Friday, November 18, 2016

Home Land Security

I never tire of exploring the California Coast including the repurposed military bases in or adjacent to San Francisco.   Most have been transformed into parks.  I have a longstanding fascination with the abandoned bunkers and gun batteries.  They are like concrete “ruins” from a time when they were needed to give us a sense of safety and security.  Our world is far from peaceful and feels less and less safe, but the gun batteries that once protected the Bay Area now are basically obsolete.
Today was one of those perfect sunny San Francisco days, the Golden Gate Bridge looked fantastic and tourists were snapping pictures of the view from atop Fort Winfield Scott.  But for us, it was time to see what was hidden beneath the concrete. 
The For-Site Foundation has brought together artists for a site-specific installation titled Home Land Security.  As they describe it:
“Home Land Security brings together works by contemporary artists and collectives from around the globe to reflect on the human dimensions and increasing complexity of national security, including the physical and psychological borders we create, protect, and cross in its name.”
The work is installed in 5 buildings and we began with one of the most powerful and disturbing pieces – 2487 a sound piece by Luz María Sánchez.  Ducking my head to enter a dark passageway where a row of speakers randomly announce the names of 2487 people those who perished crossing the boarder between Mexico and the United States.  You can experience the piece on the website
Mandana Moghaddam’s video piece Exodus was the next work to confront us. The heavy doors are open to reveal a screen where we see footage of the anonymous, lost luggage of refugees.
Tirtzah Bassel and Michelle Pred explore the theatre that is airport security.  Bassel offers an installation of a temporary mural using duct tape as the artistic medium while Pred’s installation is almost lovely until you think about it — the circle made up of hundreds of small objects confiscate in the name of security.
The project website covers all the installations in detail with many photos, etc.  Or ideally, you will be able to visit for yourself before December 18, 2016.

And you too can contemplate just how “safe” we all are…

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