February 10, 2008

With the main art gallery closed, yeasterday probably wasn't the best day to visit the Oakland Museum of California; although, the jade pagoda piece in the lower level was certainly something to ponder.
There was a lot going on outside though. In Chinatown, there were several multi-generational small Chinese persussion ensembles keeping things lively between setting off rounds of fire-crackers in store doorways.
And up at a mailbox on the 5200 block of Clarement Avenue (by the Red Sea Ethiopean restaurant) Ariel Goldberg performed a round in her on-going project "Letters to the Names of the Dead." 100 letters written to dead soldiers, sealed in unaddressed envelopes (how do you address letters to the dead?), Goldberg went through several gestures that call forth and emphasized the futility of such a project, while simultaneously calling our attention to the importance of such actions. The mailbox itself seemed a monolithic metaphor of beaucratic and real silence & inaction, with Goldberg's final gesture being to succumb and plant herself as though dead underneath the mailbox. Check her website for photos.



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