International Orange: Allison Smith

Uploaded by forsitefoundation on 04.04.2012

[sounds of traffic on bridge]
(Allison Smith) One of the unique things about the Golden Gate Bridge that
actually affected its building was the fact that it actually spans over a Civil War fort.
And so I think it's really interesting to think about this bridge as inseparable
from the military history that it's literally bridging over.
(Allison Smith) I've only lived out here for a few years
and it's really struck me how much military history there is here.
It's kind of embedded into the fiber of the city, and yet we often have an idea
about San Francisco being a very kind of antiwar, radical place.
So I'm relying heavily on the metaphorical resonance of the Golden Gate Bridge
to talk about a gap that I'm trying to bridge
between civilians and service members,
specifically using art as a connector.
(Allison Smith) Now we're living in times where war is so mediated.
It's virtual, it's something that so much of the general public has no access to
other than these kind of strange, you know, disconnected experiences.
[sewing machine motor running slowly]
My project for the International Orange exhibition has three parts.
The first is to create a series of festive fabric buntings
for the interior courtyard of Fort Point.
The second is to put together a display of trench art objects,
which are artworks made by soldiers in the context of war.
And the third part is to actually lead workshops
with contemporary service members, especially female veterans and the public,
on this idea of wartime creativity.
(Allison Smith) In the workshops we're actually using historical examples
of trench art as conversation pieces
to start a dialogue about contemporary war experience.
One of the things that really
fascinates me in the realm of reenactment is the use of objects,
and the use of craft almost as if that meticulous handcraft
is the thing that can take you back
to that historic moment that's so longed for,
which in many ways is also like returning to a trauma.
And so for me, one thing that this project is trying to do is take something
that is very familiar and perhaps comforting, like craft,
and just use that as a way
to start having a conversation about the human face of war,
the human experience.
[sounds of traffic on bridge]