Interactive Installation at the Cutlog New York Art Fair

May 9th-13th, 2013

107 Suffolk St  

New York, NY 10002

 

“Everyone is an artist.” – Joseph Beuys

 

Below you will find the description and results of Seymour’s interactive, site-specific installation created for the inaugural New York edition of the Cutlog Art Fair which took place at The Clemente from May 9-13th, 2013 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

 

Seymour believes that everyone has an innate potential for creativity, so we conceived a simple project designed to be powered by each participant’s individual imagination. We also hoped the project would help the general public re-connect with the simple joy of basic gestural expression.

 

Visitors to Cutlog were invited to take a break from the activity of the art fair and enter into Seymour’s Surf Your Mind booth. Once they were alone inside the pristine, softly lit, white interior, a curtain was drawn for privacy and each participant donned headphones to listen to a short audio recording of Seymour’s mission and receive brief instructions.

 

Participants were simply encouraged to enjoy this moment of quiet away from all the pandemonium and to calm their mind as completely as possible. We suggested that they try to relax their grip on their usual active thinking and let their thoughts flow naturally. We then requested they take the paper and pen provided and express anything that came to them: a simple drawing, a few words, scribbles, anything or everything that floated up. When they felt done with the experience, participants were told to anonymously slip the paper into a slot carved on an interior wall of the booth. All the drawings were kept sealed within the structure until the end of Cutlog.

 

There was no time limit imposed. Participants could remain in the booth as long as they wished. The average time spent in the booth was 5 minutes, the longest Mindsurf lasted approximately 20 minutes.

 

124 people participated. 4 of them chose to insert blank pages in the slot.

 

Below you will find a video presenting each one of their creative expressions:
 

 

Through this interactive project, Seymour hopes to have inspired Cutlog visitors to take regular breaks from external stimuli to explore their subconscious, cultivate their imagination & express their authentic creative self. We hope they will continue the Surf Your Mind adventure on their own time.

 

This Seymour project for Cutlog NYC 2013 was in large part inspired by the artist Joseph Beuys whose philosophy is elegantly explained in this excellent text by Walker Art Center curator- Joan Rothfuss:

 

One of Joseph Beuys’ fundamental messages, delivered again and again in lectures, interviews, and artworks, was that human beings can and must learn to be creative in many different ways. His famous slogan “Everyone is an artist” was not meant to suggest that all people should or could be creators of traditional artworks. Rather, he meant that we should not see creativity as the special realm of artists, but that everyone should apply creative thinking in their own area of specialization–whether it be law, agriculture, physics, education, homemaking, or the fine arts. Beuys imagined that an expanded application of human creativity–and the broader definition of “art” that would follow–would result in something he called “social sculpture.” While the term encompassed many things for Beuys, it might broadly be defined as a conscious act of shaping, of bringing some aspect of the environment–whether the political system, the economy, or a classroom–from a chaotic state into a state of form, or structure. Social sculpture should be accomplished cooperatively, creatively, and across disciplines (he often cited the example of the beehive as an ideal working model). For Beuys, the need to change, or literally to re-form, was urgent. “All around us,” he said, “the fundamentals of life are crying out to be shaped, or created.” -Joan Rothfuss, Curator- Walker Art Center

 

 

 

Project produced by: Melissa Unger, Catherine Talese, Gaylen Hamilton, Keran Masselin

Special thanks to: Brennan Cavanaugh, Savitri D.

Photos in the slideshow at the top of this page are by Catherine Talese