The 24 h Museum is in line with my earlier projects. It's a reflection on the ephemeral: the trailer for a non-film, the pilot episode of a reality show that will never go on air, the campaign by two candidates for a non-existent presidential election. I only shifted the focus of the analysis by abolishing the diva in flesh and blood: the spectator is the actor in this performance based on a museographic event. The idea was to create a real museum, with all its official annexes and connections: from magniloquent artworks to a tailored architectural design. The whole social structure usually associated with the inauguration of a museum was also recreated: the ceremonial dinner, the party, the press conference, the school or university visits, the minister cutting the ribbon. Although complex, it is an apparatus timed to stay alive for just 24 hours. At its climax, the red carpet will be pulled from under the feet of the visitors, who will roll onto the floor.
We created the ironic version of a grand baroque festival, for which in ancient times the sets, menus and performances were designed by prominent artists. I launched a somewhat perverse and ambiguous game based on this tradition.
The 24 h Museum is then an ironic take on the fact that museums today have become places where an infinite number of social rites are played out. Besides those connected to the event proper, there are some linked to fund-raising, a practice essential to survival. The museum is like a hub, a word Rem would love: a port of call in global social life, which is something I find truly surreal.
I don't judge, I only reflect on the phenomenon. I cast the stone and then immediately hide my hand. As an artist, I don't know what museum formula I would prefer. Every museum can be amusing, the faintly "ill-reputed" one as well as the super-sacred.
My good fortune was to find an organisation like Prada that agreed to stage a game such as that proposed by the 24 h Museum. Intellectually and financially, not many can afford to host such an enjoyable and provocative project.
The 24 h Museum is a large, ephemeral construction, but not a divertissement, because hypothetical entertainment is part of its social duty.
24 - 25 January 2012
9, Place d'Iéna, 75775 Paris
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
20.30 - 23.00, Dîner placé, invitation-only
23.00 - 3.00, Party, invitation-only
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
7.00 – 12.00 Open to the public
12.00 - 14.00 Press walkthrough
14.00 – 16.30 Open to the public
16.30 – 18.30 Guided tour for schools
18.30 - 20.30 Cocktail reception