In 2012, two art collectors in Virginia named Grace and David Lawson contacted New York artists daniel Baltzer and Mikel Glass, working collectively as Baltzerglass, to create a room-sized installation in the Lawsons’ living room. In addition to being art collectors, the Lawsons are avid game hunters. Baltzerglass thus created “Eutrophia”, an interactive, room-sized installation work featuring mechanical contraptions, mounted animal heads, live gerbils, and art pieces. “Eutrophia” deconstructs the trophy-collecting impulse, whether the trophies are artworks or animal heads. One condition of the work was that the Lawsons had to agree to care for the live gerbils incorporated into the piece for the animals’ natural lifespans. The Lawsons’ time spent in caring for animals instead of hunting them as trophies incorporated a portrait in negative of trophy hunting by forcing the hunters to engage in the exact opposite of trophy hunting.
Interfictions has commissioned Baltzerglass here to create “Aihportue”, an original, online, interactive, digital work descended from “Eutrophia” in which the Lawsons have agreed to become the subject of an experiment. Interfictions readers are invited to submit images critiquing and commenting on the theme of trophy hunting and collecting. The images will automatically display on a digital picture frame incorporated into the installation in the Lawsons’ living room for them to view. We have in essence built a digital terrarium with live collectors/hunters for our readers to experiment upon.
“Aihportue” inverts the normal relationship between artwork and collector by having the collectors willingly become part of the artwork, the subject of a public experiment in their own natural habitat, the proverbial gerbils in the maze, and the quarry in the hunt. “Aihportue” also creates an opportunity to observe not only how the subjects in the maze will react, but to see how the “scientists” (i.e., Interfictions‘ readers) will react. “Aihportue” creates an opportunity to observe what sort of restraint and self-imposed ethics the “scientists” choose to demonstrate in their experiments on the subjects.
At the bottom of this page are photo submission guidelines and a gallery that will continually update to show the pictures that Interfictions readers choose to subject the Lawsons to. We have agreed that the Lawsons will be able to stop the experiment at any time but they will indicate which image eventually made them decide to end the experiment. Interfictions would like to thank the Lawsons for being game enough to make themselves “the game” in this game.
Photo Submission Guidelines: To participate in the interactive portion of this piece and submit images that will appear in the Lawsons’ living room on the digital picture frame, please send images as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep the images to critique or commentary on the theme of “trophies”, however you wish to interpret that. Baltzerglass has suggested that readers might also wish to run the photo through http://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/painting before sending it, so that it looks like it was created by the marionette artist in the installation. Please note that images containing graphic violence, pornography, hate speech, or other illegal or prohibited material will be deleted.
daniel Baltzer’s work has been exhibited in galleries and art fairs in North America and Asia, including Art Basel Miami, and included in private collections around the world. His work has been featured in art and mainstream press including the Today Show and Everyday with Rachel Ray. He is the recipient of the Artists’ Fellowship NYC Grant.
Mikel Glass trained at the New York Academy of Fine Art, Pomona College, the Sir John Cass School of Art, London, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His work has been in shown in museum and gallery exhibitions throughout North America and featured in press including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Miami Herald, and Arts and Antiques magazine. His work is included in the collections of clients such as Ralph Lauren Polo and Michael Huffington.