I was talking to a pair of wonderful curators from the National Portrait Gallery earlier this week and they had a simple yet very cool idea. Why not integrate my pan-museum sound piece with specific concurrent exhibits in the various SI museums by making use of voices of the artists represented in those exhibits? That was a long sentence for something purported to be simple, but basically the idea is if there is an exhibit on, say, abstract paintings at a certain museum and there happened to be recordings of the artists in the exhibit in the archives, I could use those voices in interesting ways related to the exhibit.
In many ways, this might seem to be more promotion than anything else, but since my work always comes from the site-specific inputs and raw materials I collect or am presented with, I am excited to think about how such connections could influence the aesthetic content of the piece. I really like the idea of my piece filling the ‘spaces between the museums’ with something that is both new and old, is always evolving and is directly related to the Smithsonian, its history and how that relates to the present day. By connecting my piece, however obtusely, to something happening concurrently inside a museum that participants can visit and experience as well, I think that the piece would become not only an experience in and of itself, but also something that encourages other related experiences.
My work is all about integrating people and places into a collective experience and if I can make use of and connect to things that actually exist in the real world, this can be a very mutually beneficial situation.
I am extremely wary of anything I do turning into an overtly educational or ‘functional’ piece as my goals are obviously to create new artwork first and foremost. I’ll need to be really careful as to how these connections to exhibits are communicated or else I won’t be helping my cause! I have a hard enough time already telling people time and time again “no, this isn’t an audio tour!!”, but typically as soon as someone starts to experience my work, they realize it is way too random to be intended as primarily educational which will hopefully enable them to get a bit lost and let the audio help them explore.
It’s never really about paying attention for me. It’s much more about letting things wash over you and through you and letting your brain make all those unconscious choices that brains make to bring certain things to the forefront and let other things fade away.