Unzipping the Code: Adventures in 90404
Otis Graduate Public Practice First Year Project
May 7 – May 21, 2016

OTIS Graduate Public Practice students will present artistic explorations of the history and community of Santa Monica 90404, created under the direction of faculty member Anuradha Vikram, 18th Street Arts Center’s Artistic Director. These five artists have developed projects based on research into local community sites of interest including small businesses, cultural sites, and non-profits, with the support of 18th Street’s Cultural Asset Map, a working document that will be developed into a tool for public engagement through prolonged, community-based, and site-specific research. Working with representatives of Santa Monica’s longstanding resident communities, including some who have been displaced and others who have recently arrived, the artists envision a space of intellectual and metaphysical connection where social relationships can be rebuilt from the shattered remnants of gentrification.

Mark X. Farina explores the connections between homeless residents of Santa Monica and homeless pets cared for by the local animal shelter, using robotics to advocate for a more compassionate human condition. Yrneh Gabon investigates the history of Nickolas Gabaldon, an Afro-Mexican and native Santa Monican who integrated the surfing community in Malibu prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Raghubir Kintisch engages the First AME Church by the Sea, a historic African-American house of worship whose congregation remains connected to the church and Santa Monica, despite decades of displacement, through the ministry of music, community service, and indelible friendship. Margo Mullen considers generosity and acts of kindness in the context of Meals on Wheels, providing sustenance to incapacitated Santa Monicans on a volunteer basis. Gina Valona resurrects Hastings Plastics, a Santa Monica business displaced by Metro construction at 17th and Colorado which has been reborn from its remnants as Santa Monica Plastics.

This project and the 18th Street Arts Center Cultural Asset Map are realized with the generous support of the James Irvine Foundation. Additional support for this exhibition has been provided by RSF Social Finance.