Interesting stuff happens in the cracks: interstitial art festivals

Paul Raven @ 17-05-2010

The Lost Horizon Night Market sounds like the sort of thing I’d love to see roll into my town: like some mad mash-up of the travelling free-party sound-system crews of nineties Europe with a half-squatted house full of installation art students, it’s a peripatetic mobile art festival housed in rental trucks and parked up for one night only in empty industrial lots. It’s…

… an ongoing participatory project with an elegantly simple idea: “Proprietors” rent a truck and do something creative in it, with public interactivity a central element.

There are no admission fees. Participants mainly provide enthusiasm (or homemade jam, or lap dances, or ukulele serenades), and get to soak in a hot tub or share a smoke in the Jesus Christ Hookah Bar. The proprietors exchange their time, money and artistic energy for the distinctive euphoria of seeing people interact with an environment of their own creation.

“For one night, we make an autonomous neighborhood,” said Lost Horizon Night Market co-founder Mark Krawczuk, who enjoys spurring people to act on their creative desires. “I get a kick out of seeing people do stuff. I’ve got 40 people into the game … got people who’ve never done installation art before to do it.”

The Lost Horizon Night Market

Shades of Hakim Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zones, of course, and of the really weird things you could still see and do at Glastonbury festival before its Millennial gentrification. Breaking down the barriers between consumer and creator, between participant and artist, between art and activity… cool things temporarily inhabiting otherwise uncool spaces. Culture subverting geopgraphy, ideas on the move. (As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a serious sucker for this kind of stuff.)

Apparently the Night Market people would love to see other iterations of the same idea spring up elsewhere, like a vaguely-defined open-source museum franchise. And they may well get their wish… after all, it’s only taken Burning Man a decade to achieve metastasis, and ideas move much faster than they did ten years ago. [image credit: Michael Gwilliam; blagged from linked Wired article, please contact for takedown if required]