Project 20 kicks off on January 16 with the opening of Participation Nation, an exhibition that brings together three artists and artist collaboratives who create installations that invite viewers to participate by contributing to the work’s content. Participation Nation will be a highly interactive exhibition experience with new works by Finishing School (Los Angeles), Neighborhood Public Radio (Albequerque, Chicago and San Diego) and Lee Mingwei (New York).
Neighborhood Public Radio is an independent, artist-run radio project committed to providing an alternative media platform for artists, activists, musicians, and community members. Setting up temporary booths to stream content onto the internet, or using low-power portable FM transmitters, NPR’s nomadic team–anchored by artists Jon Brumit, Lee Montgomery, and Michael Trigilio broadcasts live shows from galleries, residences, and neighborhood points of interest. To celebrate the character of local neighborhoods, “NPR” constructs programmatic narratives with community members’ voices rather than through journalistic reporting. During Participation Nation, NPR will work with local musicians, visual artists, activists, journalists, and Baltimore–area residents to participate in this grassroots activity whose neighborhood-based programming provides inspiration as an alternative radio broadcast model.
Formed in late 2001, Finishing School is a Los Angeles–based collective that explores issues such as individual rights and freedoms, governmental power, scientific exploration, and corporate branding and influence using humor, technology, and activism. Finishing School established themselves in 2002 with “Today it’s Voluntary,” a provocative view of surveillance and individual freedoms in a post-911 world. In this installation, Finishing School established their model for participatory projects as they subjected gallery visitors to a series of voluntary “security” screenings as they attempted to enter their exhibition venue. For Participation Nation, Finishing School is developing a new project entitled GO, a project that will invite viewers to document explorations of their neighborhoods using digital cameras that will be available at the museum.