July 11, 2009

Field Test + Sunday Soup Mashup

I have been thinking about Hideous Beast's project Field Test, a project wherein Josh and Charlie attempt to re-create other artists' projects and then make public the documentation of their results. It reminds me of the work I did as an Americorps Volunteer at Caldera - trying to develop and document systems for use by future volunteers and employees of the organization. In the case of a lot of socially engaged work, artists suggest new ways of interacting with the world, implying that the value of their pieces lies in their use, repetition, and modification, rather than their value coming from economic capital due to scarcity.

In preparation for the STOCK artist grant program, I decided to try and create a Field Test/SundaySoup mashup of sorts.

First, I emailed Bryce from InCUBATE to see if he could give us any more information about other Sunday Soups that he's aware of so that I could spread out my research. He responded:

"Other soups have so far taken place in: Grand Rapids, Mexico City, Newcastle, and Houston. Although I feel like I am leaving a couple places out.

Here is documentation from Newcastle: http://saturdaysoup.wordpress.com/

There is also this group that has started a similar program in Brooklyn called FEAST (Funding Emerging Art through Sustainable Tactics -- wonderful, isn't it!?) They've been doing it in a church basement (although they're on hiatus for June and July because the basement gets too hot). They have also managed to get a lot of food donated and, because it's New York, a ton of people come. Accordingly, they've been giving out big, chunky grants. I met one of their members, Jeff Hnlicka, when I was in New York for a panel on Alternative Arts Funding not too long ago. Anyway, they have a pretty nifty website built with indexhibit (free webpage building web interface thing): http://www.feastinbklyn.org/

I think it would be great if ya'll started a Sunday Soup (or whatever else you wanted to call it) in Portland! Field Testing it via Josh and Charlie is like the butter on top! ...Did you see the handbook they made for Soup that's in their little library boxes?"

I emailed Josh and Charlie and got the following response from Josh:

"Your inquiry about the field test 'process' points to something we've been itching to formalize but haven't really done yet. the basics (and if i miss anything i'm sure charlie will chime in) are to 1. find an instruction set 2. contact the authors if possible and chat with them about the project 3. use the instructions and any info gathered from the authors to do the project 4. document the results, noting how shifts in context, audience, resources, etc. affect the outcome 5. we also make a 're-manual' where the original instructions are included with our notes and documentation.

the part we haven't really worked out is the 'evaluation' implied by the title, 'field test' -- to me, the evaluation takes place in noting contextual differences and other possible applications. it's not so much about a measurable effectiveness - though maybe it should be?

open to any thoughts - this one has been somewhat dormant for a bit, so we'd love the opportunity to spark it up again."

So here goes...the beginning of an attempt to recreate the works of other artists and document how it goes. In the meantime, if anyone out there has ideas on how to evaluate the program, let me know.

1 comment:

kmikeym said...

Evaluation is systematic determination of merit, worth, and significance of something or someone using criteria against a set of standards. (wikipedia) As such, I'd argue that without that set of standards you can't accomplish the evaluation.

I would suggest talking to the original artist to determine what effect was caused and if they consider that to be a success. If an artist considers it a failure, and you repeat it perfectly, you can only write an evaluation that the project failed...

The wikipedia page takes it DEEP.