Halloween Weekend 2009 In City Park New Orleans, a grand park designed by Olmstead, Life is Art Foundation / KKProjects introduced thirty site-specific installations and large-scale sculptures to respond to the natural environment of the landscape and the cultural environment of a massive rock concert. Voodoo Experience is a three-day festival set in the park, with performers Kiss, Eminem, The Flaming Lips and Justice. Artists from around the world were invited to work with the beauty and the mayhem of this unusual context. The result: Dynamic! The cultural environment was rigorous, to put it politely. Artists were pushed to the edge of physical ability and self-belief. In the festival chaos, to move forward became an exercise in organic, moment-to-moment adaptation. The exhibition challenged the practice of art, demanding that it be an infinitely adaptable, indestructible way of being. Some found a new and deep peace in this experience. To maintain order according to a predetermined goal was impossible. For this reason the setting was a very natural extension of Life is Art Foundation’s work on N Villere Street, in the wreckage of a neighborhood where natural and cultural elements are destructive and untamed. (The ghetto proves much easier to work in, but this perhaps because we are more practiced in complimenting and collaborating with its unknowns.) Our goal with Voodoo Experience clarified into a challenge: To create art that comes alive not only in spite of, but because of, the environment’s raw and unruly forces. Of the thirty art installations, three sustained casualties. Mickey Sumner drove off the site after the four hundredth of a hundred and fifty thousand teenagers sat on her installation (the day Eminem played- Kiss drew a much more mature audience), queried for whom the fuck it was advertisement, and spilled French Fries across it’s entryway (adding to the already mounting piles of castaway festival snacks). Daphane Park’sHammock Mother (constructed to hold thirty) was sawn apart by frat boys wielding broken beer bottles, an act poetically and metaphorically aligned with the reality lived by the Amazonians she collaborated with to weave it- as if on an unconscious level the destroyers felt obliged to extinguish the non-western paradigm emanating from its fibers. Mathias Gmachl and Rachel Wingfield’s expansive installation, Pavilion of Four Winds, went “missing” to an absurd fate (see dialogue below). Of peak moments, there was Halloween night at Ladder. The base of the installation served as site for a meditation let by Mark Griffin to remove all suffering, an ancient Tibetan rite unchanged for centuries. Griffin’s voice ran through a warping program, sending the ritual across the surrounding field as his 15 collaborators, poised perfectly still in alien suits, bore witness. The vision was awe-inspiring; those happening upon it fell immediately silent. Benson Trent / Eyetrap’s Illusion, an installation of 24 enormous, floating balloons, lit up the sky in a massive interactive performance. Set against Kiss’ showering confetti and Sachs / Kretzer’s interactive sculpture, Cone, the vision was euphoric and transcendent. ON THE MISSING SCULPTURE Eight Life is Art Foundation pieces from Voodoo Experience were slated to move into the Botanical Garden for an extended exhibition through January. Seven found their places; one has gone missing! It is a GIANT sculpture, 16’ x 20’ x 8’! How could it have disappeared?! Dialogue on the disappearance: KK (curator): "It was suddenly gone, so after a day of mystified rumination I went down Esplanade Avenue to the headquarters of Homemade Parachute, the most likely culprits (they stole the show in our Interior Ritual exhibition and are lawless), but the sculpture was not the latest integration into their monumental and ever-growing tree house installation (made primarily of "reappropriated" parts). Days pass. I ask the equipment guy Ray. Ray: “Fuck no, Kirsha! I didn’t move that thing!” Searching... Nothing. ...Then I awake with a flash! SDT. The hot young trash mogul Casanova. He has a trash pick-up reality show. I called Buddy who gave me his foreman, Pablo." Pablo: "Hello, What's that?" KK: "Did you guys see a sculpture by the waterside?" Pablo: "A what?" KK: "A sculpture. A big white thing that looked like a glob of cells?" Pablo: "What did it look like?" KK: "Like a big mass of molecules, you know, a white lattice work that looked kind of like the Universe." Pablo: "That white stuff? Yes Ma'am, we threw it away." ...KK: "No you didn't. Really!?!" Pablo: "Yes ma'am, we threw it out." KK: "Oh! Wow. …That was art!" Pablo: "It was? Wow. I'm sorry. It was art?" KK: "Yeah, it was a very valuable piece of art. It was a sculpture by these artists who came from London, and it was supposed to go into the Botanical Garden for an exhibition!" Pablo: "Oh. I'm very sorry Ma'am we thought it was a thing... We uh, really didn't know what it was. I'm very sorry." KK: "Don't be sorry Pablo, it's not your fault. It’s… kind of amazing… I’m amazed." SELL OUT / FRONTIER: A DIALOGUE LEADING UP TO THE EXHIBITION For an Ad in an Unnamed Art Magazine A conversation between Life is Art Foundation team members Aimee Toledano, Pamala Bishop, Kirsha Kaechele, and Voodoo producer Stephen Rehage with Anonymous Cameos KK: (To the sky) Come on! It’s raining on us! AT: You just like him because he looks like you. KK: Well, I do think we look alike. AT: Both German task masters even though he must have some Italian Mobster in him. Waitress: Oh, you’ve taken over our lovely patio over, I see. AT: Do you remember which numbers go where? Can you Google which way the hopscotch numbers go? KK: No. AT: Evan, do you have any thoughts about art at music festivals? Like, would you go to an art exhibition at Voodoo? EH: Yeah! I think crafts would work well. KK: Ha ha! But not installation art? EH: …I think people think art installations are weird and kind of avant-garde and things. I’ve been to a lot of art installations shows that are really cool, that like, take up the whole block of abandoned houses and things like that. So yeah, it could be cool for people who don’t normally see it. KK: God, the cicadas sound so beautiful. …Who needs art? EH: Who is having the Viognier? I like Viognier. It’s nice and grassy. You know who my favorite artist is? Burton. He shot himself as art and then he shot a 747 in ’78. He lived in Topanga Canyon. PB: I think we should call the editor and ask him. …Is it selling out or is it expanding the parameters of art? …He’s not answering. AT: Let’s call Stephen and ask what he thinks. (Riiiinnnnng…) Do you want to take three gorgeous ladies out for dinner? SR: Uhhhhh… Can I call you back? AT: Ahhhhh! Spoken like a true player! (Click.) (Hop-scotching) …I need to look fine all the time. I ain’t doing Jung-le Gym for nothing. Isn’t it interesting that Life is Art / KKProjects is an all female organization? KK: Call the editor. Let’s ask him. TS (Texting): What’s up? AT (Texting): We want to interview you. TS (Texting): I don’t have time right now. Email me your questions. KK: What?! That is hilarious. AT: See?! You know they’re doing that booger sugar. KK: Just text him and ask if he thinks art at Voodoo is a sell out. TS: (Texting): “No, Thaddeus Zarse says no.” KK: What?! He’s one of our artists! Write, “but does it push the edge of contemporary art?” Don’t you think the words “contemporary art” are so lame? …Shit, the computer broke. I need paper. AT: Here, use this. It’s the back of… your foreclosure notice! KK:Perfect. AT: Dear Boy. That’s the name of this song. It’s called Ram, Kirsha, it’s a good record. Look! (passing CD) Paul McCartney had a farm too! He and Linda had a farm. KK: How do you say it isn’t finished? PB: C’est ne pas fini. You can say it a couple of ways. …And they would say, “Oh, your city is destroyed? Well, maybe you just have to stay in Paris!” AT: Can you believe Justice is coming?! We can speak our French with them! SR: This is the best story ever. I’m following the Led Zeppelin show and I see “Royal Orleans”, and I say, what the fuck is that? That’s not a music venue. Then this guy says “I was the concierge at the Royal Orleans when Led Zeppelin played New Orleans and he’s got this big black, six foot, you know, “lady” with him. And I’m very intimidated and I say, ‘Mr Jones, can you come here for a second?’ and I say, ‘You know that’s not a woman’, and he said, ‘Fuck off mate’, and he went upstairs to his room and he burned the entire floor of the hotel down.” KK: This is so beautiful. This ad. AT: …So then she put on this black see-through dress and they were going to make love and… SR: I think the whole conversation of what art is, is an ignorant conversation. PB: We just wanted to know if you think it’s selling out. SR: Maybe that’s what the exhibition should be called. Sold out. …No one here has even been to Voodoo. KK: Yes we have. KK + AT: We danced with Quintron. LC: “…There’s a tree where doves go to die” SR: Yes. And that very specific piece of land that looks like it is in the middle of nowhere for no reason, is in the center of everything for a very specific reason. KK: Can you love it even when it hurts? That is the question. AT: Oooooh, that’s good. And the left side should be about us being married. PB: (reading text message) Cleopatra was born! AT, KK, PB, SR: Welcome to the world Cleopatra! SR: Are you having a problem opening that bottle of wine? KK: No. I’m having problems living in a linear society. SR: I don’t know where you ladies are going with this. It should just say, “Fuck you, shut up your ass and come to the fucking music festival motherfucker.” AT: We’re going to have fun! …Wait. I think! Maybe we’re going to have a nervous breakdown. PB: It’s important not to wear underwear sometimes. SR: Are you having an affair with our second wife? AT: No, we are having an abusive affair with the iPod. AT: I think this must be my favorite Gorillaz song. KK: That gives me bad memories. AT: This does? KK: Yes. I hate that stupid ass. Stupid faggy leprechaun. Ha! Sorry! Anonymous Football Player: Okay, are we going to open that giant bottle of wine now? TL: So did, uh, a lot of the pieces get cut? KK: No, cause we’re illegally selling VIP passes to fill the gap. EC: Yeah, of course. I’ve had people suggest that I do art in this context under another name, and I’m like why? I’m a whole being and I do work in various contexts, and if that’s going to damn me, then fuck it, forget it. TL: I’ve sold out before. I know what if feels like and it doesn’t feel like this. PB: There are critics all over the place, I saw people rip Skyler Fein apart, shred him up. They were saying Urban Outfitters could have done his piece. KK: Only because he’s at the top. Who would ever want to be king? …There’s a Coldplay song about that. TL: Kirsha, do you want these bees? They make honey.