Contested (1BR) Space Dan and Cheryl

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. Find more here.

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.

Occupy the Dream House Press Conference/Action/Art Intervention

CBS News Channel 5 News Television News piece --
Press Coverage of Press Conference / Art Intervention/ Institutional Critique at YBCA $4.2 Million Silicon Valley Dreamhouse in Menlo Park. Jan 12, 2013

Press Conference / Art Intervention/ Institutional Critique  produced by Cheryl Meeker in collaboration with the Dreamhouse Collective, ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), OccupyBernal, Occupy Pete's Harbor, and OccupySF. Video footage includes CBS newscast documentation.

Occupy the Dream House is a social sculpture taking the form of a press conference/action created collaboratively with the Dreamhouse Collective and Foreclosure and Evictions Fighters. This event was held in front of the actual “$4.1 million Silicon Valley Dream House” in Menlo Park the day before the mansion was awarded to the raffle winner chosen in YBCA’s (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts) important annual fundraiser. Featured press conference speakers were Ian Haddow, Ross Rhodes and Jackie Wright of Foreclosure Fighters of ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment) and members of Occupy Bernal and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions campaign.

In a time of unprecedented foreclosures and evictions of our friends and neighbors by banks and financial institutions, this manner of funding our premier community arts venue does not contribute to the well-being of Bay Area residents and creates a lottery mentality that blinds people to the economic nightmare. The foreclosure and fiscal crises are quickly transforming San Francisco and the Bay Area for the benefit of landlords, developers and financial speculators while ignoring the people who actually live here. This press conference/action allowed our hardworking neighbors to tell their own stories of trying to save their homes from billion-dollar corporations and the “Let them eat cake” mentality of the 1 Percent financial institutions.

To emerge from these crises requires a radical revision of mores and values.  We must seek out and build economies steeped in humanism, not the market.  We need institutions capable of seeing homes where there are houses; that build communities instead of condos.

All sectors of civil society, including arts organizations, must become proactive in defending the communities for whom they exist to serve.  In the face of scantly available funding and a future of tightening austerities, these tasks may seem impossible. But in looking towards a world free of corporate and legal injustices, it is all that can be done.

When:             10 a.m., Thursday January 10, 2013          

Where:           "$4.1 million Silicon Valley Dream House"
3 Patricia Place
Menlo Park, CA 94025

The Dreamhouse Collective: Artists Cheryl Meeker, Stardust of Occupy Bernal and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions campaign, and Eric of Occupy.

Endorsed by ACCE Foreclosure and Evictions Fighters, Occupy SF Action Spokes Council and Occupy Bernal

Occupy as Form, Keyword: Horizontal

The following is a "reflection" that was published on the ARC Muses blog, Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Occupy as Form: Cheryl Meeker
The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the working session "Occupy as Form" on February 10, 2012. Participants have been invited to post some brief thoughts on the topic in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Cheryl Meeker, artist, activist, art writer and co-founder of

Keyword: Horizontal

Taking an axis as a keystone, the Occupy groups utilize an organizing form that is diametrically perpendicular to, if not opposed to the vertical hierarchies employed by corporations, institutions, the academy, the church, and the patriarchal nuclear family. As an artist that has worked in a variety of collectives and collaborations, coming up against the embedded habit of top-down hierarchy has always worn me down. What happens to the discontent that remains from not being heard under majority rule? Relief from the stunting affects of vertical hierarchy can be found in groups that operate on the basis of consensus.

The Socratic method and the dialectic owe something to the horizontal, while the wisdom of the massive mycelium growing under forests spreads horizontally, as does the thin atmosphere coating the surface of the planet. These systems embody the connectedness of all life. Horizontal organizing acknowledges the importance of a space for each body and a time for each voice to be heard, as well as an understanding and appreciation of the process itself. Paul Stametz says we need to understand the organisms that sustain life on earth or we will destroy life on earth and ourselves in the process… that we “need a paradigm shift in our consciousness -- what will it take to achieve that?” Perhaps horizontal consensus based organizing can help us understand interconnectedness by subjectively changing us in the process. General assemblies and working groups are open to the public and Occupy can benefit from the contribution of each individual.

I am interested in how the methods of Occupy can be used in the broader social/political/economic field to support the 99% and find the possibility for saving as many species as possible in the coming years. I am also interested to find out if those who feel more comfortable with vertical hierarchies will choose to involve themselves, in order to experience another way first hand.

A week of cognitive dissonance and direct action

image: Food Bank of America

By Cheryl Meeker
Re-posted from Capitalism Is Over! If You Want It, January 24, 2012

What do we do when the government shockingly proves it already has the power to do one day what we were opposing the prior day? It is more than disquieting to see the government brutally illustrating the fact that the U.S. is a society that simply does not any longer believe in due process. Glenn Greenwald reports on the cognitive dissonance produced by the SOPA/PIPA opposition, victory, and subsequent seizure of Megaupload.

And what does it mean when the only “anti-war, pro-due-process, pro-transparency, anti-Fed, anti-Wall-Street-bailout, anti-Drug-War” advocating presidential candidate is Ron Paul? Greenwald, again, makes the case for avoiding mindless partisanship and for allowing space for a real public debate, in part by countering our “inability and/or refusal to recognize that a political discussion might exist independent of the Red v. Blue Cage Match.” Read Greenwald’s nuanced analysis in “Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies”.

The answer from OccupySF has been to get down to business, by focusing on the financial district using direct action planned by a diverse horizontal hierarchy of community and affinity groups. OccupySF refused to limit the scope of specific injustices to highlight with a day long schedule of multi-faceted actions that drew global press as reporters and photographers attempted to cover and capture the variety of challenges to financial institutions and the mainstream narrative that were brought to bear publicly on Friday.

image: The Black Blob

Dialectical-materialist philosopher Slavoj Žižek notes the ironic fact that today the chance to be exploited in a long-term job is now experienced as a privilege. Read his analysis of the Occupy movement and of the signs we are all seeing that the capitalist system is no longer capable of self-regulated stability; as he says, it is a system that is threatening to run out of control.

"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

SFMOMA OPEN SPACE collaboration with Meg Schiffler and Ishan Clemenco

I Choose for You: Meg Chooses for Cheryl (Part 3)

Text and images by Cheryl Meeker

In a simple way, Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s video installation, Lahja (The Present), might either be viewed as an investigation of internal psychological sources for patterns of behavior that exhibit as phobias, or as a hinting at repressive societal norms which manifest in the development of compensatory phobic behaviors. My interest in fear and its outcomes lies away from the focus on the psychological and on the personal that is reflected here and in the media’s endless obsession with celebrity culture and personality politics. Far from an interest in how the implications of the individual will play out externally in the personality or in society, my fascination turns more on the ways that systems of regulation, deregulation, and of ideology work socially, politically, and economically to create fear in the individual. Perhaps the subtext we have in common is that we can only strengthen our ability to work out solutions to problems that have created fears by not avoiding them. And the possibility of transcending these fearful states through actual problem solving is the present we are able to give each other. We forgive ourselves when we look to the systemic problems as the culprit, and realize that they, far more than the individual, create fear in ourselves and abroad, and that power elites have everything to gain by pointing to the individual as the root of economic and social malaise.

— Cheryl Meeker, June 18, 2011

Full post

Cheryl Meeker: presentation at Shop Talk, SFMOMA

Why Are We Having This Conversation? Financial Realities for Artists
By Cheryl Meeker
Shop Talk: Part Three - May 12, 2011
7:00pm Koret Visitor Education Center
SFMOMA, San Francisco

A lecture and visual presentation contextualizing the thesis of Shop Talk: Part Three, which considered "survival strategies artists develop and adopt to gain recognition and financial viability in tough economic times."

"Why Are We Having This Conversation?" addressed the landscape of economic, social, structural and creative realities that are acting upon the artist in the current financial collapse, positing that a better understanding of the place the artist holds in the existing power structure contributes to an improved platform from which to create art and live our lives.

Please contact Cheryl Meeker at if you are interested in a more expansive version of the presentation she made at SFMOMA for your group.


Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) is a group of artists, art workers, performers and independent curators fighting to get paid for making the world more interesting. //

recently posted: Doug Weir, ICBUW, "More Depleted" exhibition event, June 2010

Doug Weir is the Coordinator for International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW) based in the UK.
The following video interview with Doug Weir was conducted by Cheryl Meeker in the days prior to and screened during an event that took place in June 2010, as a part of "More Depleted", an exhibition at Gallery 1055, Diocesan House, San Francisco, CA. For more information about this show and the Depleted Selves project click here.