Produced by FLOOD, the group that brought Long Beach Soundwalk and soundpedro, PUMP will be the first in a series of biennial events highlighting culture and creativity.

An array of exhibits, presentations, and performances will isolate or link our senses and ways of perceiving.

Striving to serve as a conduit, not only of local but also of regional and international expressions of imagination and artistic practice, our hope is to engender a sense of overlap and tension that will foster, within Long Beach's dynamic art scene, an ecology rich in influence and exchange.

PUMP’s venues range from the more traditional and clean display spaces of the Collaborative and Pacific Court to the living environments of studios, stage, and workshops/laboratories (Artist Co-Op Gallery and Studios, East Village Art Park, 3rd & Elm studios and galleries, and Work Evolutions Labs). The relationship between work, context, sense, and perception among these will be familiar to visitors.

However, between two other venues, specifically the IceHouse and the Packard Building on Anaheim Street, there are tensions that expand conventions of exhibition.

The correspondences between the contexts of IceHouse and the Packard address sense and perception in ways similar to the coaction of dissection and taxidermy. Dissection is tactile, olfactory, visual, and auditory. It engages in active process. Taxidermy embraces the outcome of the static visual. Restored and repurposed, the snazzy Packard Building approximates the nattiness of the white cube in which artwork sparkles like the cars that once occupied it.

In contrast, the architectural guts of the IceHouse are a ruck of sights, scents, sounds, and textures that play especially to the notion of a visual culture that extend towards the synaesthetic. Site, object, and sensory modalities generate harmonious or conflicting responses that correspond to synaesthetic experience. For synaesthetes, a beautiful color may evoke distressing sound or sensation while a toothache can look and sound beautiful. Such counter intuitive responses are, at points, demonstrated within the IceHouse, through site counter-specificity. Objects created with the white cube of gallery or museum space in mind are placed amidst dilapidation. As a result, rather than the space enhancing or aestheticizing the object, the object enhances or aestheticizes the space. Context assumes precedence of pleasure according to individual sensibility as each observer owns their own experience.

Mission: PUMP functions as a conduit of multi-sensory experiences that communities have the opportunity to encounter.

The Case

Long Beach has one of California’s largest inventories of artists. This is, in part, because artists can live cheaper in Long Beach and because Cal State Long Beach houses the largest arts program west of the Mississippi. As a result, the city is economically hospitable to emerging and struggling artists alike. At the same time, our city’s historical link to port, industrial, resort, military, and blue-collar cultures has influenced the local communities’ and government’s sometimes dismissive attitude and stance towards arts and culture, resulting in waves of arts scenes coming and going throughout Long Beach history. Other than a handful of mainstream arts venues and institutions, Long Beach’s cultural infrastructure offers nothing more than a gritty seaside backdrop in which presentations and exhibitions are self-started, underground or upstream in nature and tone. One can characterize Long Beach more as a city of friendly artists than as an artist-friendly city.

With an expansive artist inventory comes a diversity of practices, approaches, as well as skill sets. Good and bad art abound in Long Beach. It is a city in which one encounters work that can be raw and crude or work that is skillful and refined.

All too frequently, those artists who are able to make the transition from bohemia to the “Art World,” no longer, literally or figuratively, count Long Beach as home with some pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere and others residing but no longer exhibiting here. As a result, akin to its port and oil past, our city has served as a way station and conduit, moving some of its best art and artists to more exclusive, prestigious, and lucrative markets.

Enter PUMP. This event recognizes our city’s identity as a point of artistic origin while, at the same time, attempting to explore the possibilities of making Long Beach an end point and destination for artists and art lovers. That which is local in all its aspects and without aesthetic prejudice will be part of this biennial survey. Fame and anonymity is celebrated equally. It is up to the visitor to exercise taste and discernment.

Produced by FLOOD in partnership with:

Arts Council for Long BeachMillworksPort of Long BeachIce House Arts Complex Long BeachLong Beach Community FoundationWork Evolution Laboratories