Part-commentary on the nature of art, part-political gesturing and a dash of community building, The Box Game is a mobile art exhibit/roadside attraction looking to gain answers from anyone and everyone for what really is inside of a tall black box. In collaboration with Black Hole Space, artists David Horvitz and Lukas Geronimas began their venture at Coney Island on February 28. They have since delighted in visiting pre-determined (Co-Lab in Austin, Ooga Booga in L.A.) and impromptu locations (Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, Pacific First Montessori School in Seattle), while traveling manager, Julianne, joined the tour in Indianapolis. After completion of their cross-country stint, the crew will have access to data analysis software and advice from Yale faculty while tallying votes at the Madiman Arts Interaction Center in New Haven, CT. Thereafter, an exhibition will reveal the “answer” to what is inside the box, in addition to displaying ephemera from the road.
Flavorwire: Strangest event that has occurred on the road….
David Horvitz: I meditate in the passenger seat. Everything becomes strange and out of the ordinary. World’s largest rocking chair, though that was not strange at all. Yogic flying. Vedic city. Golden domes.
Lukas Geronimas: Missing peers of ours in two locations by a day, but meeting people who they will have been in contact with when they arrive and giving them notes to pass on. It’s not that strange to you maybe, but we thought it was. And I just saw a girl peeing outside our motel room, and then her boyfriend just peed while walking and she was hitting him in the stomach (we’re in Pensacola, Florida).
FW: What are some memorable events, sights, or people you’ve encountered?
DH: Driving through Iowa and Missouri in an intense downpour of rain and lightning storm, as we kept driving the lightning began to become more frequent, like we were driving into the middle of it. We were playing the music really loud and didn’t realize how dangerous it was until we turned it down, and were like, oh fuck, we need to slow down. Eating Missouri barbecue with the sun coming down in the Ozarks, and all the trees and leaves illuminated with a golden glow, and the tree shadows growing longer and longer and longer.
LG: It is very strange how when rain completely blankets you, you’re unable to discern how fast you’re traveling. Staying in an airstream trailer in Birmingham; playing the game at a high school right across the street from where we were staying in Indianapolis; being called an “elder” by an enlightened student at the Maharishi School of Management.
FW: Have you been reading the box responses? If so, are there any that stick out as atypical versus typical responses?
DH: It’s up to you to decide — what do you think is in the box?
LG: We aren’t here to decide what’s typical/atypical — with an objective democratic mindset our method would be compromise to consider an answer like “nothing” to be more typical than, say “A vampire midget with blue shoes.”
FW: Have there been any major complications on the road? How has your health been with all the driving, exhibiting, partying…
DH: Lukas called me cocky today. Julianne has been getting meaner to me. I jump up and down vigorously, and try not to eat too much bad American Southern food — fried and potatoes and gravy and exploding stomachache. I will most likely die of lung cancer.
LG: …because both Julianne and I smoke some, although I recently switched to smoking cloves because they are better smelling, which masks the cancer. David and Julianne stay up far too late, recharging on the Internet — which means I’m the asshole who has to wake everyone up in the morning.
FW: What are the philosophical musings or underpinnings of the project?
DH: Eventism. Event aesthetics. Creating a spontaneous social event within a location.
LG: This is a lot of stuff. Voting works to elect something. The votes we’re collecting work to elect something, but if that thing hasn’t been voted for yet, the new thing is also being nominated through the vote. Voting is meant to give something power, I suppose, or a position. We’re asking people to generate the information that we can use to interpret that position. It is a thought experiment that we’re conducting, but it’s not about having to think or wanting people to think, it’s about how they think. The salesman has a hard life — his tricks are well known. We like the salesman’s ethic, his aesthetic, especially since we’re not selling — there is an ambivalence to our method that takes the pressure off the sale, of the “hook.” Spontaneity is more efficient than asking and planning. We’ve planned enough to get the show on the road, and now it’s happening, so it happens.
FW: Do you feel like you’ve had to “sell” the game much thus far?
DH: Earlier we were always over explaining what we were doing. I didn’t like that that much. We don’t have to force things on people, or impose ourselves. I like being vague and quiet. If someone expresses a curiosity, I will engage with that. That aside, I don’t want to have to sound defensive or anything…
LG: I don’t mind explaining if someone is interested. I try to play the straight guy to David’s mischievous vague-ry.
FW: Could you explain what will happen in the end of this project (tallying the votes, constructing the answer)?
DH: It’s a process which we are currently figuring out; we don’t have any strict ideas. We want to have a loose idea, and to see what happens within that. Analyzing votes… exhibition… we’ll see what happens.
LG: The ten days in New Haven will lead to an answer that will become a graphic piece (designed by someone very capable), as well as a set of instructions that we will follow to realize the answer as an artwork around which an exhibition will focus.
You can now guess what’s in the box through email. Send your guess to email@example.com.