Sweet Spot

7 May

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If you’ve stopped by in the last couple of weeks, you may have seen a curious wooden construction on our front plaza. It’s our Pop-Up Park, the Sweet Spot! We built the park on April 20th and have hosted some great programming events since then. The day we set up the park, the weather was not so…sweet. We had to deal with a lot of wind and rain and cold and a lot of things not going to plan. Despite all this, we got it done! Celebration was had with with delicious pizza (and planking)! Plus, the weather finally picked up and we’ve been able to host some pretty great stuff in the park. Here’s a little look back:

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skills.


April 22 KIND Bars and Flowers

We were so luck to have KIND come in an give us such a nice start to to the Pop-Up Park’s opening. They passed out flowers and KIND bars to people passing by and stopping by the park. Now that was some hospitality!

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April 27 Lunch Box Notes
At the Lunch Box Station, we had people create their own napkin masterpieces. Metal lunch boxes were labeled with prompts and acted as an anonymous exchange system. Visitors could take and leave napkin art and lunch box notes in the metal lunch boxes, or take their ideas to a friend in a brown bag to go.

April 23 Fortune Cookie Exchange
Free cookies! Free conversations! Using fortune cookies as a conversation starter to talk about food. The conversation were drawn in association to the current exhibition, Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art.

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Don’t worry if you missed out though! We still have some awesome events happening before the park closes this weekend! Come and check these out…

May 8 10:00-2:00 Popolis
What’s popcorn got to do with it? UMN professor and artist Emily Stover will make and serve 100 pounds of popcorn to passersby. This activity will reflect the history of the University as a land grant institution tasked, in part, to conduct agricultural research while exploring themes of production and sustenance in the midwestern landscape.

May 8 6:00-8:00 Beetnik Cafe
Step into our cafe, inspired by the 1950’s Beatnik movement, and enjoy jazz, improv, charades and beets! Don’t forget your turtlenecks and stripes. Featuring MinnProv.

That’s a wrap for the semester! We hope you all have an awesome summer break. Stay tuned for more news about things we’ll be up to this summer and upcoming fall. Peace!

-Iris Rose Page

Conversation Cookies

28 Apr

“What are your table manners like?”

A man in a University maintenance uniform read this question aloud after opening his fortune cookie. As his response, he popped the entire cookie in his mouth and chewed on it with his mouth open. In my face.

That was my favorite exchange of the day.

We had so many different types of people share details, big and small, with us last Thursday and yesterday. Inspired by Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, WAM Collective developed a set of questions surrounding food, hospitality and traditions and had them printed on fortunes inside of cookies. The sweet inviting shell of a cookie attracted almost every passerby, and everyone who stopped took the time to answer the question inside!

Fortune cookies, in addition to their sugar content, are inviting because anyone who has ordered from an American Chinese restaurant has received one at the end of their meal. Fortune cookies are familiar to a wide variety of people, but harbor varying messages and rituals. My first grade teacher taught me to eat the entire cookie before reading the fortune. Otherwise, she said, the fortune wouldn’t come true. Ever since, I have eaten my cookies in this order. WAM Collective learned about personal anecdotes like this from the curious, excited, amused, and sometimes stumped University community.

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– Hannah Germaine
WAM Collective Officer

Eye Candy Design Showcase Sneak Peek!

15 Apr

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We’re a week away from WAM Collective’s fourth annual design event: Eye Candy. This year, we will be hosting a showcase of outfits created by apparel design students from the College of Design. The garments this year are inspired by Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, the featured exhibition at the Museum. If you haven’t seen the exhibition yet, go see it! The collection contains pieces that explore different meanings and values that are found in the act of sharing a meal. We’ve had a series of great participatory events related to the exhibition since its opening back in February, including our upcoming Pop-Up ParkThe Sweet Spot– that will be opening only two days before the showcase on April 20th! Much fun to look forward to! So. Food and fashion. It seems to be a pretty intriguing topic to be undertaken by this year’s apparel students! But, we decided to ask them ourselves.

Julia Adamson.

Why did you decide to become an apparel design major? Why are you/when did you become interested in designing clothing? What are your aspirations? The first time I told my parents I was going to design clothing for a living I was seven years old. Over the years my career aspirations changed, frequently. In the end it took a staring contest with a blank college application for me to realize that in eleven years the only career I had seriously considered more than once was apparel design. That, coupled with the fact that designing clothing had become a favorite past time somewhere along the way led to me applying for the Apparel Design Program here at the U. With the knowledge and experience I gain from this program I hope to design for a well known label that focuses mainly on high fashion as I love to work with luxury fabrics and structured designs.

What part of Feast most interests you? How is that reflected in your design? The concept of Feast I found most interesting was the role of host and guest. My design showcases how preparing to interact with dinner party attendees is akin to preparing for battle.

Megan Clarke.

What is your work usually like? My work tends to be inspired by historical costume and fantasy elements due to my fascination with costumes used in film and theatre. I enjoy creating contrast through color blocking, changing up style lines, and incorporating very structural elements with loose, unifitted details.

Does it make sense/is it comfortable for you to draw inspiration from an art exhibition? I believe that art exhibitions are a fantastic source of inspiration. For this project especially, being able to draw inspiration from the themes presented in the existing artwork really helped narrow down and focus the design process while still leaving room for my own interpretation.

Melissa Feidt.

What materials did you use and why? Were there any particular challenges using them? I used materials that I work with at my other job as a bartender – beverage straws and coffee filters.  I chose to use these since I take on the role of host every time I work.  It is my job to ensure my guests, many of whom I don’t know, are having a good time.  The straws were definitely a challenge to manipulate.  When you’re working with thousands of straws strung onto fishing line, they tend to be very difficult to control and isolate.

What is your work usually like? My work is very feminine.  I love being a woman and everything that goes along with it.  I celebrate the female form and that is definitely reflected in my aesthetic.

Sophia Gillian.

How does apparel design play into your other interests, workplace, home life, etc? I work at Parc Boutique in Northeast Minneapolis and Thao, the owner, has made the store into something that has been a large aspect of my inspiration. We carry some smaller brands by designers who are able to design and make their clothing here in the U.S. so it is nice to be surrounded by larger brands as well as these smaller, more personal brands as something to aspire to.

What materials did you use and why? Were there any particular challenges using them? I used oilcloth, the material used in Mexican tablecloths, hot peppers, beans, corn husks and a few other Mexican inspired materials. I wanted to create a traditional Mexican dress that looks like it was embroidered with beads when they were actually dried foods. I didn’t have many challenges once I figured out the correct types of glue and thread to use.

Mikaela Harrod.

What is your work usually like? My style ranges from loose and draped; basically hippie style, to Euro-chic style. However definitely not as colorful and loud as this piece, although it was fun and challenging to go out of my comfort zone and create a very stand out design.

What meal traditions do you have? My family doesn’t have many meal traditions we follow, but the one that is pretty different is that we have spaghetti and meatballs on Christmas night, we are German not Italian. So that’s the one that’s a little strange, but I love it.

Sinead Kelly.

What part of Feast most interests you? How is that reflected in your design? I loved working with the unconventional items to represent a story about hospitality. My friend recently pointed out that my designs always have some kind of story behind them. I suppose that is what I like about Feast, it allows me to utilize my kind of inspiration in a new and unconventional way.

What materials did you use and why? Were there any particular challenges using them? My look takes inspiration from the Japanese tea ceremony of Japan that is all about respect, patience, care, etc. I used steeped tea bags, wire and LED lights to create a modern Japanese lantern as a skirt. I made a corset out of broadcloth that is covered in cocktail umbrella’s to represent the colorful garments, prints and designs found on Japanese kimono’s and the parasol’s that Geisha would carry. Finally, I used the symbolic folding fan as a hair accessory. It was definitely most challenging figuring out how to make the very fragile cocktail umbrella’s work out with the corset.

Sarah Klecker.

How does apparel design play into your other interests, workplace, home life, etc? I want to design performance apparel because I myself am an athlete. I run on the University’s Women’s Cross Country and Track teams. Both my parents were world class runners in their prime and I am one of 6 children all of whom are athletes. Being surrounded by sport my entire life gave rise to an interest in apparel that could enhance the experience of sport and in innovation that could help athletes push the limits of the human body.

What meal traditions do you have? I come from a large family, so even though as all my siblings leave for college it becomes rarer, I treasure memories of shared family meals. We all gather around our huge kitchen table and sing the johnny appleseed prayer together before we eat. I am very close with my family and I believe that our tradition of eating with one another is a big part of that. Another favorite memory is getting up and eating breakfast with my dad before I’d go to school. He would be drinking his coffee and reading the paper while I ate my oatmeal and read the comics section of the paper (still the only section I read). When I come home from school he still sets aside the comics for me in the morning. Sometimes he even goes through and highlights the best ones. Lastly, me and my sister have a tradition of when I come home we make risotto together. It’s one of our favorite recipes and as we stir the rice it gives us time to talk and catch up. We tweak the recipe to match seasonal vegetables and have also found that it tastes better if you double the amount of wine in the recipe! After dinner we make fruit crisp together. Mary (my sister) loves to host people for dinner and is amazing at finding recipes that I can eat (she’s once went through the painstaking process of making me a gluten free/vegan birthday cake!). She is pretty much the definition of the perfect hostess. When I come to stay with her there is always clean sheets on the beds and fresh flowers in the guest room.

Sarah Mirman.

What part of Feast most interests you? How is that reflected in your design? The part of Feast that interests me the most is the freedom of expression that comes with it. Being able to design something based on a loose concept is liberating, especially when the concept can go several different ways. With food and hospitality being the main themes in Feast, I went in a different direction with my design—instead of celebrating food and the concept of eating, I brought attention to the opposite spectrum, those who struggle with eating disorders and body image.

What is your favorite place to eat in the Twin Cities/on campus? My current favorite restaurant is Shamrocks, purely because their hamburgers are on point.

Sydney Moustakis.

Why did you decide to become an apparel design major? Why are you/when did you become interested in designing clothing? What are your aspirations? Ever since I was little I was interested in apparel design.  I used to put on my mother’s heels and walk around the house in her clothes. Although I don’t know exactly what position I want to secure in my future, I know that I love what I am doing and would be thrilled to get the opportunity to work for a company where I get to utilize my skills and design apparel that creates positive change in the field.

What meal traditions do you have? My favorite place to eat on campus is Annie’s Parlor, who doesn’t like a good burger and milkshake after a huge exam, or in my case spending countless hours in the studio.

Marina Qualey.

How does apparel design play into your other interests, workplace, home life, etc? After being in school and learning so much about the industry and softlines in general, it’s difficult for it not to consume your life. I’m a manager at a clothing store, and I love being able to look at a garment and explain to a client the reasoning behind specific apparel assembly and the use of different textiles. It makes me confident in my daily life, and proud to call myself a design major.

Who would wear your look? Any very confident woman willing to wear a cocktail dress made out of paper (weather permitting).

Aaronn Richter.

Does it make sense/is it comfortable for you to draw inspiration from an art exhibition? Yes, very much so. I studied more of the fine arts in high school. My wife studied, briefly, at MCAD. We love going to art exhibits. So, finding inspiration there was not difficult. The only hard part about it was this feeling that I wasn’t technically ready or capable for something that was actually going to be presented in an art museum. As an artist, being shown in an art museum feels like a really big deal, and I think a part of me feels a little inadequate.

What part of Feast most interests you? How is that reflected in your design? I am a big fan of Marina Abramovic. Her exhibit in Feast is looking back at an old piece she did on how two different worlds, that should hate each other, produced two lovers. And she represented their two worlds by the food that they eat. That exhibit interests me the most. However, I think what is more reflected in my design is the heart of Marina Abramovic. The thought that there is a main point to what you want to say, and you say it, but there are also all of these little underlying elements. That if you take the time to notice them, you will realize that you are being confronted about so much more. For example, the majority of my piece is made of aluminum foil. The main thing being said here is that this person has come from, and belongs in the kitchen. But aluminum foil is also reflective, which ties in almost every artists desire for the observer to take a moment of self reflection. Plus, I took more of a ‘feminist’ approach to me piece, and I think Marina embodies that movement in her work, and her life as well.

Leeah Schuhwerck.

What part of Feast most interests you? How is that reflected in your design? When it comes to the Feast exhibit, there are a lot of ways in which one can share a meal. However, no matter the event, culture, or food, they all seem to be centered on the idea of spending time with one another. This was the common factor between all the meals and the direction I went with my design.

What meal traditions do you have? My family regularly gets together for sit down dinners. It doesn’t matter what we are eating, the important thing is that we are spending time with one another.

Abby Schumacher.

What materials did you use and why? Were there any particular challenges using them? I draw inspiration from everything around me. It could be anything from a sculpture to how the light reflects off the wall. It was interesting to look at the Feast exhibits and projects and find inspiration in that. I think the dinner party aspect and comparing host vs. guest was the part that most interested me. For my design I chose to more closely examine the roll of host. I made my garment out of things that a host would use at a dinner party. I used broken cups and plates, doilies, and table cloths. The cups were very challenging to work with but by breaking them and using the doilies as a sort of ‘grout’ made them easier to maneuver and form over the body.

Who would wear your look? My design is intended to be worn by the hostess as a hostess dress. The high neckline represents how hosting guests can be nerve-racking and can feel suffocating at times but the bottom skirt is fun and flowy to represent how hosting can also be exciting and a good time. It was fun to try something new and step out of my comfort zone and I think by doing that I came up with something very unique.

Madelyn Topp.

Why did you decide to become an apparel design major? Why are you/when did you become interested in designing clothing? What are your aspirations? I decided to become an apparel design major because I have always been inspired by fashion and how it can display individuality and boost self-confidence. Creativity has always been one of my strong suits and I decided to channel it into apparel design. I became interested in designing clothing when I was entering my early teen years and I found myself thinking of garments and designs I wanted to wear but not knowing how to execute them.

What part of Feast most interests you? How is that reflected in your design? I was most interested in the role of the guest in a feast/hospitality situation and how the expectation of the guest is often unclear with can cause feelings of insecurity therefore the guest can use their clothes as a shield for their uneasiness. This was reflected in my design by making an elegant looking dress and using screws as a surface treatment so from a distance the dress sparkles with elegance but upon closer inspection it is rough around the edges and the screws are tarnished.

Kina Vang.

What is your work usually like? I say that my work is usually crazy and it’s all over the place. I like trying new things so my works are not really consistent in a sense, but one thing for sure is that I like colors and I like to design something daring, yet wearable. I like to bring in inspiration from weird things, such as butterfly wings, flowers and such into my garments as they make good ideations and inspiration. Inspiration from anything can be turned into a design within my works.

What materials did you use and why? Were there any particular challenges using them? -I used watercolor paper to represent rice, as it’s the main food served in almost every Asian culture. It doesn’t make sense to others, but to me there is a meaning to all the materials used. Watercolor represents rice paddies, which is floating in water, therefore I chose watercolor paper. The material was super difficult to work with. It was not as flexible as I thought it would be and it was difficult to keep in one structure.

Advanced tickets are required. Reserve your ticket now.

Doors at 6:00 pm

Runway at 7:00 pm

Hair and Make-up provided by Juut Salonspa

FEAST: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art

2 Mar

Exploring the intersection between art, food, and hospitality; FEAST takes us through the course of the artist-orchestrated meal. Starting in the 1930’s with the Italian Futurists crusade against pasta and continuing into today with Tom Marioni’s Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest form of Art. Artists emphasize the elevation of the meal as a space for understanding, exchange, and, art. The pieces in FEAST act as archives for the meals that have and will occur both in and outside of the museum.

As an Art student, a member of the WAM Collective, and Special Projects Intern at the Weisman; I’ve been looking into FEAST and its relevance within art, art institutions and within the University. I’ve decided to pull images from my own history with food, art, and hospitality into a narrative of how I understand the questions that are raised in FEAST.

 

Fort

 

What is hospitality?

Hosting is about creating a space, it creates the tone and determines how guests feel during the interaction. Hospitality is about making that space a welcoming one. As the host you become responsible for the well being of your guests which traditionally creates an uneven dynamic. A lot of FEAST artists play with the role of the host and guest interchangeably. With a homemade fort there isn’t room for uneven dynamics, literally. When you invite your guests to
help you create the space, the collaboration blurs the roles of the participants and performer, as well as the host and guest relationships.

 

New neighbors

What does it mean to be hospitable in a university setting?

A distinction between eating and the artist orchestrated meal is the intentionality of experience. The framework of where, when, and why was planned but the experience was a created somewhat spontaneously together. Our planned and intentional framework at the University is our Campus Climate but ultimately our experience is created with those around us. This is me in August a few days before move in day meeting my neighbors for the first time. I was relieved to know that we would become friends.

 

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In an art museum?

Hospitality being as much about the people as the place, art museums became home to me when I got to know the staff. I had always loved going to see art but being part of it allows for a relationship to develop and experiences to be expanded on. A meal is temporary and doesn’t take up very much of our time but eating a meal with someone can be a very impactful and memorable experience. As a museum, we would like to act like a meal. At a meal you bring your personal history, culture, and, taste preferences with you. You have conversation, you exchange information, you laugh, you learn, and you feel like you took part in something. FEAST demonstrates how institutions have acted as meals in the past and perpetuates the participatory mindset.

 

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When is hospitality radical?

Hospitality often is associated with food but food isn’t always hospitable. Hospitality can differ depending on the context, and how food is presented. Being an art student who explores food and works at a bakery I can understand how hospitality can be changed radically. Donuts and baked goods look welcoming and tasty but, besides being horribly unhealthy are delicious pockets of temptation. During my performance piece, Donut Soup, I mash donuts, milk, frosting, glaze, and sprinkles together in a fury. Taking something familiar and welcoming and turning it into something that asks questions brings hospitality into a grey area of where warm and fuzzy feelings and critical analysis occurs. Hospitality is sometimes an invitation to engage rather than just feel.

Words @ WAM 2015: recap

19 Feb

Bodies Braved the suB-zero Bitter cold. Baked goods were Bitten and Beverages were Brewed while Bodies Built Black-out Poetry. BBBBBBBRR! Last night was freezing! Luckily, that didn’t stop Words @ WAM from being a success. Last night was a great turn out of people who participated in the Open Mic, including our featured readers Peter Bognanni and Paula Cisewski! Thank you so much to everyone who made the evening possible! Thank you Hazel & Wren for teaming up with us. This event is always a treat. Here are some photo highlights from the evening!

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Podium perspective before the Open-Mic kicks off!

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ENTER IF YOU DARE: literary mischief ahead.

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Social hour got crafty with some Black-Out Poetry.

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Oh, did we mention that we were serenaded by gorgeous cello music?

…because we were.

If you missed Words @ WAM, no worries! We have two more events coming up within a matter of weeks, so mark your calendars. Study Night will be taking place on March 4th at 5pm-8pm and Creative Mornings will be taking place on March 6th at 8:30am-10:30am. We hope to see you there!

Spring 2015 Preview

2 Feb

Whether you’re a student at the U of Mn or a fellow Minnesotan, you know that the beginning of spring semester probably only consists of 2 weeks of actual ‘spring’, right? In fact, spring semester can get pretty depressing. You return from practically an entire month of being on break and enjoying the holidays with your friends and family. Some of you may have vacationed on sandy beaches, or perhaps on your couch with Netflix with your friends Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Joey, and Chandler . No matter how you spent your vacation, returning to class can get a bit difficult. Not to mention the weather makes Minnesotans…a little bit more ice than nice. The WAM collective gets that. That’s why we’re on a mission. We have some really awesome stuff coming up this spring and we want you all to come. We want you to help us beat the cold weather with community and art.

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Study Night. Study Night. Study Night.

February 11th 5pm-8pm

March 4th 5pm-8pm

April 15th 5pm-8pm

Your semester wouldn’t be the same without the popular, and always very necessary, Study Night. Let’s be honest here. Doing homework and studying is never a particularly fun activity. So we’ve been trying to cook up ways to spice up the regular routine of staring at textbooks. Don’t believe that’s possible? Come check out our study space at the Weisman’s Riverview Gallery. The brilliant view of the Mississippi has to beat the ambiance of your messy dorm room. We promise to play some music that’ll keep you awake and we’ll even feed you snacks that aren’t stale ramen.

We are excited to announce a new feature of student night called Launch sdfPad, presented in collaboration with the Carlson Student Group Co-Lab. Launch Pad provides ‘an opportunity for entrepreneurs within our community to connect and advise students chasing after the same passion – to make their business dream a reality.’

Looking for more of a study break? Take a tour of WAM’s spring exhibits and impress your parents (or date) with your deep knowledge of 20th century and contemporary art (#winning). Not to mention we’ve decided to bring in, for all you stressed out students, some wonderful study companions. On the first study night of the semester, Feb 11th, PAWS (Pet Away Worry and Stress) will be returning with some lovable furry (or feathery?) friends. Coco Wagner will also be there to Henna some beautiful designs on you. If all else fails, come by for some retail therapy. The Sweet Heart Sale will be going on at the WAM Gift Shop from February 11th to February 13th. A perfect opportunity to buy that last-minute Valentines Day gift you forgot to buy yourself. We know you deserve it.

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Words @ WAM: an Open Mic Night

February 18th 6pm-9pm

We’re teaming up again with the local literary community Hazel and Wren for our annual Words @ WAM open mic! This open mic night will also feature the talents of local writers Paula Cisewski (Ghost Fargo) and Peter Bognanni (The House of Tomorrow). Readers begin at 7:00 pm, in order of the sign-up sheet. The open mic is open to all interested wordsmiths of any genre: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, spoken word, and all literary mischief welcome. Readers will have 4 minutes and 30 seconds to read their pieces. Those who go over their time will have trashy romance paperbacks thrown at them. Seriously.

Socializing begins at 6. Literary mischief begins at 7.

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CreativeMornings

March 6th 8:30 am-10am

We understand that 8:30 is early. We don’t doubt that many of you have gone to great length to make sure you don’t have class before 11. But our lecture has things that your class lectures most certainly don’t offer. Breakfast and Coffee. CreativeMornings, besides being a fantastic national lectures series that you should attend regardless, will have a full arsenal of food and caffeine waiting for you.  So we’re here to bring you on the ground floor. You’re gonna wanna get in on this. This semester the theme is “INK”. Last semester, we hosted twin-cities beloved host Mark Wheat. Who could be next? So come support the local speaker and enjoy a real breakfast. Cause come on, when was the last time you were even awake for that meal?

Later this semester….

Pop-up Park

April 20th – May 10th

In the last few weeks of the semester, WAM Collective and the School of Architecture’s Open Studio class will turn our museum’s front plaza into a temporary park! The park will be inspired by the Pavement-to-Park movement and the museum’s featured spring exhibition: Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art.  “This park will aim to shift perspectives and spark encounters that aren’t always possible within a fast-moving and segmented society.”

Eye Candy

April 22nd 6pm-8pm     

When we wrap up this semester, WAM Collective will be hosting its annual Design Showcase in partnership with the College of Design. The showcase, Eye Candy, is inspired by the exhibition Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art and features student-designed outfits using nontraditional materials.

Well there you have it! As you can see we have many amazing things lined up for you guys this semester. So log off Netflix, get out of your pajamas, and come join us for what’s shaping up to be an impressive semester!

Crossover to Balance: Q&A with Mark Wheat of MPR’s The Current

17 Oct

Interview by Luna Allen-Bakerian, Transcription by Hannah Germaine

105 community members gathered in the Riverview Gallery this gloomy fall morning for the October installment of Minneapolis’ Creative Mornings series. Mark Wheat of MPR’s The Current prepared a lecture for the theme of Crossover, discussing his extreme geographical and career transitions. I followed Mark and Luna into a conference room for their pre-lecture interview. Mark said that this event would be new for him, as his DJ slot falls at night and he is not typically a morning person. We chatted about our astrological signs (he’s a Libra) and about his reliance on the moon calendar before settling into the interview. Look out for Luna’s Radio K DJ set next Monday night, where she will share Mark’s picks (amongst her own)!

 

Which crossover [in your life] do you think has been the most significant so far?

I’d have to say crossing the ocean. Living in two separate cultures, joined by familiar language, is an interesting experiment. It forces you to reevaluate some of the things that you grew up thinking were set in stone. That’s good. I think that’s what crossovers are all about. Pushing your comfort zone. If someone had asked me twenty years ago, I’d never have said that I’d become an American citizen. I was not totally convinced that I would stay for my entire life, but two years ago I did become a citizen and I don’t foresee going anywhere, even within the United States. I love Minnesota now. It’s become very special to me because of the success of The Current. There’s no way that I’d be able to have the job that I have now [if I had stayed in England].

What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t come here? What do you think you’d be doing in England as a job?

Well I [had] hoped to be a teacher. That’s why I loved Radio K. I thought that was a dream job because I got to hang with students and I got to do radio, too. But that’s because I couldn’t have even dreamed up The Current twelve years ago. I went to teacher training college after University and that’s how I first got over here. I worked for two years on summer camps in upstate NY. That was the easiest way for a Brit to get over here, they found you the job and they gave you the six weeks travel time afterwards. I couldn’t get a job as a teacher when I graduated. I went back to where my mother lived and I couldn’t even get on the substitute roll [because] there were so many unemployed experienced teachers. To answer your question, I have no idea. I wasn’t having a very good start at [teaching] and the last job I had before I came over was as a chauffer. So maybe I would have been a chauffer, because I love driving and that was fun.

That’s perfect that you mentioned Radio K. I DJ at Radio K. I’m wondering, if you could DJ a four-song set now at Radio K, what would be your picks? Assuming [they were] in the library.

Which [they] would be, because I would have to make [the set] Radio K significant. I would have to have a song by The Fall because historically I’ve said they’re my favorite band of all time. I think [I would incorporate] Low, too, because obviously the K has a huge tradition with local music, and those guys have been special to me as a fan, and just sharing experiences with them. When Paul Wellstone died they were in the [Radio K] studio and did a special set for him, so that was kind of crazy. They’ve been a band I’ve grown up with in the scene and they exemplify what’s great about local musicians: they stay here; they help younger musicians. They foster the community that we’ve got here in Minnesota. So that’d be symbolic. But how would I mix from The Fall to Low?

Segway Band.

Yeah, good idea! Well, and I’m not just saying this because you happen to be of the same gender, but I always like gender balance, too. I struggle with that sometimes on The Current. It is tough sometimes to fit two or three voices of female origin in every hour, which is what I try and do. So there would have to be a female artist. Who would that be? Maybe Stereolab. I don’t know why they come up to me, but they’re one of those Radio K Bands. They’re probably a band that I might not have discovered without the K. And they were one of those bands that we always played way too much. Then something dance-y. Maybe St. Germain. You know, I used to be a live DJ, too, and electronic music was a big part of it. Or Daft Punk. I remember us playing “Around the World” too much, too, because that’s, like, 9 minutes long or something.

It’s fun, though. I think that’s a good balance.

Stereolab could [transition] into dance-y.

That’s the Segway.

That’s the Segway!

Right now we have exhibits that are all about yearning to roam, and since you’ve moved quite a bit in your life, I’m wondering if you think wanderlust is a good thing or a bad thing. Some people think it’s this romantic idea and some people are like, ‘eh.’

I think you need a balance. I think it’s a good thing at certain times in your life. I’ve always said to young people, ‘travel if you can.’ The experience, for me, totally changed my life. Coming over here for the first time from a small rural community and seeing something like New York literally blows your mind. I think the same thing can happen for you guys going back to Europe or going to South America or wherever. Wanderlust at a certain point is good. And until I got [to Minnesota], I hadn’t stayed in the same place literally for more than two or three years. And when I got here I decided, ‘if you keep doing that you never reap the rewards of whatever it is you’ve put your time into.’ I looked around at First Avenue when I went there one of the first times and I thought, if I can do something that means that I get to be known in this club, I think that would be a good thing to do with my life. And now I get recognized all the time. I think wanderlust is good to learn and figure out what you want to do with your life, and then at a certain point you have to figure out, ‘now I’m going to stay here and do this.’ But then, that’s me. I’ve often said, [and] I’ve often heard, that the Twin Cities is a good community because it’s got a lot of people who grow up here and stay here, a lot of people who’ve come here (like myself), and it’s got a lot of people who grew up here, left, and then have come back. And that makes a nice mix. We have aspirations way beyond our size, in terms of music and art. The expectations have been raised because of people who have gone away and come back, and because of people who come here to live because they like that community. So wanderlust [is] good, but it has to balanced, too.

You’re answering with “balance” throughout. It’s the Libra [in you]! You’ve kind of Segway-ed perfectly into this, but if you could give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would it be?

It actually would be about spirituality. I was just writing a piece about Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming, which came out when I was 19. It’s the only Dylan album I ever bought, and you look back now and it’s actually disrespected in terms of his work. But he asks the question, ‘who do you serve?’ The idea of Bob Dylan saying you’ve gotta serve somebody blew me away when I was 19. Even when you’re Dylan you’ve gotta serve somebody? I didn’t realize his background of being Jewish. We didn’t have a Jewish community where I grew up so I didn’t understand that, [but] the Christianity aspect of [serving somebody] was interesting for me. I wasn’t brought up from a Christian household and I grew up in the most Pagan part of the country, so those were my roots. When I was 20, I thought about [spirituality], but I never did the work to figure out what I was. I always said, ‘I’m agnostic,’ or, ‘I’m atheist.” But I didn’t really pay attention to it. It’s only been the last 10 years, specifically since I met my wife, that I’ve really paid attention. What is going on here? What are we supposed to do? What are we connected to? Who do we serve, if anyone? And how can it help my life? Yoga or meditation, and paying attention to the moon and the planets and the universe, and respecting [them] as a spiritual force has been huge for me. And it’s brought balance. I’m glad you picked up on that key word, because to me I was always imbalanced. I was too much in my head, and didn’t pay attention to the physical entity that we are. I hadn’t asked those questions seriously and I hadn’t developed a spiritual discipline. I think we all have to figure out what that is for each of us. I’m not convinced by any of the major religions because they tend to all tell you to do something that everybody else does, where the way that I understand [that] spirituality works is that we’re all different, and therefor we all need different spiritual keys to make us function at our highest level, highest consciousness. So you can take a bit from everything. I just did this thing with Cloud Cult. They’re a very spiritual band. The audience wanted to know what [Craig] was. You can’t [put a label on him], but his work is really spiritual. He does a little meditation — just trying to find some stillness. It’s funny being [here at Creative Mornings] where it’s all kind of [about] social media. [It’s] the Western way [to] always be busy and engaged and connected. I don’t think it’s the right balance for me. I just have to counter that with a little stillness.

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