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2010-03-15

The "23" Movement

Photograph of Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain&...Image via Wikipedia
So I've joined an art movement. Still a bit vague about what it's all about. The art movements I've read about and admired- the Surrealists, the Dadaists, the Situationists, not to mention the Subgenii and the Discordians- all had manifestos; tracts and screeds that explained their position, often in mutually contradictory terms, and thunderously proclaimed themselves to be better that mom and apple pie. The manifestos were half the point, and a large part of the fun.
This art movement, the "23" art movement, doesn't have much of a manifesto. Maybe modern art movements don't need a manifesto. Maybe creating your own is part of the point.
What 23 does have is a plan. We plan to transform the way the individuals and the community of Asheville (next, the World!) interact with art and artists, and vice-versa. We intend to do through a series of "mutations", public events in Asheville. There's going to be 23 of them (hence the name), starting April 1st. I'm not entirely sure how much I can say about what our first act will be (I'll find out), but it should be interesting. Loyal readers shall be updated.
When I was first invited into this little cabal, I had a burst of inspiration. For years, I've been half-unconsciously compiling a list of artist freak-outs I'd like to do, but probably would never do. I deciding to engage in some conscious-raising, and wrote down twenty three suggestions of mutation for the group to do. Some are neat, some would probably never work, and some are lifted almost verbatim from other sources. I present them to you now.
  1. Starting a New Country (also known as a micronation)- The Artistic Empire of Asheville (or the Artistic Republic, or whatever.) Readers of this blog will know my opinion of the concept of the nation-state (I'm agin' 'em.) But if they do have a positive quality, it is the art they inspire. The flags, the seals, the anthem, the coats of arms, the constitutions, the proclamations, the treaties, all that. So let's have that, without that pesky tyranny, bloodshed, and taxes.
  2. Starting a New Religion- Same broad concept as starting a new country. Religion in the service of Art, not the other way around.
  3. Augmented Reality- Behind the magic door of your cell phone, we  turn Asheville into a faerie world, a psychedelic, mythopoeic landscape.
  4. Art Show Scavenger Hunt- One installation contains clues to where another one is. May incorporate geocaching.
  5. Art Show on the Street- At a predetermined time, day, and place, art is displayed. People are just walking along, going through their day, when all of a sudden they find themselves in a (to them) spontaneous art show. After ten minutes, the show is gone, never to be seen again.
  6. Mobile Art- Art show as parade.
  7. Art Porn- An installation presenting Art as Pornography. Frame artistic works using the tropes, tricks, and verbiage of smut.
  8. Art Battle (Version A)- Like a rap battle, two artists competitively create against each other, cheered on by the audience.
  9. Art Battle (Version B)- Like professional wrestling. Staged, scripted, ridiculous story-lines, ridiculous costumes, and color commentators who get increasingly drunk as the event goes on.
  10. Municipal Altars- Large public structures, a new one put up for every Wiccan sabbat . Usable by multiple at the same time for worship.
  11. We run a fictional character or an abstract concept for public office.
  12. We run a personal ad for a fictional character or abstract concept. 
  13. PR campaign promoting a taboo concept, like cannibalism.
  14. Public awareness campaign against a fictional scourge, like jenkem or cheesing.
  15. Art Terror- Mysterious public art & non-destructive (although still disturbing) artistic pranks, with a fictional organization claiming responsibility, promising that their acts of "poetic terror" will continue until their demands are met. Their demands are absurd and impossible. 
  16. Manufactured Craze- Asheville art beanie babies, or pokemon, or something along those lines.
  17. Memorbilia- posters, merchandies, quotes, memes- for a movies that doesn't actually exist.
  18. Public time capsule, constructed and buried with great fanfare, giving a completely inaccurate picture of life in 2010 Asheville. 
  19. A commitment to art that strives for immediacy .
  20. A campaign to denounce 23.
  21. Art Bombing- Pick a random person and artistically transform their life, Extreme Makeover  style.
  22. Art-Crime- Art show celebrating, glorifying, and maybe incorporating something illegal. Suggestions include drug use, illegal immigration, & prostitution, but maybe also theft and murder. 
  23. Art Apocalypse- We construct an art village Mad Max  style. It would be fun.

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