The work submitted for this call is from the project Blurring Boundaries, a new, collaborative work in progress created by local photographers and educators Peter Tonningsen and Lisa Levine. This project seeks to define Oakland as place and community while exploring the spirit of shared territories; blending the intersection of one geographic location bordering another, the confluence of industrial landscape with residential topography, analog vs. digital technologies, past vs. present, etc. Essentially this amalgamation is intended to develop dialog about the tenuous nature of boundaries and how they can be defined, constructed, and commingled, while simultaneously embracing the serendipitous nature of the creative process.
Beginning with a single roll film, one artist photographed various scenes along the shared boundaries comprising the Port of Oakland and surrounding West Oakland neighborhoods. The film was then rewound and exchanged with the other artist to duplicate this process, with this exchange repeated multiple times, eventually creating a surprising and complexly layered document of the shared territories. The multiple exposed film is then scanned in sections of consecutive frames and reworked collaboratively to digitally enhance the formal and contextual elements of the layered imagery with further layers of made and found imagery pertaining to the history and contemporary condition of the locations. The resulting large-scale (up to 20 feet) digital prints are open-ended and episodic in nature (i.e., occurring at multiple times in various places along the shared boundaries) provoking consideration of the complicated affiliation between these two vastly different, yet inextricably linked neighborhoods that partly comprise and define the City of Oakland.
It is our intent to continue this collaborative and unique visual approach throughout Oakland as a means of recognizing and defining the unique character and culture inherent to its many diverse neighborhoods.