Monday, December 6, 2010

Facebook Link to local issue- PDX Bomb Scare!/permalink.php?story_fbid=172683436086278&id=1425043841

Please let me know if the video and comments are viewable. Enjoy! :-)

Sing what you Sing

So I decided to do a mix of a few of the projects and try to find people that were singing out loud or humming a tune and get them to do it on camera. I was then going to start a Tumblr and give people cards saying where they could find there song... Nobody has sung for me yet! I think partially because it is finals week people aren't really singing and the few people I caught humming wouldn't do it on camera, also Tumblr is down so I couldn't start a blog... But I will keep you'll posted on this one.

Tattoo Museum Results

Barbed wire on ankle - guy said, "It keeps out bad and protects the good."

Feather on left arm - guy said, "Life is like a feather."

Sunflower on hip
girl said, "It's my favorite flower."

The most valuable valuable

Time is the most valuable "valuable".
Instructions: Stare at the clock for 5 minutes.
You will see how long it seems, how 5 minutes seem like 15, 30, an hour.
Then, hopefully you'll be more appreciative of your time, and others'.

The creator of this assignment has decided to be conscious of her use of time, by choosing how to invest it carefully. Instead of attending a four hour class/tour today, she will paint, write a short story and do yoga for 45 minutes.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the path of your bedroom furniture

a while back a friend of mine picked up a fluorescent green couch from the basement of his building and said to me, "i bet this couch has been cycling around this building since the 70's". i find coffee makers, toasters, shorts, bookshelves and records in my basement all the time. we live in similar buildings: small old holding maybe fifty apartments each and they are full of people who fascinate and perplex us. my apartment building is full of mostly retirees and drunk kids who are all friends. i found a crappy shop class coffee table in my basement and it's covered in stickers. lots of them are from portland things and many more have hello kitty and many more have profanity. i put a couple of stickers on it myself because i like to think about things and how they relate to human history and i like to add to the legacy of little things like this, especially since it's ugly and i don't intend to keep it when i move out of my apartment in february.
i also like to think about apartment buildings as little micro-societies because they each contain their own dynamic. we're stuck with these people because we can hear their music and fighting and you have to wonder how many of these hands have held this coffee maker. and for the most part you'll never know totally who these people are.
so anyway how this manifests into a project starts with my basement. the mailboxes and washers are down there so everyone's been but you rarely see others down there with you. it's a common area to leave old things that you don't want anymore. i have made stickers that i'm going to put on my furniture that i leave in the basement of my building (starting with a hideous gigantic orange armchair from the 70's that i'm getting rid of tomorrow) that will direct people to a blog that will ask them questions about their life in the apartment building...and maybe about their identity to their neighbors (e.g. "i am the one whose smooth jazz you can always hear"). hopefully the next owner of the chair will find the project interesting and tell me that they have the chair and maybe something about themselves. the blog is and if it kicks off and turns out to be interesting the blog will eventually be turned into notes taped up in the basement of my building.

create a unique social survey

Create a questionnaire and ask others to fill in the blanks. The questions should be universal, provocative and compelling. Although the questionnaire may seem superficial at first, this assignment is intended to encourage self reflection and spontaneous human interaction on an otherwise "normal" day. When the project is over, compare what people do and not have in common.


why do you live in Portland?

do you read the paper?

do you believe in god?

trait or character inherited from your father?

if your mother was an animal what would she be?

name a person you feel envious of.

think of a nostalgic smell from your childhood

what books have affected you the most?

Assignment Idea

Pick a place in Portland with lots of foot traffic, specifically people listening to music through headphones. Approach people with headphones and ask what song they are currently listening to. Inform each person that you plan to create a custom cd with as many of the songs they and other people have given you on it. Plan a date that you will be at this same spot. Burn multiple cd's with the various songs on them, 8-15 songs would be ideal, then bring them to that spot on that date and hand them out to people. Label cd's Portland's mix or something along those lines.


Option 1: Create a tiny chat conversation involving multiple people, have a specific topic of discussion- broadcast.

Option 2: Create a video passionately expressing my views about a certain topic (men, dating, relationships,abortion, whatever..) and air it on Facebook. Pick up multiple comments from users in my network. Engage in responsive facebook conversation with commentators. Report after.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Social Practice Assignment

Assignment: Local Celebrity
Go to a local forum (a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, library…) and do your best character sketch of person of your choosing. When you finish the sketch approach the person, ask for their autograph and if you can take a picture with them. 3-5 character sketchs and pictures would be good. Post the sketchs and pictures to your blog site.

Monday, November 29, 2010

two ideas:

my first idea was to see how much you could touch a stranger without them noticing and take a picture of how 'far you got'. the levels would be touching with a single finger, pinching, cupping, hair touching, or skin (which ive never gotten away with).

My second idea was to pretend to take a picture of someone or a group smiling, but actually be filming a video. you would film the whole "can i take a picture of you? okay say it thank you" bit. i think this idea is interesting because in a "say cheese" sort of picture you cant see how reluctant a person is before and after. I could even be filming if they turn me down.


Gambling for rights

Set up a card or dice game. Invite people to come. Make the stakes be basic human rights. Donate the proceeds to a charity that supports basic human rights.

Involuntary Racing

Go to a popular running trail in your town. Set up finish line tape and checkered flag. The tape should cover most of the trail but allow room for some people to go around. Have video camera set up facing the finish line. Have a volunteer (or a few) runner(s) in a really good running suit waiting 1/2 mile before the finish line. When the next runner comes by have one of your volunteers start the race simply by getting side by side with the other person. This part will really rely on the volunteers and involunteers getting competitive. Hopefully you will get some epic close finishes and you could have a cheering section too. Start a youtube channel where you post the finishes and hand out little cards so people can find there race.

Open-Ended Assignment: Coffee with strangers

It's been pretty cold outside lately and there is nothing that is more comforting than having some coffee or tea with a friend, but how do these dynamics change when sharing coffee with a stranger? Can you achieve a meaningful conversation impromptu, in public, over coffee, with someone you don't know?

For my assignment, the 'artist' will have a thermos of coffee/tea/hot chocolate and be in a public place (park blocks, pioneer square, etc). The goal of the assignment is to have coffee with a stranger on the street. Try and have a conversation that is worth sending a cup of coffee over. When you are through, encourage the other person to do the same exercise with someone new.
Download a video from YouTube. Make and audio recording of the comments section below the video. Replace the audio from the video with the new recorded comments. Repost.

Like this.

Then send a message to each person whose comment you used in your project thanking them for their participation in the public sphere.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Morphing of the Last Assignment

My original idea was:

1. Go to a neighborhood.
2. Have a resident describe one of their favorite walks through the neighborhood, including their favorite spots along the way.
3. Ask them to draw out the walk in map or list form.
4. Take at least one other person on the walk (not the person who described the walk to you). See if you can follow the directions or find some of the favorite spots along the walk.
5. Take a picture or do a drawing and send it to the resident who told you about the walk.

I went to the Richmond neighborhood and asked three people where their usual walks were. I had a map of the neighborhood, but no one had a specific route. They had general directions to walk in.

The class had suggested that maybe I should be more specific about my request, so I decided to go to a local dog park to find out what the usual walks were for dogs and owners using the park. When I got to the park, I was greeted with suspicion because I was carrying a clipboard and asking questions.

So I decided to change my approach, ditched the clipboard, and talked to dog owners on the street. Also, I asked a local pet supply store ahead of time if they would consider posting pictures of the dogs. They said they would consider it.

Here are the dogs that I met:

Here is Bebo at the dog park. Bebo is not from the surrounding neighborhood, and usually goes to the Mt. Tabor dog park:

I next met Lady Isis, who's owner is a dog trainer! Lady Isis is also not from the neighborhood - she was on a trip to visit one of her owner's friends:

I then met Phoebe, who is only 5 months old and very rambunctious:

Next were Angel and Sam hanging out together. Neither of them visit the Richmond dog park (even though we were only a block away from it):



I went back to the dog park and met up with Lily and Diane who were playing together. They both live in the neighborhood:



Lastly, I met Baxter, who was headed to the bus stop after shopping as For Paws, a local pet supply store. Baxter lives in the Lloyd Center area:

Everyone I approached allowed me to take a picture of their dog, and to ask a few questions. I had told everyone to check the pet supply store later to see if the pictures were posted, but I was afraid I sounded like I was trying to drum up business for the pet supply store! I still have to check with the store to see if they will post the pictures.
So the assignment morphed into:
1. Go to a neighborhood.
2. Find people who are with their dogs on the street or in a dog park.
3. Ask if you can take the dog's picture, and ask them a few questions.
4. Print out the pictures and write the dogs' names on them.
5. Find a place to post the pictures somewhere in the neighborhood (maybe a pet supply store), and let the owners know where the pictures are.


Take photographs of people's beds and try to get photographs of beds from strangers. Add the word FOUND to the photograph. Print the photographs off in black and white on copier paper. Post the photographs up on telephone poles, community bulletin boards, and other public places.

Tattoo Museum

Go to and start a video chat. Find someone who has a tattoo and talk to them about why they like/dislike it. Draw the tattoo on yourself in the exact spot it is on the person. Repeat until covered in tattoos.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

story of my life

Tell someone a story from your life. Stop halfway through and have them finish the story. Have them finish the story like they would any other piece of creative writing. Encourage them to make up interesting details about the plot, setting, and characters.

Once you have about five stories make a booklet to distribute to the participants and locations that are relevant to the stories.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food for Thought (revised)

Food for Thought, the student run cooperative cafe offering the most sustainable coffee on campus and vegan/vegetarian meals, may not be the hidden destination that it once was. This cafe located in the basement of Smith has been a sort of refuge for me in between classes. There are posters and flyers to graze near the coffee as people chatter. Events and live music are the norm and students get a chance to put up their artwork along the walls as it gets rotated every term. There’s a buzzing of energy here. Every tuesday night the space hosts an open mic at 7pm. I find myself here one rainy day and I meet with my friend Rylee to catch up on every little detail. We strike up discussion about current events and ongoings and I find comfort in the sense of community that is ever present here. Rylee does too. That’s why we come to FFT and have been ever since we started going to PSU. -Haley Keegan

Association of African Students (Revised

I picked the Association of African Students for my place of interest and could not be more satisfied with my choice. AAS is among other organizations and clubs that are part of Portland State University and whose main goal is to diversify as well as provide students of different backgrounds with a sense of belonging within the academic world and PSU in particular. As soon as I walked in to the office of AAS,I encountered a warm and very welcoming environment. I mainly spoke to a student who identified herself as the 'PR person" and told me that the African Student Association has over 100 members and that it celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. Another student who was there ( who wore a very traditional middle easter garment and was also extremely nice and courteous-) told me that the mission of the association was to "unite the African student community attending PSU and the student community at large". They have a great number of activities and events throughout the year, including, AIDS awareness week and African night which includes a fashion show, which they enthusiastically encourage me to attend.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The SkyBridge between Neubeurger and Smith Buildings

I consider this location my little “Le Hermitage”. It allows me to view my surroundings from a different and unique perspective while walking to my intended destination without the usual; or,what some might say, mundane routines in transit. It's rather quiet and allows one to possibly enjoy their surroundings more; rather than, having to deal with the aggressive tendencies of the city streets. Being able to walk to my destination; without being told to stop and go by an electronical device, can be a rather liberating experience.
There are concrete benches along the arched areas of the skybridge between the two adjacent buildings; where, I sometimes see an occasional smoker here or there. The scenery facing Park Place is truly a surreal sight to experience; especially, when it is drizzling.
This place allows me the tranquility to experience my surroundings outside the parameters of the usual settings we all are accustomed to when on our commutes. For one moment, I can hear the birds over the city noise below; and, see a beautify skyline without the big blinders of walls from buildings that surround me when in the streets. I guess that it is a sense of freedom that I experience when being here that gives me some solace.

Nancy Fischbach

Art Mural of a Norse Viking ship

Having to go to my Jazz History class in the Rec Center two times a week during spring term, I
noticed this art mural placed in the lobby below the first set of stairs. It is placed in such an unusual spot that it always has caught my gaze.
For some reason, someone thought it be a beautiful decorative piece to put in front of the bathroom entrance way; but, without having any plague or statement to better understand this piece and the vision behind it. Having to go to a 9am class and battling my usual compications of an overwhelming day, it always seemed to give me a unique and abstract perspective each time I would rush past to make my class. Each time I passed by, I would hear the distant and echoing sounds of Jazz Greatests being heard throughout the Lobby; which, would add a new eclectic element to the piece every time.
My own personal connection to the piece is simply the ancestry and heritage; but more importantly, it symbolizes the unique blending of cultural perspectives that so uniquely relates with my own life experiences.
The Piece itself is made of stain glass and has vibrant primary colors distinguishing each individual part of the Norse Viking ship. The method of using stain glass is from Northern Europe descent which correlates with the image itself; but, what I fail to understand is the connection between the art piece and the building itself. Is the connection simply that we are known as the Portland State Vikings? -and if so, why wouldn't it be better placed in a more appropriate location?
Nancy Fischbach

Monday, November 15, 2010

For my fourth location I chose to visit the Oregon History Museum at the Oregon Historical Society. The main part of the museum was closed, but the gift shop was open. I was intrigued because it seemed as though a lot of the items in the store were somewhat related to the exhibits within the museum. Right as I walked over I started talking to Connie Miller, a volunteer who has been working at the Museum for 15 years. She explained to me that most of the items in the store were made by North West artists. I asked her if she knew whether or not the native american artwork was made by native americans since I noticed that most all of the artwork looked like it drew from traditional designs and imagery. "Well," she said "most of the art is made in the North West by local artists, and the native american designs were released for reproduction in these artworks. So they are all traditional designs, I mean, some of the art is made in Indonesia or China, but the designs were signed by Native American community figures so that they could make profit as well as distribute their artwork."

This gets me thinking about a lot of different things, about different dialogues I've been having with people about how cultures and minorities are represented in modern american culture and how we arrived at this place. My globalization class has been focusing a lot on American history and the incredible amount of control and limitations that government has put on what we know about the stories of our countries. American culture somehow manages to look over the horrific events of genocides, violence and brutalities in history when it comes to the relationship with Native Americans and the complete destruction of native and indigenous cultures all over the world. What do we really know or think we know about Native Americans? I know I don't know enough and I’m always gathering more information and I know that the typical school text book doesn’t teach us about this history or Native American culture as it should. I am confused and disgusted at what American culture still accepts and portrays in our society and the false images that deny other cultures and simultaneously justify the actions that have been made for us to reach such a point of ignorance.

“I wonder how individuals within Native American communities feel about their culture’s artwork being commercialize and popularized such as here,” I said to Connie. I’m not sure she understood exactly where I was coming from and it was proving to be a bit difficult to get more than professional information from her. “There was a spiritual stone on a reservation that wanted to be viewed and in order for people to see it there needed to be 150 something separate signatures collected by different people all over the U.S.,” Connie explained to me, “So, you know...” Well I didn’t really know, but I was trying to understand and create my own opinions of how I felt about that. Or maybe more so how publicizing a culture and people that America has denied, torn apart, assimilated and marginalized continues to support and reinforce our extremely unequal and greedy country.

I decided to take this discussion out of the museum and to a few friends and ask them their opinions about owning/buying Native American artwork and the kinds of feelings and associations they make with it. I know people who are uncomfortable with dreamcatchers as they could symbolize a part of Native American culture that has been completely commercialized and accepted as a part of American culture and maybe forgotten for it’s true meaning. When I was little, I had horrible nightmares. I remember having a dreamcatcher and really believing that it caught all of my bad dreams and let me keep the good ones. I am a really visual thinker and so having this image and belief that this physical item could help me to control my dreams was really helpful. I learned how to make a dream catcher from a friend who makes really elaborate ones using feathers and bones that her parents find on the land their house is on, out in the middle of nowhere. She sews them and weaves them and they are beautiful. For my whole life I’ve always made hand made gifts for my friends and family. My mom is very creative and crafty, so making things by had has always been something I really value and enjoy. I talked to my friend Joel about my museum visit and dream catchers and poured out some of my ideas to him and he had some really interesting things to say. “I feel like things are different when you make them your self and have an understanding about what it is your making or where it comes from. And I also really dislike the way that our culture has marginalized and popularized these cultural items and art for American consumption, and also typically the rich American’s who can afford to be tourists,” Joel said to me. “I have a dream catcher that a friend made for me and that is something I separate in my mind from the commercialization of Native American art work where it becomes a gift with other informed intentions.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

5th Ave. Cinema

The word "free" has a way of catching my attention, and holding it until I can decipher whether or not it is regarding entertainment or food.
When passing the 5th Avenue Cinema, I was faced with a billboard exhibiting "free movies" and "free popcorn." Next, I found myself held up at the corner of SW 5th & Hall, and proceeded to enter the lobby, find a schedule, and plan out my first date to the next showing.
The following Saturday, (my 21st birthday) I returned to the theatre to eat popcorn and watch "East."

I have kept my distance from movie theaters. My last memory of watching a movie on a big screen was Lord of the Rings. I don't know how long ago that was, but I remember falling asleep. I remember the air conditioning, greasy popcorn, and all of the useful minutes of life I was wasting.

The 5th Avenue Cinema was different. "East" is a film set in India during the early 1950's. I spent some time in India a couple years ago and found the cinematography to be somewhat nostalgic and the story line was engaging.

The only tangent I can tell about is my brief conversation about free popcorn with my cousin (who accompanied me.)

Other places to find free popcorn:
-Ace Hardware
-Car dealerships
-Oil Can Henrys
-Furniture Stores
-Model Homes

Friday, November 5, 2010

The UPS Store at the Urban Plaza

I thought to investigate the UPS Store by the Urban Plaza when I was offered an interview there. When I went in I also asked them some questions about their store.
Sharon told me that the UPS store also does some printing and designing for things like resumes, which means that I'll have to learn how to use a Windows computer again. They also deliver packages through USPS.
They currently have four employees. I'll be the fifth. A friend of mine worked for the store last year but not anymore.
Sharon told me that one time they packaged a canoe in the narrow hallway behind the main working area, but found they'd have to unwrap the entire thing to get it outside.
And later: I've worked at the UPS Store two shifts now and I think my bosses like me. They're letting me make their Christmas decorations and the job is pretty easy. The store gets a lot of regular characters, including this man named Bear who comes in to print his eccentric storybook pamphlets all the time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Black Bag Speaker Series

The Black Bag speaker series is a Black Studies Department production that collaborates with the Multicultural center to bring the Portland community together for a series of different speakers to have open dialougue about issues facing Oregon communities. The first Black Bag Speaker series that I attended was hosted by members and representatives from The Environmental Justice Task Force. The Environmental Justice Task Force is a Governer's Task Force on Environmental Justice that was authorized by the Oregon State Legislature in 2007 , and was proposed by Portland State's own, then-senator Avel Gordley! There was a series of speakers at that event, from representatives from DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality), The Department of Transportation, The Department of State Lands, and the Department of Land Conservation and Development, to Law professors at Clark, and many representatives from all kinds of Governmental positions in the state of Oregon, even members of the local community and further communties from other counties spoke about how they are connected to the Environmental Justice Task force, how it has affected them , and why this Governmental task force is important.

Environmental Justice communities include minority and low-income communities, tribal communities, and other communities traditionally underrepresented in public process. It was such an educational and intriguing event that I swore I would come back for more Black Back speakers. Not to mention the events are catered, and I also tried some of the most delicious tofu pad thai ever!!

This particular Black Bag Speaker Series event that I recently attended and took pictures of, took place on October 27th , and was hosted by the Black studies Department and Trevor Griffey. Griffey is Project Coordinator of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project. He also co-wrote and contributed to a book entitled, "Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry (Cornell University Press, 2010). " The book "examines community activism and direct action by civil rights groups to advocate desegregation of federal and city-funded construction projects across northern cities in the 1960s and 1970s." Griffey spoke specifically about the civil rights movement in Seattle, and he spoke alot about the lesser-told problems Phillipino people had gaining respect and rights in this country. He has a book on that also I believe.

Professor Ethan Johnson is the lead coordinator behind the Black Bag Speaker series.

Also I found this really cool website that updates citizens and community members on great events that take place like this in the Northwest. The website is : and for more information about future black bag speaker series, visit and click on 'events.' also there should be signs around campus.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, PSU’s unofficial house of Catholic worship, is located at 1701 SW Fourth Ave.  I visited this parish’s celebration for the Feast of All Souls Day.  The noon Mass was dedicated to all the souls who sacrificed their lives in the name of Jesus Christ and for their faith in his teachings.  Before Mass began I grabbed some of the literature laid out for the patrons.  Many things could be said about the messages printed in bulletins and the different donation forms; that is a different topic.  Though, I will share one statement made about Saint Michael’s attributes, “…vanquisher of rebel spirits.”  I took a seat near the back corner of the church and pulled out my notebook.  I showed early and observed as patrons prayed until Mass began reading through the different bulletins.  Mass began, people continued to arrive ten to fifteen minutes afterwards quietly finding the first available seat.  I choose to observe the mass rather than participating noting how long different people kneeled or how loud they sang and how they dressed, watching their response to my presence.             

            After Mass I approached the priest and asked if had time to sit a talk.  He told me that this was not where his office was and directed me toward the deacon.  There was also a form for scheduling a meeting with the priest on the back of the St. Michael literature.  I introduced myself to the Deacon.  He introduced himself as a Married Deacon when I greeted him.  I asked if had time for a conversation, he agreed after asking  what I wanted to talk about.  My question was, "Could you tell me about he personal life experiences that have lead you to the vocation of seminary work and describe you spiritual calling?"  After going to the back of the church and changing into a different outfit we met for an hour.  In his office he asked me to join him in prayer before beginning his story.  It goes as follows.  Growing up in rural Oregon with seven siblings his family raised him a devout Catholic.  He recalls schoolwork being a challenge for him and expressed feelings of alienation (especially after moving to Salem) with his family and fellow classmates.  Insecurities grew with the stress of high school and pressures of choosing a carrier path.   During this time he explained an experience he had walking up the stairs of his childhood home where he spoke to God directly creating their first open dialogue.  During this time he kept his eyes closed and took many long pauses.  He seemed to be navigating through stirred feelings from the past.

            After his graduation he attended eight years of seminary school.  After seminary school he felt confused, not wanting to take a vow of celibacy, he said, “I came from a big family you know…it fit for me.”   He met his wife later in age.  Speaking very fondly of her he shared a desire for five children.  To provide for his future family he received his library of science degree and worked in a library until he was let go being told he talents were best served in the faith services and let go.  It was then he decided to become an ordained deacon.  At this time he described various duties of his.  He seemed to favor couple counseling.  He now has three kids, he said after watching his wife go through pregnancy he now knows who the weaker sex is, men.  After three children she decided to not have anymore.  He silently protested by carrying two pennies in his pocket everyday for an extended period of time in hope that his wish would come true.  We concluded our meeting with prayer and me sharing some about myself.  He wanted me to come back to the Catholic faith after learning I had received all of the sacraments.  He also told me a joke, “Almost all of the western population is Catholic, or used to be.  Some come back,” he went on, “I never left my faith.  My family went to church every Sunday and I prayed everyday, including the rosary, I’ve never stopped.  My friends in high school were nerds and maybe deep down I was too.  I played football but I never drank kegs with the other members of the team.” The way he said this lead me to believe that he was scared to test his faith.