exploring the creative intersection of participatory media and participatory democracy …
Spontaneous Storefronts: Projecting Democracy
Spontaneous Storefronts is a periodic series of storefront installations presented by Forecast Public Art throughout the Twin Cities. This installation of Spontaneous Storefronts: Projecting Democracy in the historic Minnesota Building at the corner of 4th St. and Cedar Ave. is a partnership between Forecast Public Art and Northern Lights.mn. Works presented here were created as part of the The UnConvention, a non-partisan collaboration of local and national cultural institutions and citizens, initiated by Northern Lights, exploring the creative intersection of participatory media and participatory democracy. The UnConvention exists as a counterpoint to the highly scripted and predetermined nature of the contemporary presidential nomination process and conventions.
Spontaneous Storefronts: Projecting Democracy includes selections from three UnConvention projects: My Yard Our Message, UnConvention TV, and I Approve This Message. These projects feature new work by local and out-of-town artists responding to the topic of civic engagement.
My Yard Our Message
Yard signs are as ubiquitous and familiar to the American political landscape as baby-kissing and stump speeches, combining catchy images and pithy campaign slogans to increase visibility for vying candidates and their parties’ messages. In honor of this election season, My Yard Our Message turned this tradition of political ephemera on its ear with a unique national competition divided into three phases: in June 2008, artists, designers, and the general public were invited via a website to submit political yard sign designs exploring ideas about what it means to actively participate in a democracy. Beginning July 1, a month-long public voting process began, where browsers on the Internet could cast votes for their favorite yard signs. And now that the citizenry has spoken, the top 50 vote-getting designs have been placed by the Walker Art Center and mnartists.org in neighborhoods throughout the Twin Cities and are projected here. In addition, all of the yard signs are available for individual purchase.
My Yard Our Message is a project conceived by Scott Sayre and produced by the Walker Art Center and mnartists.org in collaboration with The UnConvention.
From September 1-4, just a few blocks from this intersection, the Republican National Convention took place inside the Xcel Center accompanied by numerous protests and other activities in the vicinity. Multiple sources from citizen journalists covering the events inside and outside the convention were used by producer/editor Chris Strouth to create this hour-long nightly UnConvention TV program. Selections are presented here.
I Approve This Message
What would you ask John McCain or Barack Obama? What would you say to a delegate at the Republican or Democratic National Conventions? I Approve This Message invited artists and the public to create short videos with their own political message. The videos are intended to serve as a community-generated media response to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, giving people–in and out of the Twin Cities area–a voice and an opportunity to promote thinking about what participating in democracy looks like. A selection of the entries is presented here.
I Approve This Message is a partnership between the Walker Art Center and The UpTake in collaboration with The UnConvention.
In addition, Steve Dietz has curated two specific projects for I Approve This Message: Definitions by San Francisco-based artist J.D. Beltran and The Happiness Effect by formerly Minneapolis-based artist Bruce Charlesworth.
Presenters and Supporters
Presented by Forecast Public Art and Northern Lights. Supported in part by EMI Rentals and St. Paul’s Cultural STAR Grant program.
Chris Strouth on UnConvention TV