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Temporal Cities

The Tenderloin Museum will host Temporal Cities, a public art project, in October, November, and December. During our regularly scheduled evening events, Temporal Cities will project an image in our window to attract passersby and event attendees to the installation, where they are encouraged to share a personal story that took place nearby. In collecting and archiving these stories, artists Lizzy Brooks and Radka Pulliam are building a nuanced map that explores the changing nature of the city and our collective ideas of permanence. Using analog slide projection and interactive storytelling, Temporal Cities examines the experience of living in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, through the stories of its residents. 

The Temporal Cities archive focuses on the experience of place—what imprint a place leaves on a person, and what imprint a person leaves on a place— in the midst of urban change. Collaborating artists Lizzy Brooks and Radka Pulliam both live in the Tenderloin.They have been collecting stories since November of 2014, in collaboration with galleries and community organizations in the neighborhood. In 2016, they will exhibit the stories via a website, a book and an experimental film. 

To collect stories, Brooks and Pulliam project a slideshow of historic photographs of the Tenderloin into a picture window, visible from the night sidewalk. The projected image becomes a point of entry-- people are attracted to the imagery, and approach the small table where the artists sit with a microphone and a clipboard (and sometimes a typewriter). They invite participants to anonymously share a memory that took place in the neighborhood, either by writing, drawing, or speaking. The stories that residents share enter a physical and digital archive, which, through its variety, paints a nuanced picture of the Tenderloin community.

The motivation in creating Temporal Cities is to engage our community in a conversation about place and personhood that transcends polarizing debates about change in San Francisco. The accessibility of the prompts and materials has created an inclusive environment that welcomes newcomers and longtime residents. The work reflects our moment of transition, in the Tenderloin, in the Bay Area, and in cities across the country. The change is rapid and hard to wrap our heads around. In this moment, we feel strongly that our work is to listen, to look inward and to observe, to share the shifting ground with our neighbors and to acknowledge one another.

Art Night SF, UN Plaza:
Thursday October 22nd
Tenderloin Museum:
Tuesday October 27th
Thursday November 5th
Tuesday November 10th
Tuesday November 17th
Thursday December 3rd
Thursday December 17th

Earlier Event: November 5
Opening Reception: CoolTry