Show & Tell: A (Late) Review

Show & Tell: A Review

This review is months late which is problematic, but not catastrophic. In that time we’ve changed the name of the collective, held another event, written a review for it (also late), travelled to Panama and Philadelphia, moved, curated art shows, received haircuts,started blogs with others, etc. We’ve been busy, which is a shame when one attempts to accurately capture the essence of a thing that happened months ago. The spirit and energy of this event was magnetic, magical, though we nor any of the participants we’ve seen repeatedly since the event have mentioned it. I suspect we lack sufficient time to reflect. To ponder. To think. To discern. To re-enjoy. To re-member.

At this point, MF Problem reviews its own projects.

Show & Tell, the first event for MF Problem, then named ZPP, occurred on July 6, 2012. The ambiguity and mystery about the collective’s name did not reflect on the event which was quite open and accessible to those present. The event was marketed to a small and intimate audience of fellow artists, collaborators, and friends- a group who at this stage were graciously more willing to critique the “spread” than our clever and creative yet slightly feeble attempt at our first project.

Description/Invitation: You are asked to bring an object, an idea, a philosophy, or tale, or any sort  item to share with the group of invited participants. It works best if we all bring something.  The theme is: HAPPINESS.The material shared should be something that has the potential to provide happiness of some sort. Feel free to think outside of the box. You will be asked to show off this item to all present with the hope of giving it new life for you and the audience. This first event will be intimate in size, so you are one of a very select group of folks invited. In exchange we hope that at the end you could provide us with feedback about the relative success or failure of this our first project.


The emailed invitation to the event included a quirky video featuring one half of MF Problem playing a piccolo. Where did she/I get/find a piccolo???  The invite also contained one photo of myself with a Twilight lunch kit. More questions. Either way, the humor embedded in both the image and the video of piccolo playing layered with Kanye’s Mercy set the tone for the event.

The success of this event and many other participant-driven art actions often lien in the willingness and eagerness of the participants to actually participate and be just as excited as the artists are when figuring out what the hell is happening. MF Problem discovered the beginnings of its practice in this constructed experience where artist and participant histories begin to dialogue. We discovered more about each other through the highlights of our pasts rather than the tragedies. Happiness as a theme also didn’t hurt either. We had to do something to help ourselves, right?

MF Problem will definitely benefit in the future from More Finances. While holding the event at our home (apartment) was cozy and sufficient given the crowd, a larger more public space might reduce limitations on the size and scope of what the audience felt they could share. I envision a remounting of this project with a more abstract theme that is more challenging on the part of MF Problem and the participant-observers.

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Though the items ranged from childhood relics to objects used daily to things that represented cherished ideas, the participants were allowed to collectively relive and discover the intent of “Show & Tell” – sharing and making vulnerability a possibility. Those present ended up curating an exhibition of artifacts representing identity, time, and personal internal landscapes.

[As requested in the invitation: If you were at the event, and have time to reflect on it, we welcome your thoughts/comments.]

MF Problem, founded by Robert Pruitt and Autumn Knight, is our new collaborative art organization. For us it will be site for the exploration of experimental social art practices. We focus on collaborative, conceptual, visual and reformative strategies that critique the divisions of race, power and inequalities found in national and global social structures.  We will use the absurd, the gift of experimentation, the abundance of public space and black art promise to act now to alleviate inertia in all forms.