With AF's support I will launch the first year of FUSE, a quarterly mobile microcinema event in our community. There are two primary focal points for the project a) experimentation with the cinema-going experience, especially how audiences and artists can interact; b) a collaborative hosting model, with a different artist helping co-organize each FUSE. Conceptually, FUSE aims to short-circuit expectations for the typically static relationship between artists, presenters and audience.
Why is experimentation important for the cinema-going experience? I believe most of our viewing options – whether paying to see feature films in a theater, a home viewing of streaming/DVDs, or link-hopping online – lend themselves to a passive, consumer relationship that's reductive in how we digest ideas and art. What if the artists' whose work is shared are present (virtually and/or physically) and the audience encouraged to contribute feedback, ideas, screening fees as they feel inspired? What if the whole event is transparent in terms of revenues/expenses, time involved and programming choices? What if content is choreographed for audience participation? FUSE will focus on ways that artists, presenters and audiences can interact to generate deeper experiences of sharing cinema.
Collaboration with rotating co-hosts is also a critical piece of this project. It's a way to weave through cross-sections of our community, bridge gaps and bring new audiences together. It's a way for artists to gain experience in presenting work in new contexts. And it's also a way to avoid a curator's built in blind spots and biases.
I hosted a test FUSE on June 8th at the studio of Roos Roast. We showed short films by local makers in attendance for audience Q&A. We setup an interactive video installation and held a "PopOff" contest to decide whose popcorn seasoning recipe was supreme. Attendance was 50 people, double the expectation, and feedback was enthusiastic for further FUSE events.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (November 2013)