A&E  

The Other Project

Refugee tent provides a site for dialog in Valencia, Sep. 11 - 14

By Evelyn Serrano
Published on LatinoLA: August 19, 2007


The Other Project


Originally designed to provide temporary shelter at emergency sites in Afghanistan and other parts of the world, a refugee tent will be placed on a hill in an undeveloped plot of land in Valencia, California. This area, known as Fire Valley, is adjacent to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). For five days, the tent and its surroundings will serve as the site for The Other Project, a series of conversations, forums, performances, workshops and readings focusing on issues of "otherness."

Organizer Evelyn Serrano, will live in the tent for the duration of the project, furnishing it with such items from her home as Ikea chairs, K-Mart lamps, and her grandmother's crystal vase. Ms. Serrano recently described the ideas behind her project. "In these times, when our country and its institutions are committed to a re-evaluation of "the other" through military campaigns, the building of walls along the Mexican border, landmark Supreme Court rulings and the re-imagining of immigration policy, The Other Project looks at these same issues from the perspective of a refugee tent on a suburban hill.

The contrast between the tent and its furnishings will highlight the event's themes which will range from a town meeting bringing together members of the Santa Clarita Arts Advisory Board, city officials and the CalArts community to a performance of iconic songs from Argentina and Brazil. Throughout the five-day event, visual artists, writers, anthropologists, musicians, performers, community leaders, activists, curators and educators from Mexico and the United States will use the site to present work and stimulate dialog on the many ways of addressing "otherness."

Highlights:
Pirayeh Pourafar and Houman Pourmedhi, two master musicians, composers, teachers and recording artists will engage in a conversation about their lives as artists in their homeland of Iran and their experiences after they emigrated to the United States. LA Weekly's Gustavo Arellano will discuss his experience with the nationally syndicated column, "Ask A Mexican!", in which he answers questions about America's largest minority. Participants in the workshop, How to Jumpstart Empathy, will learn different methods and strategies drawn from Eastern spiritual practice, Constructive Living and nonviolent communication from therapist Linda Hoag. A forum led by artists Karen Atkinson, Sam Durant, Erik Ehn among others, will have a discussion about the artist's social responsibility and will talk about strategies for community engagement through the arts. For Entre lo Real y lo Imaginario/Between the Real and the Imaginary, writers from Tijuana, Mexico will present a reading of their poetry and prose in Spanish.

LOCATION: CALARTS, FireValley, in Valencia, California

The project site is located on one of the hills on a vacant lot (known as FireValley) neighboring the facilities of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). The site can be accessed using the Tournament Road entrance to CalArts.
CalArts is located at 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355

DATES: September 11, 2007-September 14, 2007
TIMES: Programming will take place from 8am to 11am and from 4pm to 8pm

(Project coincides with 1st week of classes at CalArts, Fall Semester)
Installation: Monday September 10, 2007 (all day)
De-Installation: Friday, September 14, 2007, afternoon

For a complete schedule of events visit The Other Project's website: http://theotherproject.blogspot.com/

About Evelyn Serrano:
Evelyn is a Cuban visual artist, educator, administrator, and independent curator. She received her M.F.A. degree from the California Institute of the Arts. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.




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