SHOWTIME: (clockwise from top left) Onlookers
at La Superette; noise performance at ScrapCycle;
Second Life is big at dorkbot-london.
Photography by (clockwise from top left) Evelyne Buhler, Michael Dory, and Rain Ashford
focus on a particular problem or idea, and space for
the participants to contribute meaningfully.
“If you feel strongly that a project is relevant,”
Tremayne says, “you must suppose that some number of others will too, and act on this assumption.
Projects that invite others to express themselves
invite authentic contributions that are heartfelt and
that ultimately resonate through the project when
it is produced. Nothing but genuine self-expression
can have this same impact. Money, as an obstacle,
is an illusion.”
Marie Evelyn is executive director of the art
organization Analogous Projects, and produces
ScrapCycle, a series of homemade-instrument/
noise shows with a novel admission fee — audience
members are asked to bring a piece of scrap or
found material for barter at the show. Analogous
Projects focuses on interaction art and emergent
behaviors, interests reflected in her advice.
“Enter into the endeavor with acceptance,” counsels Evelyn. “Accept that you can’t directly control
any aspect of a social gathering. You can set up the
initial conditions and you can guide things, but a
social gathering is a living organism: to try to control it (even in the most caring and well-intentioned
way) is to snuff out the life and joy and humanity
of coming together. ... And accept the fact that you
have absolutely no idea what will happen! People
will surprise you in beautiful ways.”
And some wise parting words from Saul Albert,
U.K. low-budget rapscallion who co-produces The
People Speak events and helped start dorkbot-london: “There is no such thing as a low-budget
event! If you’ve got no cash, you just use different
currencies to get the job done. Sweat, flattery, passion, and flirtation are all good ones, and can
improve the atmosphere more than the most
expensive canapés. The real key to your cheapo
event’s success is making sure it hits an unfulfilled
need for different groups of people.”
What could be simpler? Embrace the chaos, be
prepared to improvise, con your friends into
helping, find your niche, and keep an open mind.
You made it, now show it.
Douglas Repetto is an artist and teacher involved in a number
of art/community groups including dorkbot, ArtBots, organism,
and music-dsp. He lives in New York City with Amy, Pokey,
Sneezy, and many plants.