1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, Point Loma
The Cabrillo National Monument at the southern-most tip of the Point Loma peninsula depicts a towering Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo gazing east over San Diego Bay, where, in 1542, he was the first European explorer to set foot on what would later become the West Coast of the United States of America.
On Saturday, November 14 (4 to 11pm), the monument celebrates a landing of quite another variety.
Convergence, a group exhibition curated by A Ship in the Woods, will see around 50 acclaimed and emerging international artists working in conjunction with local historians, scientists, and park rangers to host a first-of-its-kind, site-specific mass installation at the iconic park.
A Ship in the Woods deployed from their Del Mar home and gallery in July, and have since been curating events at unlikely locations around town.
“I really wanted to reach out and find new places for events,” says curator Lianne Mueller, who has been working with the non-profit art incubator for over a year. “Cabrillo is a magical place. We are excited to work with the park in a way that celebrates the plants, animals, and diversity here. We are working together to bring it to life. That is a very significant part of our show, and the park will be curating their own special exhibits at the same time. For us, collaboration is very important: artists working with scientists, historians, psychologists. We are connecting all of these people to become inspired by the site.”
Despite the ambitious scope of the event, Mueller emphasizes that Convergence is not so much a festival as it is a multi-disciplinary, interactive series of installations “interpreting the convergences and fragmentations of land and water, as well as the habitats and people that are part of the rich ecosystem of the Point Loma peninsula. Likewise, other artists will explore the historical relevance and cultural significance of the people that have lived in and around Cabrillo… [and] to inspire the viewers' appreciation for their individual and collective actions toward environmental sustainability.”
The exhibition is a rare opportunity to catch a sunset from the park (which normally closes at 5 p.m.) with a ceremony under the guidance of Scott Polach.
Then, climb inside the Old Point Loma Lighthouse before exploring night trails and bunkers (bring a flashlight!), which will come alive with video projections on the lighthouse, interactive installations, a secret garden, experimental sound installations, a tea ceremony using endemic plants from the Cabrillo National Monument, large scale exhibits made from recycled plastic, performance art, spoken word, mobile augmented reality, projection mapping, kinetic sculptures, sound and light performances, and opportunities for audience participation.
Of note, heralded Tijuana-born artist Hugo Crosthwaite will be painting live on the breezeway leading to the visitor center, where a heavy-weight local lineup of musicians, including Preston Swirnoff, Perry Vasquez, Pall Jenkins, and The Donkeys, will be performing from 8 to 11 p.m.
Meanwhile, Portland-based artist Harrell Fletcher will be adorning a tree with hundreds of wind chimes (bring your own to get involved) and Mexico City’s Ruben Ochoa will be filling a window with a translucent, backlit photo series called No Man is an Island, which serves as an homage to migrants who walk in search of a beacon, not unlike the lighthouse that characterizes the historical site.
“It’s exciting to have all these renowned artists joining in the San Diego arts community,” says Mueller. “We encourage everyone to come early and be adventurous. There is so much happening; you simply can’t catch it all if you come late. Bring a picnic and watch the sunset.”
Tickets are $15 and free for children under 12 years old.