AMALGAMATION: A Project About Networks, Systems and Communities – Summer 2012 Artistic Residency




From May 31-August 2, 2012 at the Red Poppy Art House

Thanks for the participation of those who left their mark on the grid!

The Project’s Thesis


This project seeks to integrate the residency of artist Ralph Vázquez-Concepción at the Red Poppy Art House, the Family Arts Program of the Poppy, local residents and artists as well as invited artists from abroad to participate in a dialogue about what the terms ‘networks’, ‘systems’, and ‘community’ mean to them. The result will be an installation that will express, if in a conceptual manner, the continuum of significations, as well as the way these terms integrate in culture; Everyone has an idea of what the central motifs for this installation are, and it is that intuitive understanding which will take center stage and become the content of the final collaborative work.


The project involves research, note-taking, interviews, art appreciation, references to social sciences as well as observation to process information we all have about the core subjects.


Bijan Marashi's aunt reading from a book brought by Sebastián Álvarez about the nature of performance art, Photo by Priya Assal Gheysari - Artist Salon #2


Because of the artist’s experience with curation, authorship and editorial, or ‘criteria based reasoning’, the experience will be geared towards sharing impressions about an array of multimedia materials, as well as learning ways of how to do so in a productive and creative manner. The final installation piece will be a collection of some 200 items placed on a grid and which communicate ideas associated with networks, systems and communities, from the micro to the macro.


For this project the artist will seek to have the aide of a variety of people, which range from children, high school students (from grades 9-12), as well as adults that would like to partake and be credited for working alongside an artists and art curator as a workshop assistant. They will help in the production of the artwork as well as participate in a series of directed research sessions with their peers and the artist. These sessions will be held during the time allotted for Family Art at the Poppy on Saturdays. In addition the Family Art attendants can participate in the Artist’s Salon’s, which will be held in various occasions during the summer in the evenings, and which will provide enriching contact between the youths and professional artists that live and work in the Mission.


In conversation with Sebastián Álvarez, Jason Chinn and Yasi Mak


The long duration project will be launched in Thursday, May 31, 2012 and will conclude with a cocktail closing event in Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 7:00pm. The full schedule of the activities, in which the artist will participate as moderator, will be as  follows:


May 31 – Commencement of Artist Residency

June 2 (1-4pm) – Networks, Systems and Community: An Introduction

June 6 – (6-9pm) – Artist Salon #1: Chaos & Order – the idea of “order” and “chaos” are indeed very mysterious, and how we go about relating to these terms gives us interesting clues about our process. The purpose of this salon is to speak about our relationship to order and chaos, and how those concepts play out out, are contained, denied or rammed directly in our art work.

June 9 (1-4pm) – “Beautiful Losers”: A Film Discussion – We will watch, break down and analyze the content of this documentary, which teaches us about a contemporary art movement whose epicenter was the city of San Francisco.

June 16 (2-4pm)  – The Process of Selection – This week we will discuss criteria based reasoning and its role in the process of conceptual artists. We will analyze the grid content and begin to connect items, as well as add some new ones. We will discuss the inclusion of the musician community into the project, venturing into their lyrics and themes and relating the content of music to the central ideas behind AMALGAMATION.

June 23 (2-4pm) – The Positive Grid: The Structure – We will discuss the form of the grid as a means of presenting a collection of items; the philosophical and aesthetic value behind the form.

June 27 (6-9pm) – Artist Salon #2: End Game – We will discuss how and when a work of art can be declared “finished” and just how artists see the process of wrapping up either serial work or an art project.

June 30 (2-4pm) – The Negative Grid: The Content – We will discuss the content of the grid thus far, and explore ideas for new forms of inclusions.

July 7 (2-4pm) – Last Dance: A Closing – During this last Family Art event the artist will conduct a collage and ready-made workshop that will serve to talk about the project and its scope as well as bring a new approach to art and processes of contemporary art-making. We will appropriate images from Science, Physics Today and Microbe magazines in order to transform scientific data into art. 

August 2 (6-9pm) – Closing reception for the community of the Mission showcasing the collective work of all the elements involved in AMALGAMATION at the Red Poppy Art House. During this event the artist will perform the act of removing the grid, leaving the objects suspended in the white walls of the gallery space at the Poppy. The filmmaker Jeannice Mustafá will record the event and all related interaction.



Discussion about organizing history, making a pit-stop on Alfred H. Barr's incredible and iconic web describing the development of geometric and non-geometric abstract art -- Artist Salon #1


In conversation with Alvaro Vieyra, Alicia Reyes and Richard Troche about the form of the grid and its implications.


To view promotional video on Youtube click here


To view the Facebook event, and more pictures of the project developing, click here.



Closing event was on August 2, 2012 from 7-9pm at the Red Poppy Art House. There was a performance where the artist removed the grid separating the collection of objects as well as answered questions about the project. Thank you for a very productive artist residency, made possible by the wonderful community of the Mission, in specific that close to the Red Poppy Art House and its constituents.


Filmmaker Jeannice Mustafá, who recorded the performance, and Rachel Cohen in talks prior to the execution of the removal of the grid form.


For more information please contact Marisa Aragona, Red Poppy Exhibitions Director, at or Ralph Vázquez-Concepción at