Buscando al Sr. Goodbar
I thought I would post something about a project that I'm doing soon in Murcia. It will take place next Friday, January 23.
Entitled 'Buscando al Sr. Goodbar', or 'Looking for Mr. Goodbar', the project involves a bus tour through the streets of Murcia, Spain where we search for the locations and the (male) authors of the various YouTube videos made in the city. "Buscando al Sr. Goodbar" is included in 'Techformance", an exhibition that creates links between new media, performance and public participation. Including my own project, Techformance features works by Blast Theory, Diego Diaz and Clara Bo, Ramon Gonzalez, Roger Bernat, Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Gordan Savicic. It is being co-produced by Centro Parraga in Murcia and curated by Barcelona-based curator Oscar Abril. The exhibition will take place both in Murcia and at the Arco international art fair in Madrid.
If the longitude and latitude coordinates are included within a video, when publishing it on YouTube, then it automatically appears on a GoogleEarth map and connects it to a physical location. I developed this tour by visiting Murcia repeatedly via GoogleEarth where I started to get to know some of the people living there through the YouTube videos they produced.
On the bus are two women, one that acts as a voice to the city, an announcer of information and events, and another that 'drives' through the GoogleEarth map and plays the videos. The announcer is being played by Irene Verdú Soriano, an actress from Murcia. The map and videos are viewed on a large monitor on the bus. During the performance, the movements of the bus through the city are mirrored on the GoogleEarth map. The audience witnesses short glimpses of what the city has to offer. Somebody solves a Rubik's cube in under 2 minutes, a man is drunk on the street, a group of friends sing around a piano, a 14 year old boy shows off his headbanging skills, somebody chokes his friend and causes him to pass out, somebody is playing a video game, a man teaches himself Arabic, two people are in love, a festival happens on the street.
Sometimes the bus stops and we try to find some of these individuals and reenact some of these performances. We have been in touch with some of the videos' authors and they have agreed to let us into their homes and show off their different skills. At first I didn't know how people would respond when they realized that we knew where they lived. I know this is a bit strange, since they put down the locations in the first place. But, for example, recordings made on a mobile phone probably automatically geotag the videos without people's knowledge. Also, although these videos, shot in their private spaces, are available for public consumption, it's a bit of a twist to allow the public (the bus audience) back into the private space. But some have been quite open about it.
This for me is a very Unstable Urbanism. Unstable in the blurred boundaries between the private / public, live / recorded, physical / mediated. But unstable in the sense of any performance involving live media, technology and urban material. That it might not work! That there are pleasant and sometimes unpleasant surprises. But this is what makes life exciting, don't you think?