XAYC/House, curated by Natalia Mount, is a site-specific, transient art event in Six Acts that refers to the Situationisits, not an anachronistic return to a style, but rather an oxymoronic moment. The XAYC/House event features the work of XAYC collective.
XAYC stands for Xybrid Authenticity Ynder Construction.
X – stands for cross fader; it is the original conceptual tool abandoning the purity of two interiorities (channel A/ channel B) for the exteriority of a mix (mash up, hybrid, remix). The X heralds the meme-mix.
@ – is the project’s domain, the world of post-collapse market and art where the calculated rate is part of the equation (x@y$) =fractal ontology
Y – stands for a three-way flow. It can by synthetic (from two channels into one as in the mixer/cross fader or the negotiated price resulting from the clash of two wills), or analytic (splitter, signal dissemination, exporting the concept, piracy, contraband or the one-to-two of dialectic). In either case it is only a cybernetic node, a rhizomatic instance, a dumb agent, which is useless apart from its network: yyyyyy … (why? why? why? why? why? why? … )
C – stands for copyright. It is the registered trademark of art and philosophy, the claim to authenticity and originality backed by the letter of the law. In the world of XAYC, the C is open to interpretations (cc, copy left): crowd sourcing as a XAYC machine propelled in the meme pool.
The XAYC collective has a Manifesto and their events and projects aim to disrupt the mundane in order to turn passive viewers into active participants thus challenging assumptions of how artwork is produced, presented, experienced and documented. The XAYC collective and their events explore the notion that the ‘displacement,’ operative of ‘inclusion/exclusion’ in today’s cultural, artistic, political, social, and philosophical spheres, is an imposed reality created by economic and ideological structures. Audiences participating in the XAYC collective events usually feel displaced in terms of time period, history, ideas and activities. Simultaneously they also create a contemporary narrative, activating a specific site, through each individual and idiosyncratic experience. While the XAYC collective attempts to de-construct the notion of site-specificity in art, there are also several elements of their performance that attempt to supersede this gesture. These elements create an air of competition within the XAYC collective, in order to develop the level of tension necessary to position the viewer’s reception of the work as a ‘displaced’ individual. This tension is intended to accommodate accidents and unscripted situations, enabling the participation of the viewer as a genuine possibility.
Through the creation of a chaotic environment for the experience and engagement in art, XAYC collective projects and events take the form of film sets, theatre plays, exhibitions and art interventions thus creating a true possibility for hybrid presentation of ideas and artwork.
The XYAC/House event is art as a point of origin and return, a fleeting moment of excitement, a myth beyond media. This singular yet heterogeneous event will be anticipated by a marketing/propaganda campaign (posters, stickers, wallpaper) as well as recorded in the artifacts of the exhibition and various forms of archive (newspaper, catalog, DVD, panel discussion).
Through the creation of a chaotic environment for the experience and engagement in art, XAYC collective projects and events take the form of film sets, theatre plays, exhibitions’ openings and art interventions thus creating a true possibility for hybrid presentation of ideas and artwork. ‘XYAC/House’ event is art as a point of origin and return, a fleeting moment of excitement, a myth beyond media. This singular yet heterogeneous event will be anticipated by a marketing/propaganda campaign (posters, stickers, wallpaper) as well as recorded in the artifacts of the exhibition and various forms of archive (newspaper, catalog, DVD, panel discussion).
Act I: Flip House, by Daniela Kostova (member of the collective XAYC)
Flip-House is a convertible hybrid that combines oppositional models – suburban and nomadic. The house is mobile and changes its function when positioned in each new environment. Its walls are connected with hinges and can be flipped around horizontally. Blending in with the place it temporary occupies, it can pass for a suburban home, shanty, street market or something else. The interior of the house, which becomes exterior when flipped around, is uniform: completely covered with vinyl siding. This surface is juxtaposed with the evolving exterior, made of found materials.
A video inside the house shows the process of transforming Daniela’s home in Bulgaria, built in traditional style and materials for the region, to a suburban (Western) home encased in vinyl siding.
Flip-House comments on the problematic, homogenizing nature of western models and their relationship with local tradition. At the night of XAYC/House opening, people are invited to draw and hang their own designs of hybrid houses on the Flip-House installation.
Act II: Art Agents
The Art Agents are costumed intermediaries and the connective tissue of this live media. The Art Agents approach audience members and at once offer an entry and interruption to the work presented as part of the ‘XAYC/House’ event. The agents converse with the audience, exchange ideas and deliver passages, commentary, and critique, in an effort to channel the XAYC collective ideas and offer insight into literature, art history, pop culture and cultural theory. This is an interventive strategy that is intended to be ambiguous. Is this strategy help for the audience or more material to ingest? Do these Art Agents embody the surveillance implied by the ‘activator’, do they direct the audience’s experience, or are they genuinely altruistic characters? Or perhaps they are the chaos of the present informed by the memories of the past…
Act III: Performance by Joro De Boro as the GPU
Joro De Boro reflects on displacement through the creation of an architectural, sculptural and spatial installation – an ‘activator’, a structure element that at once unites and separates, lures and repulses privileged views thus complicating its elevated radial surveillance structure and engaging Foucault’s reading of Bentham’s panopticon. The ‘activator’ divides and fragments, creating a layered subdivision between projection video screens, audience and the performer (the GPU.) In the GPU character, Joro De Boro references displacement as an internal condition. His mask, either that of a gimp or of a Mexican luchador, represents the ‘other,’ either a sexual pervert or a scary and violent immigrant, both of which question the audience’s own notion of social displacement. In his performance, Joro De Boro uses a selection of Serbian, Bulgarian, and Roma languages, mixed with an artificial Anglo’s voice of a speaking machine.
The first set of voices comes across as the voices of angry and emotional people while the second is very much dispassionate language of order and dominance. The GPU is possessed and channels and broadcasts voices and roles from the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside.’ Joro De Boro’s aim is to return to an art that matters viscerally, that causes not only a ‘gut reaction’ but also ‘gut anticipation,’ while engaging intellectually around issues of authenticity and hybridity. In order to achieve his aim, Joro De Boro uses the work of a production team cutting across various fields (design, architecture, film, sound). The figure of the artist is thus split: there is the leader of the event (Joro De Boro) and a hidden/shadow director of the ‘XAYC/House’ Film production (a local film director), who functions as an invisible doppelganger.
Act IV: The Film Set
The Film Set installation emulates the way the image industry (movies, TV, fashion, advertisement) usurps and hijacks public space; it creates a space of apparent exclusivity (a “closed set”) and breaks it open. In the middle of the Film Set Installation is the ‘Flip House’ installation. In this context, the ‘Flip House’ becomes part of the event’s landscape, its roofless structure mirrored in the open walls containing the event. Two cameras document and bring the audience “into the action” by getting uncomfortably close to individual audience members in parallel of reality-television strategies – with enough paparazzi anybody can be a super-star.
Act V: Détournements
Fake advertisement campaigns and TV commercials are being re-enacted, staged and filmed by the Art Agents with audience participation.
Act VI: The Party
Joro De Boro, the artist and performer are now one – DJ Joro-Boro. Polarizing dynamics emerge – the active dancing crowd vs. the spectators in the crowd, hidden surveillance cameras, and the gradual focus on the inevitable question at the end of every event:
“So is it over now?” By ending the ‘XAYC/House’ event with a straightforward party, the XAYC collective explores the idea of the apparent impossibility of identity based on authenticity – in a global world one is never truly oneself one is never truly ‘at home.’ It is a playful, lighthearted even drunken attack on art and architecture’s heaviness/slowness (process, object). It is Bruegel’s Fight Between Carnival and Lent taking place in Bentham’s Panopticon.
Without the immediate pressures of congestion and performance, visiting bodies are free to respond to the etnoteck music, to enjoy the party for what it is or to simply become the observer, a voyeuristic audience. The freedom of movement becomes heavy with meanings and identities – “I am a participant”, “I am an observant”, “I am a connoisseur”, “I am drunk”.