Omar Kholeif, whose plea for racial favouritism in the arts recently entertained us, is enthused by a project named Unrealised Potential.
The project features,
An expansive collection of proposals from a breadth of contemporary artists, writers, musicians and curators.
And how does it work?
The unproduced ideas are lined up in the first gallery, alongside a set of terms and conditions, whereby visitors are invited to purchase the artist proposals for ‘realisation.’ The setting adopts a similar structure to an auction space, where a red sticker is placed on each idea sold, with the purchasing ‘producer’ being offered two years to realise the project, before it returns to the marketplace.
Isn’t it just wonderful? And so terribly clever. Visitors to the exhibition get,
The opportunity to purchase the right to interpret and realise an artist’s idea.
An artist’s idea. Oh fortune, she smiles upon us. Think of it as a remix, but with no original recording, or demo, or evidence of talent. Apparently, this constitutes,
Critical and, at times, contradictory commentary about the commercialisation of the arts.
And not a cheap and derivative hustle. Why, the very idea.
Some readers may recall the ICA’s Publicness exhibition of 2003, which - in ways never quite specified - “interrogated globalisation” and “notions of the public realm.” The exhibition’s four-page press release promised the thrill of “proposals for projects that may never be realised.” In other words, the artists were so heady in their conceptualism they could short-circuit the tiresome business of actually making or finishing anything, and could instead be acclaimed - and paid - simply for airing “proposals.” One almost had to admire the efficiency. After all, it saved everyone – especially the artists – a great deal of time and trouble. Though you can’t help wondering how the artists would have felt had the audience adopted a similar approach to visiting the ICA: “Let’s not bother going and just pretend we did…”
And lets not forget the non-existent giant flying art banana, a theoretical masterpiece that cost Canadian taxpayers over $130,000 and which, had it materialised, would have said something unflattering about the previous incumbent of the White House. Because, hey, artists are just so goddamned edgy.
But back to Mr Kholeif and his keen curatorial insights:
The very act of potentially encouraging complete ‘amateurs’ to consider the delivery parameters of such creative output offers audiences an insight into the graft and expertise required to produce a successful creative project, while simultaneously reminding them of the risk involved... What is worthy here is this notion of process: audiences are granted the privilege of witnessing the multifarious facets of an artist’s psyche.
You heard the man. It’s a privilege. Well, having climbed the heights of Mount Vanity, let’s bask in the glow of that creative lava stream, shall we?