Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Night Sermon: Mark Allen

The Monday night 'lecture' wasn't really what I had expected. The speaker was Mark Allen and he runs this thing called 'Machine Project' and to my understanding it was a venue for art performances, displays and artsy events that he and his friends run and it just kind of evolved into an organization. The Machine Project is a collaboration between many artists and as he explained they come up with many ideas and they either work on it all together or they will find someone to make their ideas come to life. I think that Mark Allen is a really interesting and unique person with a lot of great ideas but I wasn't too impressed with his work, to be honest. He kind of has a really minimalist perspective in a way, which sort of intrigues me but yet kind of bores me at the same time. The coolest thing he did in my opinion was this interactive (I don't even know what to call it) art performance including 180 volunteers. What he and his team did was have all these people sleep in the Hammer Museum and have them wake up and share what they were dreaming about. Later, they had actors reenact the various dreams. To me this sounds like a lot of fun and something that I would definitely want to partake in. The oddest thing to me was his idea of a 'plant vacation'- where people could literally bring in their house plants and have them sit with other people's house plants and ... vacation together. People would come and do these performances for the plants. When he explained it it made it seem like it was art but it kind of just made me sad. I think it's probably cool if you're into that stuff but I kinda thought that this piece was strange. He made himself sound smart by using words like 'subjectivity' like five times in describing the piece, but without the elaborate descriptions it doesn't really seem like much to me. Regardless of what his definition of art may be, I would still probably be entertained by his projects if I ever went to a museum featuring ... whatever it is he is doing.

Olivia Serrill

Here's a link to their website:

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