Social Practice Art Week One – Introduction

    I first became interested in social practice art through Art Beat South Bend. Art Beat is a one day art fair hosted in downtown South Bend, Indiana. Each year there is a community art project during this event. Especially in recent years we have been trying to bring newer ideas to the table. It seems to take longer for ideas to come to our area than it does in others and as such we were somewhat “stuck” with murals. While there’s nothing wrong with murals, there are so many other project ideas out there to explore. In searching for better projects I was intrigued by the interaction with the communities that came from more in depth or novel social art projects.

Seeing this interaction in other areas made me want to learn how to do similar projects in our area. I am hoping to learn more about how to get the local governments and formal agencies and the local artists talking. Knowing how to run a successful PR and fundraising campaign for a project would be incredibly useful, as well as knowing what should be in a presentation or proposal for it to be more likely to be accepted.

Currently I am mostly practicing photography. I am prepping entries for a few regional shows. You can find them here on my Alten Studio facebook page.




Page of Cups






One of my other ongoing projects is a photographic series of the Tarot. You can see the completed cards here.










Although my favorite project to dates is Perceptions – a book I created through Blurb for my undergraduate off-lighting camera class.

“The objects chosen for these still lives are objects that occupy my every day space. Every object contained in the images has a meaning and significance that changes depending on the strain of the religion of the person viewing the images. The text reinforces the theme of the occult and supports the idea of finding similar beliefs in many religions. The text is also an excellent example of the duality  of most beliefs, and the dual meaning of each object represented in the images.

The writing I chose to accompany the imagery is “The Charge of the Dark Lord.” The text reinforces the focus on the occult in this project and supports the idea of finding similar beliefs in many religions. As one passage states ,”who was of old called Acheron, Chamer, Anubis, Hades, Mors, Hodor, and by many other names.”  Most of the names represent a mythology to which most people are at least briefly aware. The text is also an excellent example of the duality inherent to most religions, and the multiple meaning of each object. The writing in it’s entirety –



Listen to the words of the Dark Lord, who was of old called Acheron,

Chamber, Anubis, Hades, Mors, Hoder, and by many other names.

I am the shadow in the bright day,

I am the reminder of mortality at the height of living.

I am the never ending veils of Night where the Star Goddess dances.

I am the Death that must be so that Life may continue

for behold, Life is immortal because the living must die.

I am the strength that protects, that limits.

I am the power that says No, No Further, and That is Enough.

I am the things that may not be spoken of,

and I am the laughter at the edge of Death.

Come with me into the warm enfolding dark,

feel my caress in the hands, in the mouth,

in the body of one you love and be transformed.

Gather in the moonless night and speak in unknown tongues.

The Dark Mother and I will listen.

Sing to us and cry out

and the Power will be yours to unfold.

Blow me a kiss when the sky is dark, and I will smile,

but no kiss returns,

for my kiss is the final one for all mortal flesh.



As for what I am hoping to accomplish in the field of SPA, is to contribute to the growth of the regional arts economy and the quality of life for my area.





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