Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sundown Schoolhouse


Sundown Schoolhouse is a geodesic home based educational environment for gently radical design, literary, performing & visual arts. It is founded on the premise that as artists, designers, performers and writers, we should be powerful and active agents in society. We want to confront the truth of our time and place. We want a rich complex dialog that extends out to the world around us.

We may be irritants, activists, problem solvers, catalysts, poets, or simply witnesses. We want to look head-on as our natural and urban environments gradually deteriorate around us. We want to invert the power structure as design and the arts are co-opted as tools for marketing. We want an alternative to the model of the architect, artist, designer, performer or writer as the passive professional who waits to be told how, when and where their work may engage in a public dialog. We want to reclaim the promise of art as the ultimate form of human freedom and expression in a society where it has become either trivialized as entertainment, hijacked as pure commodity, under-valued or even feared.

To live in the 21st century city increasingly means a strange paradoxical life of being both virtually connected {by the web, mobile phones, email, TV, movies, magazines} and physically isolated {in the car, house, office or mall} despite living in close proximity. This lack of meaningful physical connectedness both with other people and with the natural environment prevents the urban inhabitant from understanding the complex interdependence and interconnectivity of people to each other and to their environment. The Schoolhouse will foster an approach to the arts that is outwardly focused, engaged with the people around us and responsive to the place that we are in.


The schoolhouse teachers will come from many backgrounds and disciplines. The core of the regular teachers will be a distinguished group of Los Angeles based artists, designers, educators, performers, scientists and thinkers. There will also be those exceptional people passing through town that we will invite to join us while in Los Angeles. They will spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days at the Schoolhouse. They will be invited to share what ever it is they feel curious, inspired or compelled by at the moment. They may conduct experiments, hold workshops, give lectures, lead discussions, do a reading, organize a performance, give assignments, lead a fieldtrip or use the time with the group in what ever way they think is most effective in relation to the mission of the Schoolhouse and the topic for that season. At times they will follow their curiosity, extending out of the comfort area of their expertise, becoming the visiting 'chief student'.

Autumn 2006 Schoolhouse teachers:

Mark Allen ~ Machine Project ~ {Pomona College faculty}

Lisa Anne Auerbach ~ Steal This Sweater ~ American Homebody ~ {artist - USC & Art Center faculty}

Deena Capparelli ~ Moisture ~

Amy Franceschini ~ Futurefarmers ~ Free Soil ~

Aaron Gach ~ Center for Tactical Magic ~ {artist}

Malik Gaines ~ My Barbarian ~ {artist/writer/performer/critic/curator - UCLA phd}

Fritz Haeg ~ Sundown Salon ~ Gardenlab ~

Marc Herbst ~ Journal For Aesthetics and Protest ~ {artist/activist}

Robby Herbst ~ Journal For Aesthetics and Protest ~ {artist/activist}

Maria Lepowsky {anthropologist}

Carol McDowell {movement artist}

Eileen Myles ~ {writer - UCSD faculty}

Yoshua Okon ~ La Panaderia ~ {artist - founder La Panederia - UCSD faculty}

Emily Roysdon ~ LTTR - Lesbians To The Rescue ~ {artist - co-founder LTTR}

Emily Scott ~ Los Angeles Urban Rangers ~ {educator - UCLA phd}

Hana van der Kolk {choreographer/movement teacher}

Margaret Wertheim ~ The Institute for Figuring ~

Flora Wiegmann ~ Champion Fine Art ~ {dancer/choreographer/curator}

Claude Willey ~ Moisture ~

Rosten Woo ~ CUP {Center For Urban Pedagogy} ~

Andrea Zittel ~ A to Z ~ High Desert Test Sites ~ {artist - USC faculty}


The annual schoolhouse schedule consists of of a fall and a spring session. We convene for a full 12 hour day, one day a week for 12 weeks each season. Each day of the Schoolhouse will begin early in the morning with some form of physical activity such as yoga or dance in the geodesic dome and conclude that evening with a happy hour or dinner. Each seasonal session will have a loose topic or theme. Teachers and visitors will be invited in part based on the direct relationship in their practice to this seasonal topic. On the Sunday of the final week of the season, a salon event will be produced, curated and staged by the students at the Schoolhouse to publicly present the fruits of the season.

Autumn 2006 Schedule ~ Title: tobeapart

This season the Schoolhouse will be in sessions on Tuesdays 8am - 8pm.

The topic/title for the first season will be tobeapart. At times we all need to be individuals acting alone. Being social creatures we also have a profound need to engage with others. What can we do as collectives, communities and groups that we can't do on our own? What can we do as individuals that we can't do as a group? How has our simultaneous need to be both an individual and part of something bigger been complicated and affected by contemporary society, urban sprawl, mass media, political movements...? How can the artist, writer, designer, performer become an active agent in society today as an individual? As a collective? More thoughts and questions coming....! All of the teachers for the Autumn 2006 season in some way deal with these issues in their practice.