SXSW Experiment

By: Mike Fleisch
March 13, 2012

I felt some sense of responsibility; what are the odds that my co-AiR would offer such a generous prompt right off the bat? In the middle of wrapping up SXSW preparations, I headed to the Cincinnati Zoo, about a half mile from my house, to find the place where Martha took her final breath. I’ll post the results of that pilgrimage next week.


People have been incredibly generous with our little social experiment here at SXSW. Their involvement is predicated on the empty half-sheet we hand them, mandating that they are to respond to only one of three prompts:

1. What’s the problem? What’s the answer?
2. Make art.
3. I promise to donate (blank) to (blank).

Number 2 has generated the most replies, by a long shot. The Day 1 results:

Answer: 34 replies
Art: 65 replies
Gift: 25 replies

My colleague Joyce and I have begun to organize the artifacts into threads, based on the subjective criterion of “what seems to make sense.” Thus far:

1. Art for Art’s Sake
  a. Non-representational
    i. conceptual
    ii. expressionist
  b. Representational
    i. Figurative
      1. eyes
      2. body
    ii. Animals
    iii. Vegetables
    iv. Landscape

2. Peace, Love, and Understanding

3. Subversion

4. 42 (Questions without answers)

5. Pragmatism

6. Donations
  a. Physical
  b. Non-physical
    i. Time
    ii. Other

7. Mustaches


9. Shameless Self-Promotion

Today will likely include a greater degree of illustration and modeling; hoping to see how people can continue to push the boundaries of our experiment. Stop by Stand 310 if you’re in the area. #artgiftanswer on Twitter to follow our progress(?) live.


Read more from artist-in-residence Mike Fleisch on HiLobrow.

HILOBROW’s Artist-in-residence archive.


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