Writes Kelley: "This videotape documents an event staged on the evening of September 3, 1999 at the Kunstverein Braunschweig. The occasion was the opening of my solo exhibition at this institution. Runway for Interactive DJ Event is a lighthearted response to the current embrace of DJ and rave culture by the art world. In Europe, especially, there has been an explosion of artist/DJs and an attendant move by art institutions to bring the party atmosphere of the dance club into the hallowed halls of the art museum and gallery. The art opening is especially suited to such activities because of its celebratory nature.
For my exhibition at Braunschweig, a large tent had been set up on the lawn behind the museum for the purpose of dancing on opening night. I decided to make use of this situation.
With no purpose in mind, I had brought a suitcase full of doll clothes with me to Braunschweig. These were leftovers from the production of Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites, a large sculpture on view in my exhibition. This sculpture is constructed from hundreds of stuffed animals organized, by color, into planet-like lumps. The miniature clothes had been stripped off of these objects so that they were pure colors.
At the Kunstverein I discovered an especially appealing room in the basement. It was a long dungeon-like corridor ending with a small high window that looked out into the rear lawn of the museum, where the opening party was to take place. The window was hidden behind a hedge. This unusual room inspired me to make a new sculpture: a model ramp with a small stage platform situated below the window. On this platform, all of the doll clothes were arranged into loose categories. This room was not accessible from the museum; the piece could only be viewed by crawling into the hedge behind the building and viewing it through the small window situated there.
Runway for Interactive DJ Event was an unannounced performance done during the opening and visible only through this window.
The performance took the form of a fashion show. Kalin Lindena, an artist in Braunschweig, and I were the ramp models. We were clad only in our underwear, as if ready to be fitted with the undersized clothes. DJs Oliver Blomeier and Marco Olbrich provided musical accompaniment. Oliver was stationed in the cellar with us, while Marco spun records in the party tent. The two DJs communicated with each other through an intercom system. Oliver had no turntables or records; his role was as an 'interpretive DJ,' describing to Marco the activities taking place on the model ramp and possible choices of musical accompaniment. The performance was unrehearsed and improvisational. Kalin and I discussed the formal and associative qualities of the various outfits, and attempted to "model" them. Oliver conveyed his interpretation of this activity to Marco in the party tent. Marco's music mix was sent back to speakers set up in the basement room and spurred further response on our part. Marco could not hear or see the activities taking place on the model ramp; he was reliant on Oliver's information to make his musical choices. The performance was a kind of interpretive dialogue between the various participants. The people dancing in the party tent were unaware that the dance music was determined by secret "fashion-related" activities taking place simultaneously in the depths of the Kunstverein. Those who did chance upon the performance had to crowd around the window hidden in the bushes. The performance dialogue was only audible through small speakers situated there.
The performance was shot on three cameras: a stable camera set up at the foot of the ramp, a mobile camera operated by the ramp models, and a roving camera that moved from the performance site to the exterior window and party tent. A still photographer was also integrated into the action. Andrea Stappert shot continuously throughout the entire performance. A sequence of her photographs is included in the videotape as a kind of condensed visual recapitulation of the event."
With: Mike Kelley, Kalin Lindena, Oliver Blomeier, Marco Olbrich. Still Photographs: Andrea Stappert. Camera: Mike Kelley, Anita Pace, Kalin Lindena. Sound Mix: Mike Kelley, Kelly Mason. Editor: Catherine Sullivan.