Random Institute is an extension of what a contemporary art institution can be, that is to say, truly unbothered by rules and bureaucracy. Ultimately, it brings together & curatorial and publishing activities.

Since March 2016, Random Institute is running the curatorial program for Despacio in San José, Costa Rica.
The best color is transparency.
The best defense is a good offense.
Untold Stories
Shown
Anytime
Anywhere
Federico Herrero was born in 1978 in San José, Costa Rica. He lives and works in San José. He won the special prize for young artists at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001. He is the founder of Despacio.

First Day of Good Weather

ArchivedHappened in January 2017
51.2227347000
6.7716700000
Sies+Höke

Art history rarely moves in a straight line. Now more than ever, when it comes to a collective notion of Latin American art, there are as many ways to approach it as there are to traversing its nineteen countries and territories. Steering clear of a generalized survey of the region, we choose a more personal path by compiling works from Latin American artists that inspired us throughout our journey over the last decade, bringing to the fore the works, artists, and conversations that we couldn’t possibly forget.

Thoughts
Information

First Day of Good Weather takes as its inspiration and starting point conversations that happened in and around Despacio. While it is true that personal dialogues can result in a filtered perception of reality—the filters as well as the perception being both highly subjective—that same subjectivity seems to be an essential ingredient for a truly independent art space. There are no set guidelines, just a vision that is focused through the discourse of like-minded peers.

The exhibition features artworks by sixteen artists from Central America, the majority of whom have never before shown their work in Germany. Also included are thirteen more Latin American artists who have been at the center of extensive dialogues detailing their profound influence on entire generations of artists, from Mexico’s Rio Grande to Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego.

Spanning multiple genres and ranging in tone from political to humorous, the works transcend the immediate allure of the exotic to reveal the contagious spirit of curiosity. The artistic propositions are often balancing acts between everyday life and what it means to be an artist in Latin American society—a society which has a long history of wrestling with local and global political crises, colonial capitalism, abuse of power, and the struggles of subsisting day to day.

Art is critical thinking—building an awareness of the inner workings of the mind. But art is also making sense of the situations we find ourselves in. It helps us to accept that there is not such a thing as a single current reality, but rather a myriad of perceptions that together comprise our collective reality. The sum of all of these works is, therefore, much more like a fluid conceptualization of Latin America and its art than it is a static definition.

First Day of Good Weather takes visitors back to where everything began: the conversations with artists that sent our thoughts flying into space to return in new and unusual configurations that would culminate in more than fifty exhibitions and projects over the last decade. The exhibition is a voyage of discovery through the artistic territory of Latin America, far off the beaten path of exotic fantasies, dealing instead with specific experiences and contexts that exist in constant states of evolution. We wait, ever watchful, after each rainy season for that first day of good weather to begin our explorations all over again.

Thoughts by Sandino Scheidegger

The group exhibition opens on January 13th and runs through March 11th, 2017 at Sies + Höke in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Facebook Event

Participating Artists: Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Iván Argote, Sol Calero, Javier Calvo, Luis Camnitzer, Benvenuto Chavajay, Donna Conlon & Jonathan Harker, Alejandro de la Guerra, Melissa Guevara, Federico Herrero, Walterio Iraheta, Alfredo Jaar, Regina José Galindo, Aníbal López, Teresa Margolles, Adrian Melis, Ronald Morán, Rivane Neuenschwander, Yoshua Okón, Liliana Porter, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Abigail Reyes, Crack Rodríguez, Gabriel Rodríguez, Tercerunquinto, Adán Vallecillo, and Guillermo Vargas Habacuc.

Photo credits and copyright: Images of the art works courtesy of the artist and their respective galleries. Installation views by Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf.

Don’t Talk to Strangers

ArchivedHappened in September 2015
47.5635867000
7.5904474000
I Never Read Art Book Fair
52.5068332000
13.3674023000
Neue Nationalgalerie

Many of life's most interesting situations arise from unexpected encounters with strangers. Don’t Talk to Strangers was conceived to lead viewers into such experiences by integrating the unexpected into the very structure of an exhibition.

The book retraces some of the dialogues that emerged from the exhibitions, which took place in New York and Zurich, somewhere between the openness of an art space and the intimacy of a stranger’s home.

Thoughts
Information

A chance meeting in the street, a vision on the bus ride home, even a website stumbled upon by accident can channel the power of the unknown into richly evocative new experiences.

The dialogues found in this book are a result of the exhibition Don’t Talk to Strangers, which took place in New York and Zurich. What’s special about it? It was conceived to lead viewers toward new experiences by integrating the unexpected into its very structure.

Artists presented their works in the privacy of strangers’ homes, while items belonging to those same strangers (furniture, books, and personal objects) were reinstalled in a public art space. Once the exchange was completed, gallery visitors were invited to ask private hosts, whose phone numbers were available alongside their displayed belongings, about the opening hours of their newly appropriated “home galleries,” a far more personal experience.

Visitors searching for a contemporary art fix were instead led on a pilgrimage in the name of art, replacing the passive act of viewing with an open and unpredictable experience of exploration. The initial disappointment at the lack of works within the art space thus became a chance to discover far more than the art itself in exchange for taking the time to do so.

A stranger’s home offered the perfect setting, the grand stage from which a narrative could weave itself between host, viewer, and work of art, linking private and public spaces and quite possibly making someone’s personal experience an inseparable part of the art on display.

If Don’t Talk to Strangers offered a more personal system for viewing contemporary works, it’s only because those involved with the exhibition accepted a leap into the unknown. Maybe, by reading through some of narratives we’ve retraced as dialogues in this book, you will too.

Get your digital copy: Publication, Cover




BOOK PRESENTATIONS

September 19-21, 2015
Book presentation by Kodoji Press at the Tokyo Art Book Fair at Kyoto City University of Arts, Tokyo.

September 18-20, 2015
Book presentation by Kodoji Press at the NY Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, New York

September 8, 2015
Book presentation at Sundowner, an event series that brings people together every other Tuesday on the terrace of the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

June 18, 2015
Official book release at the Art Book Fair I Never Read in Basel, Switzerland.


COLOPHON

Home Stories with Cory Arcangel, Alejandro Cesarco, Peles Empire, Selina Grüter & Michèle Graf, Aloïs Godinat, Federico Herrero, San Keller, Karin Lehmann, Richard Long, Thomas Moor, Karyn Olivier, Linda Tegg, Slavs & Tatars, and Strangers.

With special contributions by Ahmet Bugdayci (New York), Samuel Leuenberger (Basel), Cory Arcangel (New York), San Keller (Zurich), and various strangers.

If you want to learn what strangers from a faraway city said to San Keller when he asked to be let into their homes with a copy of this book in his hand, you can call San Keller (phone number is published on page two).

Edited by Sandino Scheidegger & Nicola Ruffo

Publisher: Kodoji Press

Graphic Design: Atlas Studio

Don't Talk to Strangers

ArchivedHappened in February 2015
47.3756400000
8.5290660000
Réunion

Artists present artworks in strangers' homes in Zurich. In each household, an installation area will be designated, while existing items (furniture, books, and personal objects) will be reinstalled in the art space.

With the artworks thus displaced, visitors must directly contact the private hosts, whose phone numbers are available alongside their displayed belongings at Réunion.

Thoughts
Information

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 Zurich residents, rather than in the Réunion art space. 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 visitors of Réunion 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 the art space 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.

ARTISTS  Alejandro Cesarco / Alois Godinat / Cory Arcangel / Federico Herrero / Karin Lehmann / Peles Empire / Richard Long / San Keller / Selina Grüter & Michèle Graf / Slavs and Tatars

Curated by Sandino Scheidegger & Nicola Ruffo

The exhibition took place from February 6th–17th at Réunion in Zurich. Art works could be visited at the apartments of the hosts, independently of Réunion’s hours of operation. → Facebook Event

The first edition of the show took place in New York.

PRESS REVIEW
Tagesanzeiger, Friday, Ron Orp

Kulturplatz SRF (Swiss Radio and Television) with Harald Schmidt:
Entire Report / Bonus Material

SUPPORT
The project is kindly supported by Stadt Zürich and Ernst + Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung. We would like to thank all hosts, as well as Ringer Collection (Zurich) and Galerie Tschudi (Zuoz) for their collaboration.

PHOTOS
Juliette Chrétien (Project Plan) & Matthew Cianfrani (Installation Views)

Sandino ScheideggerJohanna SchaibleBookRamon StrickerJean-Dominique NgankamHoiko SchutterVinzenz MeynerRenaud LodaSebastien VerdonMarion QuartierLaurentino RodriguezNicola RuffoSimone HuserCarlos GonzalezAndreas WagnerSascha LinglingMonika StalderAnnika EbneterHans WirzChristian MesenhollLukas ErardRenato AebiLilian KlosePhillipp SiegenthalerChristophe KuenzlerMarcel MeuryEmanuel SenAnna ErnstJrene RolliRomano StrebelBarbara StreuliStephan AebischerToby MatthiesenAnna RhynEli RhynLorenz HuserMagdalena OberliMichael BaeriswylSimon GrossenbacherJulia WeissDiana Abi KhalilMarco StrickerArnim MahlkeFabian NiklausLuca MüllerResearchLindsey CashMarlen HaushoferMarcel BroodthaersMartha NussbaumMalcolm McLowryMartin SuterMcElweeMichael MooreN.R.KleinfieldNiels van MaanenNietzschePaul D. MillerPaul ÉluardPaul McCarthyPeter MountfordPlatoPopeProustR. P. 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WhiteCharly Le PoissonnierTheaterStrangersAlexis Coco DupontJessica BrasslerAlma EggerSluiceAlberto DiazChen SerfatyOrlando DiazDilara ErbayAhmet BugdayciMally SustickMolly O'BrianCharlotte ColmantLonnie StantonHilary BrownBriana BrownSarah LifsonNola SmithMarco AntoniniStephanie TheodoreKarl EnglandCharlie LevineBen StreetMonia SbouaiLucia Ruiz de InfanteAli Ekber ÇelikJohan AchermannVladimir BessonAngela JimenezElizaveta KonovalovaTarissan AnnaAlexandra GoullierMarion RingevalMathieu CénacGiulia MagnaniDominique MeierMartin Furler BassandDominik WensauerJan MarckhoffRoland FrühFlorian Schmidt-GabainChristoph SchifferliStefan BiglerStefan BumbacherHumberto GollabehUrs SteinerDania MichelCory ArcangelPeles EmpireSelina Grüter + Michèle GrafAlois GodinatRichard LongFederico HerreroKarin LehmannSan KellerAlejandro CesarcoSlavs and TartarsLibraryLuís SilvaJoão MourãoKunsthalle LissabonJoana EscovalRobert FrankTanzhaus ZürichMaria PetschnigDaniel HellmannJamie DiamondMarie-Caroline HominalMica SigourneyMarc StreitJiri KovandaAntonio Da SilvaHuang QingjunJeremy CohenMohamed ArejdalMohammed LaouliValentine UmanskySophie LapaluMatthias RaffelsieperJanosch PerlerMarco Andrea MagniEva & Franco MattesLamia JoreigeJana KapelováMarco AntoniniJiří SkalaBen Thorp BrownSamuel LeuenbergerKodoji PressBook LaunchSchool of Visual ArtsLectureRobert Barryto be announcedJulien PrévieuxSophie BarbaschBarbara HoffmannFrancis AlÿsDavid ClaerboutDouglas GordonGary HillPierre HuygheJoan JonasIsaac JulienWilliam KentridgePaul McCarthyPipilotti RistAnri SalaDiego FournierPrinted MatterNina Beier & Marie LundAnna HugoSwen RenaultNicolás RobbioIván ArgoteFayçal BaghricheJay ChungJulian CharrièreSigurdur GudmundssonAdrian MelisHans EijkelboomBethan HuwsCarey YoungDiego Arias AschJürgen KrauseJens RischBen LongJens SundheimSasha KurmazRonald ReyesHabacuc Guillermo Vargas Paulette PenjeJavier CalvoCamille LaurellieteamMikko KuorinkiThomas GeigerYann VandermeRoger MunozBenvenuto ChavajayMarton RobinsonNicola TrezziSabrina Röthlisberger BelkacemAchraf TouloubAlfredo AcetoAlison KuoClifford E. 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