Sue + Bruce Mark/DouglasOakland, CA
marksearch, a wife-husband artist team, creates interactive public projects that invite people to reflect upon their communities and increase their awareness of the natural environment within the urban fabric. Our site-specific temporary and permanent projects emerge from a comprehensive process that weaves the needs and views of the public and local agencies with the unique qualities of local history, the built environment, and the ecosystem. Our long-term projects promote independent thinking and generate a necessary public platform to explore the complexity of social relationships.
Our methodology synthesizes our backgrounds: Bruce Douglas, a fabricator and professional mechanical engineer, meshes his values of building community and using recycled materials by creating functional, quirky human-powered vehicles; Sue Mark, with a BA in philosophy and linguistics and an MFA from the California College of the Arts, has created national and international projects about local history, culture and community challenges since 1996.
Our participant-driven projects craft a much-needed conversational commons. We ask deceptively simple questions to explore the complexity of implicit power and social relationships. Through the development of kinetic vehicles, traveling signage, unconventional surveys, and official logos, people on the street are inspired to share their perspectives with. Community stories form our project’s content.
Our project findings underscore the need for accessible avenues of informal public discussion where people can define and critique their relationship to their city and neighborhood. This kind of intimate relationship between people and place provides authentic interaction among community members. The results of our national and international interdisciplinary research projects have taken many contextually relevant forms: audio, video, websites, photos, printed books, postcards, banners, billboards and maps. Our community-based process pushes the boundaries of how art can influence public policy.
Since 2000, marksearch has collaborated with non-profits, community groups, and municipalities worldwide to create projects that move beyond art. Our partners have included:
+ Bulgarian sociologists, historians, and architects;
+ Norwegian fishermen;
+ Southern US civil rights activists;
+ German archeologists;
+ Oakland, CA Chinatown elders;
+ Local municipal tour guides;
+ Urban social geographers.
The marksearch team is responsible for all phases of the creation of research-based projects including: conceptualization, design, collaboration, funding and implementation. We have received project support from:
+ The Creative Work Fund
+ The Dresden Cultural Commission
+ The EU Culture 2000
+ The Fulbright Commission
+ Oakland's OPEN Proposals
+ The National Trust for Historic Preservation
+ The San Francisco Art Commission
+ San Jose's ZERO1
+ The Trust for Mutual Understanding
Our projects have been presented in New York City, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angles, Philadelphia, Germany, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Norway, Slovenia, and Spain with recent showings at APEX Art Gallery, NYC, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Oakland Museum of CA, the Headlands Center for Art, Pro Arts Gallery, the Berkeley Art Museum, San Jose's ZERO1 Biennial and AVCIC Center for Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain.
marksearch has received artist-in-residence awards from: Djerassi, Bemis, and international programs in Bulgaria, Germany, Norway and the Czech Republic. marksearch has been nominated for a Headland's Bridge Residency and the Fleishhacker Foundation's Eureka Award.
The marksearch team is a member of pre-selected public art pools in San Francisco, San Jose and Alameda County.
Most images of our work are available as custom-made photographic prints on canvas.