SF Weekly has been following Potrero gallery, Southern Exposure and their summer series Off Shore -- a selection of exhibitions and performances that celebrate the waters of the Bay Area that depicts how these waters can be used as an artistic medium. Last week, Chris Sollars found city waterways in unexpected places.
Next up on the itinerary? The Voyage of Hurlothrumbo, an evening put together by artist Paul Cesewski. Cesewski's waterway of choice is Mission Bay, where he will entertain his audience with what he claims to be, "the world's first amphibious bicycle-powered Ferris wheel built for three."
Sounds fun? That's kind of his shtick. Cesewski says:
"Fun is the universal language. I like to build using existing technologies, aka: junk. Not that I couldn't or wouldn't build from a catalog. But there is so much great stuff out there. It's a magical wonderland of refuse our first world delivers. Adventure is where you find it. I've cobbled together bikes and boats and trains to go out exploring. The pleasure of the adventure is further enhanced by the patchwork quilt of the vehicle. Each part of the conveyance a story of its own. Though it may not be clean and sleek it has a goddamned soul!"
SF Weekly spoke with Southern Exposure's Projects and Exhibitions Director, Valerie Imus, about Cesewski's Off Shore piece.
Paul Cesewski is a local artist, right? Can you tell us a little about his background?
Paul has lived in San Francisco since 1990. Paul likes to describe his work as a love of building things, including a tug boat motored by a converted refrigeration unit called Regardless, and a number of bicycle related projects with Cyclecide His boating life began with his collaboration with the crew of Swoon's Miss Rockaway Armada project in 2006 and continued with the Swimming Cities of Serenissima in 2009.
Southern Exposure describes Off Shore as the bringing of, "historical waterways to light, [and to] celebrate a space for outsider communities and imagine the possibilities of water as an expanded territory." In Paul's case, he asks his audience to observe San Francisco's Mission Creek. What drew him to that particular area?:
He's long been interested in the tight knit Mission Creek houseboat community and their commitment to staying afloat in a city that is being built up all around them.
So what exactly can we expect for the evening?:
The bicycle powered ferris wheel is a three person ride on a pontoon raft. Three at a time will be allowed on the boat from 8-9pm, and then the boat will raise sail and set off with the Underpass Brass Band and Miss Jessie Roadkill playing along the creek, accompanying early footage of the port and boat activity on the Bay, supplied by the Prelinger Archive.
Samuel Johnson's 18th-century play, Hurlothrumbo, features over-the-top dancing, music, and circus tricks. Was this part of the inspiration for Cesewski's The Voyage of Hurlothrumbo?
Paul is inspired by the spirit of the play Hurlothrumbo, but there aren't any dramatic components to this part of this project, just good fun. The boat will also be touring the upper Willamette River in August.
Southern Exposure presents Off Shore: The Voyage of Hurlothrumbo at 8 p.m. on June 13 and continues through 10:00 p.m. along Mission Creek Park (451 Berry St.). Admission is free; visit soex.org for more information.