featured projects

field guide for ebb & flow festival

Along with Chelsea Wills, I'll be presenting "Field Guide" in May and June of 2015, as part of "Ebb & Flow", with the generous support of the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County. Field Guide is a mobile story collecting unit that explores how people interact with place based on their experiences of it. Participants will be invited to document personal reflections about the history and ecology of the San Lorenzo river by writing down their thoughts in limited-edition notebooks and then recording these writings in the Field Station Sound Sampler. Our Field Station consists of a recording booth mounted to a cargo tricycle, with which to collect stories from festival attendees based on a series of prompts. These prompts will asked participants to remember, record, or imagine the river in ways that are both important personally and collectively to archive the complexity of the river. The project will be made in conjunction with an online map and archive of stories of participants. Audience members will be able to interact with the project during the festival and after through the web platform by submitting their stories.

The Field Station Sound Sampler will be stationed for a period of time at each of the three sites: near Surfrider Cafe, downtown, Duck Pond in San Lorenzo Park, and North Pedestrian Bridge during the June 6th festival collecting stories in exchange for personal Field Guides.
Communities understand and share responsibility for places based on their relationship to them. Field Guide offers an place to note these relationships, and to learn about the experiences of others. Creating an archive of how people understand and value places is important for current day and future community members who will be able to use the recollections of the river in a variety of ways to inform their interactions with the environment. Creating a space for reflection and archiving is an important step in deepening a relationship with the river and it’s environs.

the objects project

"objects" is a collaborative project of cheyanne epps and myself that shines light on the structural imbalance of power between police officers and ordinary individuals by researching, illustrating, and mapping incidents in which police officers have mistaken a commonplace object for a weapon, thereby authorizing the use of deadly force. Epps and Lane-McKinley are not engaged in journalism nor legal or ethical judgement, so much as seeking to visualize the disparity between the objects that police mistook as weapons and the force that was used against the victims. This visualization takes the form of artists prints, t-shirts, and a website that depicts epps's drawings of the objects on a world map, along with annotated descriptions of what transpired. "objects" is an on-going project, and we would love your help. if you know of other such incidents, or if we got something wrong, please contact us at contact_objcts {at} googlegroups {dot} com

A police assault on an unarmed individual is ruled permissible because the officers “mistook” a cellphone, or a wallet, or a toy, as a weapon; the story is so familiar as to elicit groans, but how often does this sort of thing actually happen, and under what circumstances? The Objects Project is the attempt of Cheyanne Epps and Kyle Lane-McKinley, artists and activists, to find their own answers to these questions, and to share those answers with communities affected by these incidents. The Objects Project grows out of a series of drawings and silkscreens by Cheyanne Epps of the objects that were supposedly mistaken by the police as weapons, and out of her experience working with the Groundswell Community Mural Project in Brooklyn. In collaboration with Kyle Lane-McKinley, Epps has transformed those drawings into a website that presents users with a world map, on which Epps's drawings appear as markers of where each known incident occurred. Users click on those markers to read a synopsis of the incident at hand, or click through to a linked newspaper account of that incident. While growing, and far from comprehensive, the site presents a visual argument about the prevalence of this sort of “mistaken” object and about structural imbalances between the capacity of police for violence and the capacity of, say, a bottle of soda pop for violence. Further, users who read about many of the incidents begin to observe what so many of us knew implicitly: that such police violence is disproportionately visited upon working class and poor communities, and, especially, by African-American and Latino Communities. By producing t-shirts which are printed with images of the mistaken objects, as well as QR codes that direct users to the project website, Epps and Lane-McKinley offer a non-traditional way to access their research. And by producing prints and flyers for the purpose of posting at or near the physical location where these incidents occur, Epps and Lane-McKinley offer a form of annotation of the everyday environment that is informed by traditions of community murals and of street-art, but whose form, on the internet, is potentially more difficult to white-wash away.

In March, 2014, Epps and Lane-McKinley presented the objects project at "Visual Activism," a conference sponsored by SF MoMa and the International Association of Visual Culture. The Visual Activism Symposium was organized by Julia Bryan-Wilson (UC Berkeley), Jennifer González (UC Santa Cruz) and Dominic Willsdon (SF MoMA). Epps and Lane-McKinley presented within a panel titled “Conflict Zones,” moderated by Associate Currator of Public Practice at SF MoMA, Deena Chalabi.