Directions for the Mind was an event-exhibition presented by the Prohibitive Genus Collective. From September 5th to September 23rd, 2017 the gallery space was used for participatory, ephemeral yarn installations. Directions for the Mind was an exercise in creating art that provides an experience both through planned and chance encounters. A small group of people, known to the featured artist (Laura Bucci), were sent invitations to participate in creating yarn installations one-to-one with the artist. Passersby were invited to participate and book appointments through an informational poster on the window gallery (although no requests were received). Through this event-exhibition, the Collective aims to continue its work in micro-actions that focus on connecting with others through face-to-face and personal one-to-one interactions.
September 5 – 23, 2017, at Parking Spot Projects, 8 East Cordova, Vancouver
Parking Spot Projects was a temporary (one year) exhibition and event site run by Underground Assembly.
This self-interview aims to provide information on the motivation behind the exhibit.
Why are you sending invitations to a small group of people and also only to people that you know?
As an artist, Laura Bucci makes a living working in a commercial kitchen and by offering grant writing and editing services to artists. She also walks her dog in her neighbourhood and sees the same shopkeepers day in, day out. Many people that Laura interacts with have a limited and conventional notion of art. For an artist focused on art as actions and the affective qualities of an encounter, Laura has often found it challenging to explain to non-artists what her medium is. So this event-exhibition allows her to let people experience a non-traditional way of being engaged in and with art. In the case where the invitee is a creative, the intention is to create space to develop depth to the relationship. Ultimately, the goal is to deepen existing relationships.
How were the installations created?
Each invitee was asked to bring a friend and to book an appointment online. Present at each collaboration, was the artist and one or two other people. Yarn was the main material offered to create intuitive two or three-dimensional installations. The floor and the walls served as the support material.
How long was each installation available to view?
Each installation was available to view intact until the next appointment showed up during which participants built on the existing installation or started one from scratch.
Why the focus on face-to-face and one-to-one interactions?
This is a response to modern living, which is increasingly experienced online. We feel that the amount of online connection is fundamentally creating a lack in connecting. When we lack connection, we start feeling isolated. Isolation leads to emptiness and many other behavioural challenges. This project creates space to re-connect and to play and ultimately to create an experience and emotions that will be remembered for some time.
Why were invitees asked to bring a friend?
This was inspired by artist Dayanita Singh who created photo journals (Sent a Letter) with a certain person in mind and then created two copies of each journal–one she kept and the other she gave to the person it was made for. These journals, constructed in accordion fold, allow the recipients to hold a private mini exhibition at their own homes. In this way, the artist is expanding her audience in a personal and intimate manner. In Directions for the Mind, the artist was also able to interact personally with friends of friends. It is not unusual in North American society for friends not to share their friends, so this event-exhibition creates an opportunity for that to happen.
What inspired this project?
Early in 2017, the artist was working on a handmade journal/book that contemplated ‘happiness’ (the book was displayed during the exhibition). It was a challenge to figure out how to display and share a unique book, but more importantly, the realization that followed the creation of the book was that it is crucial to take action, no matter how small. French philosopher Felix Guattari’s words have particularly stuck with the artist, he said, “microscopic attempts of the community and neighbourhood committee type…play an absolutely crucial role.” Directions for the Mind values small actions and small audiences over impersonal exhibitions.
(While the book was better experienced by those who participated in the yarn installations, passersby were able to still view select pages. Each day the artist was in the gallery, she turned a page and left the book facing the window.)
What does the title of the exhibition stand for?
The phrase Directions for the Mind was encountered while reading Descartes treatise titled Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. While creating the book, the artist felt she was setting down directions in case of future states of discord.