A team of artists, architects, urban planners, computer programmers, youth, and Southern Exposure collaborated to create Urban Renewal Laboratory (URL). Proposing a vision for the future of San Francisco, URL reflected upon past and present shapes of urban spaces and the role of technology in shaping cities. Curators Mike Blockstein and Michael Brown and the project artists worked together through on-line and face-to-face interactions. URL was presented as installations at Southern Exposure and off-site, along with publications, an on-line journal, and public programs.
Lead artist Julio Morales works in audio, video, and installation work. Originally from the Tijuana/San Diego area, he is immersed in the cultural politics of displacement. He represented the wide-ranging artist team: Raveevarn Choksombatchai, Margaret Crane, Harrell Fletcher, Erika Olsen Hannes, Anita Margrill, Scott MacLeod, Natasha Ogunji, Kevin Radley, Jon Rubin, Alison Sant, Jacques Servin, Valerie Soe, Richard Sommer, Zane Vella, Fan Warren, and Judy West. Advisory roles were played by historians, digital designers, and ecologists. Some of the artists also worked with Mission District residents and youth.
The resulting projects that made up URL ranged from “Hidden Noise” by Julio Morales, Natasha Ogunji, and Zane Vela–five site-specific installations through San Francisco that featured voices and stories of neighborhoods in transition–to “FarmCity” by Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin, a small-scale Community Supported Agriculture experiment in which Mission District residents produced and shared produce; and to “The Radiant City” by Margaret Crane, Jacques Servin, and Scott MacLeod–an exhibition of real and invented artifacts from San Francisco’s history and a poet’s theater play.
An artist-run organization, Southern Exposure reaches out to diverse audiences, and serves as a forum and resource center. It provides artists with exhibition, performance, curation, lecture, administrative, and teaching opportunities.