FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY of the Pasadena City College Artist-in-Residence program, our resident artist is a group rather than an individual; Futurefarmers is an interdisciplinary art collective based in San Francisco. Internationally known for creating a practice that extends across and beyond conventional artistic categories, their wide-ranging work embraces corporate design commissions, gallery exhibitions, Internet-specific projects, video game design, community seminars, direct social activism and even their own artist-in-residence program, which has enabled young artists from around the world “to unite in the collaborative environment of Futurefarmers’ studio.”
The number of collaborators in Futurefarmers varies from project-to-project. For the PCC residency, the group includes Amy Franceschini, an artist and educator who founded Futurefarmers in 1995; Michael Swaine, an inventor and designer who has worked with Futurefarmers since 1997 and Stijn Schiffeleers, a specialist in film, video and interactive installations who is also co-founder of Boutiquevizique, a new media collaborative in Belgium.
Futurefarmers will occupy the PCC art gallery with an evolving installation titled The Reverse Ark, the Flotsam & the Jetsam. “Futurefarmers will work with students to create a workshop and laboratory for the building of the ark and a social space for learning and inquiry,” according to Franceschini. “To us, the ark embodies many conceptual references; mass transportation, archives/memory/database, global warming. We tend to make projects that bridge the analog and digital worlds; thus, we will think about the ark as a memory bank, but also a cabinet of curiosities.” They will assemble a “library of materials”—including recycled bottles, cardboard containers and shipping pallets—and collaborate with students “to build a new story of the Flood.”
Futurefarmers’ extensive exhibition record includes projects featured at the Museum of Modern Art and the prestigious Whitney Biennial, both in New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the German new media space known as ZKM and the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. Their design clients have included Adobe Systems, Swatch, Hewlett Packard, Nike, LucasFilm, PBS and MSNBC. The group has received numerous awards including a Webby and the Transmediale award.