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.
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Samuel Leuenberger is an independent curator from Switzerland. Since 2009 he runs the non-for-profit exhibition space SALTS in Basel and newly appointed curator of Art Basel’s Parcours.

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

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