(1) How long have you been making installations?
Installations, inspired by Kirby's book on Happening and Kaprow articles I had seen, were among my very first "creative projects", when I was a teenager in the early seventies. I did some private and semi-private ones, documentation remain only in form of photos and super-8 film shorts.
I have always been interested in several disciplines at once, so I started with photos, collages and assemblages and the next logical step was installations, that I did at home, in my garden, in the streets of Forte dei Marmi and in front of the town art gallery. I would invite high school friends for a party, just to have an audience to see my wall-to-wall assemblages of scraps, drawings, objects, etc. It's a bit difficult to tell the difference from the installations and happenings I did at the time because I always liked a certain amount of intervention from the part of the audience (I never used these definitions though, I only saw these activities as part of my learning-by-doing in the area of aesthetical self-expression). This was approximately from 1973 till 1977, then I discovered the existence of mail art and I channelled into it much of my efforts.
They are-were a part of my life, I never pursued a regular "art career" so my activities are not measured in terms of public success and acceptance, they are much more part of a private ritual (like mail art), because I truly feel and believe the official art world today is nothing but a commodity, a money game ruled by power elites not creativity and intelligence, and as such it does not interest me much. I live in my own art world: not just the rules are different, the whole game is different.
A painting you can take and move it where and when it pleases you, an installation is born with a precise location and time and meaning in mind. Sometimes the difference between an installation and a "traditional" art show might be vague, I guess it depends on the intention of the artist, and if it works artistically it makes little difference how you call it. When time and location (and often sound) is more important than the frames, for me it's an installation.
As the saying goes, the human mind has no limits...
If the relationship between environmental conditions and art installation are not carefully considered beforehand by the artist, that will be a rather poor and incomplete kind of installation.
There is always a (creative) way to surmount difficulties, you just have to remain flexible.
Why not, sure, I did some in the early eighties for small art festivals and I enjoyed that. One was for the 9th Neoist Festival at Ponte Nossa in Italy, I arranged hundreds of mail art works with the theme "cornucopia" in the form of a giant cornucopia. Most mail art shows take the form of installations, and that is how I always worked: trying to turn all the contributions on a given theme into an individual/collective artwork.
I've seen a few in museums, they were interesting to see though you are not allowed to touch-use it as it probably was in the author's intentions. If it does not cause ecological problems, why not. I always hated land art and those huge Christo packages, how unsensitives of our environment, I prefer "traditional" ad billboards to that... The world is already turning into a big theme park, I prefer small harmless installations like Ray Johnson's MOTICOS.
Like it or not, everything has a value in this world, it's the law of offer and demand that will determine the prices.
If any dispute arises,
the person with the smartest lawyers will win! Personally, I am against copyright
in general, it's an outdated concept in a post-modern world run by digital technologies,
that function through the massive dissemination, download and reproduction of
data. Freeware and shareware are more viable contemporary concepts that I think
will spread into new cultural areas in the next few years.
Vittore BARONI (I)