More Volcano Research Station @ Summer Works Festival

© Ian Willms 2012

We had a blast being interviewed by two sailors and an off-stage Giraffe at the 2012 Summerworks Festival Performance Bar the other night, and have been invited back this Saturday for another interview.

I posted about our initial “research project” at the Toronto Fringe Festival, but this time our public education consisted of a live work of art that took shape based on the feed back of audience members.

survey results

Here’s how it worked: we asked a random audience member if they have ever seen a volcano, and if so what did it look like and how did they feel about it. If they had not seen a volcano, then what did they imagine a volcano in Toronto looking like? was it active? where was it? After this one or two minute chat, we asked the participant to choose “any area” on the wooden surface that they wanted their own, personal volcano to be and then sign their name on that spot. Based on their answer, placement and signature style I drew a volcano in that spot, on the spot. later, I cleaned up the drawings a bit and assigned civic functions to each one pretending this was a future map of utopian Toronto … based on the industry of Volcanoes and present day conservative values.

As an artist, I was keen to see how the composition worked out with people choosing placements – as I suspected, it turned out very balanced with a cluster weighing on the golden mean. The process reflected a dark and subtle approach of influencing members of the public to participate in an absurd conceptual possibility  by signing their names and giving the illusion of some sort of personal choice (though the end result is always the same) – thus we can claim consensus in our efforts to bring a volcano to Toronto. Perhaps darkest of all, I enjoyed the symbolism of eradicating the individual’s name as they watched, usually delighted.

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