The War Show: INVASION, August 28 - september 8, 2006
Art of This
322 Bloomington Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55407
"...is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country. " - Horace Greeley
"Invasion" was a collaboration between artists from Brooklyn, NY(artcodex) and Minneapolis, MN(Art of This). The artists from Brooklyn travelled to Minneapolis, to collaborate on a war with the Art of This Gallery. The format of the exhibition was decided to be a physical, wall-like structure within the space that would divide the gallery. The wall was created from found trash and debris, and the corridor created on either side was used to showcase the work of that party. Additionally, there was a safe room in the back, as well as a live news broadcast that was projected into the main space. Audience participation was encouraged.
MPLS: joAnn Blohowiak, Kevin Loecke, John Marks, and Daniel Palahniuk
BKLN: Jennifer Berklich, Glen Eden Einbinder, Mike Estabrook, Brian Higbee, Vandana Jain, Emmanuel Migrino
In the period of time leading up to the show, the two groups created print and web propaganda and planned from a distance. Several subtexts were explored in these materials, including invasion and occupation and gentrification and westward expansion. The Minneapolans responded with posters based on revolutionary propaganda.
As much of the group hadn't met, the artists engaged in an "e-mail war." One party sends an assault to a member of the other party, and that person has 24 hours to respond with their own assault. This continues until all members have participated. You can see and read the full text here.
Upon arrival at the Art of This gallery in Minneapolis, we started collecting materials for building the temporary fortification/wall in the gallery. Originally, the plan had been to build separate forts for each camp, but the shape of the gallery as well as the reality of full-time work for the Minneapolans meant that we had to maximie both space and labor. The Brooklynites volunteered to build the wall, and the Minneapolians would be in charge of the de-installation and removal.
Upon entering the space, visitors were asked to choose one side by taking an armband from the jar. They were then invited to engage in collaborative combat with enemy participants.
This wall structure was interrupted only by a crudely fashioned ping pong table where participants could engage in civil warfare. At several points in the wall, T.V.s were incorporated into the structure so an offensive strategy of videos could be projected into enemy space. Of course, some counter-propaganda was to be expected... In the photo you can see evidence of a "information bomb" that had been rigged up by Art of This. Positioned over the artcodex area, the line-triggered bomb dropped hundred of blue pieces of paper telling the Brooklyn artists that their work sucked and they should go back home.
Two of the artists, one from each party, staged a makeshift live news broadcast in the basement of the gallery. They interviewed participants and did a live commentary on the goings-on in the gallery. A live feed of the news desk was projected into the gallery, providing viewers with a second-hand experience of the war as they were in the midst of it.