The Troubleshooting Agency helps people document their troubles creatively, and facilitates a dialogue concerning these problems. The agency has been established in order to encourage people to make their voice heard, and to reflect on their problems and relationship with themselves and others in a different way. It hopes to present and publicize overt and covert conflicts, while reexamining basic assumptions and interests. In addition, the Troubleshooting Agency promotes the use of video as an expressive medium as well as a tool for activism and solidarity.
The Troubleshooting Agency is the brainchild of curator Maayan Sheleff. Sheleff invited five video artists interested in experimental dialogues to take part in this pilot project: Yochai Avrahami, Yael Brandt, Shay-Lee Uziel, Rufina Muraviova Lin, and Liraz Pank. The pilot will take place in Holon’s Jessy Cohen Neighborhood, as part of the ongoing activity of theThe Israeli Center for Digital Art there.
As of January 10, the agency opened an office which is also a kind of photography studio at the neighborhood’s commercial center, and invite people to talk about their troubles. Local inhabitants and artists will document and discuss these troubles together. In this dialog, the artists will help the participants understand and take advantage of the range of expressive opportunities offered by the medium. The products of this work will be uploaded to YouTube, where other artists, as well as the general public, will be invited to comment on the problems documented at the workshop. This will also be an opportunity for users to raise additional issues, enabling everyone to become an agent or a customer, counselor or counselee, or both at the same time. This way the project will be able to expand organically.
The Troubleshooting Agency combines two related forms of creative dialog: the activist and interactive approach of social art, and the Web’s sharing and community aspects.Both are faced with serious difficulties in the present context: social art is appreciated by a limited, captive audience, while most of the public is attracted to commercial spectacle art. Moreover, the relationship between the artist and the community is never equal, with significant gaps in approaches and expectations between the two parties. A third difficulty lies in the complexity of documentation and the forms of presentation of activities performed with and within a community. As a medium, the Web is ostensibly more egalitarian and accessible: people advise each other and share their knowledge to create joint projects. Millions easily create and consume images. But communication over the Web is often motivated by personal, economic and political interests. For example, most tutorials uploaded to the Internet are saturated with marketing content and designed to serve commercial or government entities. In addition, user comments are often superficial and derogatory, and the chaotic and dizzying multiplicity of images makes it very difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.
The agency uses the MOs of the Internet in general, and YouTube in particular: blurring the boundaries between producer and consumer, sharing knowledge to solve problems, video responses, emulation, gestures, confessions, public exposure and viral distribution. However, unlike most online materials, the agency attempts to channel these MOs into a more complex world of discussing real-life individual and sociopolitical issues. By using the language of art to enable complexities and leave room for doubt, it tries to bridge and communicate while testing the medium’s boundaries and constraints.
The Troubleshooting Agency will be open from January 10 to February 7, 2012, on Tuesdays from 6 to 8pm and on Fridays from 11am to 1pm.
You are welcome to talk to us about your troubles.