MUSEUM MIXTAPE VOL. 1
(DIRTY SOUTH EDITION)
Museum Mixtape is an album and a series of videos in which up-and-coming rappers perform freestyle rhymes as guided tours for museums in the southeast United States.
Culturalinstitutions around the world are going through interesting and tensetimes. Large, influential art spaces struggle to connect with theirlocal communities and to find financial and governmental support. InNaples, Italy, museum director Antonio Manfredi is currently burningpieces from the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum collection, in protestagainst the lack of spending on culture. In the newfound U.S. economicinstability, the National Endowment for the Arts has become a continualtarget of budget cuts and political warfare, while art institutionsstruggle to attract public attention and stay relevant. Yet, culturekeeps happening. Flourishing inside the tween-curated micro-textual newweb, transmitted through file-sharing networks and engaging liveaudiences in ways that museums and galleries could only dream of. Thissituation represents a disconnect between institutionalizedculture and emerging cultural forms that are self-sufficient, sustainable, and exciting.
Inthe last 30 years, the U.S. has seen the rise of southern hip-hop, astrong subculture that has influenced the social landscape of theAmerican mainstream. Its collaborative, hard-working, and prolificdigital network brings memories of the early-’80s American punk rockexplosion (with a spread of multiple fanzines, venues, and artist-runrecord labels), but unlike punk rock, hip-hop has not yet penetrated“high culture” in an influential way, especially within its owngeographical context: The South. While SuperJam (a hip-hop festival inGreensboro, NC) draws more than 20,000 fans from all over thesoutheastern states every year, cultural centers like SECCA in WinstonSalem, NC, and museums like The Weatherspoon (Greensboro, NC) and TheAckland (Chapel Hill, NC) remain mainly empty during regular hours. Here, thedisconnection between contemporary audiences and cultural institutionsis visible. The open white space feels void of life while the Internetbursts with the forms of a new aesthetic.
Isthe museum space obsolete? Can its architecture host different uses andinspire alternative narratives? Are cultural institutions completelyout of tune with culturally active local demographics? What kind of newforms can this apparent disconnection create?
Composedof a series of videos, limited edition cassette copies, a website, and adownloadable album, Museum Mixtape aims to create a playful connectionbetween hip-hop narratives and institutional art spaces. By invitinglocal rap artists to comment (via performance) on contemporarycollections in their respective locations and presenting thesecollaborations as an audiovisual series, a new space is offered toreflect on the current state of cultural economies, institutionalcommunity engagement and emerging subcultural forms and theirintersections.
Timeline and Budget
Planning and research: Fall 2012
Production (museum visits, instrumental compositions, musical arrangements, and video shoots): Fall 2012 - Spring 2013
Post-production and promotion: Spring 2013
Travel costs for trips around the southeast U.S.: $1,000.00
Promotion and calls for participants artists: $500.00
Artists’ fees and video shoots: $4,000.00
Track production, mixing, and mastering (for approximately 10 tracks): $1,000.00
Production of cassette tapes (transfers and cover printing): $500.00