Twain Conversationalists
Friday, October 8, 2010

Dr. Jill Bennett is founding director of Australia’s National Institute for Experimental Arts [NIEA] and previously founded the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics at the University of New South Wales. Jill has published widely on visual culture, contemporary art and new media and has a particular interest in transdisciplinary, experimental methods and their application to art, exhibitions, theory and everyday life. Her previous books include Empathic Vision (Stanford UP, 2005), a study of art and traumatic events, and two new media monographs. She is currently completing a book and ARC funded research project titled Practical Aesthetics on the application of creative thinking and practice to world events.

York Chang
is a conceptual artist and painter who manipulates the cultural projection of ideology, fanaticism, and political power. He creates immersive "total" installations, exploring the exhibition construct's potential for literary fiction writing and turning forensic and archival information systems into supports for poetic gestures. Select exhibitions include ARCO Madrid with g727, Madrid, Spain (2010); ZOOM at the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2009); The Search for the Visceral Realists at the Federal Art Project, Los Angeles, CA (2009); and Asian New Media, at the Center for Democracy at Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles CA (2008).

Clara Kim is the Gallery Director & Curator at REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles. She was formerly curatorial associate at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and has also worked in curatorial departments at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The Renaissance Society in Chicago, and the San Francisco Art Institute. Her exhibition, Lee Bul: Live Forever organized at the San Francisco Art Institute with the Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia, traveled throughout the United States including the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and the Power Plant, Toronto.



All Five October Salons To Be About Political Issues

With the 2008 U.S. Presidential (and other) elections drawing close, during October, Farmlab's Public Salon Series will feature five consecutive programs regarding a variety of political issues.

These non-partisan discussions take place every Friday at noon, at Farmlab. Lunch is served and the Salons are free-of-charge.

The Line-up includes:

October 3, 2008 @ Noon
Farmlab Public Salon
My Daily Constitution
Click for More Info.

October 10, 2008 @ Noon
Farmlab Public Salon
Carol Wells
Can Design Stop A War?
More info. TBA

October 17, 2008 @ Noon
Farmlab Public Salon
Marqueece Harris-Dawson
How A Presidential Campaign Resembles Community Organizing -- On a Grand Scale
More Info. TBA

October 24, 2008 @ Noon
Farmlab Public Salon
Ben Sullivan, Bonnie Bills and Bo Oppenheim
Where Do John McCain & Barack Obama Stand on Science?
Click for More Info.

October 31, 2008 @ Noon
Farmlab Public Salon
Next American City magazine co-presents
The Politics Of Food
More info. TBA

Labels: ,



Farmlab Public Salon
Allan Ides + Linda Pollack
Friday, October 3, 2008 @ Noon
Free Admission

My Daily Constitution

About the Salon

The Constitution is a river that's ever-changing. It ebbs and flows. Sometimes it floods. Sometimes it is dry. At times the Constitution responds to cataclysms. In this salon, Constitutional Scholar Allan Ides and artist Linda Pollack discuss the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, Pollack will speak about lessons learned through her projects which aspire to bolster constitutional democracy, including "My Daily Constitution", the HABEAS LOUNGE, and HABEAS VOTE. Professor Ides will share his insights about the Constitution, highlighting the the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the resulting states of constitutional democracy that it produces.

About the Salon Participants

Allan Ides is the James P. Bradley Professor of Constitutional Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Ides graduated summa cum laude from Loyola Law Schol in 1979. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr., Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1979-80 and then clerked for the Honorable Byron R. White, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1980-81. Professor Ides joined the Loyola Law School faculty in the fall of 1982 and served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1984-87. From 1989-97, Professor Ides was a member of the law school faculty at Washington & Lee in Lexington, Virginia. He returned to Los Angeles and to Loyola in Fall 1997. He has written extensively in the areas of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure and is actively involved in various public service projects, ranging from civil rights litigation to the representation of individuals in deportation proceedings.

Linda Pollack studied finance and economics at Penn State University, and art at the Vrije Akademie (The Hague) and the Jan van Eyck Academy (Maastricht) in the Netherlands. She spent a decade in the Netherlands, eventually combining her art practice with broader cultural interventions through her work as a program director for the Amsterdam-based European Cultural Foundation. There she set up APEXchanges, a groundbreaking arts mobility fund that addressed post-cold war Europe's east / west cultural and economic divide. Linda also developed initiatives promoting reconciliation and civil society in war-torn Yugoslavia, with Haris Pasovic and his Sarajevo Festival Ensemble, and Macedonian rock stars "Leb i Sol", among others. It was in this period, while immersed in her civil-society building work that Linda directed her art practice to the dynamics and visual culture of (aspiring) democracies. In 1996, Linda returned to the U.S. to pursue her MFA in New Genres at UCLA, eventually receiving her MFA from the Visual Arts Department of UCSD.

In 2002, after learning of the passage of the USA PATRIOT ACT, Linda launched the project 'My Daily Constitution' as a tool to create discussion about constitutional democracy in the United States. She has held the series in Los Angeles, NYC, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Last year Linda developed and curated the exhibition PATRIOT ACTS for the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. For the show, participating artists developed new works inspired by a series of dialogues with constitutional lawyers. Pollack developed her bright red, oval HABEAS LOUNGE seating installation as an accompaniment and a place based support for these events. After its six month run, the HABEAS LOUNGE migrated to downtown Los Angeles at the 7+FIG Art Space at Ernst & Young Plaza, where she created THE HABEAS INDEX, a forum of events, presentations and discussions about Los Angeles and Los Angeles issues. For the Presidential Election in November, the LOUNGE migrates east to the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center's Art Gallery, as part of the exhibition PEOPLE WEEKLY, where Linda will catalyze a series of events -- including constitution readings -- aimed to bolster civil society during this pivotal time in U.S. history.

TOP: My Daily Constitution in Cincinnati, "The Constitutional Limits of the Police Use of Force," May 2003.

BOTTOM: The United States Constitution, Dunlap & Claypool, September 1787, edition of 500. Photographed by Linda Pollack, 2004.

Labels: ,



Farmlab Hosts 'Imagining America' Conference Session

Imagining America, a national consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design came to Farmlab to host a program titled, "Voices from The Cultural Battlefront."

The afternoon opened with a drum circle Under Spring, and from there the group split up into smaller groups to tackle ideas of public art, engaging community, and a artists role in both. Community members from across the country traveled to Los Angeles for the three day conference, which was supported by the University of Southern California and the Commission of Cultural Affairs.

One of the overriding questions for the conference at large was, "How can we better engage the community we are working with in a positive way, and how does this inform our work as community artists?" Experts from various disciplines attending the conference, including Linda Frye Burnham, founder of CAN (Community Arts Network), and Jan Cohen Cruz, current Director of Imagining America and Professor at Tisch School of the Arts in New York.

The Farmlab-hosted program ended on a high note -- literally -- with a live performance from a jazz band hailing from Philadelphia and a feast of Cuban food. Many thanks to both James Burkes, the event organizer, and to The Center for Caribbean Culture in New York City.

Photo caption: Imagining America conference attendees, at Farmlab
Photo credit: Amanda Shumate / Farmlab

Labels: ,



Farmlab Public Salon
Ismail Farouk
Friday September 26, 2008 @ Noon
Free Admission
Opening: Summit w/ Bitter Melon & Peace Through Pork

Exploring Narratives of Spatial Justice in Johannesberg and L.A.

About the Salon
Artist and urban geographer Ismail Farouk invites you to participate in an active dialogue exploring narratives of spatial injustice in Johannesburg and Los Angeles. The discussion will inform Farouk’s work developing an online application to physically map narratives of spatial justice, while also creating collections of tags to highlight patterns of spatial inequality. Farouk hopes to connect cities worldwide by creating a common visual language for practitioners, so that they can exchange knowledge, develop alliances and mobilize collective responses to local struggles. Farouk believes that sustained visual representation of spatial injustice has the potential to advance the struggle for social justice in cities throughout the world.

Farouk’s work attempts to highlight the patterns of spatial inequality associated with the global desire to narrowly define space along lines of profit. Private-public ventures are at the forefront of this political economy of space. Represented by Business Improvement Districts, they are responsible for altering governance structures within this political economy while claiming to simultaneously improve the quality of life for those who reside in the city. In both Johannesburg and Los Angeles, privatized urban management practices have resulted in areas of uneven services and a fragmented quality of life: wealthy residents and tourists enjoy a clean, seemingly orderly city; while the poor, street vendors and immigrants are criminalized.

Just Added!: About the Opening Presentation
Farmlab is pleased to host this same morning the historic first meeting between the duo behind National Bitter Melon Council and the gent behind Peace Through Pork. For five minutes at the beginning of the Salon noon hour, this trio will announce the results of their summit.

About the Salon Presenter
Artist and urban geographer Ismail Farouk is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Farouk holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art and a master’s degree in geography from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. His work explores and initiates creative responses to racial, social, political and economic injustice. Using a variety of media and tactics, ranging from public performances to web-based mapping applications, Farouk aims to empower and mobilize citizens in the struggle for social and spatial justice. His work has been featured in exhibitions in South Africa, Kenya, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.

Farouk is in Los Angeles as part of the MAK Center Urban Future Initiative (UFI), an international fellowship program dedicated to creating meaningful cross-cultural exchange about the challenges confronting cities worldwide. To learn more about the UFI fellows and their research, please visit

Image: Johannesburg Eviction Carnage (2005) courtesy Ismail Farouk

Labels: ,



Twain Conversationalists
Friday, September 24, 2010

Rochelle Fabb has worked with Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio since 2007 on: Skidrow Agbins, Silver and Water and, since June 2009, Strawberry Flag at the VA. Previously she served as Communications Director for the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health and Project Manager for Children’s Hospital’s Youth Expressions – a web based portal to art and healthy sexuality with Dr. Drew and inner city teens from across LA. Rochelle is also a performing artist who founded her own non-profit interdisciplinary performance ensemble Empire of Teeth and has taught at Cal Arts, UCLA’s World Arts & Cultures Dept, and with the Center for Cultural Innovation.

’s Facebook page describes “Many arrows in my quiver… Emmy award winning reporter/producer for local Fox Television News, design critic for the Los Angeles Times, urban affairs reporter for The New York Times, an editor of The New York Post”…A diversity of professional positions and consultancies in the private and public sectors, assorted academic appointments, and always open to new challenges; latest: Metro, Transportation Planning Manager, for High Speed Rail at LA's Union Station, and on call for creative strategies.” Sam’s books include
L.A. Lost and Found an architectural history of Los Angeles, and L.A. Follies, a collection of essays.

Barbara Whorley
’s passionate mission is to train people to strategically focus on what they desire most without being distracted by anxiety or the emotional pains of their past. She refers to this program as “Unpacking the Emotional Suitcase of Life in Order for People to Live Fully in the Present, now!” Known as the InterACTive, MotivACTional Speaker who moves her audiences to ACTion, BarBara has conducted her trainings internationally and across the US for numerous groups, including programs for Veterans who suffer from PTSD. BarBara has a Masters Degree in Life Skills from the University of H.K. (Hard Knocks).

Sue Bell Yank is a writer and arts organizer. Currently the Assistant Director of Academic Programs at the Hammer Museum, she has a deep-seated investment in non-profit organizations and arts-based urban planning practices. Sue was intimately involved in the formation and conceptualization of the Watts House Project and writes frequently about social practice, including on her blog: Social Practice: Writings About Contemporary Art.



Farmlab Part of Weekend's 'East of Eden' Exhibition

Farmlab was a participant in the September 19-21, 2008 "East of Eden" show held at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in the Barnsdall Art Park. Farmlab's pair of pieces were on display outdoors, on City property, just outside the entranceway to the Gallery. The picture above was taken during installation. Trust us -- the joint was much more crowded with folks all weekend.

For more information about the show, visit the official website.

Farmlab photo by Rich Nielsen

Labels: ,



Come Weed The Thistle -- Part 2
Thursday, September 25, 2008 @ 7-10a.m.


When: Thursday, September 25, 2008
Where: 1745 N. Spring, Los Angeles 90012
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Contact: [email protected]/323.226.1158

• Come weed the invasive Russian thistle, more commonly called tumbleweed.
• Wear a hat, good sturdy walking shoes, and sunscreen.
• Get your heart rate up, enjoy the view and discuss our species' future.

In gratitude we will offer all rescue hour workers a good breakfast, something cool to drink, live music by In Lak Echin in the anabolic area and a bunch of freshly cut greens.

Olivia Chumacero

Labels: ,



Update: The South Central Farm Fruit Trees at the Huntington Botanical Gardens

On Thursday, September 11, Farmlab team members Sarah McCabe, Olivia Chumacero and Jaime Lopez Wolters visited the Huntington Botanical Gardens to check on the SCF trees.

Many of the fruit trees are laden with produce. Guavas, apples and bananas are all present and will ripen in the next few months. Lemons are ready for picking and extremely sour. The peach trees got so heavy with fruit many branches broke under the weight, showing that more is not always better. Several guava trees, having suffered damage in last year frost, have transformed into living sculptures with morning glory vines covering them completely. A new walking path has been laid out throughout the site and irrigation has been added to provide the trees with much needed water.

Please check back in with this blog in the coming months for more updates on the trees. For an archive of past blog posts about the trees, please visit this page.

Photo by Sarah McCabe

Labels: ,



Farmlab Participates in Parking Day L.A.

On Friday, September 19, 2008, Farmlab participated in Parking Day L.A. -- our park was located at 4th & Winston, just off of Main Street. The park was titled, "Palm Trees (Artists Must Create On The Same Scale That Society Has The Capacity To Destroy #8). To read the accompanying text, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

This is the second consecutive year that Farmlab has joined in to both create an ephemeral park as well as host a Parking Day-related Public Salon.

The 9/19/08 Public Salon held at Farmlab featured UCLA Professor Don Shoup, C.L.U.I.'s Erik Knutzen, and architect Ali Javanjee. The topic du jure: "Lots Angeles: On Parking in L.A. & Elsewhere." Click here for more information.

For information about the Parking Day L.A. event-at-large, visit the official project website

Palm Trees
(Artists Must Create On The Same Scale That Society Has The Power To Destroy #8)

Lauren Bon / Farmlab

This pair of SS-25 Sickle Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) was constructed in1985 at the Minsk Wheeled Truck-Tractor Manufacturing Plant located in the current Republic of Belarus and Former Soviet Union (FSU). These 45-ton, three-stage missiles have an attack range of 10,500 kilometers and carry a nuclear warhead. That warhead has been removed for this exhibition.

The SS-25s and their comrade Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) were acquired in 1993 for $59 million by the United States, as part of the Nunn-Lugar Act's Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This program aimed in part to metastasize Strategic Rocket Forces into productive civilian use. Belarus was briefly the world's eighth-leading nuclear weapons power. The nation is home to 12,000 plant species. Queen palms can spread 25-feet.

“William Pope L.: Art After White People: Time, Trees, & Celluloid… Santa Monica Musem of Art, 2007,” Lisa Melandri, ed., Santa Monica Musem of Art Publications, 40 pp.

Farmlab Photos by Roxanne Steinberg

Labels: ,



Twain Conversationalists
Friday, September 17, 2010

Please Note: To RSVP and save yourself a seat on the Twain, email

is President of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, the non-profit organization that supports LA Public Library programs and technologies not funded by the City. An anthropologist by training, Ken’s previous roles included Executive Director of the Sundance Institute, President of the William Penn Foundation, Director of the Boston Children’s Museum and Associate Artistic Director of the Mark Taper Forum.

MATTHEW COOLIDGE is the Founder and Director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) in Los Angeles, a non-profit art/research organization that employs a multimedia and multidisciplinary approach to increase and diffuse knowledge about how the nation
s lands are apportioned, utilized and perceived. He serves as a project director, photographer and curator for CLUI exhibitions, and has written several books published by the CLUI, including Back to the Bay: An Examination of the Shoreline of the San Francisco Bay Region (2001), and The Nevada Test Site: A Guide to Americas Nuclear Proving Ground (1996).

GEORGE HERMS is one of the founders of the California assemblage school of sculpture, which emerged in the Beat years of the 1950s. Alongside – entwined with – the work of writers including Burroughs and Kerouac and artists such as Kienholz and Rauschenberg, George transformed the twentieth century’s lost, discarded, and ultimately found objects into poetic, meaningful installations, sculptures and wall pieces. George’s solo exhibition Five Years of Madness is currently on show at New York’s Nyhaus gallery.

ADOLFO V. NODAL is a producer, curator, art adminstrator, historic preservationist, and public cultural policy wonk. When Al is not busy working on the very interesting challenges and exciting projects at the Metabolic Studio, he is focusing on his curatorial practice that is currently devoted to the distressed cities of Havana, Tijuana and New Orleans. He is now working on a new book focusing on the restoration of the historic neon signs of Los Angeles.

MATIAS VIEGENER collaborates with David Burns and Austin Young on Fallen Fruit, an investigation of urban space, ideas of neighborhood and new forms of located citizenship and community, which recently curated EATLACMA, the exhibition that brought Building 209: Garden Folly to the LACMA. His fiction and criticism are widely published, including in Artforum, Afterimage, High Performance, American Book Review, Fiction International, Semiotext(e) and X-tra. He has shown work or performed at Chicago’s Mess Hall, The Whitney Museum, The Drawing Center in New York, New Langton Arts in San Francisco, and the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art.



Farmlab Public Salon
Donald Shoup, Erik Knutzen, Ali Jeevanjee, And More TBA
Friday, September 19 @ Noon
Free Admission

Lots Angeles -- On Parking in L.A. and Elsewhere
In tandem with 2008 Park(ing) Day LA

About The Salon

In tandem with 2008 Park(ing) Day LA, Farmlab is pleased to present this panel discussion about the social, political, cultural, economic, geographical, and other effects of parking.

About The Presenters

Donald Shoup has extensively studied parking as a key link between transportation and land use, with important consequences for cities, the economy, and the environment. His research on employer-paid parking led to the passage of California’s parking cash-out law, and to changes in the Internal Revenue Code to encourage parking cash out. His research on municipal parking policies has led cities to charge fair market prices for curb parking and to dedicate the meter revenue to finance added public services in the metered districts.

Shoup has also worked on new ways to finance neighborhood public investments. In research conducted at the World Bank, he proposed a new way to finance these investments: allow property owners to defer paying special assessments, with interest, until they sell their properties. This proposal led to passage of California's law that enables cities to use deferred special assessments to finance neighborhood public investments.

Professor Shoup is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, and has served as Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA. --

Erik Knutzen is a program developer at the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and has collaborated on the research and production of a number of the Center’s exhibitions and programs including Pavement Paradise: American Parking Space",“On Locations: Places as Sets in the Landscape of Los Angeles”, “Ground Up: Photographs of the Ground in the Margins of Los Angeles”, “Emergency State: First Responder and Law Enforcement Training Architecture”, “Terminal Island”, and "Dissipation and Disintegration: Antennas and Debris Basins in the San Gabriel Mountains". Erik has applied a background in photography and interdisciplinary research to the Center’s unique objectives.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation is a research organization involved in exploring, examining, and understanding land and landscape issues. The Center employs a variety of methods to pursue its mission - engaging in research, classification, extrapolation, and exhibition. Since the founding of the organization in 1994, the Center has exhibited photographic and text displays at universities, museums, and community exhibit spaces across the nation. The Center also maintains a network of interpretive facilities at selected sites in the U. S.A., and conducts guided tours to compelling land use areas. The Center embraces a multidisciplinary approach to fulfilling its stated mission, employing conventional research and information
processing methodology as well as nontraditional interpretive tools.

Ali Jeevanjee has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Ali has served on the architecture faculty at USC and Cal Poly Pomona, and is also serving on the editorial team of the internationally recognized website Archinect. Parking is one of Ali’s primary research interests. Ali maintains an architecture practice in Chinatown, LOC, in partnership with Poonam Sharma.

Photos: (Top) Courtesy Ali Jeevanjee

Labels: ,



Twain Conversationalist:
David Kipen

David Kipen
served as Director of the Literature program at the National Endowment for the Arts between 2005-2009. A film and book critic, he was previously books editor of The San Francisco Chronicle and is author of The Schreiber Theory: 
A Radical Rewrite of American Film History (Melville Manifestos, 2006). Most recently David opened a used bookstore and lending library in Boyle Heights called Libros Schmibros.



Twain Conversationalist:
Dr. Catherine Gudis

Dr. Catherine Gudis, Professor of History at UC Riverside, has worked for many years as an editor and curator for art and history museums and as a public historian. Notably her recent work includes the large-scale, multimedia project Curating the City: Wilshire Boulevard, which she undertook while Director of Education for the Los Angeles Conservancy, and her book Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Landscape (Routledge). This latter, published in 2004, traces the relationship between automobility, advertising, and the commercialization of the urban environment.



Farmlab Public Salon
Los Angeles Urban Rangers
Friday, September 12, 2008 @ Noon
Free Admission

Freeways and Khakis: Adventures of the Los Angeles Urban Rangers

About the Salon

Join the Los Angeles Urban Rangers for a campfire talk about their past and current projects. A mobile site-specific interpretive force, the Rangers deploy equal measures of wit and sincerity to explore the workings of their home megalopolis, and to give people the interpretive tools to do the same.

Past projects have included a field guide to the L.A. County Fair, a field kit for interstate road trips, and such guided hikes as "One Strip After Another: Camouflage and Display on Hollywood Boulevard."

With their most recent project--"Public Access 101: Malibu Public Beaches"—they’ve been leading safaris to the Malibu coast, to impart the advanced skills required to find, park, and walk on a Malibu beach.

About the Salon Participants

The Los Angeles Urban Rangers is a collective of artists, writers, architects, urban designers, geographers, other scholars, and anyone else who evinces the requisite passions for exploring the intertwined human and natural ecologies of Los Angeles while wearing neatly pressed khakis and a large hat.

(Top): Interspecies sign competition along the Malibu coast; photo courtesy Los Angeles Urban Rangers.
(Bottom): Malibu Public Beach safari in action; photo by Kelly Akashi

Labels: ,



Fauna & Flora
Los Angeles State Historic Park
May, 2008

As observed and compiled by Sylva Blackstone, naturalist.

PDF is here: flora-fauna-SR3.pdf

Labels: ,