Rirkrit Tiravanija on His Hospitable Art Basel Intervention
For the duration of the 2015 edition of Art Basel in Basel, renowned conceptual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija will present a project titled "DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY" in collaboration with German architects Nikolaus Hirsch/Michel Müller and Finnish chef Antto Melasniemi.
Located at the entrance to the fair, "DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY" comprises a herbal garden, kitchen, and a communal dining and meeting area, with the main modular bamboo and steel structure designed by Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller.
The project is an invitation to enter a sphere of hospitality, recovery, and community amidst the excitement of the art fair where visitors can engage in activities such as the drinking of herbal tea plucked fresh from the onsite garden, as well as the cooking and eating of food.
The food is rooted in Thai tradition and will be available with no fixed schedule, menu or price list, and with compensation determined by the visitors, by either serving oneself, serving others, donations, or helping with food preparation or cleaning up.
Developed and executed in collaboration with Finnish chef Antto Melasniemi, the program will explore an ecological cycle beginning with the growing of herbs and continuing on to their use in the production of tea and culinary creations.
"DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY" is an extension Tiravanijas's and Thai artist Kamin Lertchaiprasert's project "the land," a land foundation in Chiang Mai initiated as a self-sustaining environment emerging from the artistic community.
At the end of the show, following its concept of transfer, the installation's structure will be shipped to "the land" where it will form the basis for a new workshop building that will host a range of artistic projects including artistic residencies, workshops, and seminars.
To find out more about the "DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY," BLOUIN ARTINFO got in touch with the artist as he was preparing to launch the project and asked him a few questions.
"DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY" is the title of an installation that will be presented during Art Basel. What is the concept behind the installation and what will it entail?
In this project we are realizing an architectural element that will initiate a series of workshops. We are interested in activating these elements as a platform for engagement between us, students from Basel and Frankfurt, invited guest speakers, and the public of the Messeplatz. As a platform, we are interested in addressing ideas of architecture, food (including the chain of supply to the recipes made and its socioeconomic impact), and some dichotomies between private and public, property and non-property, and artistic practices which have taken into account all of the above.
Art Basel as the commissioner of the workshop, is doing so to activate the Messeplatz for the public, to have a place which offers a respite from the fair itself, and also to make a platform for public engagement in a different modulation. The architectural elements, which are utilized for the workshop will at the end of the Basel art fair be transferred to Thailand, to the land foundation on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.
What is the significance of the title "DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY" and what does it reveal about the installation and project?
It is a workshop rather than an installation, a workshop rather than a project, a workshop rather than a work of art, and a collaboration rather than a conception by a singular person. The title is a tool for us to think about how we can utilize the workshop. It is an open question — a question without the punctuation. It is a question of possibilities.
The work is a collaboration with German architects Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller as well as Finnish chef Antto Melasniemi. What will each of these co-collaborators contribute to the project?
The workshop is a collaboration, in which we will discuss concerns and possibilities in the different fields we are interested in, there will also be invited guest such as Professor Herald Lemke, Superflex (artists group from Copenhagen), Dr. Jörn Schafaff, Tobias Rehberger, Karl Holmqvist, Barbara Buser, Rodrigo Krönkvist, Bastiaan Frich, Chus Martinez, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and possibly more.
The new work is an extension of your ongoing collaborative project with Thai artist Kamin Lertchaiprasert titled "the land." Could you tell me a bit more about what "the land" is and how it links in with "DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY"?
As I had mentioned the land is a foundation, however the artist Kamin Lerdchaiprasert and I were just initiators of the land. It was conceptualized as a place for artists to retreat from the grind, a place to rest and think, a place to meet, a living platform where ideas can be exchange at a time and pace which can be contemplative and percolate. The workshop is an extension in conversation with the land in Chiang Mai; we reflect on both.
By Nicholas Forrest