Carmen Papalia and Heather Kai Smith, Score for a Temporary, Collectively-Held Space, 2020, performance score. Courtesy the artists.

Carmen Papalia / Heather Kai Smith: Score for a Temporary, Collectively-Held Space

Presented as part of The Pandemic is a Portal

Score for a Temporary, Collectively-Held Space (2020) is a sharable set of instructions for an edition of play parachutes by Carmen Papalia and Heather Kai Smith. The score is an invitation to practice collectivism in the service of Open Access, a concept that Papalia proposed in the form of a manifesto in 2015, which became his working definition for a culture that orients itself around the changing needs in a community. Like Open Access, the piece establishes a prefigurative space where Papalia and his collaborators can model new standards and practices in the area of accessibility.

The full score, as a continuous scroll, can be downloaded here:

The image description and text of the score can be downloaded here:

Carmen Papalia uses organizing strategies and improvisation to address his access to public space, art institutions and visual culture. His work, which ranges from collaborative performance to public intervention, responds to systemic barriers and biases that enforce ableist concepts of normalcy, which are rooted in the Western medical tradition. As a convener, he establishes welcoming spaces where those from historically marginalized groups realize their desires for participation through processes rooted in activism, performance and institutional critique. Papalia’s work has been featured at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Tate Liverpool, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and Gallery Gachet (Vancouver), among others.

Heather Kai Smith holds an MFA at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her practice explores the potential embedded within archival images of protest, collectivity and intentional communities, activated through drawing. Smith is an active educator, attending international residencies and exhibiting her work within a variety of institutional and non-conventional spaces. Recent exhibitions include the following: Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff), studio e gallery (Seattle) and The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (Vancouver). She is currently teaching in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago.

[Image description: Text written on a 9 by 25 inch-long scroll-like document, but as displayed above, it is broken into three parts. It is made of layers of pastels blended with oil crayon that create contrasts of thick and thin. It begins with a background of loosely-drawn hatch marks in an urgent, firetruck red on white paper. The marks are drawn with intentionality but with a DIY feel in rows from top to bottom: repetitive gestures filling the page, tally marks slowing down the reader and hinting at the time taken to create each and every mark. Overlaid on the hatch marks, the text is chalky white in a font reminiscent of a typewriter in its near, but not complete, uniformity. The hatch marks interrupt the text, almost animating the words with their vibrations, keeping the words from sticking to the page, even taking over at times. Although the letters are more opaque, they’re effortful to read against the hand-drawn marks. The text is laid out in sections: the first is a numbered set of steps, the second is lyrical and poetic, and the final section summarizes the two above. The beginning and ending of each section are marked by a row of drawn white circles, extended strings of ellipses.]

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