In the second installment of THE CITY INITIATIVE, which highlights architects, designers, planners, and artists creating provocative work in urban environments, YBCA features a project with 2017 MacArthur Fellow Damon Rich and Jae Shin, partners in the design studio Hector, where the art center becomes a laboratory for dissecting how power works through built space.

Space Brainz–Yerba Buena 3000 is an exhibition that presents Hector’s recent experiences from contested architecture and planning projects in North American cities. These stories, involving spiked fences, faulty sidewalks, grassroots riverfront development, and other architectural hijinks, are illustrated through Hector’s models, drawings, photographs, and mock-ups. Contained in a unified structure filling the gallery, the exhibition resembles a futuristic city where clashing interests maneuver to shape the world.

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Damon Rich is a designer, artist, and partner at Hector. He has previously served as Planning Director and Chief Urban Designer for the City of Newark and is the founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that uses art and design to increase meaningful civic engagement. His work has been recognized by the American Planning Association National Planning Award, Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, the Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the MacDowell Colony, and the United States Pavilion at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.

Jae Shin is a partner at Hector whose work combines architecture, urban design, and exhibitions. She has recently served as an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), where she facilitated efforts to define and implement design principles for preserving and rehabilitating New York City’s public housing. She holds degrees from Rhode Island School of Design and Princeton University and her projects have received support from the MacDowell Colony and the National Endowment for the Arts. Jae has led design studios at New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Hector is an urban design, planning and civic arts studio whose recent projects include a memorial for an eco-feminist nun, a riverfront park, a fourteen-foot city model celebrating the 350th anniversary of the founding of Newark, New Jersey, and an experimental exhibition on mortgage finance. Hector’s work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum, the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, the Newark Public Library, and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Gallery. Using the slogan “Design for Organizing,” Hector attempts to craft things so that people in the future will have a reasonable answer to the question, “Who put that there?” Hector’s research into real estate development negotiations has been supported the National Endowment for the Arts and Graham Foundation for the Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Opening Night Reception

6-7PM Artist Conversation, Screening Room
7-9PM Reception, Youth Arts Lounge

Celebrate the opening of Damon Rich and Jae Shin’s Space Brainz—Yerba Buena 3000 on Friday, June 30. Join us at 6 PM when designers Damon Rich and Jae Shin will be in conversation with Jeremy Liu, Senior Fellow for Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development at PolicyLink and Janette Kim, Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts, Architecture Division and co-director at Urban Works Agency. The reception will follow.

Both segments free with gallery admission. Seating at the artist conversation is first come, first served so don’t miss out!


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

YBCA Programs in 17–18 are made possible in part by: The James Irvine Foundation.

Additional Funding for YBCA Programs 17–18: National Endowment for the Arts, Abundance Foundation, Grosvenor, and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

YBCA Exhibitions 17–18 are made possible in part by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Panta Rhea Foundation, and Meridee Moore and Kevin King.

Damon Rich & Jae Shin Hector: Space Brainz—Yerba Buena 3000 is part of The City Initiative, a series of case studies by architects, designers, planners, and artists creating provocative work in the urban environment. It is curated by Lucía Sanromán, director of visual arts, and organized by Martin Strickland, exhibitions associate. Damon Rich is the first City Initiative Fellow at YBCA.

Hector thanks/credits:
Space Brainz—Yerba Buena 3000 features collaborations with organizations including the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), Ironbound Community Corporation, MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Lower East Side Ecology Center, Modsaica, MTWTF, Newark/Essex Foreclosure Taskforce, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark Municipal Green Team, Newark Office of the Urban Enterprise, Newark Planning Office, Newark Riverfront Revival, Mural Arts Philadelphia, SEAMAAC, SPARK, Friends of Riverfront Park, The Trust for Public Land, Unified Vailsburg Services Organization, Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architecture, Yendor Productions & students from City As School High School, Greater Newark Conservancy Junior Rangers, Philadelphia Youth Network, Saint Vincent Academy, Sussex Avenue School & UVSO summer camp.

Special appearances by Newark-based artists Manuel Acevedo, DJ Lilman, DJ Omar Abdallah, Kevin Darmanie, Jerry Gant, Gladys Barker Grauer, Kevin Sampson, Armisey Smith, Bisa Washington, Malik Whitaker & Jay Wilson.

Hector would like to thank the Graham Foundation for their support of the research for Space Brainz—Yerba Buena 3000 and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support of Newark Riverfront Revival and People Power Planning Newark.

Promotional support provided by AIASF.

Lead image: Damon Rich and Jae Shin, Hector
Haters Make Me Famous (Space Brainz Display System), 2017
Courtesy Hector Urban design, planning and civic arts