When: Nov. 9-Dec. 15 2007
After years of working with well-intentioned performance artists who were always trying to engage audiences and inevitably failing, Shannon Flattery found a way to break the proverbial "fourth wall." Her roaming installation project, Touchable Stories, borrows from the StoryCorps playbook by using individual narratives and anecdotes as raw materials for a larger artistic statement, while also incorporating staged environments for audiences to "experience" the stories. Launched in Boston, Touchable Stories migrated to Richmond this year for an introductory show in spring, then asked the audience what stories were missing. Afterward, the artists built a whole new exhibit that tells a whole new round of stories. Called Richmond: The Story Continues, the installation features pieces on local Native American history, toxic waste at the UC Berkeley Field Station, and the TentCity peace movement. Each one uses various props -- the TentCity piece includes a tent, a circle of chairs, and an oil barrel -- to provide a physical context for its story. The audience members experience these rooms in a sequence, with the curtains magically opening after each "performance" to lead them into the next room. Through Dec. 15 at 1303 Canal Blvd., Richmond. To make a reservation, visit TouchableStories.org or call 510-619-3675.