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Tomas McCabe of Black Rock Arts Foundation with Systemic | by FAMSF
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Tomas McCabe of Black Rock Arts Foundation with Systemic

Black Rock Arts Foundation are the co-presenters of Urbanauts by de Young Artist Fellows Sean Orlando and Matthew Passmore.


Drainage, running water, steam, sewage treatment, pumping stations, fire-suppression systems, backflow-protection valves, emergency backup water supplies—many of these systems are hidden in plain sight behind closed doors, in basements, or beneath manhole covers that we have walked across countless times. In contemporary society we rely on these expansive engineered networks of steel, brass, cast iron, and PVC in fundamental ways that we sometimes take for granted. The careful observer detects evidence of these complex systems just below and beyond perception, seeing the "tip of the iceberg" of the massive network of infrastructure that is, for most people, out of sight and out of mind.


During the month of June 2013, Urbanauts (Sean Orlando and Matthew Passmore) created Systemic, an installation in the de Young’s Kimball Education Gallery that multiplied, morphed, expanded, and evolved over time. Systemic comprised a complex, entangled network of pipes and valves that transformed the gallery from wall to ceiling, challenging visitors to reflect on the space they inhabit and inviting them to rethink their relationship to the unseen infrastructure that supports city life.


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Photo by Adrian Arias.


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Taken on June 28, 2013