Monday, 24 August 2015

Muralismo Fulbright Mission

One of the many murals in Mission District, SF
I had a fantastic trip down the 101 Highway visiting some incredibly interesting creative technology practitioners as part of my Fulbright Foundation NZ Travel Award this year.

 I started in Seattle with Prof Daniel Hart who runs the University of Washington's Native Voices Documentary Programe. They have been supporting indigenous film making for a number of years and have been incredibly successful with documentaries winning awards and being screened at Sundance, the American Indian Film Festival, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Modern Art, and many other venues.

 It was good to share the work we have been doing at Papakura Marae to create a locative media channel and see who this kind of technology platform could support indigenous film making both here and with the first nation peoples in the US.

I gave a talk at the 2015 Integral Theory Conference at Sonoma State University. It was interesting to hear how this methodology is being used - particularly in community settings in third world nations.

Next stop was the Community Technology Network in San Francisco who are engaging in digital capacity building across a number of different groups in the community who are traditionally under served by technology. Take a look at a recent blog post they wrote about our visit. 

We finished our visit to CTN with an excursion to their collaborators, the San Francisco library. SF library have just set up a teenage space called The MiX that is filled with maker technologies and is a adult free zone. We were lucky to be let in to see the state of the art equipment and the teenagers already making full use of the space.

An installation we found on a street corner in Mission District
Apart from official talks and visits I also had the chance to visit many different grassroots maker spaces, The Precita Eyes Muralists were a standout organisation for me - supporting a collective of muralists and graffit artists who have literally covered the Mission District in every kind of place art. 

Much of this work carries strong political messages about issues of immigration, imperialism, corporatisation while at the same time being incredibly intricate and beautiful public works of art. 

I also checked out SOMarts who had a maker exhibition on at the time we visited and the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts where hundreds of school kids were learning theatre skills the day we visited.

These were just some of the highlights of a trip that has already proved very useful to my own practice here in South Auckland. I am eternally grateful to Fulbright NZ for making it happen.

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