Tue - Sat, 12 - 6PM / 212.937.6580 / 540 W 21st St. New York, NY 10011
*BLURRING REALITY* "The Atlas Group was founded by Walid Raad
"The Atlas Group was founded by Walid Raad as an imaginary foundation to research and document the contemporary history of Lebanon."
"From 1975 until 1991, Dr. Fadl Fakhouri was in the habit of carrying two 8mm cameras with him wherever he went. With one camera he exposed a frame of film every time he thought the wars had come to an end. With the other camera he exposed a frame of film every time he came across a sign of a doctor's or dentist's office."
They don't seem to consider any of this art, but Improv Everywhere blur reality in playful ways on a regular basis. In The Moebius, they set up a simple scene in a coffee shop, that played out over and over again. You've probably heard about this on This American Life, but I think it's worthwhile to consider in the context of participatory and guerrilla art as well.
And on the guerrilla tip, we have those Williamsburg Bike Lanes - removed supposedly because of culture clash between the Hasidim and "skimpily clad hipster girls on bikes", and then repainted in the night. Over and over again.
Here we have Steinbrenner-Dempf building a fake STARBUCKS COMING SOON construction site over the facade of an old european church, presumably prompting pre-emptive outrage.
So, to bring that all together, we've got a fictional person exploring actual events, a time loop inserted into unsuspecting everyday life, unauthorized bike lanes creating a wanted reality, an inflammatory construction site helping prevent an unwanted reality, and a needed but unconventional service that crosses social boundaries. There's a guerrilla aspect to a lot of this work, implementing the reality you want or don't want on an unsuspecting public. Some of these works provide a service with these interventions. And every time, there has to be an entry point of believability, so that we are blurring reality rather than sharing in a performance.