October 27th, 2001  | Categories: Bidder vs. Peter Friedl     Newer Entries »  

View at the exhibition “Blow Job” by Peter Friedl, state of the exhibition space before the auctions began.

Opening: Peter Friedl

“Blow Job”

2 November 2001 – 1 December 2001

Opening reception: Thursday, 1 November 2001, 7 pm

Coming next: 8 December 2001 –  12 January 2002

Torsten Hattenkerl

Opening reception: Friday 7 December 2001

In November 1st Public White Cube (PWC) is presenting a project by artist Peter Friedl, who lives in Berlin. This is PWC’s second exhibition in which members of the public are invited to influence an artwork. Friedl is known mainly for his installations, typographical interventions and film works. He will design a text scenario comprising seven characters and the sketch of a story situation. Participants from the public will be invited to carry on the story and develop the characters. “Any contribution in any language is welcome,” says Friedl.

“Blow Job” is the second exhibition which offers the public not just something to look at, but the opportunity to join in and make major changes. The first venture of this type was Adib Fricke’s exhibition “SWOKS”, during which six Internet auctions were held, enabling exhibition viewers to win the right to modify the artwork or even change the whole exhibition concept. Over four weeks, Fricke’s work “SWOKS”, a neologism shown as a colour installation on a wall in a gallery, was modified using lighting technology, garden technology and economics. Six people invested money to gain the right to alter the exhibition. They made their own changes in the gallery and progressively changed the surroundings of “SWOKS”.

Peter Friedl’s project continues this exhibition principle. Friedl calls his offer to the public “an open scenario”. Would-be participants can continue writing and altering a text which will be presented as an online website on a monitor in the gallery. Anyone who wants can enter his or her contribution in the exhibition itself and add a paragraph to the ongoing story. The text is also conveniently available under Blow Job Drama, where it can be freely altered. Only the title and the seven characters are fixed. The fate of the characters is open, and new ones can be added. This means the quality and genre of the text is left completely to the contributors. As Friedl says: “There is no set genre. ‘Blow Job’ can be a story, a play, an opera, a film script or all of these together.” We could say that the genre of this artistic scenario will be its inherent capacity for change.

Peter Friedl’s exhibition posits a conflict. Two different kinds of public intervention are possible. Anybody who changes the text will fit into the artist’s master plan. No matter what the outside participants write, it will fulfil the sketchy concept outline. Meanwhile, anybody who bids in the Internet auction and wins the right to change the work can install visual changes in the gallery. But these visualisations will never reach the anonymous text-in-progress being written elsewhere. Friedl’s proposal is that the bidders visualise “people, scenes, situations, details and ideas from ‘Blow Up’ in the gallery.” No matter what bidders from the public create in the gallery room after winning the auction, it will always remain a game against the background of the text as it continues its languid progress.

Can participants from the public emancipate themselves from the given preconditions? Do they want to? And how do they react and respond? These are all questions for the exhibition.