On the Origins of "BUNKER"
image + text : Ceci Ebitz
What do we think of when we hear the word "bunker"? Underground shelter from the impending apocalypse? A defensive military compartment? A hole in the ground?
Our "bunker" is an experimental art space.
The "bunker" was a pet-name for the underground 3-room studio space Jessie Rommelt, Anna Brewer and Abbigael Beddall shared from 2011-2012. The close quarters of this subterranean apartment (too small to host an actual live-in resident) encouraged a communal workshop vibe. Cramped together, we worked on our individual projects--sewing, filming, painting, drawing, exchanging ideas and critiques, and helping one another out as needed. In addition to a purple mummy with glowing teeth, the original BUNKER space produced a strong desire to continue the collaborative energy.
In December 2012 we found the current site, 5106 Penn Avenue. Abstractly, we had envisioned an experimental gallery for multi-disciplinary artists, but the layout and size of the space allowed us to think bigger. Soon the residency concept emerged. Through the first few months of planning we focused more on the structure and less on the branding. Over time the name, BUNKER, stuck.
Though the word may not inspire feelings of community and creativity for some folks I have come to reinterpret “bunker” as a fitting moniker for our project. A bunker is an intentional space-- specifically designed to function efficiently for its user. Fittingly, our BUNKER will be an intentional space for artists-- designed to meet the live/ work needs of its residents.
Thinking back to it's more dramatic undertones, Abbigael recently proposed that our BUNKER could, indeed, be a place to prepare for the impending apocalypse. Our apocalypse is not an Earth’s-over deal though-- we imagine it as more of an artistic rebirth. A revolutionary move away from traditional art-making and the sterile gallery scene. In our BUNKER artists will create in a space separate from the expectations and limitations of the outside world.
Also we are growing our own food-- it is a bit survivalist really.
Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXcA99xGHwQ for the instructional video that we watched before making Bunker's garden. The maker of the video let time prep his bales by leaving them to rot through the winter. This is not necessary though–if you keep the bales soaked for about twelve consecutive days then the straw should be ready for planting. At BUNKER we lucked out with a particularly rainy couple of weeks, which we supplemented with the collected runoff in our rain barrel.
image: Ben Filio
BLOOM BLOOM made by Dana Lynn Harper was the showpiece installation at BUNKER Projects Presents Benefit Exhibition in April 2013. Below is an interview with the artist, Dana [Interviewer: Jessie Rommelt].