My favorite part of the Austin Studio Tour is more of the peripheral art of the tour: the experience-type stops on the tour. Things like The Eureka Room of Vision Gland’s psychedome or backyard rollercoaster.
This year I was busy with work, but did make it out to a few (for lack of a better term) “immersive” things.
The Bodega at cul-de-sac : this was hands down my favorite thing. Inside a normal-looking house on a cul-de-sac there is a “bodega” that is run “remotely”. The bodega has shelves of products you can buy. However, instead of being things you’d actually buy in a bodega, they are (rather inexplicably) plaster castings of things you’d buy in a bodega. They are for sale. And one of them contains a $100 bill.
The entire place was various shades of beige and there was no one there to greet you in person. Just an avatar of a cat video conferencing in on a MacBook placed a delightfully awkward three feet above the ground.
Besides purchasing plaster casts of items you might wish were the real thing, you could order a (real) sandwich that was delivered by a rope and pulley system, apply for a job, and a few other things that could be easily overlooked, especially if you lacked the appreciation of the sandwich delivery system.
Elsewhere on the tour…Real Human Experience (an art collective and fabrication shop made a walk-through experience that was staffed with characters and ended in a fabulously manufactured spaceship bar thing). Rolling Ryot positioned huge speakers lined up across 400’ of underpass in a park for a sonic experience called Ghost Line X. I also found myself at a party the first week of the tour that may or may not have been part of the tour, but had a small walk-through experience of blacklight, neon, and televisions. The highlight for me were the videos showing you yourself in the previous room. Reminded me of the Museum of What Just Happened. I also visited Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, where they took a duplex about to be demolished and turned it into a multi-room canvas for taggers and other artists.
Ever since I debuted the Eureka Room at EAST 2018 I thought it would be cool to have a whole separate tour where all the “art” are experiences. At EAST I felt like I was sort of shoehorning the Room into an art tour. I’m sure others felt the same. (Indeed, there was one woman who came and said “oh, it’s not real art” and then turned around and left.)
An experience-based tour would not just be permission to do experiential “art”, but would also be an invitation and inspiration to people who just want to make something cool – both “artists” and people who don’t consider themselves artists. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of such a tour but I would love to see it.
Perhaps it could run in the sort of quasi-organized fashion of Portland’s Pedalpalooza. In many ways, they just throw up the listings and promote the event as a whole but don’t get into the details of each ride.
Right now, however, I need to focus on the Eureka Room, so my involvement in this proposed event is on hold. Stay tuned.