Friday, September 23, 2011

Phantom of the Gallery Makes Appearance at Red Interactive Opening

Last night was our Red Interactive Art Opening in Superior, WI. Based on the energy produced it was an invigorating experience that evoked generous quantities of smiles, creativity, appreciation and at times even awe.

Red Interactive is the result of months of conceptualization and dialogue. John Heino and I have frequently expressed a desire to collaborate on a project together over the past few years, but we were not sure when or how or what form it would take until we saw the initial call to artists for Phantom Galleries Superior.

Phantom Galleries Superior (PGS) is one of six Phantom Gallery initiatives in the state of Wisconsin supported by the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. PGS is a unique partnership between Superior Public Art Creating Community Environments (SPAC2ES) and Superior Business Improvement District (BID), the property owners, the artists, and the community. Use of properties is generously donated by the owners. Additional support comes from multiple artistic resources, the BID, and the Morgan Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

One of the challenges for John Heino and myself centered on how to communicate our ambiguous, open-ended concepts in an artists description of the project in order to gain approval to obtain a space for our show. We new our aim would be to engage a public, but the physical form this would take was undefined.

An early iteration of our thoughts went like this: Our work is about perception and connection. The connections are built around the various thematic meanings of Red. We were also striving through interactive social media to make universal connections involving multiple continents and cultures.

This kind of nebulous language left too much up in the air. Eventually we produced more concrete descriptions of where the project would go. This statement was ultimately pposted on our Red Interactive Facebook page:

The physical component of Red Interactive aims to open in the fall of 2011 in Superior, Wisconsin (specific date and location TBA) and run for two months. At each of three events, red-themed art and found objects will be collaboratively arranged in a 3D composition within the physical space. Each event will also feature red-themed performances (music, dance, poetry, etc.). Parallel to the physical show, space and performances, Red Interactive will have a virtual space here on this Facebook page and through the full array of online channels such as Twitter and blogs. Some elements will move back and forth between physical and virtual Red Interactive spaces. This is open architecture. We welcome all artists, creative thinkers and people who simply enjoy art--particularly experimental projects. The only boundary is that this is a public arts project, so we ask that all physical and virtual contributions are appropriate for public display.

The big thrill last night was the cross-section of visitors from all walks of life and the wildly wide range of participants in the collaborative sculpture. As imagined, the open-ended definition of what the show would be invited unexpected surprises. Jeredt Runions contributed sidewalk art directing citizens of Superior to the front door. And the surprisingly wonderful Phantom of the Gallery showed up to dazzle, amuse and delight all who were present in the early part of the evening. There's no business like (red) show business.

Another big thrill was the involvement of artists from all seven continents in last night's show. We invited many of them to follow us on Facebook while the show was going on and two artists from Ireland texted us to say they were enjoying the building of our Red Interactive sculpture as we streamed it live onto the Internet. At the top of this page is the Art Wall of China which garnered a lot of attention. At the bottom of this page is a parting shot of the gallery after the festivities were concluded, showing the results of our red sculpture composition. Everyone had been encouraged to wear something red and to bring something red for the sculptural assembly. It came together like a dream.

A huge thank you goes out to everyone who joined us last night, and to all involved in the process of making the Phantom Galleries Superior project possible, especially Erika Mock who curated our show.

Two more events are planned in this space as part of Red Interactive. At some point in early-to-mid-October we will be having a Brown Bag Lunch dialogue in the space where we explore the meaning of art in our lives, the importance of public art and the role of art and artists in culture. Then, on October 20 will be a four-hour multi-gallery event as part of Phantom Galleries Superior.

For more photos and commentary on last night's event visit and "Like" Red Interactive on Facebook.


G&K said...

Ed and John,

Fabulous event! The multi-layers of creativity and participant involvement was incredible.
So creative, engaging and dynamic.
Thank you, thank you, thank you and MORE, MORE, MORE....

Gary and Kelly

John Heino said...

Ed, it has been a pleasure and an adventure growing our friendship and collaborating on Red Interactive!
I add my profound thanks to everyone near and far who energized Red Interactive with their engagement, creativity and unique gifts.
Our challenge now is to build, expand and enrich. The next chapter starts today!

ENNYMAN said...

Red Interactive is what emerges when dreams collide. Many thanks to all who made it possible... and yes, who knows where the red will lead us from here.

Pedro H. Albuquerque said...

Really nice conceptualization, congratulations to all!