The Public As Participant

 

Selected Projects

Sweet Nothings and Other Stories (2015)

 

Commissioned and curated by Fallen Fruit; co-produced by the Portland Art Museum and Caldera. Part of a city-wide series of art events titled "A Day in Paradise," this installation allowed visitors to the Saturday Market and the Portland Waterfront to communicate directly with the Willamette River. Everyone who shared with the river was then invited to record their interaction in a register, which was later presented to the Portland City Archive as documentation of the gifts given to the water that day.

 

(Scroll through images at left)

Glacier Quilt (ongoing)

 

In 2005, research was presented at the Geological Society of America that the prognosis for the Lewis Glacier does not look good (whether due to human-caused global warming, or just macro-cycles of climate change, cannot be certain).

 

This project isn't about whether global warming is a reality or not. Rather, it's about those of us who are saddened by the slow loss of the world's glaciers. The glacierquilt community is working together to create a 300,000 sq meter quilt to comfort the Lewis Glacier, a nearly 20,000 year-old piece of ice near the artist's hometown of Bend, Oregon. Once completed, the quilt will be installed on the glacier for a two-week period.

 

The project is involving school children from around the country,and the globe, through providing links to online teaching resources about glaciers. And the schools are contributing to the quilt by sending messages to the glacier on old sheets, stained table-clothes, fabric remnants from grandma's sewing closet…anything that can be sewn together.

 

But it isn't only for school children. Click here for more information and to find out how you can be a part of this massive effort.

Primal Histories (2014-2015)

 

While an artist-in-residence at the Shangyuan Art Museum, I spent time doing research in Shayouko Village north of Beijing, China. One question I asked the elderly villagers was if they had any happy memories about water that they might share. Many said they did not, often followed by "…because the West River doesn't flow here anymore."

 

So for this project, I decided to invite those who could recall a happy time involving water to tell their stories to the foul-smelling, polluted pond outside of the village. The pond is the last remains of the West River. I recorded their stories and created visual representations of their remembrances using the audio wave-form images as reflections on the water. 

 

As life unfolds in the space between heaven and earth, here the water and sky come together in the reflected skylines made by each of the villagers' happy memories.

 

Chosen as a United Nations “Water for Life” project, the art was as much the sharing of stories with the pond, as it is these projected images which document the event.

Think Like an Animal (aka The Wolf of Wall Street) (2014)

 

Participants were invited to role-play a wild animal while exploring the forest and / or grasslands bordering town looking for food (which could include other participants!).

 

This project was supported by the Caetani Cultural Centre and the Allan Brooks Nature Centre through their Fresh! AiR Artist-in-Residence program, Vernon, BC, Canada.

Play and Idle Creativity (A 72-hour think-tank on survival in the 21st century)  (2013)

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A dialogue-based participatory project - 3 days camped in a former nuclear fallout shelter discussing what might be the next serious threats to humanity, and whether there is anything we can do about them.  Designed to indirectly analyze our society and culture while also exploring the inability to 1) fully understand our current condition, and 2) envision a future much different than the present.  This was illuminated in part by the questionable validity of the idea that living long-term underground in such primitive conditions was once thought to be a reasonable way to survive a nuclear attack.  

Sorry; No Cash, Check, or Charge Payments  
(2012)

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Bend Fall Festival visitors were able to purchase a professional massage through a time-based exchange; Bend Fall Festival, Bend, OR.

Sitting around drinking beer and solving all the world's problems  (2012)

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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

 

“Sitting Around Drinking Beer and Solving All the World’s Problems:  A Community Art Project” 

 

Hosted at Crux Fermentation Project, Wednesdays from October 17 to November 21, 8pm-9pm  (except Halloween night, October 31st).

 

The public is invited to participate in a weekly discussion group on topics around contemporary philosophy on economics, value, labor and politics while enjoying a fine local brew at one of Bend’s public houses, and make drawings using beer as the drawing medium. 

 

The term “public house” goes back to the middle ages in Britain where it was not only an establishment where one could get served a pint of local ale, but it was also a meeting house where the community could gather to address local issues.

 

This community art project is a creation of local contemporary artist Aaron Lish.  Aaron’s art is about providing an opportunity for the visitor to become an active participant in the work as a way to celebrate that there is value in each of us having our own unique, creative thoughts, even outside of the workplace.

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© 2014-2017 by Aaron Lish

Primal Histories

35mm slides created from digital images using the audio wave-forms from the stories as each reflected skyline