Allison Agsten and Mark Allen
in Conversation at ForYourArt

Posted on: July 16th, 2012

Launch of Machine Project Hammer Museum Public Engagement Artist in Residence Report

ForYourArt at 6020 Wilshire Blvd.
July 26, 2012 | 7:30pm

Houseplant Vacation from Machine Project’s Public Engagement Residency at the Hammer Museum

Mark Allen and Allison Agsten reunite at ForYourArt at 6020 Wilshire Blvd. to discuss the collaborative Machine Project/Hammer Museum report that concluded Machine Project’s 2010 Public Engagement residency at the museum. The e-book offers a glimpse into the challenging first year of the museum’s program with a roadmap from the museum and reflections from artists and Hammer staff. The conversation will be moderated by Charlotte Cotton.

View the Machine Project/Hammer Museum report here and excerpts below:

The Giant Hand from Machine Project’s Public Engagement Residency at the Hammer Museum.

“Collaborations between artists and museums are… an excellent way to reconsider and change how we make contemporary art available to the public. To that end, Machine Project’s Residency at the Hammer proposed a shift in curatorial practice from an approach that is product-based to one that is committed to process – a shift that entails inviting in the messy contingency inherent to art.” – Mark Allen, p. 15-16

“…how do you leave yourself open for a brilliant idea when you don’t expect it?” – Mark Allen, p. 38

Enormous Microscope Evening from Machine Project’s Public Engagement Residency at the Hammer Museum.

“I’ve talked to a lot of the people I work with about artists as problem solvers, this idea.. that artists are good at solving problems and the Museum should leverage that toward working on its visitor engagement problem.” – Mark Allen, p. 39

“I like a project that both does something and, at the same time, creates a conversation or discourse around that thing. Whereas I think the idea of a more design-based solution is that you solve the problem and make the problem invisible.” – Mark Allen, p. 41

“So much of the institution’s labor goes into making a singular voice – the font, the text, the way it speaks, the way it steps back. I got really intrigued by what happens  when the voice of the museum gets all messed up.” – Mark Allen, p. 41

Fungi Fest at the Hammer Museum from Machine Project’s Public Engagement Residency at the Hammer Museum.

“I think that the greatest crime that we have right now in LA, when you go to a museum or you go to a new space, is not really being present. That’s very common today, with cell phones and stuff like that. So I’m always looking for ways to create a more collective sense of place. I constantly ask myself: how can we be more here than we were before?” – Chris Kallmyer, p. 48

“The core of the idea that I’m really interested in is: what does it means for an institution to be a guest in residence at another institution?” – Mark Allen, p. 51

“One of the things that is central to how Machine operates is our resistance to really defining what we do.” -Mark Allen, p. 51

Soundings: Bells at the Hammer from Machine Project’s Public Engagement Residency at the Hammer Museum.

“The kind of deeply sustained engagement with an individual that I’m interested in is hard to measure because it’s so subjective. I think in general, the harder something is to measure, the more interested I am in producing it. That’s really what art is.” – Mark Allen, p. 55

“… artists are brought in to engage and create around a problem. It’s an additive process rather than a reductive process. To the institution it’s a problem; to the artist it’s a catalyst.” – Mark Allen, p. 58