“Have you ever found a place in your home, neighborhood or city, and felt an invisible energy, almost like magic? In Roman culture, this was called "Genius Loci", which referred to a location's distinctive atmosphere, or spirit. In our urban environments these places can be more difficult to find, or lost altogether– but they do exist.
Locate a special place in your city and create a visual tribute to the genius loci of the spot. It can be part of your home, in a park or garden, on a street corner, or just a forgotten place in the alley.
Artifacts can take any form; photos, drawings, handmade sculptures or totems, a written account - anything that shares the essence of the place.”
This the challenge that co-curator Jaime Kopke (of Denver Community Museum fame) and I developed for "Looking for Loci", a mobile, collaborative exhibit about place that toured this summer in Denver, and is opening here in SF on Friday, Aug. 28th in the Mission.
We asked 37 citizens of San Francisco + Denver to locate these special places and create a visual tribute to them. The results from the challenge have been delightful- I can't decide which I like more, the contributions made by people, or the descriptions in their own words.
Now that it has come to the Bay Area, it's part of a museum experiment called The San Francisco Mobile Museum. It's an exhibit platform that was designed and built to be reconfigurable, and adapt to a variety of environments indoors and out.
I'm starting with this exhibit and adding to it by inviting visitors to add their stories about place to a large map of the Bay Area. These will show up on our blog, and likely evolve into a larger piece geo-tagged artwork that will live online. We'll also have a phone number where folks call in and leave messages of their favorite places.
The folks who made the boxes in Denver are going to be writing about their experiences on the blog, as will the SF participants over time.
My plan is to host openings in Bay Area neighborhoods this Fall: open on a Friday night with an event where the community can come and add, as well as throughout the weekend-- and then move the exhibit to the front windows while I am... at work during the week.
Since this is a personal project, time is limited. However, I'll be iterating it and adding to it as I learn from the process and the public. Feel free to keep track of future openings at our blog or website.
If you'd like us to appear at your institution, please contact me at info [at] sfmobilemuseum [dot] org.
…and come to the debut this weekend and add your thoughts to this experiment!
San Francisco Mobile Museum