Artist: David Horvitz
"What's in the Box!" David Horvitz + Lukas Geronimas + + + +
Co-Lab Project Space
What’s in the Box! Is a mutli-stage touring project, instigated by David Horvitz and Lukas Geronimas, in collaboration with The Black Hole Space and currator Terri C. Smith, and all those that participate in the Box Game. Project stages consist of: 1. An online web location providing event information and project updates 2. A series of box games played at pre-determined as well as impromptu locations throughout North America over the course of one month 3. A statistical analysis of game data, leading to a conclusive theory of what is inside the box 4. A long-term phase of constructing the answer to what’s inside the box 5. An exhibition of the constructed answer along with documentary material and ephemera from the Box Game tour.
The Box Game is a portable event that allows a player to guess or ‘vote’ for what’s inside the box (the process of guessing and voting at the same time is explained later). The Game’s initial run will take place during the months of March and April 2009 at over a dozen pre-determined venues, and just as many impromptu locations. The setup and rules are as follows:
The game can be setup quickly anywhere indoors or outside; the Box Game Backdrop (8’ h 6’l collapsable painting reading WHAT’S IN THE BOX mounted to a resilient framework) is leaned against a support, and the Box (3’h 1.3’w 1.3’l) is placed in front of the Backdrop. A balloting table is placed next to the box. Costumes consisting of sport coat and tie are donned by the hosts (David and Lukas). Once setup is complete, one of the hosts announces that the game has begun, and the other host guides audience members to the balloting table and explains the rules.
The rules are simple: using a pen and paper ballot, the player uses his or her imagination to decide what’s in the box. The only information provided by the hosts is that there is art in the box, and that the player’s effort will help determine what it is. Once the player has written down his or her decision, (s)he proceeds to put the piece of paper into the box. Every player’s decision is a guess that counts as a vote that will elect the work of art produced as the answer to what’s in the box. There are no bad or ‘wrong’ guesses.
The collected ballots at each location will be compiled and analyzed both within the entire set of answers from all events, and separately as a local subset of answers. Construction of the final answer (the ‘artwork’) is contingent upon the results of the data once analyzed; the artwork will be produced according to frequency of answers, as best interpreted by the artists involved in the project and panel members selected by the artists. For example, if more players guess that the there is a statue inside the box than a painting, greater weight will be placed on statue when realizing the artwork. Each player will have the chance to receive a printout of the data analysis, concluding statements, and specially made art-works for their participation.
Every stage of the What’s In the Box project is critical - the art that occurs during each interactive event falls within the involved parties’ desire to explore how art as experience creates a reactive space. The space of the Box Game allows all contestants to participate in the distribution of the sensible qualities of an artwork, and it is our hope that this will lead to greater awareness of what kinds of relational theories are under construction in today’s multifarious art world. Also on trial is the effectiveness of objective methods (the survey, and analysis of data) to produce successful artworks - what does democracy do for art? And science?
*The ability to both guess and vote at the same time is a result of the unique project-based timeframe within which the Box Game falls, which works to subvert conventional linear thinking about cause and effect. The player is guessing on a pre-determined artwork with yet-to-be determined qualities. The artwork is already there, but it’s not really there yet… the Black Hole space provides a suitable, closed environment to allow for this paradox. Linear time is not the essence of this project.
David Horvitz is an artist from the Los Angeles area, currently residing in Brooklyn and studying photography at the Milton Avery School at Bard College. His work finds thoughtful ways to contemplate time and distance, and unconventional methods to distribute and exhibit art.
Lukas Geronimas is an artist from Toronto, who has lived and worked in Vancouver, Tokyo, and New York. His art questions object-hood as a stable state in art, and how artistic narrative can move outside the context of art and into the community-at-large. He is currently studying sculpture at the Milton Avery School at Bard.
The Black Hole Space is a portable exhibition space resembling a pedestal, constructed by Joshua Clayton and run by curator Terri C. Smith. Artists are invited to submit proposals for the Black Hole Space and evaluated based on the quality and creativity of their proposal.