Black propaganda at melancholy ranch (BPMR)
Vasseur, R. (2006) Black propaganda at melancholy ranch (BPMR). [Performance]
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The project began as a proposal for an aerial leaflet drop over the city of Vienna and publication entitled Demand for Surrender commissioned by the Austrian Cultural Foundation (ACF), London. The work formed part of subsequent ACF publication Art Extraterritorial (ISBN 0-9520274-6-1). Project selected for funding and administrational support by HDTS and Andrea Zittel. Following the 9/11 terrorist attack and advent of war in Iraq restrictions on airspace made it impossible to carry out the project in Vienna, an alternative outcome for the project was sought. Previous collaborations with Centre for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), Los Angeles led to the development of the notion of a mainly un-witnessed performative action that would then be filmed and reported back to an audience. A suitably remote site was located in the Mojave Desert, Southern California by CLUI and 36,000 black standard NATO sized leaflets were dropped onto the site by light airplane over the course of two hours and filmed by camera crew. In co-operation and at the invitation of the organisation High Desert Test Sites (HDTS) and artist Andrea Zittel. Via HDTS permission was given to air the short film repeatedly on local television in the Joshua Tree area of Southern California. The action's act of dispersal had become its language, continually threatening a reality - a form of language bomb. Vasseur's work makes parallels between notions of 'the real' in modern warfare and performative art practice as an exercise or dramatisation that also employs, entertains and maintains this paradigm in the same manner as a military exercise. The project was included in a discussion concerning the legacy of land art, Artforum, September 2006. It was exhibited March, 2007, One Way Street, Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, curators Dr Amanda Beech, Matthew Poole. The exhibition toured Europe 2007.