ArtpologistSubmitted by: Daniel Gallegos
To whom it may concern,
I am writing in response to your recent call for submissions for 510 Arts.com "Highlighting World Culture in the East Bay". I am a Bay Area artist who worked on graffiti in the 1980s. Most recently, I have been involved in collaborative initiative with artists from Central Asia, namely Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Since 2006, I practiced social practice art together with artists in post-Soviet cities. I interacted with them as a Bay Area artist. Together with my collaborators, we have worked out a particular method that combines art and anthropology. Coined as “artpology,” this method implies a long-term ethnographic interaction with a particular urban environment and communities. Along with the study of material spaces, we collect stories, memories, and the daily life of specific communities.
This year, we are working in the East Bay. Our current project Diagnostics is a collaboration with car mechanics in a neighborhood autoshop in North Oakland. Participation in the daily life of this shop is one way to investigate the impact of global recession on a local community in the United States. Together with these workers, we explore how historically underprivileged communities cope with labor migration, unemployment, excesses of throwaway consumer culture, gentrification, and car dependence. Whereas we consider our interactions, conversations, collaborations as the art, we also document the project via blog. Our final output is a multi media art exhibit inside the autoshop. Thus, we make art accessible to regular people on the street and to celebrate the value of people working in our community.
Here is the blog to our project:
Video exert for the project:
Thank you for your time,