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.
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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)

Don't Talk to Strangers

ArchivedHappened in October 2014
40.7059067000
-73.9331975000
Fresh Window

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.

Thoughts
Information

Participating artists are Thomas Moor (Switzerland), Karyn Olivier (Trinidad & Tobago), and Linda Tegg (Australia). Open daily from 12pm to 6pm. Friday night until 10pm. Download Dossier

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.

The exhibition ran from October 23rd to 26th, 2014 and took place at Fresh Window Gallery, 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn.

The second edition of Don’t Talk to Strangers took place in Zurich, Switzerland.

Kunsthalle Tropical Library

ArchivedHappened in October 2014
65.3375011000
-15.8522764000
Kunsthalle Tropical

A journey of several days through mystical Icelandic topography leads to the site of Kunsthalle Tropical, the hallowed burial ground indicated only by a peculiar rectangle of stones shrouded by ice-capped mountains. There, the book detailing the institution's greater vision was buried.

The Kunsthalle Tropical Library was founded.

Thoughts
Information

On October 11, 2014, a team of five ceremoniously buried the Kunsthalle Tropical’s first and so far only book, entitled Sometimes Attention Should Be Paid to the Absence of Everything (Link), a one-of-a-kind handwritten and illustrated ode to the curators' greater vision for the unconventional space in the Icelandic desert.

The burial celebrated the official founding of the Library within Kunsthalle Tropical.

The book was buried in a industrial strength lock-box, analogized to the encapsulated knowledge within a library. Underground, the book will rest undisturbed until a curious individual is willing to dig a little deeper.

In order to prompt its patrons to quest for knowledge, the buried manifesto serves as a challenge to the Kunsthalle visitors capable of locating the lock-box to explore the Kunsthalle Tropical Library, where other unique books may also be buried in the future.

Similar to all great works of fiction, the Kunsthalle Tropical Library is designed to bridge reality and our wildest imaginations. Imagine a library without books, shelves, and librarians. What does it mean to declare a uninhabited land a library?

In the absence of the usual accouterments, will the library successfully function as a dwelling for intellectuals, metaphysical thinkers, and literary connoisseurs? Inspired by nature’s beauty, romantic notions, and humanist bravado, will the Kunsthalle Tropical Library ever realize its conceptual potential?

Traditionally, a library is a place that facilitates reading, learning, and studying. A library is a servant of knowledge and an exciter of one's internal sense of adventure.

Libraries are often quiet, organized, and comprised of carpeted floors drenched in florescent lighting and punctuated by dated shelves, tables, and chairs. But above all, libraries are the physical archives of our past and present and hold the transcribed relics of our world’s greatest minds.

The Kunsthalle Tropical Library challenges the physical model of the library proper by declaring that the same opportunities presented by the local library are available to its visitors in the remote setting of the Icelandic desert, where shelves, tables, and chairs are transcended by panoramic beauty.

Likened to an engrossing novel or study, this library is anyone’s for the taking but requires effort and discovery to understand. Ultimately, the experiences of Kunsthalle Tropical’s collective visitors will redefine one's understanding of a library, encapsulating our modern memories and messages stored in the clouds.

Though physically defined, the Library at Kunsthalle Tropical is conceptually grounded in the journey, much like its first book, a now ‘absent’ transcription of human will and imagination.

The Kunsthalle Tropical Library was founded on October 11, 2014.

UPDATES

The burial of the book Sometimes Attention Should Be Paid to the Absence of Everything (link) celebrated the official founding of the Library within Kunsthalle Tropical.

In June 2016 Kunsthalle Lissabon was guest at Kunsthalle Tropical. Luís Silva and João Mourão invited the portuguese artist Joana Escoval to join them on the exploration. The artist added Outlaws in Language and Destiny to the library. The publication is co-published by Palmario Recordings and AtlasProjectos and consists in a clear acetate 7'' Mono Flexi-Disc containing sound recordings of insects in a rain forest of Costa Rica mixed with the sound produced by a 180º orthodontic X-Ray in Lisbon. Encased in a double-sided poster with two found photos representing two kids and two birds, in Amazonia and Sweden.

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