wood, dandelions, Immigrants, 12 DVD players and screens, Westporters, Serbians, masking tape, Azotara promotional material, Ghanaians, El Salvadorans, Mexicans. Dimensions variable.
As part of the Optimism show - curated by Michael Connor at the Westport Art Center - Christopher Robbins, John Ewing and Matey Odonkor installed the second iteration of the Ghana Think Tank
. This time, problems submitted by Westport citizens were sent to ad-hoc think tanks formed in Ghana, Mexico, El Salvador and Serbia. The solutions provided by these think tanks, including hiring Immigrants to attend Westport events in order to improve diversity, renaming a dog "love" to get him to stop barking, a dandelion promotion campaign, and whatever else may arise, are enacted in Westport throughout the duration of the show.
The project is an attempt to transpose parts of one culture into another, to take a solution generated in one context and apply it elsewhere. The hope is that the friction caused by these misapplications would generate interesting results, and that we could learn something further about our own assumptions as well as those of our counterparts in the other countries.
As such, the focus of the Ghana Think Tank is not the resolution of these problems per se, but on the gaps of translation that occur within the process as a way of uncovering our hidden assumptions.
You can follow some of the problems
through the blog
Thanks so much to Emily Laux for her unending support way beyond anything we would have hoped to expect, and to Mauru, Danielle, Sandy, Alyssa, Nancy and the rest of the Westport Art Center staff for all of their help. Of course, Michael Connor has been a tremendous help keeping us focused on our aims and concepts. Thanks to Hank Weinstock for his excellent filming, and to Ernesto, Ernesto, Moses and Bill for "adding diversity" to the opening, as proposed by the think tanks in Serbia and El Salvador. Also to Jerry Kuyper and Gene Seidman for their energetic support in the dandelion promotion campaign to the Representative Town Meeting.
© christopher robbins 1998-now