Securitree by ToroLab (2004)

Securitree by ToroLab (2004)

Commissioned work by Torolab
November 10–December 31, 2004

Securitree is a site-specific installation by the Tijuana-based new media artist collective Torolab. Torolab examines the fact that San Jose has been ranked as the “Safest Big City in America” with populations over 500,000 for the last several years. Securitree includes their observations of the heavy police presence in San Jose and how it contributes to the city’s quality of life .  The exhibition includes the following elements:

(1) TRANS(transmitter) tree, a sculptural object comprised of security cameras located outside of MACLA’s gallery on the sidewalk of South First Street; (2) RECV (receiver) tree, a sculptural metal tree that dominated the inside of the gallery and which had 14 video monitors playing life video fromTRANS tree and pre-recorded video clips of San Jose and interviews with residents about issues of surveillance, security and safety; (3) Lounge Area – seating area inside of the gallery where visitors could peruse the (4) Securitree Readers; (5) Photographs on the wall relaying images of surveillance, security, safety and public space; (6) Securitree Map of San Jose which invited participants to mark their routes, places of interest, events with the stickers created by Torolab for this project; (7) A Survey developed by Torolab asked visitors about issues of safety; (8) They created two new designs of ToroVestimenta, their t-shirt  clothing line with images of the TRANS tree and a surveillance tower; (9) White Video (TRANS) was projected in a specially created screening area of the gallery, featuring 3 minute sci-fi video of the germination of the TRANS tree with hip, electronica music.

MACLA published an exhibition catalogue to document the process that went into the creation of the new work and commissioned an essay by Mexican curator Priamo Lozada.  Elements of this commission were later presented in the exhibition SAFE: Design Takes on Risk at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) . The exhibition was on view from October 16, 2005 to January 2, 2006 and featured more than 300 products designed in response to psychological and physical threats.

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