State v. Pan Launch Party at FRED Wildlife Refuge
If you are in any way involved with the visual or performing arts in Seattle, you probably know installation artist, Butoh dancer, curator and community organizer extraordinaire D.k. Pan.
Last month, when Pan was awarded The Stranger’s Genius Award for Visual Art, Jen Graves called him “Seattle’s patron saint of collaborative art, the genius who never works alone.” Among his better known projects are those he has staged as the co-founder of Free Sheep Foundation, an arts collective whose primary medium is that of collaborative architectural intervention. Although no doubt flattered by the award, Pan was, as always, quick to deflect the spotlight from himself onto his vast network of collaborators.
D.k. Pan is the antithesis of the auteur. His acceptance speech consisted of silence as he slowly opened his hand to reveal its contents to the audience. It was empty.
Those of us who admire Pan and his work know him as a selfless organizer and tireless perpetrator of acts of senseless beauty. The state of Washington sees things differently. It has, after a two-year undercover, er, collaborative artwork between the Seattle Police Department and the FBI, brought charges against Pan, claiming that his artistic practice is a front for illegal activity. (Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Brendan Kiley has chronicled the sting—which involved a shocking degree of taxpayer-funded surveillance of the activities of private citizens—in an exhaustive article for The Stranger.)
Pan has elected to exercise his constitutional right to take the case to court in order to raise awareness of the dirty details of the investigation and prevent the authorities from sweeping the incident under the rug. On January 16, 2012, D.k. Pan will have his day in court. The cost of the trial will be approximately $150,000. Pan has established a legal defense fund trust to help him cover his costs.
More information about the charges against D.k. Pan may be found on the website statevpan.org, as well as information about donating to his legal defense fund. A launch party for the defense fund will be held at FRED Wildlife Refuge this Thursday, Oct. 13 at 9 pm. (Facebook event here.) Consider it an opportunity to give something back to an artist who has given his all to Seattle’s art community.