‘The Museum of No Spectators’

The very liberal and interactive ‘Museum of No Spectators’ questions the neutrality of the archetypal museum, shifting perspective from what we believe constitutes art.

Architect John Marx and artist Absinthia Vermut go virtual this year for the ‘Burning Man’, a yearly event hosted in Nevada’s pop-up metropolis, Black Rock City. A wholly participatory event, ‘Burning Man’ is a creative face-off between artists, architects, and collectives on the desert playa — a showcase of art, installations, and performances.

This alternative museum picks up on this very aspect of the ‘Burning Man’ culture that is in sharp contrast to a conventional museum, where in the latter, the art is exclusive, the artist elite, while the visitor is a just consumer, a spectator. Alternately, the ‘Burning Man’ produces equally exceptional and powerful work that profoundly resonates with society, offering a de-commodifying experience where artists share their art with others.

The museum takes on an abstract, surrealist form — part creature, part machine — featuring 8 unusually shaped galleries and an expansive, folded timber exterior. Designed as blank canvas, the museum is a spontaneous, participatory container that fosters co-creation and self-expression.

Participants enter through a gifting area and then proceed to the galleries through a central corridor leading to the ‘Theatre of Participation’ at the exit. Named Snark, Ground-score, Transformation, 10 Principles, Sparkle-pony, Dark Art, Surrealism & Whimsy, and Borrowed Art, the galleries offer opportunities to make art on the walls, bring in art for display, or even subtract from existing pieces.

Light filters in through the sides and the roof, highlighting the artefacts. The result is a space that is constantly evolving as one experiences art and unleashes their own creative potential — a space where anyone can be an artist. After a transformative experience, a stage brings participants to the threshold of the seemingly infinite playa, encouraging them to initiate change.

Nudging viewers to reconsider what museums can be, the ‘Museum of no Spectators’ questions the range of Radical Inclusion and its societal impact.

‘The Museum of No Spectators’ is a radically inclusive and interactive space designed by San Francisco based architect John Marx together with Artist Absinthia Vermut for Burning Man 2020. Due to Covid-19, they were not able to build the art piece and bring it to the Playa this Summer. Marx and Vermut are fully committed to making it a physical reality in 2021, but in the meantime, have staged a virtual experience striving to create a visual richness that would give you a sense of what awaits next year. The 3D visit to The Museum can be viewed here: https://museumofnospectators.com/

Burning Man: August 30 — September 7, 2020

Originally published at https://www.indiaartndesign.com on August 29, 2020.