Projects and talks offer intimate connections to region’s past, present and future.

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Art is about so much more than aesthetic beauty or conveying a message: It’s a way of seeing, hearing and otherwise experiencing place and time. The Seattle Art Fair — taking place Aug. 2-5 at CenturyLink Field Event Center — will host a diverse roster of more than 100 galleries from 34 cities, 10 countries and 23 international galleries alongside daily talks, special projects and performances designed to reflect the many aspects of what makes the city vibrant and unique.

“We have an incredible Projects & Talks program at the Seattle Art Fair this year,” says Nato Thompson, the fair’s artistic director. “It’s people friendly, it’s complex and it opens your eyes to the world around you, from technology to the indigenous forms of culture. The program features the things we all love — especially featuring the contemporary landscape of the city of Seattle.”

Hands-on history lessons

Attendees of the fair will have the unique opportunity to experience historical traditions of indigenous cultures through Charlene Vickers and Maria Hupfield’s “Jingles and Sounds for Speaking to Our Grandmothers.” The innovative duo’s collaboration features live performances with hand-sewn megaphones, prompting thought and discussion about ancestry and tradition, while building community and connections with the past.

The Seattle Art Fair will host a diverse roster of more than 100 galleries from 34 cities, 10 countries and 23 international galleries.
The Seattle Art Fair will host a diverse roster of more than 100 galleries from 34 cities, 10 countries and 23 international galleries.

Vickers and Hupfield say they seek to honor their indigenous culture, speaking to history, landscape and the socio-political conditions that draw people together and apart. The lightweight cardboard and paper object becomes an activated prosthetic that speak to jingles worn in Anishinaabe women’s jingle dress dancing.

Attendees can watch live performances of “ Jingles and Sounds for Speaking to our Grandmothers” on Thursday, Aug. 2 at 7 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 3 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 4 at 12:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 5 at 12:30 p.m.

Another look at Seattle history comes from artist Wayne White’s new exhibit, “Here Come the Boren Sisters,” featuring two 14-foot-tall puppets of Seattle pioneer women Mary Ann and Louisa Boren. The project highlights the untold story of how the sisters helped their family settle in Seattle, and sheds light on the impact the two women had on creating our great city. Using large ropes, the public is able to move these puppets and participate in a recollection of the hard work done by these early settlers.

Multimedia political perspective

“In compiling the programming for Projects & Talks, it was my goal to find works that revisit moments in history,” Thompson says. “Projects that reflect on and dissect implications that events have on a city’s future.”

Rootsystems and Ley Lines” by local artist C. Davida Ingram does just that with a thought-provoking multimedia installation that considers Seattle’s changing cultural landscape as it evolves in the global economy. The two-channel video installation is a poetic revisit to the 1999 World Trade Organization protests, nicknamed “The Battle of Seattle.” This fictive reimagining poses indigenous, black and otherwise displaced interlocutors as the central players in the Battle of Seattle of past, present and future.

The future is now

Artist and Survival Research Laboratory founder Mark Pauline will showcase robotic technology with daily demonstrations during the Seattle Art Fair. The word “analogue” is too mild to describe the truly massive force and sound that erupts from the work of this wildly imaginative pioneer of industrial performance. Visceral, hypnotic, and freakish, the performance of these machines gives the viewer much to consider and feel in regards to the technological future to come.

“The image of tech today is so different from the grimy tech of the ’80s,” Thompson says. “We love that Mark Pauline has taken inspiration from his history in punk rock to create a modern-day experience featuring fire, technology and robotics that everyone from your grandparents to your kids will love to watch.”

Pauline’s demonstrations will take place outside of CenturyLink Field Event Center on Thursday, Aug. 2 at 5:30 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 3 at 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 4 at 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 5 at 2:30 p.m.

A one-of-a-kind destination for the best in modern and contemporary art, the Seattle Art Fair showcases the Pacific Northwest’s arts community. In its fourth year, the fair delivers public programming alongside art from 100+ galleries from around the globe. Tickets available now.