ELISA LESHOWITZ | DATE 3/28/2011
On Saturday, March 26, the Dexter Sinister "Sometime Bookshop and Ofttime Maker of Projects" space, run by Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt, was turned into a darkroom-for-a-day in support of a project by Jason Fulford—one of several art workshops in Fulford's itinerant Mushroom Collector series. After climbing down the steep steps to the basement of 38 Ludlow, visitors entered a tiny room packed with people anxiously awaiting original artworks—handmade photograms of random objects chosen by the vistors. The entire experience felt like an excised scene from Alice in Wonderland.
Visitors were confined to a compact room walled off from the gallery and perforated by two small openings. One was a Malevich-like red square window, tilted on an angle, where visitors could catch an occasional glimpse of the back of someone's head passing by or a pair of eyes peering out to survey the crowd. Below the red window and to the right was a smaller black opening, inset with a shelf for placing even smaller objects for collection. Every so often, an anonymous hand would pop through the black opening to remove the objects that had accumulated, replacing them with finished photograms of the set of objects that had been left before. The photograms were packaged in small envelopes accompanied by stamped and numbered cards like the one below.
At first unsure of the procedure, I asked the other waiting participants, and was instructed to simply place an object in the small black opening. Earlier, I had settled on a key to a long-forgotten door that had been sitting on my desk at home for months. Was it for an old apartment? A friend's place? I simply could not remember. No matter: I left the mysery key in the black hole and received the unique photogram below in return after about 15 minutes. As I left the space, I couldn't help wondering what would become of my orphaned key, and, for that matter, all of the objects left behind? For now, we'll have to wait to find out... Perhaps a Mushroom Collector museum of used and random objects?
Fulford's tour continues to Los Angeles this spring, when he will set up shop at ARTBOOK @ Paper Chase from May 27 to 29. West coast fans should not miss this chance to fall into a very curious rabbit hole!
THE SOON INSTITUTE
Clth, 9.5 x 12.5 in. / 196 pgs / 115 color.