Studio to School

Artist in Residence Tori Abernathy


We are thrilled to announce Tori Abernathy as our first Hollywood Theatre Studio Artist in Residence at Open Meadow Middle School. Tori is an artist, activist, curator, and writer from Miami living in Portland. She is founder and co-director of RECESS. Her collaborative, interdisciplinary practice adopts methods from advertising, surveillance, media, and other large institutional strategies in an effort to expose their limits on autonomous movement while championing the capacities of human subjectivity. She studied art & anthropology at Reed College.

Excerpts from Tori’s Project Proposal:

What does community mean to you?

“Community” comes from the Latin cum meaning “with” and munus meaning a “service”, “public show”, or “spectacle”. In this sense, community implies an active coming together and a responsibility to the ‘public’. Community implies community building. To me, this is a crucial part of the kind of community I want to be involved in – one where we are all active members taking part in a shared activity. The idea of community is very central to my practice. I work with communities in my creative practice and also coordinate efforts to foster new ones in my activism and arts administration work.

What would you like to do as a HTS Artist in Residence? 

I propose to develop, in collaboration with the OMMS students and community, a public audio tour (with possible video accompaniment) following the Southbound Max Yellow Line (SMYL) route that responds to the historic conditions and current state of the neighborhoods it intersects. Over thirty thousand people ride the Yellow Line on an average weekday and bear witness to the swaths of new business that have cropped up along these heavily trafficked zones. Many are unaware of the histories of these areas which have largely been erased. In the tour, I hope to address the Japanese Internment at the Expo Center; The Vanport flood and the subsequent changes to North Portland and Chinatown; The uprooting of the Mississippi neighborhood upon the 1970 expansion of Legacy Emanuel; Portland’s ‘Chinatown’ and the displacement of the Chinese population; and other topics of interest to the OMMS students and community. The type of audio in the tour will range from historical accounts, interviews with area members, poetic responses, and student responses/work.


Swing Shift from Tori Abernathy on Vimeo.

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