Yesterday we picked up a special donation some of our shoppers will notice today. The donation comes from artist Kevin Cooley and consists of 47 television sets he used to create the public art display Remote Nation that could be seen from The High Line last month. As the very essence of MFTA is turning old items into new art, we are trying a new idea at the warehouse. Special donations such as this will require recipients to let us know how each organization is using them. In this instance, we are hoping to track the 47 television sets on the blog to see how many different uses our recipients can muster, using any number of the sets. We challenge our recipients to take this opportunity to demonstrate how creative they can be. Remote Nation is partly about “evolving relationships to technology” and we’re hoping that even part of the old project can be incorporated into the new one. Because that’s how much we’re into creative reuse. Here is the full description of Remote Nation:
Remote Nation is a public art installation in which the inhabitants of an entire high-rise apartment building appear to watch the same television station simultaneously. Viewers outside of the building are presented with an orchestrated display of the ambient televised light which appears to be organic, pulsing, breathing and changing color reminiscent of aurora borealis. From the outside looking in, the viewer becomes a voyeur to these individual electronic campfires, as a witness of the collective solitude of a remote, tv-watching nation.
Inspired by observing my parents watching the same program, but in separate parts of the family home, I have animated a new residential condo building with 100 reclaimed analogue televisions. Each TV is individually tuned to receive to a live transmission from my father’s television in Niwot, Colorado. I employ a combination of analog and digital technologies to transmit this signal across the US. Each individual TV set receives a local Internet transmission to display a tightly cropped, altered version of my father’s nightly edit of televised content. A single television, turned to face the High Line, allows the public to see a doubly abstracted version of the original program that more closely resembles an fuzzy over-the-air broadcast from the past than today’s hyper real, crisp digital format.
Remote Nation evokes a physical manifestation of the abstract concept of a television audience. In deconstructing the process of how information is disseminated electronically, this project suggests a framework for a discussion of how technology can be simultaneously human and impersonal, and how it can bridge the gap of physical distance yet often fail to connect us as individuals.
Remote Nation is a meditation on evolving relationships to technology, and with each other.
If you have any reuse and/or art ideas that incorporate televisions, please share them in the comments below.