Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Proposal to DCCAH

I sent an idea to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2004 for a novel (in my opinion anyway) public art project dealing with the now vert traditional use of video as an art form (now in its middle age).

Nothing heard back from them so far, so I am assuming that they are not interested, and I am thus hereby posting a gist of that idea/letter, with some corrections and updates, in case some other city or organizer is interested:

Summary: This point paper offers a recommendation for a recurring public art project designed to attract worldwide attention to the Washington, DC fine arts community. This idea is being submitted for consideration by DCCAH for future implementation.

Background: Washington, DC public art projects, like many other cities, have yielded a mix of public success and bitter art criticism. Most recently, projects such as “Party Animals” and “Pandamania” have enjoyed spectacular public acclaim, but have been severely criticized by area art critics. Whereas it is my belief that a publicly-funded DCCAH should answer to the public and not to elitist art critics, I believe that I have come up with a concept and idea that is both novel and creative. No other city has done this before (to my knowledge) and this project, if funded and implemented, will make a huge leap in placing Washington, DC on the leading edge of the art world.

The Project: A call for artists to create art videos. No theme, no guidance (other than the standard caveats to preclude pornography, hate-mongering, racism or personal attacks): just a call for artists (either worldwide or Greater DC area) to create an art video. This has never been done before by anyone, anywhere, as a mass call for public art. A public project that delivers art videos on a massive, public scale will place this contemporary genre of art outside of a museum environment for the first time ever.

The Logistics: 100 20-inch TVs with built-in DVD players will be needed ($269 each). Each one placed inside a custom built viewing bubbles (see attached design). The viewing bubbles can be constructed by the same company who built the Pandas. The material for the “bubble” can be the same as the Panda material, except for the viewing area, which should be constructed of Lexan, which is the plexiglass material from which NASCAR racecar windshields are made from; it is practically indestructible and it does not fog or scratch. Cost for these “bubbles” should be approximately the same as a panda or party animal.

Electrical power will be needed; however, this is easily available on nearly every street in DC, as every single lamp post in Washington has a power source at the base of the lamp post. The “bubbles” will have to be built and placed so that a safe connection to the power source can be accomplished.

The accepted videos will be run on a 24/7 continuous loop so that they can be viewed by the public ad hoc. At the end of a specified period, signed still photography from the videos can be auctioned off – or even sold throughout the period (from a website). This is very common in the world of art videos – no one buys videos, but they will buy signed photographs from the videos.

The Process: A worldwide call for videos: the call for art can be made for free in many Internet web sites (places like artdeadlines.com as well as magazines such as ArtCalendar, etc.) If successful, this can become an International Public Video Biennial (no one is doing this!) to a huge public audience. Call it the Washington Video Biennial!

We ask for artists to submit videos (CD ROMs) and then a panel selects 100 videos to be exhibited to the public. Each year DCCAH can hire two curators to select the videos (or an advisory panel can be picked to select the videos).

Next Step: I hereby request a meeting with DCCAH to verbally explain this project and answer any questions.