THE PRODUCT DIVISION HIT THE ROAD
Last April, we sold everything we owned in a massive push to uproot from the United States, traveling with three small backpacks brimming with vital tech and a mandolin. Together we (Red Cell & JC Gonzo) form the Product Division, a conceptual art duo based in the William S. Burroughs/Brion Gysin Third Mind ideology. The Third Mind intention is for two beings to work together combining their unique visions, forming a singular third creative entity from which the work stems. As expatriates, we work to provide portals past and through the systems of control we all navigate in our daily lives. People learn best through example, so we are practicing what we preach.
After taking a few years to develop a working language between us, we felt it was time to adopt a world citizen mentality and minimize our consumerist dependence by living as Technomads. Always mobile and always connected, we hop country to country with a digital camera, our laptops, and a smart phone—basic tools for creation and distribution in the digital age. Beginning in the Azores as part of Angie Reed’s (ex-Stereo Total) art residency and presently in Tangier, Morocco, our next move is Berlin. Our location after that is purposefully undecided. Part of the reasoning behind our leap was to generate inventiveness in situations with limited resources. Left behind was our reliable IRL network of friends, and our well established, deep-rooted involvement with art events, galleries, museums, and the like for nearly a decade. We had to construct a new platform for ourselves.
So, how do traveling, virtually connected, emerging artists remain relevant and active while relinquishing so much materialist stability? This was the question that lead us to RePoRTal, a year’s subscription to our art/lives with a limited membership. Individuals who support us with a small fee receive a 12-month exclusive engagement with our work that includes private access to audio transmissions, original music, field recordings, photography, writing, video, and mail art on a consistent basis. Each month’s major dispatch is a 32-page e-newsletter, showcasing our current development and interviews with artists we happen upon along our way. Neither a fundraiser nor donation cause, the idea harkens back to old-school fan clubs, but reimagined for the contemporary art world. Ultimately, RePoRTal is an experimental, semi-sustainable platform for artists, allowing them to live and work freely and for their audiences to be personally engaged in their vision. We even include GPS coordinates to four hidden artworks located around the world, shaking up how our audience receives our product.
One of our main philosophies is that the process is the product. By focusing on the process instead of the end product, we shift the conversation to the lives and efforts of the individual. Whatever medium the concept calls for is what we employ, no art form is off limits to us. RePoRTal allows us to incorporate our diverse palette and adopt many hats without needing to produce the full multi-media performances we are most known for. Rarely do we perform a song or do an action more than once in our live shows, keeping our audience engaged in the temporary quality of our efforts. Switching up every piece we perform forces us to consistently generate original material instead of relying on past successes. In many ways our new project is no different, allowing us a free form setting to play and discover new ideas in real time along with our subscribers. We revel in breaking the repetition of how art and entertainment is experienced in Western culture and RePoRTal is the actualization of that love.
Tangier was always a dream destination for us. It’s a historically geographic muse to many figures integral in our own ideology. Burroughs, Gysin, and Genet unquestionably found the magic here, as well as Jane and Paul Bowles, the Beats, and a revolving cast of counterculture icons who’ve been drawn to Interzone. There is an absorbing energy that buzzes through the narrow corridors, illuminating the eyes of the people who call this home. That curious vitality is manifesting in the work we’re currently fashioning and we hope our Report(al) will provide a (re)Portal into this striking community, and the regions we head into next, for our patrons and fellow travelers.