24/7 at the Venice Biennale: Rejected Projects/Unsolicited Projects
“One can denounce nothing from the outside; one must first inhabit the form of what one wants to criticize. Imitation is subversive, much more so than discourses of frontal opposition that only make formal gestures of subversion.”
Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction (New York, Lukas & Sternberg, 2002)
On Friday May 30th 2003, 24/7 launched an open submission for artists and curators asking them to send us rejected and unsolicited projects. We spammed as many people as possible and asked everybody to forward the submission to anyone who could be interested in it. We then sat waiting for replies.
Until June 11th 2003 at 2:34 PM London time we had received around 50 projects, most of them rejected and a few unsolicited ones. As a whole, the collection of proposals became like an interesting survey that allowed us to witness a current state of contemporary art production. Some of the proposals had evidently been rejected for its low-quality, others that seemed interesting within their particular context, but were not relevant to the line of work that 24/7 has been pursuing (they were meant for ideal spaces, were attempting to be high art, or were using safe politically correct discourses).
Finally the projects we selected to hand out in photocopies in Venice were those that proved to be problematic for art institutions. The chosen rejected projects met “a more down to earth” approach and proposed more realistic ways of production; projects with strategies similar to the ones of our no-budget gallery. We leave the rest of the projects to organizations and/or institutions interested in other contents and/or with budget to realize them.
All this to say that “Rejected Projects/Unsolicited Projects“ was not conceived as an utopian place where everything goes or every project can be accepted. While choosing and simulating to act as an institution in the selection process and not like a charity, we hope to make evident the failures and fissures existing within the system on both sides, institutions and producers. The “DOs and DON’Ts” within the established codes of institutionalized spaces are clear. The system either closes in itself to avoid being criticized, or absorbs the critique and normalizes it.
The total of the projects received will be published in a photocopied catalogue that could be used by art institutions in search of projects to do, artists looking for ideas, and academic researchers.