Arguably one of the best places in the city to see innovative art from emerging artists, SoEx has been a mainstay of the Potrero Hill neighborhood for 32 years and will close its doors June 3 to undergo a seismic retrofit. Until then, the gallery has transformed itself into one big community art project, celebrating the people and the space that have defined it for decades.

Once inside, we were confronted with a massive amount of helium-filled balloons, most still clinging to the ceiling and some lolling about on the floor just begging to be kicked. We assumed they were leftover remnants of the opening, but were surprised to find out we were watching a performance piece in action. Over the course of the opening, each attendee was given a balloon, its color determined by how long they had been coming to SoEx and then instructed to let go, creating a physical, color-coordinated demographic of visitors. Watching the balloons slowly descend from the gallery ceiling was a bit like watching paint dry, but the process keeps lead artists Moriah Ulinskas and Theo Rigby of SoEx’s Youth Advisory Board interested. Inspired by “happenings,” where art is created interactively over the course of a specific period of time and Fluxus performances of the 60s and 70s, the twosome is videotaping the process which will be shown as a living kaleidoscopic image during the closing day celebration.

SFist Shelley, contributing

Image: Between the Walls wall text and exposed beam