SFAC Passport

For SFAC’s Passport exhibition, MD developed an Augmented Reality rubber stamp. Viewing the stamped impression through a smartphone reveals two short films. Together, the films represent the cycle of prosperity and displacement that defines SF as an icon of the boom and bust town. [+]

One of sixteen featured artists, MD developed the Augmented Reality stamp as well as an overarching narrative for the event. This years installment was focused on San Francisco’s Polk. St. corridor. Drawing inspiration from Frank Norris’ 1899 novel McTeague: A Story of San Francisco, the visual language presents darkly pointed icons indicating the various social groups that have risen, and then been marginalized in San Francisco.

The frontispiece for the exhibition catalog includes the following story as a way to introduce the concept behind the larger design language:

That corridor of Polk bounded by Geary Blvd. and California Street. Home, alternately, to immigrants of German stock, Victorian ladies, earth-quake survivors, longshoremen, gay entrepreneurs, drug dealers, prostitutes, poets, and those that slipped through the cracks. Now, a thriving commercial strip reflecting the latest wave of prosperity that is San Francisco.

Frank Norris, in his 1899 novel McTeague: A Story of San Francisco, wrote of that dull-witted giant McTeague and his “dental parlour” at 1237 Polk St. The odyssey follows his futile love affair, unlikely boom, burgeoning greed, inevitable bust, and final demise within the empty wastes of Death Valley.

One tributary of that wide river that is San Francisco. One swing of the pendulum between prosperity & displacement beating out the base rhythm of our fair city and our fair lives...

Photographer: Robert Couto