|Now entering Brooklyn, Public Art Fund: New York, 2003, cover and pp. 33 & 36.|
Jacob Fabricius: Your sign read "This is not art" in western-style lettering. Why was it important for you to have this statement out on the street?
Ben Kinmont: To instigate conversations about the possibilities and limiations of art with people who are not normally participating in the contemporary art world. I also like street projects because of the ease with which they can be done. One simply has to walk outside and do something.
Jacob Fabricius: You asked me to ask people what they thought was not art and write it on the board. The interaction between art and people is crucial to most of your works. Why do you feel the sharing and social itneraction is so important?
Ben Kinmont: It is a more dynamic and relevant means to understanding life for me than object making and exhibiting in galleries.
Jacob Fabricius: A man asked me if your sign was some kind of art, we talked a bit, and I told him that he could write what he thought was not art on the board. He wrote "Life is what you make of it" and said this was a very liberating art form. Many people wrote what they thought was not art. Some read: "looking at me," "selfishness," "big pimping," "being a jerk," "porn," "war," "lying/cheating," "walking with no destination," "play hatin' on cristina," "smoking," "sucking dick," "this board," and so on. There were also a few people that chose to write what they thought was art, and among them: "Being a parent," "overcoming obstacles, dressing up, education," "in the eye of the beholder!" "love," "Eminem"... Some tagged the board, wrote responses, made a drawing. What do you think of these responses, were they what you expected?
Ben Kinmont: Yes, that is perfect. Remember that there is never, in many ways, a right answer to these question-based projects. But it does sound like the participants were comfortable and that counts a lot.