the corridor project is honored to be part of a thrilling larger exhibition called suddenly.
A visual arts / literary collaboration
Reed College / Pomona College / and points adjacent
Stephanie Snyder and Matthew Stadler
Suddenly is an array of visual arts exhibitions and a publication that together explore the environment of the Zwischenstadt or ‘in-between’ city. What is the Zwischenstadt? As articulated by German historian Thomas Sieverts, the Zwischenstadt is the continuous and transitional fabric of urban, semi-urban, and rural space, both residential and commercial, that constitutes our habitual experience of environment, architecture and city. The Zwischenstadt is a continuous field of development that collapses areas of once-solid polarities (such as city and suburb, town and country) by standing ‘in-between’ these poles—both centered and center-less, temporal and spatial, anchored to place and yet global in reach. Our project seeks to make the Zwischenstadt ‘intelligible and legible’ so that it can take on ‘an independent identity’ in the imagination of its occupants, and become a subject of politics, aesthetic experience and the development of subjectivity. The Zwischenstadt is neither here nor there, and it is often ‘tuned-out’ as we follow our nostalgia for the historical city, or violently recoil from our ingrained disavowal of the ‘vacuous’ perimeter of the ‘suburb.’
Before undertaking any active creative organization and intervention we must not only open our eyes but also use all our senses in order to be able to grasp the Zwischenstadt. Deliberate engagement, perception, recognition and interpretation with the purpose of critical and, as far as possible, unprejudiced and situation-specific appropriation of our own environment must stand at the start of every attempt to shape the Zwischenstadt. This in turn requires an expansion of the aesthetic world, a deferral of the limits between the non-aesthetic and the aesthetic. —Thomas Sieverts, Cities Without Cities, p. 97
Suddenly, the exhibition, opens in late August 2008 at the Cooley Gallery, and travels to Pomona College in January 2009. Suddenly is curated by Stephanie Snyder, director and curator of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College and is anchored in two central locations: the Cooley Gallery at Reed College, and the Pomona College Museum of Art. Snyder is working closely with Pomona Museum curator Rebecca McGrew to re-shape the Portland exhibition before it travels to Pomona. The exhibition—as a conceptual framework—will also spill organically into spaces as diverse as an Asian shopping mall in Vancouver B.C.; a disused farm house at a commercial thoroughfare in Sherwood, Oregon; an industrial park at the edge of downtown Seattle; or an empty storefront in Philomath, Oregon. Visual artists will visit Reed and Ponoma for short-term residencies, engaging students and the local arts community. Artworks will be presented in a variety of spaces and published forms that reflect the evolving, multivalent nature of space in the Zwischenstadt itself. In addition, we will help artists take their work into the Zwischenstadt, facilitating acts of cultural occupation.’
Suddenly includes traditional art media such as photography and projected video, but it also includes ‘relational’ and ‘exchange-based’ activities such as communal dinners, spontaneous public lectures, and poster-based projects—all of these initiative will extend themselves into the Zwischenstadt that is Pomona. For instance: Michael Hebberoy (of the Corridor Project) will produce a communal dinner in the museum courtyard. This dinner will bring together Pomona faculty, students and other members of the community to explore the Zwischenstadt through conversation and conviviality. The material artifacts—tables, chairs, dishes, etc.—and documentation of the dinner will then be installed, communally, in the exhibition. Other dinners may take place in Los Angeles and their material artifacts brought to Pomona.
The book is in the final stages of editing by project co-author Matthew Stadler—novelist and founder of Clear Cut Press. Literary editor of Nest magazine during its seven-year existence, Stadler possesses a deep knowledge of contemporary cultural criticism, fiction, and letters. We are positioning the exhibition and the book to infect and challenge one another. An essay on the visual art exhibitions is being integrated into the book; language from the book is being carefully inserted amidst the works in the exhibitions — but the book will not stand as an explanation or representation of the art, just as the art will not illustrate the points made in the book. We are fashioning both realms of the project to instigate ideas, actions, and associations beyond the other.