The history of art in Las Vegas exists as an enthusiastic, nostalgic oral record, and, more recently, a fragmented web presence. In CIRCA, we begin to rough out a catalogue of the city’s art history by conducting local and long-distance interviews and researching virtual and physical archives. The posts will not necessarily be investigated or collated in chronological order. Suggestions, ideas, and information are all welcome via email or in the comments section.
2010 : LAURA NAPIER, PROJECT FOR A STREET CORNER (FREMONT STREET)
shown on a canopy and attracts a large crowd of tourists every evening.
(image and text courtesy the artist and Lauranapier.com) See the video here.
After screening her video Project For A Street Corner (WTC PATH) at the first Contemporary Arts Center “Off The Strip: New Genres Festival” (2009), Bronx-based artist Laura Napier returned to Las Vegas to produce Project For A Street Corner (Fremont Street), a collaborative performance as public intervention and behavioral research, part of CAC’s “Off the Strip 2010”. She collaborated with CAC and UNLV student volunteers.
“Artists and about thirty Las Vegas residents, recruited through the Contemporary Art Center, formed a snake dance and a conga line on Fremont Street, amidst a crowd of tourists momentarily at a standstill, transfixed by the “Fremont Street Experience” video spectacle. Our real life performance was staged amidst a show, to affect the prevailing zombie-like behavior of the crowd through the insertion of our own different behavior in that space.
This project is not supposed to be all about watching the performers. It is more about using regular, usual behavioral cues to change a present public who are not entirely conscious of how we are shifting them in the space. It feels like a misfit to consider our event as a subset of the flash mob meme, and I’m still working out how to make my ideas clearer. I also really enjoyed learning more during the panel [Off the Strip artist panel] about the space of Fremont Street defined as public/private space hybrid and how restrictive rules on behavior were recently successfully contested by hula hooping artists. I subsequently attended a great talk in New York by the artist Mark Tribe who traced the changing ideas about and manifestation of ‘public’ and ‘public space’ through western history into contemporary society. I do not know if we can locate actual public space anymore in this country.
LAURA NAPIER is an artist and independent curator. She is currently working in Houston on an artistic research project about the social cultures of the petrochemical industries of Texas. Her work explores behavior, sociology, and place through documentation, installation, and participatory and collaborative performance. For more on Napier’s public interventions via Project for A Street Corner (scroll down for Fremont Street) visit the artist’s website.
Contributed by Wendy Kveck.