Juxtapoz // Thursday, May 01, 2008
Curators and public interventionist artists, Shoshana Brand and xtine, have been working on a project they call Knocking On Bricks, Artists vs Institutions. Basically, Knocking On Bricks is an art and belief project that challenges mainstream ideas, explores social issues, and empowers artists from all reaches of the globe. Sounds sweet so far.
Shoshana Brand and xtine state, “First we composed absurd proposal letters and mailed them to different national institutions and well-known public personas. Shortly after the expected rejection letters arrived, we extended ourselves into an individual creation of two-dimensional artwork. Our next step was mentoring, curating, and promoting a group of visual artists to create artwork addressing the absurd proposals, which had already been rejected. The final step includes essays written by well-known visual artists, commenting on the topic of rejection and personal success in the art arena.”
In shifting the power away from institutions and people that traditionally dictate what defines art, and who deserves to display it, Knocking On Bricks creates a powerful shift in paradigm. While communicating with international artists, Brand and xtine’s roles changed from artists who submitted proposals to anonymous institutions, to administrators who orchestrated artists from all over the world.
This image embodies a project called Homeless in Los Angeles, from Chinese artists Yu Ji and Deng Ye Min. Brand and xtine requested that Verizon give free cell phones to the homeless in LA as a form of community outreach and potential career help. After this outrageous proposal was sent, and Ji and Min created an artistic response to directly point out the realities of social inequality, as well as the absurdity of much legislation and outreach. (The homeless may want a home first, before a cell phone.)
Knocking On Bricks points out social ills while reclaiming power in the face adversity, all in an artistic manner. If you’re like us, you’re about to spend too much time checking out all the other amazingly witty and innovative Knocking On Bricks projects. We promise you won’t be disappointed.