Redoing without Undoing: A Renovation That Does Not Erase, 2020.
The current initiative invites artists from diverse backgrounds to propose works that reclaim FSM Cafe as a site of collective and inclusive memory. As a call to action, this initiative does not require that artists conform to a set of prescriptive guidelines. Instead, it calls on artists’ interpretative insights and personal proximation to issues of exclusion and erasure in the historicization of events. We orient this call within a framework committed to legitimizing underrepresented histories by allowing them to claim physical space. To operationalize this project, a grant funded by the university will allow two artists per year over a twenty year period, to bring into public consciousness underrepresented communities’ exclusion from the collective memory of historical or cultural events. The twenty year period derives its significance from the amount of time that FSM Cafe’s current display has been showcased. The patio of Free Speech Movement will be transformed into a living and rotational gallery space, where two artists per year (for twenty years) will feature their work. Critical to the aim of this initiative is countering and supplementing FSM Cafe’s current display rather than removing it. Undoing rather than redoing brings attention to the consequences of obscuring misguided or problematic efforts, as opposed to concealing its effects. Absent from the walls of a cafe that claims to honor, “a struggle between students and university administrators over the students' right to advocate for political issues on campus”, are photos of people and communities of color. The current project aims to engage the Berkeley community in questions of: how do archives work to preserve and reify structures of dominance, control, and racial hierarchy? Individuals with the privilege of access and power have the resources to write history and choose the prevailing historical narrative. This grant looks to engage a remediation project of redistributing access and resources to make histories of repression, exclusion, struggle, and liberation legible within a public consciousness. Our commitment is to offer stories, experiences, and concealed histories--that are often denied equal chance of recognition--the opportunity to claim space. Without prescribing functional requirements, the project leads with a commitment to the interpretive freedoms of the artist. This initiative aims to more accurately and inclusively historicize and celebrate the divergent cultural events that rooted on UC Berkeley’s campus, with specific attention to histories that have been underwritten or underemphasized by conventional practices of archival exclusion. In an effort to transfer politics of access, representation, and power to the hands of artists, the requirements for consideration will be structured through Rodney Leon’s seven criteria of successful public art practice. The current project aims to engage with a range of modalities including: sculpture, photography, painting, murals, and multimedia works. Artists will be tasked with proposing works that engage elements of: education, culture, symbol, universality, and participation. Chosen works will occupy the patio space for six months-- allowing cafe patrons and community members time to attend to the piece’s existence and engage its symbolic significance. By funding two artists per year for twenty years, the goal is to engage a multitude of histories through a range of mediums. The hope here is to fund art that engages in diverse visual languages. It is critical to that the featured artists have a connection to legacies of exclusion or historical erasure on UC Berkeley’s campus. The aim is not to exclude any group on account of racial, gender, or religious identity. Merely, the initiative’s prerogative is to make room for histories conventionally denied space and legitimacy to root itself. Exposing some deeply neglected fault lines in historical representation, we invite artists with important cultural messages to propose work.
B.A. (honors), Media Studies, 2020
B.A. Molecular and Cell Biology, 2021
B.A. Public Health, 2020