If you feel you’re being watched as you walk down Alameda and are in front of the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM), you’re not being paranoid. Thirty-one giant eyes made of recycled clothing scraps and plastic exercise balls gaze out from the side of the GAM as part of a project from the Argentine design team of Mariano Breccia, Mechi Martinez and DaniDan. It was dreamt up for the interactive art project, YoMonstro, that is being displayed within the Hecho en Casa (Made at Home) festival of urban intervention.
YoMonstro, GAM exterior (photo by Cat Allen/EyeSpyCat)
The project, a play on both Spanish words 'to show' (mostrar) and 'monster' (monstro), reclaims materials that are usually considered trash to create marvelous individual costumes and installations. This collaborative art intervention invites the public to create their own monsters as vehicles of personal expression and transform existing spaces into fantastical scenarios where they perform 'demonstrations,' a group exploration of the contradictory duality of what people show the world and the monster within. “We think that we need to hide stuff,” said DaniDan, “like what we think we need to be for other people that we’re not."
Regarding the eyes, “It’s about point of view,” said DaniDan, from Buenos Aires, now living in Berlin. “Each participant envisioned his own personal monster and then created a representative eye to share.”
“It was long process coming up with the idea of making the eyes,” said Breccia. “With no resources at hand, we thought-- why not use the canvases from the political posters that were to be thrown away.” So from mountains of discarded plastic banners from last month's mayorial elections emerged a wall of three-foot-wide eyes, made by the hands of the community.
The eyes (photo by Cat Allen/EyeSpyCat)
“We’re trying to show a new way of interacting with the environment that is free and safe,” said DaniDan, Included were university students, artists, children with Downs Syndrome, the kids that dance to cell phone music with their own reflections outside of the GAM, and the general public. “We invited the kids who dance in the street, because they already want to show what they create in their dance.”
The group calls themselves, “Monstrologists” and collaborate with participants that create through choice. “More than the final product, it is the process,” says Breccia. “It’s more about a lot of people sharing and making things (them more than us). It’s more about the process of creating, than what they actually create.”
“Because it’s a group in costume, it’s anonymous. So they can show their monster more freely", says DaniDan. “We do a daily ‘Monster Stomp,’ where we go as a group and parade around in the costumes that have been created, each acting out the character of their monsters and mini stories in the context of a fictional story: a DEMON-stration.”
Even with two years of planning, Breccia emphasizes collaborative focus in all of their projects. “We don’t present ourselves as the owners of this art,” explains Breccia. “It’s a complete collaboration with the community that changes each time.” DaniDan says that they focus on city center communities in the hope of bringing art out of the designated exhibiton spaces and into the streets to spread the idea that “art is not just for the elite in galleries.”
The artists (photo by Cat Allen/EyeSpyCat)
“We can adapt our projects to different spaces. We can shift to different formats,” explains DaniDan. “We like big scale projects with recycled materials and a lot of people interacting. That’s when we meet our goal of sharing.”
“We like to show the exploration process of the using the materials as well,” says Breccia. “We like to show the ideas, all the possibilities. It’s really about procreation.”
YoMonstro has 'demonstrated' in collaboration with over 70 artists worldwide in the likes Buenos Aires, Berlin and Brasil. “We focus on the nice side of monsters", says DaniDan. “But the message is also- don’t hide and don’t pretend to not have one (a monster), because we all do. And all monsters need to stomp sometimes.”
YoMonstro is a part of the Festival de Intervention Urbana - Hecho en Casa and will hang outside the GAM until the end of the month.