Contested (1BR) Space

Nov. 16, 2014, 11am – 7pm
ATA Window Gallery Artist Television Access
San Francisco

 In Contested (1BR) Space, Dan and Cheryl TM pull an 8-hour shift living in the window of the venerable film and video institution, ATA. Dan and Cheryl endure squeezing themselves into the terrarium-like storefront window space, venturing to live as many San Franciscans do in a space that is too small for humans to occupy. Living here for one work day, they try to manage their own experience of the precariousness of the rental market for tenants, be they individuals, small businesses, or arts spaces like ATA, made even more precarious by the recent loss at the polls of Prop G, the anti-speculation tax on the flipping of large apartment buildings. Dan and Cheryl attempt to inhabit the current abject trend and pressure towards micro living. Part of ATA’s Window Performance series “Almost Public/Semi-Exposed.”

Dan and Cheryl in Magic Car Pit

Dan and Cheryl performed in 100 Performances for The Hole, January 4, 2014, SOMARTS.
Magic Car Pit is a site specific performance piece developed by collaborators Dan Spencer and Cheryl Meeker for the event, levitating a carpet and reacting to the magic.

"Profound Ambivalence" by Dan and Cheryl for 100 Performances in the Hole

"Profound Ambivalence" by Dan and Cheryl
Third Strike: 100 Performances for the Hole

SOMARTS, San Francisco

Dec. 10, 2011

Text for "Profound Ambivalence"

Frame Capitalism and the Conference of Polluters

(Original edit was posted on Monday, December 5, 2011 at This edit produced for a 2 minute piece by Dan and Cheryl at 100 Performances in the Hole, Dec 10, 2010.) Text by Cheryl Meeker

We in the west think that Darfur was torn apart due to ethnic conflict, while according to David Morse it was a resource war. He writes:

“The most sophisticated technologies deployed are, on the one hand, the helicopters used by the Sudanese government to support the militias when they attack black African villages, and on the other hand, quite a different weapon: the seismographs used by foreign oil companies to map oil deposits.

Why are the dots never connected between wars like those in Darfur and exploitation by the oil industry? Morse points to the subsidies provided to media by the car industry… the slickest, most fantasy-driven ads: the car ads.

The ideology that dominates our media is so strong that alternative narratives are taken with a minimum of seriousness, as Slavoj Zizek points out, without the necessity of the kind of prohibition of films dealing with time travel and alternate history as happened in China in April. But — try to imagine another system here in the US? “It is easy for us to imagine the end of the world (says Zizek)– see numerous apocalyptic films, but not end of capitalism.”

At the failing Durban climate talks, civil society activists erupted in protest yesterday, blocking the plenary halls, chanting “Climate Justice Now!” “Don’t Kill Africa!” “World Bank out of Climate Finance,” “No Carbon Trading,” and “No REDD!”

Anne Petermann, director of Global Justice Ecology Project, ejected from the meeting, said: “I took this action today because I believe this process is corrupt, this process is bankrupt, and this process is controlled by the One Percent”

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace Director, also ejected, wrote to negotiators, “Twenty years after our victory against apartheid here in S Africa, with great urgency we call for a similar breakthrough” -- “You may not have felt it inside the rarefied air-conditioned corridors of the conference centre, but a restless anger stalks this land – driven by a new apartheid that has trapped half of humanity in a deadly embrace of poverty, inequality and hunger”

“Our institutions – local, national and global – are rapidly losing legitimacy,” Naidoo wrote. “Someday soon – the victims of rising temperatures will find their voice. Your job is to meet their hopes before you meet their anger.”

Meanwhile – here in the US, it is business as usual. In fact, Fox Business blames the new Muppet movie and its predecessors for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Dan and Cheryl are a product of Dan Spencer and Cheryl Meeker

DAN AND CHERYL -Market Fatigue Action

Market Fatigue
Tired because they have run to the end of their credit limits and exhausted by looking for jobs, Dan and Cheryl stay in bed and protest the proposed sit-lie law. Part of the event series CAPITALISM IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT

Market Fatigue
Dan and Cheryl
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA

Photo credits: Ishan Clemenco and Carter
Roadie & technical assistance: Carter

Dan and Cheryl /Market Fatigue

Drove the futon from the Mission with the sheets
Trying to find some money to keep
Security guard said
Say what're you doing in bed
We said we're only trying to get us some sleep

Market Fatigue was enacted on August 4, 2010, a date just past the 9th anniversary of the Afghanistan war, making it the longest war in US history and longer than the Vietnam war. Some 40 years after Lennon and Ono performed their Bed-In during the Vietnam war to promote world peace, Dan and Cheryl reinterpret the piece for San Francisco 2010.

What does it mean to see two people in bed in public in San Francisco? It means they are cold and homeless. Dan and Cheryl called their piece Market Fatigue because they are just as exhausted as the consumer market. Exhaustion, the depletion of the safety net for Americans, the erosion of real wages for the working class, the increasing income disparity between rich and poor—all of these combine to make a bed-in in 2010 entirely different in effect than one in 1969.

Richard Wolf’s analysis, “Capitalism Hits the Fan” indicates that the consumer economy cannot revive under the current circumstances because home equity lines, having fueled the entire recent consumer economic expansion, are at their limit. The banks and corporations who have profited handsomely at the expense of the worker have finally been caught out—the toxic assets they sold to the world markets almost brought the economy of the world to its knees. Meanwhile, the extreme profits that the corporations made were not passed on to the worker in the form of wages and were also not reinvested in American businesses, or in maintaining infrastructure or education through the tax system, and were not funding improvements in availability of day care, universal health care, or environmental remediation.

Read about the sit-lie proposition that narrowly passed in November 2010 and its history as an anti-hippie, then anti-gay law, now brought back from the dead as an anti-poor and anti-immigrant law in the beautiful graphic novel by Shawn Gaynor and Andrew Goldfarb, “Sit, lie, get deported?” in SF Public Press. See an article about funding from the rich for sit/lie from the Bay Citizen here. For more on Sit/Lie see Sidewalks are for People

Dan Spencer is a visual artist based in San Francisco, whose work includes painting, performance, and collaborations.

Cheryl Meeker is a visual artist and writer based in San Francisco who uses various visual means to explore sustenance in a market dominated economy.

An essay on the Sit/Lie law passed in San Francisco in November 2010 written by Cheryl Meeker touches on aspects of the ordinance that is relevant to Market Fatigue.

See prior work by Dan and Cheryl

Comic strip image by Shawn Gaynor and Andrew Goldfarb. See the rest of the the graphic novel “Sit, lie, get deported?” in SF Public Press.

Dan and Cheryl / Gallery of bumper stickers for CAPITALISM IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT

Inspired by the web header made by Andy Cox that incorporated the circular logo designed by Cat Ferrez for Capitalism Is Over! If You Want It, Dan and Cheryl repurposed them into a bumper sticker. The poignancy of an un-PC format like a bumper sticker in a fossil fool’s world suggested to the idealistic art team the romance and implausibility of the task of curating an on-line gallery of bumper stickers appropriate to the Summer of Tough Love. The results can be found here.

Dan and Cheryl - performance videos

The art team Dan and Cheryl™ have been working together since 2004. They have done collaborative works under Stretcher’s exhibitions in Bay Area Now 4 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and in The Way We Work at Southern Exposure. The following videos are excerpts from the 3 events they did for these exhibitions. Dan and Cheryl developed performative interviews as their working method, fusing the tensions of lived interaction with the artificiality of the studio set-up.

Dan Spencer is a visual artist based in San Francisco, whose work includes painting, performance, and collaborations.

Cheryl Meeker is a visual artist and writer based in San Francisco who uses various visual means to explore sustenance in a market dominated economy.

The Arcades Project and Empire - Dan and Cheryl present Antonia Juhasz and Miriam Sas

Dan and Cheryl at Home in the Green Room - Conflating studio, home, and talk show, Dan Spencer and Cheryl Meeker moderate a discussion about the context in which Bay Area Now 4 is set. The significance of Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project and the global reach and aesthetic influence of commodity and empire will be touchstones for discussion.

Special Guests:

Antonia Juhasz is Antonia Juhasz is Director of the Chevron Program at Global Exchange, and is a policy-analyst, author, activist, and author of The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time, Regan Books, 2005.

Miryam Sas, Ph.D Yale University is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Film Studies at UC Berkeley, and author of Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism, Stanford University Press, 1999.

This event took place Thursday, September 1, 2005 as part of Green Room Now, Stretcher's event series. Green Room Nowwas Stretcher's contribution to the exhibitionBay Area Now 4, at Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Bay Area Not Now

Bay Area Not Now from Stretcher on Vimeo.

Artist team Dan and Cheryl hosted a talk show formatted evening in which guest artists addressed the title topic Bay Area Not Now through their work. Seeking a critical distance from the pervasive here and now, looking beyond the local, and acting outside or in contrast to the context was the working concept for the evening's program.

Special Guests: Karla Milosevich, a San Francisco based video artist. Wayne Smith, a San Francisco-based visual and sound artist. Musical guest: Torsten Kretchzmar, a German electro-pop performer.

This event took place Thursday, August 18, 2005 as part of Green Room Now, Stretcher's project for Bay Area Now 4, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' fourth triennial survey of Bay Area artistic activity which was held July 17 - November 6, 2005.

At Home in the Green Studio - The Way We Work

At Home in the Green Studio from Stretcher on Vimeo.

Dan and Cheryl make themselves at home on the Stretcher studio set, exploring implications suggested by the set itself.

Special guests: artist Cliff Hengst, musical duo Larry Gallagher and Joe Seehee, artist collaborative team Fletcher+Reichert

This event took place Saturday, October 9, 2004 as part of Green Room, Stretcher's project for Southern Exposure's 30th anniversary exhibition, The Way We Work, which was held September 10 – October 23, 2004.