"Store Front Studio"  

  • APT (Art, Performance, and Technology), "Store Front Studio " June 6th - 10th. Installation/Performance in the Information Technology Building downtown Pittsburgh, part of the International Sculpture Conference 2001

This installation/performance included site specific works unitizing video, live sound recordings, bicycle cam, 16mm film loops, plasma screen display, video projections, lights, live dance, musical performances, viewer interaction, the Information Technology Building (empty real-estate), a revolving door, nonlinear video edit system, digital audio recording system, martinis, and soul.

The concept behind The Storefront Studio was to create a space for one week where art work would be created and performed breaking down the barrier between the viewer and the artist inviting the general public to join in a process where they are usually not welcomed and involving them in the creation of new works. The magic of technology has left the viewer in the dark but when they become involved in the process it becomes apparent and very real. Video and computer hi tech art have become very commonplace in galleries and museums around the world, but for the most part the general public hasn't a clue of how or why it was created. Each individual project created in the studio was influenced by the element of the public's participation. The intimacy of working in a studio was removed as a factor in the creation of the work. Input and questions from viewers was encouraged and had a unique influence on the final product.

This installation/performance also included pre-planned collaborations with Junction Dance Theater, dancers & choreographers Melanie Miller, and Michael Walsh, writer/poet Kevin Clark, video editor Mark Patterson, Quail Video, Jamie & Eric of the Mood Swingers punk band, John Motto, Corey Austin, Steve and Aimee Sciulli, and Life In Balance with the creation of new work in the Store Front Studio. This work combined with the bicycle cam, river cam, scratch films created by viewers, and the communication window which was a large store front window used to convey messages and statements ultimately blurring into shapes and symbols left Dennis with enough raw materials to create many different works. But more important was the collaborations that grew from the project. The on-site edited video was the main objective and has appeared in film screenings at Pittsburgh Film Makers. The remaining video footage will be used in many new projects in the future. The collaborations have already resulted in new projects and will continue to be fruitful in the future. Anyone that came into the Storefront Studio left with some new knowledge regarding contemporary hi tech art and knowingly or unknowingly contributed to the overall process and creation of it.

When I first move into the open storefront in the Information Technology Building (that was generously donated by the E.V. Bishop Company for the duration of the Sculpture Convention) the other tenants thought a new business had move in. As we proceeded to install the studio equipment the employees of the building started stopping in to see what was going on. When it was explained to them that it was an Art installation and performance they didn't understand but were not ready to admit it. When performances starting happening in the lobby and outside the building they had no choice but to walk into it or run the risk of being late for work or miss out on lunch. The communication window started filling up by anyone passing by. They would stop to leave a message or a drawing. A performance called the Martini Mix handed out Martinis to the viewers as they got to see a martini shaker being recorded live for a rhythm track on a piece not yet finished. Then the Revolving door dance which was a site specific performance using the revolving door, which was the only entrance, confused the tenants and the curious passerby's. A band dedicated to meditations in the morning, loud punk rock in the evenings, and video shot that day being project and displayed on the plasma screen. One of the most memorable participants was a security guard posted to watch over us during the convention who became the house docent explaining what was going on to the curious and helping us set lights and sound equipment up. But as all installation and performances it disappeared over night not a trace left but a thank you note on the window. If they only knew what they all contributed to. I don't think they would ever imagine they were reinventing the creative process.

Dennis J. Childers


If you would like to purchase a high quality print of any image you see or would like to exhibit work by Dennis Childers in your gallery or museum or have a collaborative project in mind contact Dennis at the above e-mail address.

Dennis J. Childers 2003