Friction Fiction


Location: Gallery One

A collaboration between The Soap Factory and Obsidian Arts, Fiction Friction is a survey of contemporary black artists, curated by Roderic Southall, all using the medium of animation to address and contextualize their relationship with the urban landscape.

The Black experience of the urban is an ideal subject for the medium of animation. With each frame adjusted and altered by the hand of the animator, the ability to distort and interpolate the surreal into the actual mirrors the experience of the other as they move through the city. The distancing and alienation of the city are leavened by a playful sense of the absurd, and of the intimate and gentle moments of human interaction that make that life bearable; moments that are themselves mirrored by the recognisable human gestures of hand-made animation.

In this survey of works, selected from a global collection of artists, a central theme is the range and variety of urban commentary and creativity within the medium of animation. Artist by artist, each film demonstrates many different approaches to the process of crafting animation; hand-drawn, collage, oil-paint-on-glass, computer generated imagery. From Tim Potluck’s elegant CGI homage to the romance and regenerative spirit of urban decay to Martine Chartrand’s richly textured re-telling of a folk song to Nina Barrett’s sober and clear insertion of social impact onto the stark urban landscape, drawn in stop motion directly onto the window panes that show her view of Johannesburg. The Friction Fiction exhibition will also feature the US Premier of Terrance Nance’s ‘An Over Simplification of Her Beauty’, a hand-made animated love poem and urban romance.

Each of these artists lands us somewhere between awake and dreaming as they take us on frame-by-frame journey through the urban landscape they created.

Featuring the work of; Tim Portlock (PA), Ron Brown (NYC), Caress Reeves (CA), Terrance X Nance (NYC), Kevin Wideman (IL), Africanus Okokon (RI), Ng’endo Mukii (Kenya), Martine Chartrand (CA), Nina Barnett (IL)

Curated by: Roderic Southall (MN) and Ernest Bryant III (MN)

A solo exhibition featuring new works of sculpture, video and large-scale prints by Alexa Horochowski

The exhibition Club Disminución (“Club of Diminishing Returns”) was instigated by Alexa Horochowski’s artist residency at Casa Poli in Coliumo, Chile, 2012/2013.

Designed by architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofía Ellrichshausen, Casa Poli, a minimalist, concrete cube, functions as a cultural art center/artist studio. Built on a jagged cliff overlooking the Pacific, 30 miles from Chile’s second largest city, Concepción, Casa Poli appears perched at the end of the world. It offers views of the ocean from three of the cardinal points (South, West, and North), and directly below Casa Poli, the surf pounds into a narrow cave. The separation between landscape and architecture is indistinct.

In her pursuit of the physicality of form, Alexa Horochowski uses a wide range of elemental media to render sculptures that defy their native qualities. Hard becomes soft, soft becomes hard, gestures are frozen. Natural objects, flotsam, and ‘naturalized’ garbage, combined with studio-generated objects, suggest a post-human natural history of the future.

Sculpture, video, and large-scale digital prints work together to depict the struggle between the human drive to create lasting symbols of culture, and Nature’s indifferent, persistent erasure of these symbols. The landscape is distilled into distinctive objects that are charged with elements of the alien or unknown.

Horochowski molds cochayuyo (Durivillaea antartica, kelp that grows on the shores of Chile below Casa Poli) into cuboidal forms that merge the mechanical with the organic/living. Sponges are translated into bronze so that they resemble pumice, and natural materials take on the qualities of man-made objects. The work explores entropy and the passing of time by imitating the natural processes of accretion and aggregation found in caves or the persistent impression left by fauna and water on architecture and the landscape. A fossil of a credit card heralds a post-consumer future, beyond the Era of the Anthropocene.

In The Soap Factory’s 25th season, we are delighted to work with Alexa Horochowski on this major exhibition of new work of sculpture, photography and video.

Since 2009 The Soap Factory has selected regional practitioners to produce single artist projects in our space; an opportunity for artists to show their work in depth in our unique galleries. To show Alexa’s work is particularly appropriate: she has exhibited with The Soap Factory at key points in her career, and was one of the first artists to exhibit in our building, in 1997.


About the artist

Raised in the Patagonia of Argentina, Alexa Horochowski immigrated with her family to the United States at the age of nine. Horochowski received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri. In 1996 she completed an MFA degree at the University of Michigan. Her work has been exhibited at Praxis, New York/Miami; Braga Menéndez Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires; The Drawing Center, NYC; and Monique Meloche, Chicago. In Minnesota, she has worked on multiple solo exhibitions and projects including, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Soap Factory, and Franconia Sculpture Park. Horochowski has also participated in the following artist residencies, El Basilisco, Argentina; CasaPoli, Chile, The Bemis Art Center, United States, and Can Serrat, Spain. She is Professor of Sculpture at St Cloud State University.

Listen to Alexa Horochowski’s podcast here!

The Soap Factory presents Americana, a group exhibition featuring the work of 9 emerging artists from across North America. Selected from The Soap Factory’s annual open call for submissions by curator and Executive Director Ben Heywood, Americana features drawing, sculpture, video and installation work.

Participating artists: Shana Berger & Nathan Purath, Patrick Gantert, Leif Huron, Steven Lang, Ellen Mueller, Mark Pease, Kenneth Steinbach, Tetsuya Yamada

All the work proposed for this show approaches ways of understanding ‘America’ and the ‘American Experience’ – perhaps even my own personal experience as an immigrant – through work that directly examines the political aspects of various forms of American society, work that mirrors the transformation of culture through the lens of ‘America’, or more open poetic re-orgnisations of ‘American’ tropes. The Soap Factory itself, a 130 year old relic of the conquest, subjugation and industrialization of a continent, is an artifact of the nostalgia, evoked by ‘Americana’, so it is entirely appropriate that its decayed architecture be a setting, a container, for such ideas.

The Soap Factory is a spectacular space; in that its setting enhances the viewers experience, sometimes, if we are not careful, at the expense of the art itself. We have three pre-existing large-scale video pieces, as well as photographic project, working with three new installations, and one project that is being re-presented in an expanded form for this show. This exhibition is intended to encompass both the spectacular and the mundane (often contained within the sample aesthetic package), giving balance to both, and demonstrating the breath of artistic enquiry that we receive as submissions each year.

– Ben Heywood, curator and Executive Director

Want to know more about the Americana artists? Check out our new podcasts!
Steven Lang

Kenneth Steinbach

Tetsuya Yamada

Nathan Purath and Shana Berger

Mark Pease

Leif Huron

Patrick Gantert

Ellen Mueller

New York artist Benjamin Entner creates a larger-than-life, inflatable, drawing project which parodies art historical precedents for the Northern Spark Festival in downtown Minneapolis.

Learn more about Benjamin Entner’s past projects and see his Northern Spark installation Ego Sum along the river at the Guthrie Theater from dusk till dawn on June 14th.

About Northern Spark
On the second Saturday in June each summer, tens of thousands of people gather along the Minneapolis riverfront and throughout the city to explore giant video projections, play in temporary installations in the streets, and enjoy experimental performances in green spaces and under bridges. From dusk to dawn the city surprises you: friendly crowds, glowing groups of cyclists, an unexpected path through the urban landscape, the magic of sunrise after a night of amazing art and experiences. Northern Spark is the one-night arts event people talk about for the rest of the year. For more information, visit

About Northern
Northern Spark is presented by Northern, a non-profit arts organization whose mission is to transform our sense of what’s possible in public space. Northern Spark is one night, but Northern shines throughout the year with projects such as Creative City Challenge for the Minneapolis Convention Center, The Giant Sing-A-Long at the Minnesota State Fair, and permanent, interactive public art for Saint Paul’s Union Depot.

The Soap Factory presents We Are Water a month-long curatorial collaboration between Wang Ping’s Kinship of Rivers and The Soap Factory; artists from Twin Cities and New Orleans, music, performance, interactive creativity, poetry, food and celebration. Lead Artist and Curator: Wang Ping

Learn more about Wang Ping’s Kinship of Rivers project

We Are Water: Kinship of Rivers is a month-long curatorial collaboration between Wang Ping and The Soap Factory; Artists from the Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers come together to present sculptural installations, films, music, poetry, art, performance, food and interactive creativity to celebrate rivers and cultures from the two continents. 2000 river flags, made by people from both rivers, will be on display.

At the gallery, visitors and families can participate in a wide variety of activities. Make a beautiful river flag, participate in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, learn to make paper cranes, and add your stories and poetry to life on a real canoe. A large Sand Mandala will be created by Tibetan monks over the course of the We Are Water exhibition. Visitors can watch and meditate as the mandala is carefully drawn out of colorful sand.


Performance and Activity Schedule
All performances and daily gallery admission is free

Daily activities and art installations: May 10 – June 7
Gallery hours: Weds, Thurs, Fri: 1-7pm and Sun 12-5pm

· River flags installation: Wang Ping
· All the Rivers to the Sea—installation & Mandala: Wang Ping, Lama Yeshi Choedup and monks, Kevin Conroy
· We Are Water–Video Installations: Wang Ping, Robb Harris, Robert Fagerhaugh, Jesse Katzman
· Dreaming Along the Yangtze and Mississippi–interactive arts on fabric rivers: Wang Ping
· Paper-mache canoe—interactive arts: Wang Ping, Kevin Conroy
· Origami cranes—interactive art: Wang Ping, Kevin Conroy
· River flags—interactive art: Lisa Steinmann, Scott Gannis, Wang Ping and others
· Prints and photos by river artists: Clara Feder, Vance Gellert, Ruthann Godollei, Oliver St. John, Adam Stoltman, Wang Ping
· Blown Derivatives: Sean Smuda
· From Here to There: Alonzo Davis
· Interactive web kiosk: Macalester Library

Events and Performances

Saturday May 10th
7pm Sand Mandala: Lama Yeshi Choedup and monks, violin by Nick Whitredge
7pm Tea Ceremony: Peiju Liu Picard/Formosa High Mountain Tea
7pm Wind Chime Music: Carleton Macy
7.30pm A cappella: Jayanthi R. Kyle
8pm Oriental Music Club Minnesota: Xinyi Liu, Yang Yang, Bingyu Kuang, Zeeman Choo
8.30pm Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue, Aztec Dance: Susana De Leon and dancers
9pm Drum healing ceremony: Annette Wells and audience **Bring your drums and join in the healing ceremony! We also encourage you to bring cushions or mats to sit on. A limited number of chairs will also be available**

Sunday May 18th
12pm Dumpling making: Wang Ping
12pm Tea Ceremony: Peiju Liu Picard/Formosa High Mountain Tea
1pm Mount Emei Flower Sword & Chen Style Taichi: Wang Yijie and Wang Ping
2pm Muzi Chinese Chorus conducted by Li Lei and singers
3pm Singing and poetry reading: Bryce Milligan

4pm Minnesota Chinese Music Ensemble: Ying Zhang, Peiju Picard, Carleton Macy

Friday May 23rd
7pm The River Within Us; sonnet crown: Wang Ping. Music by Alex Wand with Nick Whittredge (violin), Ariel Lerner (Indian hand drum) and Oliver St. John (percussion)
8pm We Carry the Water; dance performance: Folded Paper Dance and Theatre Company (Artistic Director: Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren), Performers: Diana Garcia-Snyder, Belle Wolf, Jessica Landry

Sunday, May 25th
2pm Water Theatres; performance: Folded Paper Dance and Theatre Company (Artistic Director: Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren), Performers: Deborah Jacoby, Diana Garcia-Snyder, Belle Wolf, Jessica Landry

Sunday, June 1st
2pm We Are Water; poetry reading: Liuyu Chen, Allison Hedge Coke, Daniel Soto, Scott Gannis, Chris Staudinger, Abbie Shaine, Geoff Munsterman, Nick Whittredge, music by Nick Whittredge

Friday, June 6th
8pm Ten Thousand Waves; orchestra/dance performance: Twin Cities instrumentalists, singers and dancers; lyrics by Wang Ping, Music by Bruce Bolon, choreography by Yung-Tsi Bolon

Saturday June 7th
7pm Sand Mandala completion and blessing ceremony: Led by Lama Yeshi Choedup, music by Nick Whittredge
8pm Tea ceremony: Peiju Liu Picard/Formosa High Mountain Tea
Gala music, dance and art sale
8pm William Within: lead singer Alex Simpson
9pm Brazilian music: Mira & Tom Kehoe with Xibaba
All evening – Sale of the photos, prints, canoe: proceeds to support Kinship of Rivers

About We Are Water: The Kinship of Rivers
We Are Water is a month-long curatorial collaboration between Kinship of Rivers – a project of poet and artist Wang Ping – and The Soap Factory. Kinship of Rivers is a five-year, interdisciplinary project launched to build connection among communities along the Mississippi and Yangtze rivers, and to bring awareness of the river’s ecosystem through art, literature, music, food, and river installations. At The Soap Factory this will involve artists from the Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers, with music, performance, interactive creativity, poetry, food and celebration, connecting the great rivers of the United States with the great river of China.

Making river flags — inspired by Tibetan prayer flags— has been a key element of the Kinship of Rivers mission. Wang Ping has led artists to visit hundreds of schools and river communities to share poetry, make river flags and install them along the rivers. Artists travel by canoes, boats, trains, cars, bikes, motorcycles, and on foot, up and down the Mississippi, St. Croix, Minnesota, Missouri and the Yangtze rivers hosting vibrant community gatherings, performances: and resulting in the creation of over 2000 river flags. These flags have travelled thousands of river miles: the entire Mississippi between Itasca and the Gulf of Mexico, the entire St. Croix and Minnesota rivers, part of the Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas rivers, the Atchafalaya Basin, and rivers from California, San Antonio, Vancouver, Shanghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, and Mount Everest. As they flutter along the riverbanks, confluences, islands and burial mounds, they release people’s wishes through the wind, soaking up energy from each place, each river, each tree, and each hand that made them. Just as rivers gather all kinds of water through streams, creeks, raindrops, and springs, Kinship of Rivers has brought immigrant, native, resident, learning and professional communities together. Blessed by the people, land and rivers, our river flags have become ambassadors of peace, joy and harmony. Wherever we go and whenever we set up the flags, people would come to share stories and joy. Under the river flags, every participant becomes a poet, artist, and river’s friend.

In 2013, Wang Ping led a group of artists and 2000 flags to the Yangtze. As they traveled with music, poetry and river flags from the Yangtze’s mouth in Shanghai to its source in Tibet, they made many friends and connected communities along the river. Through much hardship and determination, they finally reached Mount Everest on the north side; from the roof of the world, wishes for peace, harmony and clean water spread to the whole world.

Your river flags will travel to India in summer 2014, to bless and be blessed by the rivers there, then on by foot to Mount Everest in 2015 where they will be released into the wind, into the world. We Are Water is a whole month of celebrating the kinship of rivers with artists from all over the world. We hope you’ll join us in this celebration with your hands and hearts.

We are water. It runs through us like a river, like blood. It is our blood, our mother.

We Are Water: Kinship of Rivers
Wang Ping: Lead artist, curator, Kinship of Rivers director and producer
About Wang Ping:
Wang Ping is a poet, writer, photographer, multi-media artist, and professor of English at Macalester College. She has authored 11 books of poetry, stories, novel, cultural studies, translation, and received NEA, Bush, McKnight and Lannan Fellowships, MN Book Award, Eugene Kayden Book Award, AAS Book Award, and Immigrant of Distinction Award.

Participating Artists
Bruce Bolon, Yung-Tsi Bolon: Ten Thousand Waves Orchestra & Ensemble; Liuyu Chen; Yeshi Choedup and other monks; Zeeman Choo; Allison Hedge Coke; Kevin Conroy; Alonzo Davis; Annette Wells; Robert Fagerhaugh; Clara Feder; Vance Gellert; Scott Gannis; Ruthann Godollei; Robb Harris; Alex Howard; Jesse Katzman; Mira & Tom Kehoe with Xibaba; Bingyu Kuang, Jayanthi R. Kyle; Li Lei and Muzi Chorus; Susana De Leon; Ariel Lerner; Folded Paper Dance and Theatre, Artistic Director Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren; Xinyi Liu: Macalester Library; Carleton Macy; Bryce Milligan; Geoff Munsterman; Peiju Liu Picard/Formosa High Mountain Tea; Alex Simpson; Sean Smuda; Chris Staudinger; Daniel Soto; Oliver St. John; Lucy and Lisa Steinmann; Adam Stoltman; Alex Wand; Yijie Wang; Nick Whittredge; Yang Yang; Chunyu Yi; Ying Zhang

Participating Institutions:
Associated Colleges of the Midwest: Reimagine America; Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities: Writing Program; All My Relations Art Gallery, Minneapolis; Anishinabe Academy, Minneapolis; Big Muddy Canoe, St. Louis; Bruce Vento Park, St. Paul; Choctaw Island, Confluence of the Aransas and Mississippi Rivers; Dowling Elementary School, Minneapolis; Emily Carr University, Vancouver; Firecracker Print Shop, St. Louis; Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery; Hamline University; Harriet Island Eco-Arts, St. Paul; Horace Mann Elementary, St. Paul; Goldmine Salon, New Orleans; Great River Museum, Alton, IL; Great River Road Park, Prescott, WI; Iowa State University, Ames; Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska City; L’Etoile Du Nord French Immersion, St. Paul; Lock & Dam No. 1 & 26, Army Corps of Engineers; Macalester English Department; Macalester Music Department; Macalester Art Department; Macalester Library; Macalester Human Resources; Minhua Chinese School, St. Paul; TPT: Minnesota Original; Minnesota Chinese Music Ensemble; Mount Everest, North Face; Naropa Summer Writing Workshop, Boulder; National Park Service, WI & MN; Northern Spark: Megalopolis Mississippi; Open Eye Theatre, Minneapolis; Oriental Music Club, Minnesota; Pace Foundation & San Antonio River Association, San Antonio; Qinghai International Poetry Festival, Qinghai; Ramsey Junior High, St. Paul; Quapaw Canoe, Mississippi; The Soap Factory; Springboard for the Arts; St. Croix River Association; St. Anthony Elementary School; St. Paul Academy, Upper School; Silverwood State Park, St. Paul; Solstice River Dance, Minneapolis; Three Gorges Dam, Sichuan, China; Three River Source, Tibet; Water-fest at Lake Phalen, St. Paul; White Night Poets’ Café, Chengdu, China; Venice, LA; University of California, Santa Barbara; Will Steger Foundation, Ely; Yinghua Academy Immersion, Minneapolis

Many Thanks to the supporting and sponsoring organizations:
The Soap Factory; Springboard for the Arts; MN State Arts Board (Colored Artists Collaboration, Community Arts grant, management grant); Mississippi Watershed Management; Howard Family Foundation; Gladstone Family Foundation; Dayton Foundation; Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities; Wallace Research grant, Macalester; Pace Foundation; St. Croix River Association; Great River Road State Park; St. Paul Academy; University of Iowa, Ames; National Parks Service, WI & MN