The Project -
With this project, we wanted to explore the artist-audience relationship. What makes artists, and how do they interact with their audiences? We decided that we wanted to forfeit our right as artists. So, we set up a pile of clothes and props in a corner of the jewelry district and asked any passerby to dress us up and take our portrait with a Polaroid camera. Risking public embarrassment, we commissioned each newly made artist a penny to make us wear, hold, and stand however they pleased. After their photographs developed, we had the artists sign and title their work, glorifying their artistic choices. Finally, we curated their work by posting it on the brick wall next to us for everyone to see.
A Polaroid? How did you get the film?
Unfortunately, Polaroid is no longer making film. But the heroine Kristy Choi traveled the long, treacherous distance to New York City to stop by The Impossible Project, an organization that works to create a substitute for Polaroid film so that cameras will not become obsolete. (This is a plug. We really like the Impossible Project. Visit them on Canal Street.)
The Reflection -
We have to admit, we’re not trained photographers. Having never worked with Polaroid cameras or film, we didn’t know the best way to work with them. As a result, many of the photos became overexposed. However, the audience (being random people in the Jewelry District) did get really invested in the project, and we were able to track patterns between the choices that different people made. It was also interesting to see how people reacted to the commissioning of the penny. Some people took it as a sarcastic gesture, while others treated their penny like a true, rare gift.
We were happy to see how we interacted with and even became the audience through our project. We had a good time and we think the newly made artists of the Jewelry District did too. Overall, we think it was a real success!
- Jamie and Kristy