Bending Over Backwards

Call the Wall: 415-325-4774
Audio Program
Music by  John Santos
Poetry by Marilyn Buck

Bending Over Backwards;16th and Mission; Multi-Site, SF CA; To Call the Wall:415-325-4774

Bending Over Backwards (BOB) is a multi-site and multi-media permanent installation located in the San Francisco neighborhoods of the Mission and SOMA. These two neighborhoods are  linked through the creation of a layered audio/visual arts walk that will reveal social, artistic, historical, political and environmental histories. The beginning and end of the walk will be murals of trapeze artists, located in the Mission and in SOMA respectively.

Bending Over Backwards (BOB) is a collaborative community, interactive and interdisciplinary project of re-membering and creating histories of the Mission and SOMA. BOB explores the high wire act that thriving in today’s world can be, providing visual and audio metaphors for the tenacious, exhilarating and daring flights made in the attempt to realize one’s dreams in San Francisco in the 21st century.
I. Visual: Trapeze artists (painted on wood cut-outs and attached to the wall) are pictured in two neighboring places in San Francisco: the Mission and SOMA. The figures are shown in an electrifying peak moment of their craft, embodying a mixture of whimsy, pathos and a sense of extraordinary possibility in their gravity-defying feat. The trapeze artists’ success is possible only with great discipline, communication, strength, teamwork, vision and humor; echoing some of the skills necessary for a viable life in the city of San Francisco. The Mission iteration of BOB is completed. It is located on 16th St between Mission and Hoff Streets and can be seen at
II. Audio Walking Tour: Through the walking tour, BOB will literally link the Mission and SOMA and guide the participant from one Bending Over Backwards mural to the other. The tour will include social, political, geographical and environmental histories; making visible what has been made invisible or forgotten. There will be interactive components where the participant can contribute to the historical archive. The audio walking tour will be constructed from archival data and interviews with current residents, businesses and institutions.

Partnering Organizations with Break the Silence Mural and Art Project
Freedom Archives, Mission Neighborhood

10,000 hours of audio and video recordings documenting social justice movements locally, nationally, and internationally from the 1960s to the present. The Archives features speeches of movement leaders and community activists, protests and demonstrations, cultural currents of rebellion and resistance. This oral history is in a searchable database. You can download programs and clips. Internships and training programs are available.
Preserve the past – illuminate the present – shape the future

2) Shaping San Francisco, SOMA Neighborhood.
FoundSF is a wiki that invites history buffs, community leaders, and San Francisco citizens of all kinds to share their unique stories, images, and videos from past and present. There are over 1,800 articles here presenting primary sources, essays, and images from history… and they hope you’ll add to it to help it grow!

Arab Cultural and Community Center,
Programs in SOMA and Mission
The Arab Cultural and Community Center of San Francisco is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting Arab art and culture, and enriching the lives of the Arab American Community. We achieve this by providing culturally focused social services, and promoting cross-cultural events to all residents of the Bay Area and beyond.

South of Market Cultural Center, SOMA
The mission of SOMArts is to promote and nurture art on the community level, and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures. Founded in 1979, SOMArts embraces the entire spectrum of arts practice and cultural identity, and it is beloved in San Francisco as a truly multicultural, community-built space where cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms.
Susan Greene is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and clinical psychologist. Her
practice straddles a range of cultural arenas, new media, and public art, with a focus on borders, migrations, decolonization and memory. Recently Greene has been developing public projects that make use of social networking technologies, in addition to on-the-street listening stations via cell and I-Phone. Through public art projects Greene conducts research on the intersections of trauma, creativity, resilience and resistance. Greene has led or participated in more than 30 public art projects worldwide, from California’s juvenile hall to refugee camps of Palestine. Originally from NYC, she has been a resident of the Bay Area 25 years. She is visiting faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute and has a private psychotherapy practice.

by Susan R. Greene © 2010
Special thanks to
John Fadeff
Ron Moore
Sam Stoller
Daniel Johnson
Laurie Amat
U-SAVE Rentals
Partial Funding
Zellerbach Family Fund
San Francisco Arts Commission
Dedicated to:
Political Prisoners Everywhere
In Memory of:
Jon Kaplan
Tricia Sullivan

Art Forces