It seemed inevitable when going into the “Undefined Spaces” of the Van abbemuseum that some type of territorialism would occur. This seemed more imminent as the exhibition drew nearer and a back and forth dialogue began about the availability of lodging for the artists involved. Ultimately Bandwagon was informed they would be sleeping IN the gallery during the course of the exhibition in a slumber party type fashion (air mattresses would be provided).
It was immediately clear that a base camp of sorts would need to be constructed to both stake our claim in the “Invisible Empire” and create a physical space to support the virtual web of our project. For this reason Bandwagon came prepared with the necessary materials to construct a shelter and fly our colors within whatever environment we found ourselves in. As is often the case when one begins to define boundaries, others in your vicinity tend to do the same. Thus was the case with Brian Balderston, the other artist Bandwagon was sharing the room with as sleeping accommodations. Of course this was good-natured territorialism and not meant to ruffle anyone’s feathers…and so it was that from this sparring the first of many collaborations began within the exhibition. As the Bandwagon structure took shape, Brian responded by building a great tower on the opposite end of the room out of some pre-fabbed wood left behind from some previous event.
Yasmeen Al-Awadi arrived during the middle of all this brainstorming and decided to add a “no-man’s land” using some tape and the floor.
Late in the night Brian decided the installation was the perfect set for a video he was thinking about….and so it was:
In the end, an unintentional installation was built that everyone in the show was able to participate on or take inspiration from in some form or another. The crowning point came during an impromptu reception held in the space mid-way through the exhibition. With the help of a pirated sign created by Yasmeen and meant to resemble the same sign used to denote installation locations for the Glow Festival happening concurrently with our exhibition,
we were able to attract several un-assuming guests into our event.
While DJ Luis Ibarra spun records live from El Salvador, the audience enjoyed Brian and Bandwagon’s (mostly Brian’s) undefined soup,
Dutch and Belgian beer,
and a few games of Sentinel Soccer.
Perhaps, in the end, this installation embodied one of curator Jean-Michel Crapanzano’s ideas about Invisible Empire:Undefined Spaces; a vehicle for the “invisible part of the artist’s practice, the preliminary conceptual phases and in particular the moment of creation.”
Artists: Jean-Michel Crapanzano (France / Netherlands), Yasmeen Al Awadi (London), Brian Balderston (New York), Julia Boix-Vives (France / Netherlands), Rose Lejeune (Curator, London), Karin van Pinxteren (Netherlands), Rachel Wilberforce (London), Chad Stayrook – Jose Ruiz / Bandwagon team (New York)