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The October Surprise

by Cara Baldwin/Jennifer Murphy Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2004 at 9:14 AM

When the Organizing Committee of the October Surprise went fishing in the Arroyo this summer, we weren't sure what we'd find - so we asked for everything.

The October Surprise...
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Inspired by curiosity and Chicago¹s 1999 DSLR, or Department of Space and Land Reclamation, we cast a wide open call out to artists, activists, social
interventionists, architects, gardeners, solar engineers, and practitioners of every imaginable form of creation to make something that reclaims all space for personal and public life.

What emerged in conversation with this desire was the deliciously confounding boundlessness of LA. Its (sub)urban sprawl, topographic, and linguistic shifts, faults, and erasures shape our present and past; electoral politics and grassroots democracy; public space and debate. We no longer recognize a centralized plan, and the history bulldozed beneath us threatens to tumble into the sea.

Join us October 8th through 11th as we stream again through the boulevards and arroyos, flooding the public spaces, community places, and private homes of Northeast Los Angeles. Projects will be distributed throughout the Highland Park neighborhood and an extensive map/exhibition guide will be available is free of charge.

On October 8 at Avenue 50 Studio, come view the opening of Altaring Course, a politically themed altar created by artists Linda Arreola, Ann Brace, Sylvia Capitstran, Tina Gulotta, Jennifer Murphy, Margaret Guzman, Cristina S., Poli Marichal, Cindy Suriyani.

Throughout the weekend, Deborah Thomas and Linda Anne Hoage's Reseeding Los Angeles creates a living space for us to reflect on a fateful 1769 encounter between Spanish Captain Gaspar de Portolá and the native Tongva tribe. Deborah will be sharing indigenous Chia seeds and history with people of the earth at the site of the new Cultural Gateway Garden next to the Avenue 50 Studio.

Using Flor y Canto as a starting point, Ryan Schoelerman's Autonomous Radiobodies makes it possible for us to create truly local radio programs as we transmit the sounds and voices we encounter as walking through each neighborhood. Listen locally on frequency 101.5 FM. Route maps and a detailed project description online at http://radiobodies.elintartslab.org/october_surprise.htm

At the Food 4 Less Warehouse at 5100 N. Figueroa, Carey Anne Schaefer will be installing her Parking Lot Gardens, which address our removal from the land while questioning awareness of where our food comes from. She will 'borrow' shopping carts, grow vegetables in them, and then return them to once full of produce. Attached to the carts will be plastic bags and twist ties to make 'shopping' more convenient.

Also at the Food 4 Less will be the Escritorio Público, a public writing desk where poet/typist Jen Hofer will write letters of any and all sorts for you in Spanish or English while you wait: Letters -- $2, Love Letters -- $3, Illicit Love Letters -- $5.

There are 40 + October Surprise events and projects planned. The convergence spaces will be open all weekend for dialogue, spontaneous art and actions, and hanging out.

After the weekend, documentation of many of the projects will remain up until November 5th.

October Surprise map-exhibition guides and projects will be available at:
Flor y Canto - 3706 North Figueroa
Arroyo Arts Collective - 135 North Avenue 50
Mudpuppy Cafe - 4219 N. Figueroa St.
and loads of other places TBA

For more information about October Surprise tours, film screenings, parties, site specific work, and other events check out our website and amazing links page at: http://www.theoctobersurprise.org
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