Chad Deal 8:51 p.m., June 19
There Goes the Neighborhood (North Park)
A 4 day event entitled There Goes the Neighborhood! will be engaging the community of North Park Thursday May 31st through Sunday June 3rd. The series of workshops, talks, installations, performances, and tours, includes an event at UCSD and happenings at the San Diego Museum of Art. This will be the 2nd manifestation of There Goes the Neighborhood, having occurred once before in 2010.
One of the workshops will take place in the North Park Theater's parking lot, focusing on the city project aimed at converting the lot into a mini-park. Landscape specialists, architects, artists, and the community will explore potential usages of the space. Another event is centered on a dinner atop the Landis Street overpass, where discussions about the widening of the 805 freeway (among other developments) are to take place.
Musical performances by starvelab (Michael Trigilio using modular analog equipment) and Chris Warren (performing innovative computer music) will take place at the art gallery known as Art Produce to end Saturday's scheduled events. Bill Wesley (of Array Instruments), Asha Sheshadri, and Sean Francis Conway will be performing at The Whistle Stop earlier that same day. Sean Conway is also set to lead a walk between a couple events - he has been known to lead an invented-instrument marching band in the past.
“What we hope to accomplish is to create a participatory public forum that bridges gaps between different types of thinking and to draw attention to people, projects and sites- in a neighborhood, on a campus or in a museum- that act as points of convergence of many complex issues,” writes David White, one of the six lead organizers of There Goes the Neighborhood. White also founded Agitprop, which will be hosting several of the events. He will be giving a presentation about a project focused on the idea of relocating UCSD to Balboa Park, where San Diego city planners originally wanted to build the university.
“This re-location ultimately goes back to fundamental questions about the role of education in our society and in the 'knowledge economy' that tend to overlook forms of knowledge that do not have a direct implication in 'research and development' pro formas. The presentation is not necessarily about UCSD per say, but about a general rethinking of the types of spaces that we value as sites of producing knowledge. I think artists can have a lot to say about these alternate ways of looking at, and understanding, the world,” says White.
Stephanie Lie, also one of the organizers, tells me separately that information sharing doesn't always have to come from academia. She says universities can learn from the streets. Lie goes on to say “People in the ivory tower should come down... engage, interface.” In a way these six organizers, most of whom are artists connected to UCSD, are challenging the very structure of knowledge. One of the events will tackle this topic at The San Diego Museum of Art, with a panel discussion which includes professors and City Council member Todd Gloria.
It is also evident that serious introspection has taken place by the organizers themselves, regarding the role of artists in society. One might imagine that an event, such as this one, would be organized by the city, the North Park town council, or developers, but it wasn't. Perhaps it is the role of artists to fill in the missing gaps that naturally occur within the structure of a society. Too bad there isnt much of a financial incentive to help motivate such an idea further.
White puts it this way, “I like to say that There Goes the Neighborhood is like a snowball rolling down the side of a mountain. Our job as organizers is to carefully craft that first little snow ball, give it a roll, and then get the hell out of the way!”
Another one of the organizers, Micki Davis, stresses that people of all San Diego neighborhoods (not just North Park) are invited, because what is happening in North Park could happen in your neck of the woods next.