paperJAM, Under Construction
, About Face - No Longer Empty (installation view)
photo by Lauryn Gerstle
In the piece titled Under Construction, paperJAM has created an evolving installation that reconfigures the notion of “gallery space” within the context of an urban community. Under Construction challenges the traditional nature of an exhibition as a “white cube” containing aesthetic and cultural objects for passive observation, contemplation, and/or purchase. To that end, paperJAM invites the audience to participate in the literal building of the work.
paperJAM initiates the audience/artist collaboration by installing the beginnings of a cityscape simulacrum, built from boxes constructed origami-style out of newspapers – recycled objects containing the stories and news of the surrounding community. Instructions are offered to you, the viewer, by way of a projected video on how to make your own newspaper box, along with stacks of newspapers to make them from. Once made, you can then add your box, like a building block, to the city structure… helping to build our city, together.
The audience is literally constructing an urban representation from their community’s printed history. The installation subverts a traditional curatorial process by asking the audience to play a significant role in the structuring of a continuously evolving piece. Although Under Construction has provided instructions and suggestions, we hope there is plenty of room for spontaneity and re-interpretation.
Alongside the instructional footage, dream-like scenes of the surrounding neighborhood are projected with distorted sounds of the city. These surreal images taken from the world beyond the walls of the gallery further blur the definition between the two spaces, and between what is real and what is imagined.
paperJAM thus intends to re-conceptualize the relationship between community and gallery space, artwork and artist, audience and artwork, and audience and curator. In a culture where out-sourced labor, digital networking, and disconnected community members are the norm, paperJAM hopes that Under Construction will inspire working artists, curators, and gallery-goers alike to re-think their relationship to both the gallery space and their own neighborhood.