Saturday, March 12, 2005

Flux Factory are having more fun than we are

Man, I wish I could belong to New York art collective Flux Factory. I first heard of them when their president, Morgan Meis, published an article entitled "Devil's Work" in the April 2004 issue of Harper's. It detailed the progress of a performance/installation the group did a few years ago in the Queens Museum of Art, in which they were given a room in the museum for 3 months and left to their own devices. At first they just hung out in the room, wearing orange jumpsuits and sticking things to the walls, but then they started to get bored. One of them suggested, "We have to extend the room." A couple of others agreed. Secretive mayhem ensued, of the kind that made me laugh out loud on the subway while reading the article. A sample passage, from Day Seventy-Three:
Jean has come dangerously close to letting Seb in on the secrets over the past few weeks, but it seemed almost impossible to do. "How do you subtly suggest to someone that we may have tunneled into the walls of the museum, created a secret spy hole, and covered it with a picture of his face?" I asked Jean. He didn't have an answer. Stefany tells Seb to stand in front of the wall of drawings, and as he does, Jean, who is in the new secret room, slides the fake drawing aside and Seb can see Jean's eyeball peeking through the wall. Seb turns back to Stefany and me with a look on his face that is difficult to describe, a mixture of shock, terror, and admiration.
An article in the New York Times this weekend describes the collective's home base:
Flux Factory occupies a floor in a converted factory in Long Island City, an environment that feels a little like a cross between a youth hostel and a space station. The 15 resident members have their own rooms, but all amenities - bathrooms, a kitchen, a library, a computer lab, a dining room and a large exhibition space - are shared. So are expenses. With its nonprofit status, the collective's members survive primarily on grants, on proceeds from their art and on a talent for frugality that they regard as an art in itself.
There's a cool photo too.

All of this led me to the group's website, which describes upcoming projects like NOVEL: a living installation, in which three novelists will be "enclosed within three individual habitats" and will each complete a novel in a month, and Comix Ex Machina. Oh, wow, get a load of this:
In the summer of 2004, Flux Factory produced a collaborative work called Cartünnel. A 2,000-square-foot walk-through maze was constructed. Its walls were illustrated by nine artists working together to produce characters and a story. Depending on what route the viewer traveled through the maze, it yielded a different version of the narrative. The intention was to highlight the importance of graphic novels and illustration as contemporary art forms and to show their performance and sculptural possibilities.

This summer, Flux Factory will produce a show that follows the thematic of Cartünnel—comics-as-installation—called Comix Ex Machina. The Comix Ex Machina exhibit looks back to archaic technologies like Stereoscopy and the automated mechanical entertainment of the turn of the previous century. It also draws upon the aesthetics of interactive and contemporary science museum displays. In Comix Ex Machina, each artist will build an installation with graphic as well as mechanical components that presents a sequence of images to the viewer in an interactive setting, making the story part of an overall physical experience. The pieces will be engaging and inclusive, inviting viewers to be active participants in the art.
Opening party is June 18th... anybody up for a road trip?


Anonymous ward said...

"Man, I wish I could belong to New York art collective Flux Factory."

Maybe they wish that too ...

7:25 p.m., March 13, 2005  
Anonymous austin said...

Road trip!!! Totally great idea! It's too bad we missed the Gates in Central Park (did u hear about that large installation?), but a fun hipster party would be fun too.

7:48 p.m., March 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In some cases, Flux Factory is having exactly as much fun as we are. Their latest big project is a fake prom which sounds, from all desriptions, exactly like Toronto's own annual indie-rock-kid Fake Prom.

Ha! Take that! In some respects, Toronto is 18 months hipper than the hipper parts of Queens!

- "anonymous" (actually: Misha)

7:58 p.m., March 23, 2005  

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