For over a decade, Taiwan born American artist Lee Mingwei has been at the forefront of an artistic impulse that has gained traction in recent years: participatory art. This fall, MOCA will present a solo exhibition of Lee, including two of his participation-based projects, The Travelers, a MOCA commission, and The Quartet Project.
The Travelers began in 2010 when Lee and MOCA released 100 artist-designed notebooks to family, friends and acquaintances, inviting each recipient to write his or her own stories of “leaving home”. Once finished, the participant was asked to pass it on like a chain letter. The last person to write in the book will send it back to MOCA by September 12, 2011, after a year of travelling. All books that make their way back to the museum will become part of an installation in Lee’s exhibition.
The Quartet Project, an interactive sound installation also invites participation and revolves around the experience of displaced people. Each of the four parts of Antoine Dvorak's American String Quartet is recited on one of the four monitors in a darkened gallery. Viewers’ movements dictate in real time how the piece is orchestrated, activating or muting parts of the music depending on their distance from the monitors.
Both pieces in the exhibition emphasize Lee’s artistic practice which is grounded in generosity, the elevation of everyday activities, and the exploration of human interactions.