At the closing of the Milkbar Collective, on the eve of its eviction, Ann Schnake and Carmen Serber again collaborated in an installation and performance. The setting was a post industrial cookie factory, turned warehouse, soon to be substandard apartments and it proved to be a place to tap into a gentrification rage!
The installation was of carved wooden appendages, balls made from dirt, ashes, feathers and dryer lint, were sculptural pieces that could be touched and manipulated. Carmen moved throughout the installationt, spinnng. balls on long ropes, stretched and coiled. The audience was invited into teh work: Part of the audience were given instructions to be a part of the machine, with discreet tasks such as "push a ball with your large toe", or " make noise with string" while the other part of the audience were given instructions to disrupt activities. A messy tension between order and disruption was anticipated but there was an unanticipated tap into Oakland artist rage - sculptural objects beat against a pole, pillars thrown on the ground over and over again, pedestal turned into skate board, tents shaken and beaten.
The action was stopped with whistle blowing, a military style forcing of everyone to their seats. Carmen Serber reclaimined the energy of the moment, carriying Lil Baby Prize Fighter, a sculpure with small wooden hand poking through a mass of caul fat, dryer lint, cotton and debris, evocatively through audience, a tender clear desire, amidst post industrial confusion.
Milk Bar, Oakland CA, April 2015
Lil Baby Prizefighter or
Die Maschine ist Kaputt
photos by Ian Winters