Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dancing Makes Temporary Exhibition Double Club Interactive

This is definitely a first for me. I write on installation art frequently because it always intrigues me how we bring art literally into our living environments. German artist Carsten Höller’s seems to take his work a step further, stretching the definition of art, and literally create the environment. Holler, who currently has a revolving hotel room installation on display in the Guggenheim, has just opened up his newest installation: Double Club, a form of a fully operational bar, restaurant and nightclub. Double Club, commissioned by the Fondazione Prada, features two entertainment environments as the bar is divided between two cultural influences: the culture of the West and the culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A line in the middle of the club divides the club from the Congo side, decorate with neon palm trees and the Western side filled with lush leather sofas, similar the neighboring urban night clubs.

Is the music? Of course, but how do you choose the type with two cultural influences? You don't play Carrie Underwood in a sushi restaurant do you? The rotating dj sits in the middle of the club and switches up the genre depending on which side he is facing? And if you're there for nourishment? You shouldn't have any problem finding something to eat on the two separate menus?

Still not enticed? Make your evening visiting this installation a good cause. A percentage of the profits from The Double Club will be donated to the City of Joy charity, which is a hospital for victims of violence and rape in Congo.

So why Congo, ArtInfo sat down with Carsten and asked. Carsten responded, I’ve been asked “why the Congo?” a lot, but why not? It is an interesting place. For many people the name “Congo” has some sort of trigger function — they just think of the political troubles and the wars. We’re trying to propose looking at it in a different way."

And why do this at all? In a sit down with Bloomberg, Carsten says, "Art — I mean its representational function — is in my opinion very exhausted. Art should be experience more than representation. You make your own representation of it. You don’t go through somebody else."

So what to make of this endeavor? Is it for self-promotion? Is it for a good cause? A good time? Is it really art? I'm all for fundraising, but is the distinction between art and entertainment becoming cloudy? Or is entertainment a form of art?

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