Process

Today was hard... as was yesterday.  Spent 2 hours trying to set up a SS table saw for dado. First wrong cartridge (we have a legacy saw) then all three correct cartridges were bad (?!%#). Add to that the bank....! no, not here...

Ash prepared for lamination

Ash prepared for lamination

IMG_3153.jpg

Reminds me of what I sometimes tell my students: "Nothing is really stable, or level for that matter. The natural state of matter is decay. So when we build, when we create, we are working against the odds, against gravity, the Universe! That's why it's hard. Why are we doing this? That's a whole other question..." to be considered. 

Magic Word opens

The project I've been working on for a year and a half opened last night. Sometimes things work out. Helps to work with amazing people. Feeling a lot of gratitude today. Pictures coming soon. Meantime please see these links. Thank you!!! More events to come. Now back to bed with my tired body and busy mind. Peace.

This now....

It has been a tremendous year. Last night looking through old note books I discovered that I know things sometimes before I think I do. It's good to slow down and look at the words we write down. Things move so fast. Reflect and look forward to  new adventures, but most importantly, be open and present now. If anything, this year reminded us of what really matters, love, friendship, creativity, community. Defend what you hold dear. Choose your words with love and make meaningful, heart-centered work and relationships. Spend more time in the forest and with friends. 

(RE)TIME at Djerassi, 2014.

Next up on the creative agenda is FLMWMT in March (part of my curatorial fellowship at SOMARTS) and later this month I'll be performing as a featured artist at Kinetech in SF, a dance and technology oriented collective. Have some thoughts on what to do but not quite sure. Either redo (RE)TIME with video(s) or do my WWN speech and then (RE)PLACE... but I just did (RE)PLACE so maybe something else? (RE)TIME would be fun but also a challenge. A 20 minute solo is hard. And it can be boring. Need to decide by Wednesday, but can also change my mind as long as the technology needs are similar.

Much to consider. Off to the forest now. It's been a few weeks. Oh has it been. Happy New Year!

Just found a cool link to Digital Nature, the event I participated in thanks to curator, eco-designer Shirley Watts. Nice images of all the work. And I like the title I used then. Funny how I forget this stuff. 

Collaboration with Sarah Cameron Sunde

This past June I collaborated again with my friend, artist, amazing human, SCS. We'd been invited to the PSi Conference in Melbourne and though we were unable to attend in person we created a new work which was presented by Mills College Professor of Dance, Katherine Mezur and panelists. For 4 days in June Sarah and I performed the choreography we developed for her project 36.5 in 2014. Twice a day we marked the high tide and recorded out efforts. The collected video was screened at PSi and the audience afterward performed the choreography as well.

With a little help from my (new) friends

About half way through my ARTWORKS residency at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History I was asked  to write a blog post about my experiences there. Of course I said "of course!" and now it's the night before I move out of the MAH and I'm yet to blog a post. It's time.

First week ARTWORKS July 2016

First week ARTWORKS July 2016

For a few years now I've been playing with the idea of building a human size nest and now I had the space, time and facilities to do it. But it's always hard to start. Sometimes you just have to start moving through the motions. Performing the process until your gestures feel form. I had donated some of my own clothes to the project to get things going ahead of time, old shirts, a scarf, some skirts to fabricate the ribs (warp) of the nest basket. The weavers (weft) would be supplied by the generous citizen of Santa Cruz. Little did I know that my plan to make the nest functional was problematic from the start. The pieces I'd sewn back home were too thin and the material too stretchy. But I didn't know this. I didn't know a lot! That's what residencies are for, time to explore and exchange ideas. It was all part of the plan... right!

Week 2 in Santa Cruz Summer 2016

Week 2 in Santa Cruz Summer 2016

During my residency I was also scheduled to perform with my collective The New Urban Naturalists at the Montalvo Art Center. This entailed my producing 6 cardboard animal heads for my collaborators to wear during a 4 hour dance performance about diversity. I felt a little overwhelmed. I'd managed to put myself into a fairly stressful state. In the month of July I moved, I gave notice at a job I'd held for the last six years, bought a new car, sold my old car and moved to Corralitos. Did I mention I had a birthday too, yeah. Not getting any younger either. 

Bear head in process at the Montalvo Art Center, July 2016

Bear head in process at the Montalvo Art Center, July 2016

Elizabeth Costello as Crow and myself as Puma at Montalvo, July 22, 2016

Elizabeth Costello as Crow and myself as Puma at Montalvo, July 22, 2016

We did it! The Montalvo performance was a great success. Fun was had by all. Time to head back to Santa Cruz and get back into my test-nest! But I was beat. After a series of semi-all-nighters my energy was fading. How would I get enough fabric to make a human size nest!

Sorting fabric at the MAH, Summer 2016

Sorting fabric at the MAH, Summer 2016

When I returned from Saratoga I discovered that the MAH staff had added to my gradually growing pile of soft goods and made a social media shout out for more.  I got bags and boxes of donations of fabric! No time to waste, I began working with new found energy. Yes thank you Santa Cruz! And I led a drop in workshop covering coiling and twining that was well attended. What talented students!

A sweet gourd shaped creation by a local artist. She said she'd never coiled a basket before! Hard to believe.

A sweet gourd shaped creation by a local artist. She said she'd never coiled a basket before! Hard to believe.

The next day I began to realize my time was growing short and my nest was not right. It needed to be much bigger. Earlier in the week my sewing machine decided to call it quits. But I devised a simpler more efficient means for processing the fabric thanks to some insight from my workshop students. The nest began to grow. Things were starting to happen... until I caught the dreaded summer cold! You too? Can't stop now. Hopped up on ibuprofen, pseudoephedrine (the kind you need to show your ID for) and mega doses of C and Zinc I pressed on... 

As I was working one day, wiping at my running nose, bemoaning my sudden sickness, a young woman came again to the gallery. I'd seen her here before. I greeted her with a sincere smile, though I was feeling pretty low energy due to the allergy medication. She smiled and said nothing. She spent a good part of an hour in the room where I toiled, feeling increasingly achey, and stiff as I worked to suspend my nest, then released it from the rafters to let it rest over night. At one point I noticed she was standing close by then she walked out. Feeling druggy and introspective from the allergy meds, I continued to work.

My test-nest, on the ground of my studio, July 2016, Santa Cruz MAH

My test-nest, on the ground of my studio, July 2016, Santa Cruz MAH

It wasn't until later that I found the note, a poem on a post it. It really hits me as I read it again. Did she write it? I don't know. It's pretty fine if you ask me. And it encapsulates so much about how I was feeling. I didn't share any words with her but this... if my work and process has anything to do with this kind of contemplation, I guess the day was well spent despite all the snot, nasal spray and nose blowing. It was a good day.

Did you write this? Please contact me. I'd like to give you credit! And thank you.

Did you write this? Please contact me. I'd like to give you credit! And thank you.

My cold turned out to be pretty stubborn, it's with me still, but thanks to this wonderful poem, and my chemical friends I set my sights on completing my nest for the First Friday / Screaming Hand festivities scheduled for Friday August 5th. I had honed my technique and began building the nest up as well as raising it higher into the "roof" of my studio. It was Friday and it was almost finished.

All day long people streamed in and looked, asked questions, shared stories. I had a number of my workshop attendees return to behold the completed nest. One of my youngest student weavers and her mother proudly showed me their most recent creation thanks to or despite my ad hoc instruction. It's like we all have it in us, this weaving streak. Just a little nudge and it comes out.

Close up of my Test-Nest #1. Even though it failed as a functional nest, and it's sort of a hairy mess, it seems to be the kind of hairy mess that makes people happy.

Close up of my Test-Nest #1. Even though it failed as a functional nest, and it's sort of a hairy mess, it seems to be the kind of hairy mess that makes people happy.

The night brought a mass of people, especially to see the Screaming Hand exhibit, but our galleries and studios were packed as well. Some friends arrived and with my new found confidence I invited the smallest of the crew, couldn't have been more than 50 pounds ( 7 years of age), to climb into the nest. Oh my, it instantly sank about 6" and I could hear threads popping and fabric straining. I smiled for some photos and tried to play it off as best I could. So relieved when Z climbed out and the whole thing didn't completely collapse.

I was sad suddenly. My mission had been to build a human nest. Hmmm. But maybe there's a reason we humans don't build nests. They are awfully awkward to climb into. So much easier if we could fly! And bowl shaped nests typically rest on a branch or some other support. Ha! Well I guess I have some more chin rubbing and brow knitting to do to get this one figured out but for now, I'm satisfied. Test-Nest #1 introduced me to so many new people, ideas and none of it could have happened without the generosity of essentially strangers, willing to share a little, let go of things, dream about what it might be like if humans made nests, if we foraged for our building materials, and could rely on our community for resources to help us find shelter when we are new in town or just passing through. And that's what happened. It's still happening. Right here.

That's really what the project is about. It's an opportunity to discover other options, make new connections. A manifestation of a community working together. The nest, whether it worked or not was/is a by-product. The process of the work, more specifically the social aspect of it is really interesting to me and what I'm interested in retesting again and again. I'd like to expand on that aspect as much as engineer the nest so it could hold more than a 3 year old. Though that's far less important to me personally than building something beautiful. If it doesn't bring people together but can house a human, I wouldn't say it worked at all.

There it is! My blog post done. Don't miss me too much Santa Cruz. I'll be back. Check my website for upcoming Basketry Workshops in Watsonville this Fall. XOX! Sasha

Publication and Montalvo Performance

Kulturfolger will be going to press in 4 days. I've just received the proof of their page featuring my work along side an exquisite passage from Etel Adnan's Journey to Mount Tamalpias.

Here's the brief bio they wrote up for me as well. I kind of love it.

Sasha Petrenko. Oakland, San Francisco. 

The multitude of mediums utilized makes her work united and fluid, transversing between performance and visual media. Her natural and human relations explore unseen networks for understanding life. Her soft voice and aura lead one to explore their relationship with the outside world.

And totally thrilled that Anima|Animus will be performed at the Montalvo Art Center in July! More info on that follows:

Anima|Animus is a collective performance illustrating the importance of diversity in nature and in society. Up to a dozen performers, each wearing a different colorful, cardboard and paper mache animal head, will roam the grounds of Montalvo Art Center, interact with nature, and the public as we dance, play, voice our concerns and finally sit in silence, and conclude with extinction.
In April, as part of the Public Square on Labor and Ecology at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, I performed the work for the first time along with 14 or my University of San Francisco students. Over the course of 3 hours we moved through synchronized and interpretive scores, and carried picket signs and voiced our opinions on ecology and community.  For our final scene we performed a silent sit-in followed by an extinction, where each performer, one by one, stood up in silence, removed their head revealing their humanity, then left the scene, in the end, leaving a solitary species, in silence, alone.
For the Montalvo performance I will enlist a team of friends, former students and volunteers to perform with me. A core group of 8 - 12 may be be supplemented by members of the public who can join the performance on the day of the event. We will perform 5-6 scenes, roughly 15-20 minutes each over the course of the event. Our performances will seem spontaneous and appear at first in the periphery, gradually moving to the fore. During breaks the public is invited to try on heads and enlist in the next scene. My hope is that the public will ultimately displace part of the core group. In the least, the public is invited to indulge in animal head selfies in lieu of performing with the core.
The imagery of all the species walking together, performing as a collective is a powerful vision of the strength of diversity. Some animals have beaks, others have trunks or snouts, some are magenta or silver, blue and yellow yet they work together, collaborate and come to the aid of the other, despite their obvious differences. 
The project also ties to ideas about ritual masks and the role of becoming other to gain a higher consciousness, empathy, gender and Jungian concepts of anima/animus or the inner other. At the same time it also exhibits fetishistic qualities relating to animal worship and a kind of back to nature escapism that prevents society from facing the gravity of our collective responsibility to the planet and each other. In the end however when the performers reveal themselves as human the intention of the performance clarifies and the audience learns that there is no other, and realistically we will all suffer from climate change and the powers that prevent us from acting to stop it.

Documentation for Anima_Animus

Movement research towards anima/animus. All sound movement and sculpture by Sasha Petrenko. Special thanks to the Activist|Artist in Residence Program at the Finnish Hall in Berkeley, CA.

Video by Gino Mascardo. Featuring University of San Francisco Artist as Citizen students and their instructor, Sasha Petrenko. Performance took place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, April 16th as part of the Public Square on Labor and Ecology.

YBCA this Saturday!

My ART 488 Artist as Citizen Students are performing with me this Saturday, April 16th, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts! We are rehearsing today and then that's it! Show time! 

Student designed poster #1, 2016

Student designed poster #2, 2016

Flat pack furniture craving

With the weather turning nice I want to make a little dining area outside. But I don't want to spend a bit of money. These sweet sawhorses look promising for the scraps I have on hand.

Saw horses for seats and I think the table too!

Saw horses for seats and I think the table too!

I think I can deconstruct/reconstruct this.

I think I can deconstruct/reconstruct this.

Then just some plywood for the top and a table cloth... in business! We'll see what I can get done today. 

Mock ups for USF Community Garden Picnic Table

Busy Saturday with my class, Saturday, that's right! Service learning... extra fun and extra effort. But we're building some redwood and concrete picnic tables for the University of San Francisco's community garden, lead by the wonderful Oakland based gardner, writer,  Novella Carpenter. Here is what we have so far:

Helpful men at Lumber Baron in Berkeley. Good deals on redwood!

Helpful men at Lumber Baron in Berkeley. Good deals on redwood!

Stacked and resting. Enough for 2 ten foot tables!

Stacked and resting. Enough for 2 ten foot tables!

Mock-ups for concrete legs!

Mock-ups for concrete legs!

Next week we start building forms. Meanwhile, my students are working on designs for cheap, smart benches. Stay tuned! I'll turn any class into a shop class if I can. The chance to design and build for others is a gift. Purpose.

Faded and folded series, tests

It started with this one. I was frustrated. Distracted. What was meant to be a little bowl became a pod once I stitched it up. Then the paint, a fade. Felt good. Just soothing. 

Little faded, blue, 2016

Little faded, purple, 2016

Then again, distracted while weaving, a DWW. This was a useless thing, but it existed. Twisted and a little faded, purple. Next two will be bigger. I want to see what changes as I scale up. Like to make some human-scale....

Weaving time...

Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History Residency 2016!

Happy to announce that The New Urban Naturalists have been awarded a Summer Residency at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History in July-August where I hope to collaborate with some fantastic artist and naturalists, weave human size nests out of donated clothing (any one have a wedding dress you want to rid yourself of?), run some urban nature walks and absorb as much information from oceanographic resources, human and animal as possible. More info soon!

Really looking forward to going back to Wilder Ranch where I spent so many hours riding with with good friends. Hope to see some old and meet some new too. Coming back around the bend.

Image courtesy Wikapedia.

Image courtesy Wikapedia.

Plus, the NUNs are in very early phases of developing a mini residency program for ecologically inclined artists and performers. More on that as well in short order. 

 

 

MAH Residency Portfolio

Please scroll down to view portfolio or download a PDF portfolio here. This PDF is viewed best in Full Screen Mode.  Thank you for your consideration!


4 and one half minutes. Short film about finding and loosing oneself in an ever expanding universe. Thoughts about loss of language = loss of self, the body as a strange-stranger, the body as Universe, the self/mind as alien-child. Subtitles in German, Russian, Czech, Chinese and French. All sounds, music, images, words by Sasha Petrenko. Featuring Alex, Mac OS X text to speech function.

(Water Cycle) Besket Experiment #1, 2014. First big prototype basket for performance about hydrologic cycle. Made of red oak and reed.

Animal Projections, 2012. Instructional video for the development of deeper interspecies relationships. Projection for a workshop/performance.

Pinophyta II, 2015. Wood, milk paint, waxed linen, zip-ties. 6’ x 3’ x 3.’ Commissioned by the University of San Francisco, part of a 10 month outdoor exhibition. Illustrating the Fibonacci sequence found in the pine cone of the conifer, Pinophyta 2 was allowed to loose it’s fronds over the course of the exhibition, revealing an underlying mathematic structure.

Non*Mart, 2009-2010. Collaboration with Kathryn Kenworth. Barter-based shop and platform for alternative economies, artist lead workshops and community space.

Blind Arbiter, (from Basket Experiment series) 2013 - ongoing. Reed, waxed linen. 12” x 8” x 6.5.” One of a series of baskets experiments, models and full scale.

We-house: We will all wake up together, 2006. Community construction project commissioned by Southern Exposure in SF. Wood, borrowed items and materials. 11’ x 9’ x 10.5.”

This basket: made from my mother’s wedding dress in the city she was married, Praha, CZ, 2015. Fragments of artists mothers wedding dress, thread. 2.25” x 3” x 3”.

Story-shell, 2012. Community construction project commissioned by the Headlands Center for the Arts in 2012 as part of the Center's 30 year anniversary celebration and exhibition. Cold bent beechwood, donated fabric, plywood, drawing and writing materials, grommets and grommeting tools, stories.

Kulturefolger and FLMWMT

I'm excited that my fresh hot of the presses video Lessons from the Forest Part 2 will be featured in an international exhibition organized by KULTUREFOLGER. Plus I have been working on a curatorial proposal and it's been put on the shortlist for The Commons, Soma Arts Annual Curatorial Fellowship. I have some wonderful collaborators and community partners! Learn more about it here.

Meanwhile I am loving my new studio. Pictures soon.