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
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Families of Objects

ArchivedHappened in June 2015
47.3756400000
8.5290660000
Réunion

What happens when you bring together 10,000 files stolen from hacked computers, commissioned photographs taken by former employees of a bankrupt factory in the Czech Republic, a collection of memories blurring the line between subjectivity and objective evidence, arts & crafts projects secretly completed on company time, the colorful materialization of waste, and a mysterious artifact that survives only in words?

We’re not quite sure.

Thoughts
Information

Participating artists are Ben Thorp Brown (United States), Lamia Joreige (Lebanon), Jana Kapelova (Slovakia), Marco Andrea Magni (Italy), Eva & Franco Mattes (Italy), and Jirí Skala (Czech Republic).

The show, curated by Marco Antonini (Italy/USA), will also activate a number of protocols from RICHARD, an ever-expanding online catalogue of readymade ideas, images, and objects.

The exhibition will premiere at 7pm on June 5th at Réunion before traveling to the Abrons Arts Center in New York. Explore the event on Facebook.

The show will also be open on June 6th from 2pm – 8pm.

The image used for the announcement of the exhibition is one of the 10,000 photos stolen from personal computers by Eva and Franco Mattes.

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.

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