In the summer of 2007, artist and curator DK Pan invited us to be a part of a one-night performance installation entitled Motel, Motel, Motel. There was an old motel off Aurora called the Bridge which was slated for demolition to make way for high-end condominiums. But before the wrecking balls knocked the 1950s, two-story building down, DK was going to produce an event that would turn this derelict, drug-infested motel into a contemporary art showcase. He asked us if we wanted a room and we raised our hands high.
One-night projects always start off as simple ideas. Paint the room black. Hang a small model spaceship from fishing line. Hook up an intercom so visitors can communicate with the "live" crew, stashed behind a curtain in the back of the motel room. But enthusiasm breeds complexity and pretty soon our miniature spaceship had a windshield - a live-video feed into a tiny monitor, where the audience could see us onboard the spaceship, in real time, responding to their intercom questions. And the black box was replaced with a rear-projection screen of space in motion. We blame Puccinelli for all the high-tech innovations, but he pulled it off and it really was quite wonderful.
We outfitted a portion of the room with dryer hose, chrome oddments, hanging wires, a control panel, and blinking lights. From the 3-inch monitor, it looked like a pretty cool space deck. Our friend Rick Klu hid inside the room and from a high platform threw asteroids and aliens at us. It was not a scripted performance. It was, however, an oversight of ours to have 75 electronic things and lights plugged in on a hot summer night in the back of an old motel room with no ventilation. But then again, space travel is hardship. We wanted people to appreciate the authenticity of it all...or something like that. Fortunately Arne Pihl punched a hole through an adjacent wall so we could breathe a little easier.
It was a fantastic evening and the Bridge Motel was given a great send off. Hundreds of people came, viewed art, climbed through windows and drank beer in the motor court. If I were an old hotel, this would be how I'd want to go out.
You can visit www.motelmotelmotel.com for more information.