Tuesday, August 13, 2013

why i love the Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest Project

Working to raise funds to expand my participation from the Los Angeles venue of Alexandra Grant’s Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest Project to the Paris venue, has made me realize just how multi faceted and important the project really is. In order to create a clear and concise kickstarter campaign, my collaborator and I decided to focus our discussion of the Interior Forest Project to its simplest form, honing in on where we are directly involved, as a single “Visiting Tree”, of the much larger “Forest” of project components.

That said, I wanted to say something more about the project beyond my own participation in it, and express more broadly just what you are also supporting when you contribute to Telecollabing: Paris +LA.

So here are just 3 of the reasons why I love this project:

1.) HELENE CIXOUS! This project has introduced me to a world of texts by a writer who I have come to treasure as I have been lucky enough to participate in the biweekly Helene Cixous reading group in Los Angeles since January. The book “Philippines”, which the interior forest project is structured around, touches upon many of the themes and ideas of Cixous other writings.  Through its central place in this pair of exhibitions and accompanying events, the interior forest project functions to garner attention to this important writer and broaden her readership. Learn more about the reading group component of the interior forest project here, get involved in the Los Angeles group here, and start or refresh your own Helene Cixous library here.

2.) EACH PARTICIPANT MATTERS: A typical art exhibition means going into a neutral space and looking at the art objects on display there, be they on the wall or the floor, on a pedestal or hung from the ceiling, in general, the art experience is about what happens between each individual viewer and the artworks on display. The Interior Forest Project complicates this idea by opening up its installation period to public participation where visitors can both physically contribute to the work on view and can also meet and affect the artist while the artwork is being produced. Allowing this level of transparency while the drawing and installation components of the interior forest project are created means that this making process becomes an important conceptual aspect of the work where each participant, each person who enters the gallery during the installation, changes the work, adding to compose the complex surface of built-in layers of individual voices. Everyone who participates contributes to making the forest more truthful. The beauty and generosity of that conceptual gesture is another reason why I love this project.

3.) FEMINISM AT WORK: The interior forest, to me, is a picture of what contemporary feminism can look like in an art context. Setting the ego aside, here, the artist is in the gallery every day meeting and greeting everyone who stops by, personally explaining what the interior forest is about and helping each participant find a way to meaningfully contribute. Creating a space for community to form and grow and structuring opportunities for as many other artists and creatives as possible runs completely counter to the norms of the established art world. As I see it, this is a feminist approach to an art exhibition and unlike any art project I’ve ever been involved in before. Working in the interior forest project has been a great example of feminism at work and inspires me to look for ways to incorporate ideas like hospitality and generosity into my own future projects.

Learn more about the interior forest on the project website here.

Join in the conversation on Facebook here.

Support our participation in the project here

Thank you to our new kickstarter project backers: Katherine Hinz and Daniel Lloyd! We have 55 hours left with $650 yet to raise......

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