A Hole in Space (Oakland Redux)

with Ellen Sebastian Chang, commissioned by the Great Wall of Oakland

“one of the most innovative and relevant art pieces of the year, touching on race and class dynamics, gentrification, technology, and the increasing rarity of people’s willingness to step out of their comfort zones.”

Inspired by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s seminal new media project, A Hole in Space (1980), for this project, we installed video “portals” between distinct Oakland neighborhoods that are close geographically but worlds apart socioeconomically, attempting to provide a portal of mutual acknowledgement and understanding–a counterpoint to the city’s current accelerated gentrification and concurrent economic unrest.

We connected the Youth Employment Partnership on International Boulevard in East Oakland, and Cole Hardware in Rockridge, with a third site for passive viewing at FuseBox Restaurant in industrial West Oakland.  We created business cards with simple statements:  “see without judgement,” “this is not surveillance,” “this is a portal” and “say hello to your neighbor”.  We had no press releases or Event-brites or Facebook, Twitter or Instagram invites–it was about discovery and speaking through space across invisible lines.

The project received local, national and international attention, written about in Fast Company, Eat Drink Films, Citylab at The Atlantic, French publications L’ADN and RSLN, and the East Bay Express, which recognized the project as “Best Underground Public Art Installation” in 2015’s Best of the Bay.