Greenpants / Luminous Intervention
Contact: Mike Bonola and Erin Barry-Dutro
How is the project operated?
Legally we are an unincorporated association, practically we are a collective of artist/activists. We meet more or less weekly over a meal and plan our work, learn about other projects (past and current), shoot the breeze, and conspire about new ways for us to communicate through art.
How long has it been in existence?
What was your motivation?
The initial group met through the Occupy Movement. We specifically worked on the Arts and Culture Committee. We wanted to extend our collaboration beyond the short lived occupations and continue to focus on provocative art geared towards rabble rousing.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
The size of the group tends to stay around 8 people, though members come and go as life intervenes.
How are programs funded?
We were initially funded through grants and crowd sourcing. We now do occasional fee for service work. Ultimately, though, we keep expenses and fund raising needs very low.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Our decisions are overwhelmingly made by the entire group in our weekly meetings. It’s always been us, the members of the group, that have decided what we work on.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
We average around 18 events per year. So far all of our public events have been projection oriented, though some have included music, food, or live performances. The projections tend to average around an hour.
What kind of events are usually organized?
Our events are all projection oriented. Some are very community oriented, such as events in our “Hot Walls” series in which contributors brought out large communities of friends and followers, but many are for unanticipating audiences that just stumble on our work.
How is your programming determined?
Here again, it all comes out of decisions made in our weekly meetings. We use consensus to make our decisions.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
Our artistic approach is often defined in terms of the collaborators that we find ourselves working with. By reaching out towards a lot of local activist groups we have tried to both foster a sense of community and allowed ourselves to work on a wide range of issues simultaneously. And by listening to the goals of our partner organizations we often find ourselves pointed in a direction, artistically. We occasionally fall back on words as the easiest and most straightforward way to convey messagery to an audience with an extremely high turnover rate, but it is this fast-paced interaction that also challenges us. As an example: how do we retain the attention of a moving crowd on a Friday night?
What’s working? What’s not working?
We are happy with a lot of our work, and with our partner organizations. We like our meeting structure and our close-knit group. We like what we think we can bring to the table for other artists and groups working for social change. We like the energy that we receive from very fast one-off projection responses to current events, but we also like the pacing of more slowly-considered projects. It sometimes feels like the same things that work for us when done well also become the crutches that we lean on if we aren’t pushing ourselves to engage the audience in new ways. Imparting a nuanced message to fast-moving highway traffic, with or without using words, will always be a challenge.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We have realized that we have gained a lot of technical experience with our equipment over the years, and with it we hope to play a role for positive change within the art community. Where we see inequality we have attempted to illuminate it, and we use our equipment to help level the playing field. Our “Sausage Party” projection was a response to a prominent and well-funded local mural project in which at first only one mural out of over a dozen was created by women. We then created a projection series of local artists’ work, turning over a night of projection to each of eight artists, all except one who were powerful and talented women. We were thrilled by the opportunity to work with the artists in “Hot Walls.”
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
We are looking forward to the possibility of a second round of “Hot Walls” projections at some point in the future. We also often play around with the idea of giving small projection tours, in which we help educate the public about different local issues. Over the course of this winter we’ve begun attempting as a group to further our countercultural artistic educations and learn from those who have come before.
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