In Sentimental Taxonomy, currently on view at Random Parts gallery (1206 13th Ave., Oakland) Bay Area photographer Kija Lucas builds a visual dictionary of emotional materials: an old teddy bear, pink vintage sunglasses, Vienna sausage packaging, a ring, a handkerchief, a photograph. Each is photographically documented in front of a black background, and placed in a row with the others. Sentimental Taxonomy is an excerpt from Lucas’ larger ongoing project entitled Objects to Remember You By: An Index of Sentiment, in which she documents objects that hold sentimental meaning for people beyond their utilitarian purpose. Lucas’ catalog is specifically meant to explore the ways in which objects can memorialize people from our pasts, personalize a space, and offer a sense of safety or intimacy. But by decontextualizing the materials, Lucas renders them mysterious, leaving the viewer to wonder what they could have meant to the owner. — Sarah Burke
After Oakland failed for a decade to protect the public and firefighters from hazardous materials, the state stripped the city of these duties. And now investigators are looking into illegal shipments of toxic waste and the misuse of public funds.