The following libraries have already been included in the program:
THE TOTALITY OF TRUE PROPOSITIONS (BEFORE) Julien Prévieux, France
Julien Prévieux’s library takes the audience on a trip through time. His locally-sourced collection of books brings together publications, manuals, and handbooks filled with concepts and ideas that did not survive the inexorable passage of time. However informative these books are — or once were — their irrelevance today demonstrates how knowledge can ultimately be fleeting. For this library of obsolete books, we collaborated with the libraries at Universidad de Costa Rica and the Costa Rica Institute of Technology. → more
BOOKSHELF BY BARBARA HOFFMANN Barbara Hoffmann, Germany/Switzerland
What are the favorite books of designers who normally create other people’s favorite books? We asked book designer Barbara Hoffmann to select 15 books for display at Despacio. Her selection features books that stand out for their thoughtful interplays of form, material, and content. Or in her words, she picked them for, “: it's the story, the smell, the touch, the grid, the look, the cover, the color, the sound, the paper, the weight, the appeal, the size, the title, and...” so many other reasons for which to love these books. → more
TRAINING TO BE A GIRL Sophie Barbasch, United States
Sophie Barbasch's books originate from asking men on Craigslist simple questions like, “Are you lonely?” “Is there anything you've never told anyone?” “Tell me why I'm a good girl,” “Please send me a picture of your bed,” and “Please write me a love letter.” → more
LIFE IS ELSEWHERE Diana Abi Khalil, Lebanon/France
Diana Abi Khalil writes and draws in her little notebooks about traveling to space, heartache, and questioning moments of doubt. Most of the artist’s notebooks are unfinished or forgotten, others have been smudged by rain or tears, and yet others were lost or gifted to friends or lovers. Playful yet honest, these notebooks each take on lives of their own and for the first time ever are united and on view. → more
POINT OF VIEW An Anthology of the Moving Image
For over 30 years, video and film art have challenged many of the conventions of the art world. From questions of reproduction to issues surrounding acquisition, video and film art have grown from marginalized forms of artistic production to material for mainstream filmmaking and music video production. Point of View is an innovative commissioning and publishing project by the New Museum designed to make video and film art more accessible, and to fully utilize the qualities inherent to the medium. → more
WORDS ENDING ON TAPE with Printed Matter, New York
We collaborated with Printed Matter, Inc. (New York) to revive an almost lost medium. A few decades ago the cassette tape was the most convenient way to record sound material, yet with the fast advancing digital world it is at the verge of being completely forgotten. Nevertheless, artists have continuously used this format to further expand their forms of expression. Listen to the sound of a diary, bodies, an unstable table, singing sand, and of a disassembled cassette in our newest Library in Residence. → more
PRIVATE MATTER Diego Fournier, Costa Rica
Loose pages, fragile, incomplete and sometimes too personal, the artist Diego Fournier lends his sketchbooks to Despacio. By exploring the processes of the everyday, whether ravens eating worms at the plaza, the dancing legs of frogs or a boy experiencing the beach, each of these intertwined stories of personal encounters unfold to new destinations of imagination in a series of 20 handmade sketchbooks. → more
The Library in Residence program opened on March 2016 and runs in parallel to Despacio's exhibition program.
We playfully confound two typically distinct spaces—the gallery & the domestic home—as artists present their work in the households of participating NY residents. In each dwelling, an installation area is designated, while the existing items (i.e. sofas, coffee tables, books, and personal objects) are moved and reinstalled in a gallery space.
With the artworks thus displaced, gallery visitors must directly contact the private hosts, whose phone numbers are available alongside their displayed belongings.
The art world disrupts the private sphere and vice versa
Visiting another’s home leaves a lasting impression. From the authors on the bookshelves to the contents of the refrigerator, a personal dwelling offers almost imperceptible information about one’s life. Much the same, the artistic qualities of memories made in such a home correlate to the environment in which they occurred. This is a pivotal facet of Don’t Talk to Strangers, which atomizes preconceived notions of the gallery proper by casting a peculiar hue on the entrancing properties of that which we cannot live without: art.
Overlap of Public and Private Space
In this reappropriation of an exhibition, artists present installations in the households of participating Bushwick residents, rather than in the Fresh Window Gallery. Curators work closely with each dwelling’s artist to designate an installation area from which all existing items are relocated and installed at the gallery space.
Once the exchange is complete, viewers are invited to contact private hosts, whose phone numbers are available alongside their displayed belongings, to ascertain operation hours of their newly appropriated “home gallery.”
A Far More Personal Experience
By design, Don’t Talk to Strangers challenges viewers’ expectations and impishly suggests an alternative experience that is far more intimate than typical art viewings in gallery settings. While Fresh Window Gallery visitors are initially denied access to the work they desire, they find reciprocity in elite-access at the cost of their time.
This inventive model encourages a deeper level of participation by diverting the impulse to passively consume. If the viewer takes full advantage, each visit to Fresh Window Gallery offers another phone number, another unique experience, and another opportunity for adventure.
The heightened sense of participation, contacting hosts and making appointments, results in a heightened sense of investment. In this way, Don’t Talk to Strangers reaches beyond an exhibition. Viewers searching for a contemporary art fix will be challenged to pursue a pilgrimage in the name of art, allowing exploration to play a role in their eventual experience of the work.
Consequently, the initial disappointment from lack of artwork becomes a chance to discover far more than the artwork itself.
Polyphonic Roles of Host and Viewers
Meanwhile, the host wears many hats—fellow man, homeowner, art expert, guide, and institution. By welcoming viewers into their home, they also welcome the possibility of new perspectives and interpretations of the artwork at hand.
Though the newly-formed relationship between host and viewer may end post-viewing, while together, both parties are of one ambition: to let art happen outside of the institutionalized art world, as well as to rediscover their autonomy as art viewers and enthusiasts.
Such a circumstance, however, also forces the host into a position of influence, just as any art institution influences its patrons. As a result, the host’s life story is on display like the art in their home. This creates a more personal system for viewing contemporary works: an intimate environment that will no doubt lend itself to a fond and vivid memory in the archive of the viewer’s life.
Random Institute entreats its audience to bask in the unknown and to reap the reward of memories, knowledge, and experience. The home of a stranger offers the perfect setting, the grand stage from which a narrative will naturally emerge amongst the trio of host, viewer, and artwork. This narrative becomes both a tale closely linked to the home and, quite possibly, an inseparable part of the artwork displayed in Don’t Talk to Strangers.