Department of Space and Land Reclamation (west)

San Francisco is well known as a destination city – a city that is desired by those who live in it and those who visit it from all over the world.  It is a city known for its beauty, its fashion, its wealth, and its secret pleasures.

A group of artist, composed of graduate and undergraduate students from San Jose State University, focused on the issue of desire in some of its diverse manifestations: lust, greed, and fashion/fame/capitalism. In coordination with the Department of Space and Land Reclamation (DSLR) our group along with several hundred artists set about the street of San Francisco in an effort to re-vision the purpose of public space.

Our group focused on three key areas of desire in San Francisco and took action in each of these strategic points – one location each day – in order to encompass the 24×3=72 hours that were suggested as the time frame of action in the DSLR (west) guidelines.

native tonguesIn addition to the actions, we worked with signs, placards, leafleting and other sorts of advertising strategies to reclaim space and challenge preconceived notions associated with each space. Some of the signs were temporarily placed and camouflaged within their traditional locations and other times, there were performative aspects to the delivery of the information. For example, we worked with placards that have text and image deconstructing and/or poetically commenting upon the specific site in which the action takes place (The Red-Light District, The Financial District, & The Retail District.) In the Financial District “Crosswalk Performance” took place by several participating artists while the light was red and traffic was stopped.

The Three Locations Were:

Friday—Pacific Coast Stock Exchange at the intersection of Pine St. and Stockton St. in San Francisco. At this location we worked with the aspect of desire: greed.

Saturday—Union Square at this location we worked with the aspect of desire: fashion/fame/notoriety/capitalism.

Sunday—”Red-Light District” at the intersection of Columbus and Broadway. At this location we worked with the aspect of desire: lust.

The outcome of the three-day project was an intervention, a documentation, and a commentary of the intervention: to re-vision the meaning of desire and to re-vision aspects of San Francisco within this newly defined context.


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