Syndicate Walking Tour for BAN5 @ YBCA Included in the "Ground Scores" portion of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts triennial exhibition, Bay Area Now 5.
Syndicate is a 13-site walking tour, performance video and gallery installation of site-specific ground stencil markers at the foot of San Francisco's great unionized permanence and art houses. This walk unearths the sometimes historic, sometimes mundane and sometimes sexy union organizing occurring at each venue.
From the city-wide cable car strike of 1907, Bloody Thursday (July 5, 1934) and the resulting general strike and march of 1934, to more recent alliances between union members and other activist movements, unions have been crucial in shaping the city of San Francisco. Syndicate looks at the history with a special focus on the role of union workers in visual and performing art spaces. In 1889, theatrical technicians in San Francisco formed an alliance with the Theatrical Mechanics Associate in New York, and by 1892 Local 16 had been granted a charter with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, who are still active today in YBCA's theater and forum and at most of San Francisco's performance houses. In collaboration with the Labor Archives and Research Center, these artists have researched organized labor at nearby theaters and museums to create a series of sidewalk stenciled chalk paintings portraying active union members working or defending their rights. Each ground stencil marks the staff entrance to a unionized cultural institution including: SFMOMA, Davies Symphony Hall, The Warfield and the Lusty Lady. A podcast and map are provided for self-guided tours. Historian and artist led walking tours of these venues will leave YBCA at noon on July 26 and October 4.