Friday, December 7, 2007

Hijacking Artlies: A Collaborative Piece Performed by Nancy Douthey and Julia Claire Wallace. October- December 2007.

Nancy Douthey and Julia Claire Wallace were enrolled in a class at the University of Houston taught by the intelligent and fashionable Andrea Grover. The head mistress of Houston's hippest microcinema, The Aurora Picture Show.

Apparently, Andrea had been asked to write something for an upcoming Artlies magazine that would be focusing on collaborative/participatory art. She decided to invite her new Participation Art Class to create something together for the magazine.

To make a very long and frustrating story short. The class members each thought of five ideas then voted, re voted, brainstormed, re voted, read the editor's statement, brainstormed, re voted, re voted, re voted, RE brainstormed, and then re voted again , and THEN they had a particularly AWFUL class in which everyone simply argued passionately.

At this point they had come to the conclusion that they were going to recreate something from the sixties. A "mocumentary". The class had mysteriously ended up choosing to recreate the one image that their teacher had brought in. A Fluxus event in which a shapely woman is covered in whipped cream and then licked.

Everyone went home feeling defeated and frustrated, especially Nancy Douthey and Julia Claire Wallace.

The next day, after many various class members about the terrible class, the two Houston artists found themselves discussing the subject on porch of Julia Claire Wallace's Art Space currently known as 'The Julia'.

Nancy Douthey wanted to talk out her frustration, and Julia Claire Wallace was thrilled to join in.

(note: This is the first of the famous "Art Therapy" sessions, that have inspired/contemplated many Houston Art Happenings.)

They discussed and discussed. They devised a rebellious plan to use their energy outside of the stifling classroom setting.

They remembered a story told by Ms. Grover at the beginning of their class, an inspiring story about collaboration and participation taking art from under the nose of authority.

The story of Buckminster Fuller being kidnapped by Ant Farm.

They would steal the Artlies project from their teacher! She would understand, she loves Ant Farm!

They decided to do their own recreation and trick Artlies into printing their own piece instead of the dreaded licking piece!

So they looked online and decided that they must recreate a phone booth stuffing, on the corner of Westheimer and Kirby. They emailed the class and everyone they knew. Everyone in the class spread the word and about 25 people showed up the next afternoon.

(Participants included Houston Artists such as: Lindsay Burleson, Emily Sloan, Michael Brims, Tyson Urich and Aisin Chacin. The fantastic photos were taken by Michael Brims.)

It was beautiful!

Julia Claire Wallace recorded her feelings and thoughts concerning the phonebooth stuffing in her blog. It was a wonderful learning experience for Julia and many of the other artists involved.

They did not tell any of the participants that they were part of a mischievous plot to kidnap the Artlies spot.

A week later they co-wrote an email that they regarded as genius to the magazine and it read as follows:

Dear ArtLies,

We are a couple of students in Andrea Grover's Participation Art Class. Andrea Grover came to us with the task of creating something concerning Participation Art for your magazine. After much heated discussion the class finally "agreed" to create the images that Andrea has presumably sent you.


quite a few class members were not completely fulfilled by this endeavor and decided to use the energy and inspiration to create their own "Mocumentary" photo. What ensued was an amazing experience on the corner of Kirby and Westheimer.

Unbeknownst to the participants that they were fulfilling a typical Ant Farm prank, we decided to hijack the mocumentation project. However, due to a lack of hacker skills we did not feel we could adequately dupe you into believing that these photos are from Andrea.

In the spirit of collaboration, we hope you will consider adding this image along with (or instead of) the previous selection. Only with your participation can this participatory project be completed.


Julia Wallace and Nancy Douthey

They heard nothing from Artlies, and were disheartened.

But a month later Julia Claire Wallace and Nancy Douthey showed up to their Participation Art Class extremely late and were greeted with interrogation about a deviant Artlies project that their teacher had been emailed about.

They reacted with a gleeful hug of joy!

(More to come)


Share Alike said...

The only thing you two steal is credit for everything. Must YOU own everything? The beauty of it being a collective effort is lost on you.

JuliaInTheRye said...

Did you read our email? We didnt take credit for anything but the email? The email wasn't a collective effort, me and nancy did it in our spare time. Please let me know what credit is misplaced here, and I will be glad to fix the problem.

JuliaInTheRye said...

And really, I find collective effort incredibly beautiful, I really do. If you read the link in my blog about the phone booth, I hope that I make that clear. And if you were referring to the licking piece, I found it very beautiful, but I do question it being a "collective effort".

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Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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