Six (Linear) Feet [Online]




This project invites artists to respond to the now ubiquitous usage of the phrase “6 feet,” reflecting on its meaning both literally and symbolically. Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, scientists and public health officials have called for social distancing. Though recent research suggests that six feet may be an arbitrary distance, it has become the standard for how far apart humans should remain so as not to pass the virus from person to person. Signage to communicate “proper social distancing” suddenly appeared everywhere—in grocery stores, shops, and places of work—creating a new graphic landscape to influence/dictate human behavior. 

Six (Linear) Feet takes up this rhetorical/practical phrase, asking artists to respond to and reflect upon its usage and its appearance in our everyday landscape. Though measurement is thought to be universal and precise, it is more context dependent than generally perceived. The title of this project, Six (Linear) Feet, refers to the way space is often measured at an archive, where linear feet refer to how much front shelf-space boxes or a collection will take up. This is essential information when planning for collections and determining if their size will fit the confines of storage. Six feet can be a lot or a little, too much or not enough. Measurements depend on context. 

The call is for artists to probe these measurements and how they relate to the body, our daily habits, and our interactions as humans. How has the call for 6 feet of separation changed our conception of space and distance? In our newfound world of distance, how do we approach touch and proximity? How do we build community and resilience from 6 feet apart? How can distance and display bring us together? How do we work with this new constraint upon daily living? Are there lessons to be learned from queer time and space? 

This project extends an invitation to all Los Angeles based artists to submit a proposal for a new project based on the above themes and questions. The project can be realized in any medium and can respond either directly or indirectly to the questions and themes of Six (Linear) Feet. Proposals will take the form of a 500 word max project description and 300 word max artist bio. Sketches or other ways of representing an idea in progress will also be accepted but not required. Proposals will be reviewed by Alexis Bard Johnson, Curator, and Jeanne Vaccaro, Post-doctoral Fellow, at the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, and Karen Tongson, Professor of English, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. Proposals are due February 1, 2021. Selected artists will be announced by February 16. 

Selected artists will receive an honorarium ($2000) and possible stipend for materials. Artists will be required to participate in a roundtable discussion about their ideas in early spring. Final art works will be displayed in an online gallery (or, by some miracle, in person at the ONE Archives) during the month of May. Individual conversations with each artist about their final work will also be required. Finally, there will also be an option to add these works into the collection of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries so that they may be exhibited alongside historical collections of the Archives in the future. 

Please send the proposal and any questions to Lexi ( with subject line “Six Linear Feet.”  A full website with this content and more can be accessed HERE

Fri, Jan 1 - Mon, Aug 23 2021