(2010, Brian Standing)
If you've been to Madison in 2009, you may have seen some odd things cropping up around town. Things like:
- oil derricks and dancing bears suddenly appearing on the Lake Monona ice
- a wooden gypsy caravan towed by a tandem bicycle promising "Things You'd Like to See"
- a bagpiper playing in the middle of John Nolen Drive UNDER the Monona Terrace
- hundreds of surveyors' flags depicting assorted flowers all along State Street
- photos of your friends and neighbors staring back at you along the bike path and from storefront windows
- posters asking for your help to find a lost carrion-eating beetle
- oversized peapods, giant electrical outlets and huge, mobile iron seabirds
- giant spiders, skeletons, witches and zombie Greek warriors invading the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
They're all gone now. You may wonder if you dreamed it... or hallucinated it. But they are... or were... all real... and all funded by the Madison Arts Commission Blink! grant program. The Blink! program (as in "blink and you'll miss it") is a city-funded grant program that specializes in ephemeral, temporary exhibitions and performances.
Over the course of a year, veteran Madison documentarian Brian Standing (director of "Pedalphiles," "War is Sell," and "Scoop Perlman's Guide to Art," among others) followed 15 Blink! grant awardees. The result is "Blink Again! A Year in the Life of Madison Temporary Art," a feature documentary that provides an intimate look into the creative process. In their own words, artists describe how they overcame (or occasionally were defeated by) balky materials, creative frustration, bureaucratic red tape, the challenge of collaborating with pre-teens and teenagers and even vandalism to create startling works that linger in the mind long after they're gone from the scene.
"Blink Again!" is available on DVD from Prolefeed Studios, and licensed under a Creative Commons license to allow for free redistribution, broadcast and public use.