From 1:00pm yesterday till 1:00pm today, we screened the full 24 hours of Josh Michael's 24 Hour Empire, a durational homage to Andy Warhol and Jonas Mekas' 1964 work. I spent a wonderful few hours with Josh last night but eventually drifted home to my own bed, while he manned the live streaming of the video and stayed up for the remainder of the 24 hours. I caught up with him this morning to help wrap up and asked him a few questions: a very fresh reflection on the challenges of durational art.
Theo: How long have you been here in the gallery?
Josh: Since 11:30 yesterday [25 hours].
T: How do you feel?
J: My mind is a little drained. But I’m awake.
T: Do you feel like you learned something in the last 25 hours?
J: I learned how I really want to present [24 Hour Empire] next time. I had big questions about which format did well and why; doing it again I’d go with the slow motion and not VHS. There is a quality to the slow motion that is much nicer in terms of long viewing periods. The glitch in the VHS is cool in some ways, but it takes away from the cloud movement and some of the transitions.
T: What was different about this durational experience than you expected?
J: I would have hoped for some way to get some true, quiet, long duration viewing for more than just me. When everyone was gone, I got three to four hours of quiet just staring at the video. I hope in the future I can find a way to encourage a group of people to sit it out for at least fourhours at a time. I think you need to do that to understand the work.
T: How would you get people to do that?
J: I would probably introduce a little more structure to how the viewing went, dedicate a quiet time for viewing, make it clear to people that this is encouraged. I left it to people how to experience it, but I would rather have given some guidance encouraging just sitting there starting at it.
T: How many Red Bulls did you consume?
J: Three over a 24-hour period. But two were in the last six hours.