stories fill the structure's grid-system. Here, shifting perspectives on need, success and desire will come into one dynamic vision as distinct moments in time become veils, screens and windows to another.
Over the course of the project, Survey West will conduct three on-site workshops with children in the neighborhood. In the first and second, participants will create portraits that line the installation's entrance and illustrated dream journals will become a small library within the piece. Upon the viewers' entry into this new floor plan, an interior bench will invite contemplation, and Survey West encourages community meetings about the site's future within this space.
ONSITE WORKSHOPS: Free on-site kids' workshops on Saturdays: May 7, May 14, and June 11, 11am-1pm
Survey West Collaborative is an on-going project between artist Jill Newman and Bari Ziperstein. Both educated in West Coast art and conceptualism at CalArts, they examine the intersections of progress, ingenuity and architecture through art production, curation and education outreach. Their first curatorial project, Site as Symbol, is currently on view at the Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA). This is the duo's first public sculpture, funded in part by the Pasadena Arts and Cultural Commission and City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.