system_project2002

system_project2002 was an innovative exhibition, organized and curated by Melissa Urcan, President/CEO LERATA, held within a dance club and featuring the work of eight new media artists.  This collaborative project explores audience reaction and engagement through an experimental, interactive atmosphere created with sight, space and sound installations.  Artist participants included Ben Chang, Eric Hadley, Derek Hoffend, Allison Kudla, Todd Margolis, nano, Rob Ray, and Sylvia Ruzanka.  Original exhibition text, images, and videos are included below.

As contemporary society continues to associate ‘Art’ with traditional venues, (read: museums and galleries,) the emerging field of new media remains caught within a formal method of exhibition practices and associated audience behavior systems.  Rules and regulations, intended to ‘protect’ art works from the public – via a hands-off, highly monitored, preservation approach to art exhibition – create a barrier between the audience and art works.  Furthermore, the spaces themselves are not currently prepared for new media works that require regular skilled maintenance and involve rapidly changing technologies.  Discounting formal attributes, these venues have rarely provided a suitable atmosphere, encompassing all aspects of exhibition practices, which promote audience engagement and reaction integral to new media works.  These problematic issues prevent museums and galleries from exhibiting new media works, and raise the question of site importance and its’ relationship/affect to both artwork and audience.  Thus begins an investigation into the nature of the media and exhibition space, with a focus on environment and atmosphere and the systematic art/site/audience relationship.

Questions examined include: What are the limitations of venue?  What are the possibilites?  What are the challenges?  What is lost?  Gained?  What cultural associations adhere to the space itself?  To the audience?  How will the audience react to these new art forms outside of the gallery space?  How will the notions, concepts, ideas behind the work mutate with the space?  Will the architectural space itself have an effect on the works and audience within?  What are the consequences/possibilities of having an ‘art’ event in an ‘entertainment’ venue?

To explore this concept of exhibition site and audience affect, system_project2002 was developed as a collaborative project, culminating in a four-day temporal exhibition of eight new media artist’s original works held during Art Chicago (May 9-12, 2002) at the nightclub rednofive/Fifth Floor.  This exhibition location is not simply a transmutation (gallery to club), but relates to integrating the energy and activity present within the club to create a new environment for these works.  As an experimental event, the works developed are site-specific, connected through ideas of audience engagement and inter-activity in play with associations, expectations, and behaviors attributed to the nightclub.  The four main projects adopt different methods, such as still and roving video cameras, interactive furniture, sensor-active screens and audio/visual turntablism which combine to transform and mutate sight, sound and spatial relationships.  Together the art works embody the possibilities of time-based, temporal atmosphere environments that work through audience response and reaction.

As a collaborative effort this project will embody one full year of planning and development evolving from facets of art production and exhibition involving curatorial and administration organization, research, marketing, and promotion planning as well as design.  The entire project is further explored through a two-week long testing site/workshop environment before the event as well as a preview exhibition at ‘The Hub’ downtown.

nano Installation Videos
Todd Margolis Installation Video
Ben Chang Installation Video
Eric Hadley Installation Video
Allison Kudla and Derek Hoffend Installation Video
Installation Videos 1
Installation Videos 2
Installation Videos 3

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