Automatic for the People: ( ), conducted from November 8, 2008 to February 7, 2009, is an art project by the Brooklyn-based art duo MTAA. Commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and included in the exhibition The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now, the piece explores audience participation in the creation of an art work.
Asking the general public to vote on ten elements of an art performance, Automatic for the People: ( ) deliberately blurs the roles of artist and audience, creator and viewer. Voting and discussion took place on-line via MTAA's website and in the museum via a computer kiosk. The final performance, Automatic for the People: (We Solemnly Promise That No One Will Get Naked), took place on February 7, 2009 at SFMOMA.
The project consists of three parts:
On November 8, 2008 MTAA launched Automatic for The People: ( ) with an opening performance lecture at SFMOMA . Consisting of a slide lecture, a "museum hall-style" debate and a public poll, this performance introduced and set the tone of the project.
During the opening performance, a "museum hall-style" debate was held to determine the location of the final performance within the institution. Once the choices had been deliberated, the audience received a ballot and a vote was taken. A reproduction of the ballot provided to the audience is to the right.
The location choices (all open in a new window):
"Freight elevator" won by an outstanding margin.
The website and kiosk were active elements in the performance. Web-viewers could vote and comment on the site and museum-goers could vote and read all the comments from the web. The audience voted on the themes of the performance, props and wardrobe amongst other options.
Click the image below to browse an archived version of the website in a new window.
Below, each poll followed with the winning option and the winning vote count. Click each poll to see the full results (all open in a new window).
In all, 4571 votes were cast over three months.
The title of the final performance was chosen via audience polling in the very first on-line vote, which took place from Nov. 8–12, 2008. See the full results of that poll (opens in a new window).
The performance was scripted using the winning results from the 10 polls. Structured around the tracks on R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People, it continued the project's participatory theme by involving the audience in the building of two robot costumes. In-between bursts of robot-making, there were also some interludes and digressions including a ukulele rendition of Nightswimming by Uni & Her Ukelele, a short lecture on the relation of Duchamp's art to take-out food and a wine and cheese refreshment.
related documents & files (links open in a new window)
working script of Automatic for the People: (We Solemnly Promise That No One Will Get Naked)
text of T.Whid's digression: Marcel Duchamp & take-out food: are they related in any conceivable way?
text of M.River's Star Me Kitten interlude
SFMOMA 'artcast' MP3 about The Art of Participation (MTAA come on at 1:20)
related posts from MTAA's blog (links open in a new window)
Nov 02, 2008: Two MTAA events in the bay area THIS WEEK!
Nov 08, 2008: Automatic for the People: ( ) launches
Nov 10, 2008: aftp() at sfmoma
Nov 11, 2008: AFTP() at SFMOMA 2
Nov 20, 2008: Prop Vote is Up
Dec 04, 2008: AFTP Vote #5 is now up
Dec 18, 2008: AFTP update: Audience
Jan 02, 2009: Robot costumes attack!
Jan 02, 2009: AFTP() Update - #8: REFRESHMENTS (JAN 1–7)
Jan 12, 2009: AFTP: ( ) Update! Poll #9: SPACE (JAN 8-14)
Jan 17, 2009: SFMOMA Artcast January 2009
Jan 17, 2009: AFTP: ( ) FINAL POLL #10: CONCLUSION! (Jan 15-21)
Jan 23, 2009: AFTP: ( ) update: BONUS POLL!
Feb 02, 2009: Please join us this Saturday at SFMOMA for the final act of AFTP ( )
Feb 11, 2009: Uni plays Nightswimming for AFTP