Looking back on Subprime

October 23, 2008

Subprime at Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival

October 17-19, 2008

The Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival is a delightful event.  One may take the weekend with family or friends with the hope of skimming through a selection of local cultural producers; perhaps purchasing a pretty picture from one of the many charming artists who sit beside their work, warmly greeting passerbys.  Wandering through the many rows of booths in the festival at Plumbers Hall this year, more than a few spectators happened upon the Green Lantern booth, with expressions that read, “What the fuck?”  The ‘what the fuck’ expressions ran the gamut of potential applications for the phrase, and also spanned the spectrum of potentially implied feelings, from bewilderment, aggravation, to sheer joy.

“Subprime,” is the busking installation with a rotating schedule of artists, that we set up in the Green Lantern booth. It was initially inspired by Lily, Sarah, and Marvin, the then- members of “Subprime Mortgage,” who took to busking on the streets for the fun of playing for an audience, more than anything else.  For “Subprime,” the artists who took part were promised a video monitor or two, a bucket for tips, and a mobile stage/painting, which would serve as the platform for the artists’ performances and exhibitions.

Once the stage was set, it was all up to the artists to arrive and do their thing; and all of the artists did in fact arrive, more or less, at their scheduled times, and everyone did their thing marvelously.  Greg Cook exhibited his monument to humanity’s sordid erection.  I showed a video about the connection between the painting/stage, my dad, and Sally Struthers.  Marco Kane Braunschweiler & Martine Syms showed a video of empty Chicago landmark interiors.  Rodney Lee conducted his percussive soul transfusion.  Subprime Mortgage collaborated with David Diarrhea, who was inducted into the group through the course of their performance.  Amanda Browder exhibited her rainbow vomitting gorilla.  Paul Cary crooned amid the hustle and bustle.  Tessa Siddle premiered her powerful performance involving surveillance cameras and 6 chickens. Toby Bengelsdorf read penetrating remarks. The Dead Gods brought their own P.A. and very loudly rocked the fuck out! Todd Mattei showed a contemplative video about football and words. And Ventrilla Kiss closed out the festival with a divalicious drag performance.

Central to the praxis of “Subprime” is the action of artists (and artworks) busking for gratuity(ies) from the audience.  There was certainly a rotating audience (especially after our installation was moved from the original booth to the front entrance of the festival, after causing a ruckus and too many traffic jams), and a few people made their way to “Subprime” numerous times, for different performances/displays.  Each performance/display beckoned spectatorship by the virtues of each artist’s practice.  Cumulatively, over the course of the festival, we made a little more than $10 and a cherry tomato.

It happened; we pulled it off; it was beautiful.

 

Greg Cook’s monument kicked off the event.

The two monitors are playing videos by Young Joon Kwak, and Martine Syms & Marco Kane Braunschweiler.

 
 

Rodney Lee Jones took the stage shortly thereafter.

 
 

tragic foreshadowing.

 
 

Subprime Mortgage

 
 

Lily and Marvin

 
 

The song called for bangin’ of heads.

 
 

Paul Cary

 
 

Tessa Siddle

 
 

The Dead Gods are setting up, as Toby Bengelsdorf gets ready to read.

 
 

Dead Gods

 
 

Ventrilla Kiss puttin’ on her makeups.

 
 

Goodbye.

 
 
much thanks to Around the Coyote and my homegirl, Allison Stites.
 
 
-Young Joon