Curatorial Projects > Why Can't the First Part of the Second Party... (2014)

Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party? – A Solo Exhibition by Bernie Lubell

April 9 - June 7, 2014
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

This exhibition is part of Systems, Intersection's Spring 2014 multi-disciplinary program exploring various mechanisms of social order at work. Responding to both the Systems theme and to the gallery space, this new installation by Bernie Lubell is his take on how systems beget systems.

Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party… relies entirely on visitors' active participation to bring it to life. The interconnected mechanisms provide various ways for participants to cooperate to get nothing to happen and several ways to monitor this nothing as it happens. By playing together, participants become active partners in constructing their own understandings. Lubell suspects that it is this very same active engagement – our inter-woven agency – combined with self-awareness that is the origin of complex systems. Like this installation, life has, over time, become increasingly complex. The explosion of technology into personal life may explain this growth of complexity, but it may just be an inevitable consequence of our minds at work.

Is vigilance the solution or the problem?

- Kevin B. Chen

"When I first arrived at the Intersection for the Arts, I was struck by the ceiling because it proudly displays the systems that make the building habitable - the air, light, water, heat, power & communications we need. As I modified my "Party of the First Part" installation to monitor this ceiling, the piece transformed into an ever more paranoid system of ways for us to work together to eliminate progress. It still has a differential gear that calculates the difference in contributions from a bike and a treadmill but now it sends the result to several different outputs including a video cart on the bridge just below the ceiling to capture images of that ceiling. The piece is also monitoring this monitoring and altogether not much happens. This isn't something you can choose or not. It is in the nature of the system that we cancel each others' efforts. Still, it is fun competing, cooperating and vetoing each other. And there is a way to get something done - not shown in the video - maybe you can guess what it is."

- Bernie Lubell