Various telephone numbers are written on the walls of Ireland’s house at 500 Capp Street. One name and number that stands out with mystery is FOXY #621-3479.
FOXY is a performance-based oral history project created to record stories about artist David Ireland and his house at 500 Capp Street in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. It is a generative project. It aims to engage David Ireland’s collaborators, friends, and the larger Bay Area artist community to contribute to our collection of stories about the artist’s biography and conceptual art-stories from San Francisco within the artists’ time (1970’s to 2009). The archive includes stories from past collaborators, acquaintances, and long-time family and friends. The name FOXY was derived from a handwritten post-it note, placed near the doorway of The David Ireland House with this moniker and a phone number. Who is FOXY? This, and other questions about narratives of artmaking from that period are the motivations behind this project.
Oral history is a powerful tool for recollection and connection to the past while looking towards the future. Listening to another person speak provides tone, inflection, accent, affect, and emotion. This archive dispatches a sliver of David Ireland’s impact on his community and collaborators within the Bay Area conceptual art movement and beyond. Listeners may tune in to voicemails left for FOXY through 500cappstreet.org/FOXY. Press play from your phone or computer and be transported by these stories.
Contribute to the growth of FOXY by calling # (833) 621-3479 and share a memory of David Ireland or a time at 500 Capp Street.
If you have found yourself here at the digital home of 500 Capp Street and have just come across FOXY you may be wondering, where am I? Who is FOXY in relationship to David Ireland and The David Ireland House. For your inspiration from our perspiration we’ve gathered a few definitions and thoughts regarding how this performative archive has come to be. When considering this project, the name came second. One of the special details an artist guide may share with you on a tour of the home are the numbers written on the wall near the east facing windows of the upstairs parlor room. “Mom,” “popcorn” for the time, and “FOXY.” Who is FOXY? There was speculation that this may have been The Foxy Lady on Mission. We’ve come to relate them to Terry Fox or his son. FOXY, as it now lives in this digital house, is an entity dedicated to being an open and lended ear for listening to your stories.
Foxy relies on the process of a voicemail recording. This process was initially made possible by a cassette recorder attached to the base of a phone. I remember when I was young seeing my grandmother dust the tapes and rewind over the days messages, hearing familiar voices tell stories both fantastic and banal. While your messages are recorded digitally today, this analog cassette is important to the process and relates back to the house. Over the last year calling people in our lives has been an act providing great solace. Reaching out to the people we care about, those we collaborate with, or others whom we just share sugar from across the fence with. Calling FOXY to leave a voicemail that will be dispatched to our archives is a performative act, one that we hope you will take part in and encourage others to do so too.