On May 28, commercial director Charles Wittenmeier will be forced to foreclose on his three story house in Portland, Oregon. For the 28 days prior, with the help of Jordan Kinley, he will transform the space into a collaborative workshop for artists, musicians, and community members to live, work, and create in. There will be live shows, curated openings, cross-medium conspiring, painting, filming, and anything else participants can come up with. According to their project page, the only stipulation will be that “each artist [comes] with at least one idea of a project they would like to accomplish over the 28 days using the shared resources and talents of the group.” We love it!
We recently chatted with the duo about their idea, check out the Q&A below. Support the endeavor here.
Talk to me about the community/collaborative aspect of this project! You’re really taking it next level by literally having your participants living with each other for an extended period of time. How do you think this might effect the work being produced?
We hope that the whole is larger than the sum of its parts. Hopefully the artists and musicians who enter the space will be focused on completion. Different conversations from different perspective. We also hope that people will share their skills and resources, on that same token we hope that the group dynamic fosters guidance and criticism that’s beneficial for everyone involved. Cross medium collaborations will be great. We’d love for people to go beyond their normal set of mediums.
How did you come upon this idea? Was there any particular inspiration for it?
From Charles: I got the idea one day when I was sitting alone in my home, not having my kids around It was sorta like a Bergman movie, hearing the clocks ticking. I missed having people in the house.
From Jordan: Charles was sitting in his half empty house staring out the window and he called me and said “I’ve figured it out” and I said “What are you talking about” and he said “I’m sitting in this empty house and I realized that I want to get a bunch of musicians to come in and make an album.” From there the project expanded to include multiple types of mediums beyond music.
Any interesting faces/concepts beginning to take shape? Are there any particular projects you’ve gotten wind of that you are looking forward to seeing take shape?
We’ve received a lot of support from the Portland community. A few key curators are really helping this project take shape. A lot of the artists we’re excited about are at a similar cross-roads in their life and are proposing projects in mediums that they haven’t tried in a while or have never tried. Its exciting. One musician wants to set up a sound installation called “Living In Delay” where an entire room is mic’d to set up a delay loop, so delayed sounds are constantly cycling through the space for the whole 28 days.
If you could live in a house for 28 days with any one person (living/dead) to collaborate with, who would it be and why? What do you think you would end up creating?
From Charles: Mark Twain but I don’t really know what we’d accomplish. Maybe some really good conversation.
From Jordan: I’d like to make a photo essay about the internet with Marshall McLuhan.
How has your use of Kickstarter been so far? Any advice for other would-be creators?
From Jordan: Its really hectic, I wake up every morning and check my email hoping for more pledges. Its a new kind of anxiety. I think that the platform is really powerful but at the same time I wonder about the precedents that it sets for artistic exploration. I feel the same way about Facebook, I fear that criticism and feedback are being consolidated into simple things such as “Like Buttons” and we’ll end up dwelling on this digital feedback to an unhealthy degree. But at the end of the day Kickstarter is really powerful. I’d rather try and sell myself to the internet than venture capitalists. There’s a much higher threshold for risk on Kickstarter.
I think at the end of the day money doesn’t make a project. Obviously there are some hard costs to a project that are unavoidable, but often I think that we’re really good at convincing ourselves that we need more than we actually do. Embrace your limitations and financial restrictions whenever you can. For a week or two I unsuccessfully tried to pitch this project to investors and then I realized you can’t make a movie about a foreclosure with a normal budget and that ultimately there was going to have to be some strife.