Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture 2015: Future Tense is underway. This year’s festival invited 65 emerging artists to “imagine what’s possible for the future, with particular interest in how social change might be exhibited in their work.” As in past years, the opening night featured the visual arts showcase with performances and food.
Here we see part of the wall-sized piece by featured artist Kimberley Acebo Arteche. Traditional clothing patterns are reimagined on a larger-life-scale with pixelated digital prints on cloth. The work brings together traditional practices and a bit of personal nostalgia with a modern ubiquitous technology for images.
Another large piece that makes use of technologies and mixed media was Grace Kim’s room-sized installation Breathing Wall IV, which combined LED lights, sound, tape and other media into a visually captivating immersive space of colors, light and lines. You can experience a bit of it in this short video, though it truly must be seen in person.
We at CatSynth are always on the lookout for cats in art exhibitions, and we weren’t disappointed. Alan Khum’s art frequently features cats – I had just seen many of his feline works at a completely separate show for First Thursday the night before – and here he combines house cats together with one of their larger wild cousins.
I particularly like the expressiveness of the cats.
Another playful piece was Austin Boe’s mirrored pieces exploring queer identity. This one featured a mirrored surface and the French phrase je vous aimas (I like you).
We can see Grace Kim’s piece in the background, along with a video piece by Tianxing Wan called Invisible Man, juxtaposing a ghostly figure simultaneously in San Francisco’s bustling Union Square and in a Chinese village.
Another challenging work was Nicholas Oh’s ceramic piece. A sideways glance suggests a simple ceramic tea set with traditional materials and configuration, but on closer inspection one realizes that the figures on the set represent the Japanese Americans held at internment camps during World War II. Indeed, Oh uses his medium of ceramics to lay bare images of racism.
Jeremy Villaluz’s photograph series Midnights was, by contrast, quite comforting, despite the dark and moody nature of the images. Here we see the dark but nonetheless alive corners of urban life.
There is a starkness to these images and lots of space, but also a familiarity with these edges of the urban landscape, and perhaps a bit of sadness (on my part) that such places are fading.
In additional to the visual art, there were presentations and performances. Kimberley Arteche had a chance to speak briefly about her work and her participation in this year’s festival standing in front of her piece.
Caroline Calderon presented poetry and music around issues of community, identity, and social justice.
Her spoken-word and musical tributes to her complex relationship with the city of San Francisco rang pretty true for me as well, as I continue to feel in love with this city while simultaneous feeling a bit more alienated at times.
Joseph Nontanovan presented poetry and food and words about food, in particular about his Lao heritage and the characteristic ingredients of Lao cuisine. He treated us to words as well as the aromas and a chance to sample a traditional dish made from fermented sausage, vegetables, rice, and of course cilantro. It was delicious.
It often seems that food, words and images intersect at Kearny Street Workshop events, a combination which is welcome and also reflects to increasing shift of programs back to the organizations roots in combining arts with identity and community activism. I look forward to more of this year’s APAture festival over the coming weeks. You can see a full schedule of events at the official website.