SELECTED PUBLIC PROJECTS
PHLAT PHILE: Retratos e Historias, 2014, ongoing www.facebook.com/retratosehistorias
Retratos e Historias is a transportable curriculum for collaborative community mural making, which debuted in Santo Domingo, Dominican Repbulic. The curriculum was designed with muralist Xavier Ringer. Currently the model is being used at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center for TransPride under the title "We Can Be Heroes."
Caravana Orgullo LGBT Dominicano, 2014
Thanks, thanks, thanks to my new friends in Santo Domingo, who approached me at the last minute to document their (first officially sanctioned) LGBTQ pride event. I grabbed these photos on the fly, with a borrowed camera, hanging off the back of a rocket-speed moped, on a July day in the Santo Domingo.
What a wake up call for me - the jaded, urban, “post-gay,” queer that I am, who mostly skips gay pride in the USA for all its commercialism and conformity. Not so in Dominican Republic. I witnessed the social spectacle of gay pride doing what it’s supposed to do — create an enormous amount of visibility and energy in a part of the world ambivalent about things LGBTQ. For three hours and forty-five minutes, I followed the tireless Caravana through every nook and cranny of Santo Domingo, as the rainbow-clad troops invited folks on the street to a freer, more inclusive world.
It inspires. It’s a call to never, never stop...
These pictures are dedicated to the courageous folks who go out into the street to make the world safer, stronger, and freer for all of us. And they are dedicated to all the folks in the street who, in return, roar with support, joy, and good will.
THINK AGAIN: Actions Speak, 2008 - 2010 www.agitart.org/actionsspeak
ACTIONS SPEAK: David john attyah + SA Bachman (2008-2010) debuted at the Worcester Art Museum a few days before the 2008 election. This multimedia project featured a 67-foot interior wall mural and a concurrent outdoor projection. With an eye toward the election and its aftermath, the project focused on the connections between political brutality and public policy while reconsidering the social problems of HIV/AIDS and violence against women. ACTIONS SPEAK promoted dialogue between art and public response, between global reality and local action, between media misinformation and lived experience.
ACTIONS SPEAK is a hybrid of photography, drawing, etching, digital design and text. The mural's iconography -- a mass of paper bones entangled in the cords of monumental microphones -- links political discourse directly to individual bodies. Resting on a field of salt and ash, one microphone is covered with a red condom and the other with violently smashed lipstick. The microphone is a signature image for THINK AGAIN and operates as a double-edged metaphor for political possibility, on the one hand, and voicelessness, apathy and censorship, on the other. The microphone's entangled relation to the femur bones -- a proxy for the body -- raises the question: Who gets to speak and who lives with the consequences?
he mural's themes of brutality and stigmatization are echoed in the corresponding moving projection on the museum's facade. Streetside, the image of an open microphone awaiting a speaker is accompanied by a cascade of words from the mural, out of which emerge ideas of empowerment and action.
THINK AGAIN: The Sample Series
The Sample series (David John Attyah + SA Bachman) are a suite of conceptual artworks that combine unaltered advertising images and documentary photographs to mine the symbolic terrain of advertising and mass media. These digital collages investigate how public images deploy explicit and implicit political content and structure the polity’s conception of civic life. They draw from some of the most prominent images in our culture. The Series appears where THINK AGAIN's public art interventions are distributed, and is documented in "A Brief History of Outrage," THINK AGAIN, 2003.
THINK AGAIN: The NAFTA Effect www.saltinthewound.org
THE NAFTA EFFECT: SALT IN THE WOUND (2005) is a guerrilla public projection that challenged anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy in response to the escalation of xenophobia in the years following 9/11. It drew attention to the debates surrounding immigration reform and the criminalization of undocumented workers. On the level of policy, THE NAFTA EFFECT: SALT IN THE WOUND highlighted how international treaties like NAFTA, in concert with national anti-immigration efforts such as a 700-mile border fence, insidiously reshape the ways that families live and work on both sides of the border. Roaming the streets of Los Angeles and Boston, the project articulated that xenophobia is not an effective "immigration, trade, diplomatic, ethical or security" policy. THINK AGAIN utilized the metaphor of salt to signify an aspect of human suffering and misery. “Rubbing salt in a wound” invokes the gratuitous infliction of misery on those in already grueling situations.
THINK AGAIN: Selected Early Work, 1997 - 2003