At the Plum Grove

At the Plum Grove

December 9, 2015

Civic Studio presented AT THE PLUM GROVE, an exhibition at 336 Straight St, on Friday, December 11, 2015. The exhibit emerged from multiple studio inquiries and took form around the studio's plum orchard research. Included were projects Cover the Land and Westown Scenarios. The project concluded with a Public Dialog about the Scenarios and Studio.

The plum grove is where we want to be.

Addressing multiple layers of historical context, AT THE PLUM GROVE, takes the history of a nearby Indigenous plum grove and mythologizes it into an idealized picture of what society could be, placing it in the context of the Westside. Concerns about looming gentrification, policy, and generational trauma press in on the Westside neighbors. Struck by both the geographical proximity of these two visions and the ideological conflict, AT THE PLUM GROVE highlights the tension, questioning who has a right to thrive in the Westside of Grand Rapids.

The plum grove calls to us, enticing us to partake. Inspired by the romantic notion presented by the grove, the exhibition aims to present concrete examples of a new public imaginary, staying tied to the here and now, confronted with the issues of Westside residents.

A closing discussion took place on Wednesday, December 16th from 4-5:50, reviewing the events that have taken place and critically examining the studio's presence. The discussion addressed the exhibition's responses to the question "Who thrives in Westown?"

Petting Metal - Video 5:01
Scrapslash Grove - Video 6:02

Curatorial Statement
Curatorial Statement

Scrapslashgrove, projected video

Cover the Land, installation

Westown Scenarios: Four Scenario Display

Pet Metal, projected video

Pet Metal is a series of skewed video clips documenting the process of familiarizing oneself with foreign objects through play. As the hand becomes acquainted with the formless metal fragments, the objects begin to adopt a sense of character, unique to this relationship. Pet Metal explores the objects through touch, sound, optics, time, and space. 

Time Lapse

The sun’s movement through the building has been an important part of experiencing this space since we first entered into it. With the stagnancy of the building or rooms being empty and unused, the monotony of the passing of the sun across walls becomes the most interesting, communicative, and evident element of time passing in the space. Time, here, passes in small and slowly reptitious increments. The sun remains the only daily routine in the space, with the use of the building changing or becoming empty, and movements of bodies and objects always changing. This drawing acts as a document of the sun’s daily and monotonous late afternoon routine

Bubbles Go Pop

Bubbles Go Pop is an installation engaging the industrial quality of the history of the building. Three found objects are removed from their context and are recontextualized. The tanks’ ominous shape is subverted by the bubblegum-pink color. This asks questions about the nature of industrial labor, while confronting preconceived notions of industrial objects. 


A collection of words describing the mundane, confusing, and at time poignant objects that were present in the space when we arrived.


Broom, projected video

In this collaborative video piece, we are exploring sound in the factory space. This is sound that is often heard in a factory/working environment, but never payed attention to. By projecting the broom and its sounds in a natural environment, we perceive the act of sweeping differently. This change in perception allows us to be conscious and aware of where we are, what we are doing and our relationship to space and time. We are exploring how the broom interacts with the floor, and how the bristles move the debris. The broom is a found object from the factory, and it has probably swept this very floor hundreds of times before. 

Other projects from Straight St. at Wealthy Studio

Project Archive includes an index of projects and exhibitions on this site.