A giant, rusty Singer 5-9 sewing machine, a key element of FUTUREFARMERS: OUT OF PLACE, IN PLACE, will be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled with working parts over the course of the exhibition, to become fully functional once again, and used in the creation of the fog harvesting machine.

This evening is the disassembly, led by Michael Swaine of Futurefarmers; David Cole, an artist, metalsmith, and senior adjunct professor at California College of the Arts; and Kevin Binkert, machinist and president of Standard Metal Products. Cole will explain the historic use of the Singer 5-9 to make straps for the workers building the original Hoover Dam, which played a key role in the harnessing of water. As the machine is taken apart, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in cleaning its various pieces. Part of Futurefarmers’ continued live creation of the fog harvesting Speculative Machine (2018), this program calls attention to how an object as ubiquitous as a sewing machine, when disassembled and studied, brings life to the everyday. Cash bar begins at 4:45PM.

Interested in joining? RSVP on Facebook to save the date.

Artist Bios

David Cole is a metalsmith, a faculty member at California College of the Arts, and an instructor at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Creative Workshops. His work ranges from fine jewelry to large-scale public art and architectural details for historic buildings. The importance of craftsmanship and a sense of stewardship for the techniques and tools he has acquired over thirty years drive his love of making. His collection of machines tells the story of manufacture and invention at the end of the analog age, and inspires him to create artworks that speak to our emotional connection to materials and mechanisms. In 2014 he curated an exhibition at the Museum of Craft + Design, with another planned for 2019. He is represented by Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco.

Kevin Binkert is a machinist and president of Standard Metal Projects Inc. As a maker for hire, Binkert has prototyped a handheld blaster for brain tumors, engineered hydrant valves for San Francisco’s fire department, and restored two historic clock towers. Between commercial jobs, he has built The Spinner, a Ford V8–driven machine that whips braided cables to supersonic speeds, and produced the Flame Tornado, a gas-powered sculpture that emits a forty-foot-tall vortex of fire. He lent his talent to the small screen as co-host of the former Discovery Channel show Prototype This!

Futurefarmers is a group of diverse practitioners aligned through an interest in making work that is relevant to the time and place surrounding us. Founded in 1995, the design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residence program, and our research interests. We are artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists, and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of “not knowing.”

While we collaborate with scientists and are interested in scientific inquiry, we want to ask questions more openly. Through participatory projects, we create spaces and experiences where the logic of a situation disappears—encounters occur that broaden, rather than narrow perspectives, i.e. reductionist science.

We use various media to create work that has the potential to destabilize logics of “certainty.” We deconstruct systems such as food policies, public transportation, and rural farming networks to visualize and understand their intrinsic logics. Through this disassembly new narratives emerge that reconfigure the principles that once dominated these systems. Our work often provides a playful entry point and tools for participants to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry—not only to imagine, but to participate in and initiate change in the places we live.

Futurefarmers’ work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York; MAXXI | Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome; the New York Hall of Science; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.


Futurefarmers: Out of Place, in Place is organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and curated by Lucía Sanromán, director of visual arts.

Futurefarmers: Out of Place, in Place is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Support is provided by the Changing the Ratio Circle of Advisors: Abundance Foundation, Berit Ashla, Diana Cohn, EMIKA Fund, Jennifer C. Haas Fund, Rekha Patel, Catalina Ruiz-Healy and Jonathan Kevles, Vicki Shipkowitz, and Meg Spriggs. Additional thanks to the Selvage Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation and the Facebook Artist in Residence Program.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.

YBCA Programs are made possible in part by: The James Irvine Foundation, with additional funding by National Endowment for the Arts, Grosvenor, and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

YBCA Exhibitions are made possible in part by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Panta Rhea Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellows Program, and Meridee Moore and Kevin King.

Lead Image: Courtesy Futurefarmers.