Yesler Houses/The Collectors, a site-specific temporary installation at the Yesler Houses was part of an exhibition entitled “Here and There” curated by ten Seattle-based artists. The show explored artwork in public places versus art in traditional venues. Each artist created a temporary piece of art in a public setting as well as a corresponding work at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA.)*
As a resident of the Central District, my initial motivation to do a work at the Yesler Houses was to generate a series of ongoing activities and gestures that would bring the dormant houses to life and stimulate dialogue and community interest in the potential use of the site. I saw the houses as metaphors for the continuous shifts and transformations that have occurred in the Central District in the past century and wanted to create an artwork that addressed the cultural, societal, and personal histories of the neighborhood.
Through the use of impermanent materials – chalk drawings in the windows, mud houses containing wildflower seeds, plantings, and excerpts from oral histories written directly on the houses in charcoal – each mark made on the houses or grounds was fleeting and eventually disappeared leaving only a trace of my presence. I hoped to reflect the passage of time, the nature of memory, the voice of recollection, and the multi-layered history of the houses, the corner, and the neighborhood.
*For the correlating work at CoCA, please see INSTALLATIONS The Collectors