The Urban Unseen: Examining San Francisco's Interstitial Spaces

February 21 - April 25, 2010

Conceptualized and curated by USF architecture professor Tanu Sankalia, The Urban Unseen features works by Catherine Chang (architect), Elaine Buckholtz (light artist), Pedro Lange Churión (filmmaker), Paul Madonna (artist) and Moshe Quinn (photographer) to examine the recurring, yet often overlooked, "slots" found between the Victorian homes located in the North of the Panhandle neighborhood.

As the smallest discernible spatial units of the city, the repetition of these spaces produces a pattern that is equally as intrinsic and unique to San Francisco’s urban form as the Victorians themselves. The pieces in The Urban Unseen work to shift our gaze from the obvious architectural objects to these interstitial spaces in order to foreground the geometry of absence, negative space and shadow, thus providing a new perspective on the celebrated architecture of Western Addition and the shape it gives the city.

"All Over Coffee" artist Paul Madonna, who has been representing San Francisco’s architecture for years, has produced meticulous drawings that go beyond the façades of local Victorians to uncover the hidden spaces that constitute the urban identity of the city. Moshe Quinn’s black and white photographs reveal the elegant profile of slots against the sky, while Elaine Buckholtz’s site-specific evening light installations invert our perception of the Victorian block by revealing forms that are unnoticed by day. Architect Catherine Chang casts slots to create positive forms from negative spaces and make tangible that which is not there. Filmmaker Pedro Lange Churión sees the slot as a pause that the street makes between two façades—a zone of silence that is always present in the frenetic urban existence. Finally, Tanu Sankalia has produced drawings and models to demonstrate the ways in which interstitial spaces map specific San Francisco blocks.


Thursday, February 25
2 p.m. Artist Panel, Donohue Rare Book Room, 3rd Floor, Gleeson Library | Geschke Center
3-5 p.m. Reception, Thacher Gallery

February 25 and 26
5:30-8 p.m. Site-specific lighting installation by Elaine Buckholtz, 1900-block of Golden Gate at Baker

Installation/Event Images