This project was a true collaboration. Jeannie Cartabiano was the director of Social Movements in Art in San Diego. She created 'pods' of art practitioners and directed them to tackle a problem. In this particular project we were to think about how to make the lives of teenaged girls who were awaiting trial for being abused, usually by a family member. This 72 hour period was difficult because they were often removed hastily from their homes and had very little, sometimes not even a suitcase. We figured, with the aid of our pod psychologist, that having control of anything would help the girls adjust. To that, we put all the furniture on large red wheels. Moving furniture around a room and talking (negotiating) with roommates could be a good thing. Rather than having one room light in the center of the ceiling, we decided a small task light would be great for reading and still allowing others to sleep. When someone laid down and looked up into the wooden box on the headboard, there was a special message inscribed. There was a tiny lid to hide one's personal things. Padded bolsters on the bed rails were a colorful and comfy way to not encourage the girls to commit suicide by rubbing their wrists on the metal. This was a shock to me. Our designed bed was strong and sturdy, we thought this was more real than putting this particular group in a canopy bed. The beautiful quilts were hand made by a group of women. There were stories embroidered. In some cases acknowledging their hardship with stories passed down in this older technology. If a girl ruined a quilted square their task was to repair it with one of their own stories. Storage had fun tasseled handles, but was within each bed. One was their own 'captain'.
Okay, so how did all this play out? Loosely speaking a big developer came in and put their leftover materials to use. They chose to not use our contributions. So now imaging, you have just been taken from your home (for your own good) because someone (who you might love) harmed you. You arrive at the Mission with a grocery bag of clothes, no shoes. To process you in for the night, you must stand on a beautiful and cold marble floor, near a fountain that is spurting and splashing out of a phallic form. They took the quilts away and framed them on the wall, so no harm would come to these works of art. It's hard to know how any of this actually played out, our creative minds at play, but as an artist (or group of artists) we were very sad and discouraged. I'm including all of this in case someone can take a lesson from it.