The Visceral Viewer and the Court, 2000-2002

San Fernando Superior Courthouse and California Institute for the Arts, 2000
Harbor Superior Courthouse and University of California/Irvine, 2001
San Francisco Superior Courthouse and San Francisco Art Institute 2002

The Visceral Viewer and the Court was developed as college curriculum bridging aesthetics and social practice. Partnerships were developed between college/university art departments and California Superior Courthouses.

Art students at each of three schools were guided over a semester to spend several weeks investigating visual and social codes of a California courthouse in their community. Interviews were conducted with judges, lawyers, bailiffs, administrators and sheriffs. Students explored the language, fashion, architecture, visual signage and interior design of each courthouse. Students were also guided to explore their own patterns of subjectivities so as not to separate themselves from the environment they were exploring and interpreting.

The explorations culminated in student critical art works of photo, text, performance, video and architectural model, which were presented in courtrooms. Justice professionals with whom we had interacted became our audience at each courthouse. Resulting discussions were marvelous and surprising meetings between populations who are generally separated and foreign to each other. Artists and Justice professionals become reflective of each others’ practices and cultures.

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