Sunday, October 11, 2015

Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility- a project by ERNEST

Coyote Portraits, 2014, digital archival print, 8 x 12 inches, photos by Gwendolyn Courtney, a project by ERNEST made in residence at c3:initiative, 2015.
An eerie silence flows into a low hum, the whir of a tattoo needle gun, the rumble of footsteps, and a chorus singing, “this land was made for you and me.” The Wapato Correctional Facility is a jail located fifteen minutes outside St. Johns, Portland, and has remained vacant since it was built in 2004. The exhibition, “Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility”, is the culmination of a two year investigation by ERNEST hosted by c3:initiative (c3). The result of ERNEST’s investigation of the Wapato facility includes a video, a publication, a special print edition, Wapato Roundtable and panel discussion, and a series of public events.

ERNEST, Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility, video still, 2015, made​ in residence at c3:initiative.

ERNEST, Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility, publication created in collaboration with Container Corps, made in residence at c3:initiative, 2015. Photo by Worksighted.

ERNEST, Coyote Hole, Lithograph, Edition of 35, 16 x 21.75 inches, Watershed Press, made in residence at c3:initiative, 2015. Photo by Worksighted.
 ERNEST is an art collective composed of a flexible group of participants including members from the St. Johns community. The collective provided a democratic structure for the artists and participants to make work that “challenges dominant ideas about site, body, and power” in this exhibition. For ERNEST, “Demos” refers to, “local participatory engagement, keeping methods experimental and provisional, while harnessing the power of generative de(con)struction.”

ERNEST, Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility, video still, 2015, made​ in residence at c3:initiative​.

The video, Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility, sets the scene with footage of the desolate correctional facility. A space that is traditionally filled with people seems uncanny with clips of empty halls and beds. The correctional facility is not completely empty, as the main character of the video appears. An unexpected participant in the Demos exhibition, ERNEST discovered that coyotes have been roaming the correctional facility and they embraced the coyote in their investigation. The correctional facility has become a habitat for the coyote’s mischief as nature reclaims the vacant site. ERNEST members and participants donned coyote masks and stampeded through the halls of Wapato. Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility and ERNEST brings new life and introspection to the empty site looming over the St. Johns landscape.

ERNEST, Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility, video still, 2015, made​ in residence at c3:initiative​.

 C3 Community Dialogue Series
Reading Group: The New Jim Crow | Wednesdays, October 7, 14, 21, 7–8:30pm
Stories in Movement | Saturday, November 7, 5pm
No Thank You Democracy, The politics of non-participation | Sunday, November 22, 4:30pm

  "Demos Wapato Correctional Facility"
A project by ERNEST
September 18-November 22, 2015
c3:initiative 7326 N. Chicago Ave, Portland, OR
Hours: Friday-Sunday, Noon-Five


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