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In which we meet Florian Rivière & Jim Walker and play What, How, Where!:


1. Visit and click to receive an instruction

2. Do the instruction and document it using any medium

3. Upload it using #theartassignment

4. Fame and glory (your work might be featured in a future episode.)

Learn more about Florian's work:
Learn more about Big Car:

And click here to buy a book about Florian or a Drift Dice game based on the same ideas:
John: So Sarah, I can't but notice we are across the street from an Arby's.   Sarah: We are indeed. It's an unlikely place for contemporary art.   John: Yeah, I always imagined that we were gonna be at like fancy galleries and stuff for this.   Sarah: Well, we're actually at a former tire dealership in, uh, the Lafayette Square Mall area of Indianapolis, Indiana. Um, and today we're at this Service Center which is a community center, a gallery, a library, a meeting place... lots of things.   John: It's also - they have chickens!   Sarah: They do! They have chickens, and murals.   John: So why are were here on this freezing, windy, hair unfriendly day?   Sarah: Yes, we're here to meet with Jim Walker, the executive director of Big Car, the organization that runs this space, and also to meet with Florian Rivière who is their artist in residence. He's French but he lives and works all over the world.   John: Alright let's go meet him.   Sarah: Let's do it!   Florian: Hi, I'm Florian.   Jim: I'm Jim and this is our Art Assignment.   Jim: I'm Jim Walker. I'm a Indianapolis-based artist who works with people, and I'm part of Big Car Collective and we're based here in this service center location in Indianapolis.   We really felt like in this bleak parking lot world, that if you had something colorful and creative and non-commercial, that it would really help transform this neighborhood.    So, having a surprise that's for you is really what it's about. And also a place where people can come and really have a good time and get together and things like that can happen.    Florian: My name is Florian Rivière. I'm French, French urban hacker, and, uh, which mean to open and connect the city and not using technology, but just my body, my sense and play with my world. So, that's my story.    Sarah: Florian calls himself an "urban hacker." And by this, he means he works with public space, and city streets as his raw material, re-thinking things we tend to take for granted, like park benches, grocery carts and skateboards.    His past impromptu interventions include: dropping his cell phone into a traffic cone to create an improvised speaker, making an orange juicer out of a fence post, creating a hurdling course  out of traffic barriers, and turning a gumball machine into a mini foosball game.   Florian: I walk around all the time, I like to do that, and I just meet some people who get out of the car just for a second to go in the supermarket. People are so much in a box, you know, in a car, in the television, in the office, in a bar, it's all the time, and being outside is so great for your inspiration.   So the big question is how you can create new interactions which pull people to get out of the box, and it's a big challenge.   Jim: So your Art Assignment is to go to our website, play What, How, Where, and share the results.   Florian: And think to make your own rules.   Sarah: So, what's really great about this assignment is that the decision-making process has been completely removed and all you have to do is go to this website, click a button, and it tells you exactly what to do.   John: Yeah, it's not like having to figure out what's intimate and indispensable to you to make a GIF.   Sarah: Right, I mean there is some creativity involved in how you execute the command, but it's said there right for you.   John: Yeah, I have to say, though, Sarah, that I've always felt like art-making involves intention, you know? Like, the artist intentionally making choices about which lines to draw where.   Sarah: Well, chance has always been involved in the art-making process, but artists for a while have sort of intentionally brought that chance into the work.   John: Alright, like when?   Sarah: I'll show you!   Sarah: This project stems from the Surrealist tradition. Not the "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" or melting clocks kind of Surrealism, but it's origins in the nineteen-teens and twenties as a literary movement founded by French poet André Breton.    Breton and his friends experimented with automatism, or spontaneous writing techniques, and played a poetry game in which each participant writes a word or phrase on a piece of paper, folds it to hide what they have written, and passes it on to others to do the same.    They called the game "exquisite corpse" after a line created using the process. A drawing game also developed, wherein a piece of paper is folded into segments and each player draws sections of the body without seeing what others have done. Many artists have used this technique resulting in fantastical distorted figures.    Jim and Florian's game is a derivation of "Exquisite Corpse," but it also reflects a newer strain of art that is socially engaged, participatory, and is made outside of studios and museums.    These games ask interesting questions, like what can bring unlikely people together to do unlikely things and result in unlikely discoveries. And can chance be corralled into useful or beautiful instructions?   Florian: I know that you like to play game on computer or any type of technology, but I try to make that game with Jim to help people to be connected on the reality, because for us, it's the place where there is infinite possibilities and I know that you're looking for freedom on Internet on your game like Minecraft. Oh you can make so much stuff, the air for me, the world is my playground, and by connecting action with object and space or what or where is to push you to be connected and to play in a museum, in a bench, in a supermarket, everywhere just to have fun.   Jim: So, all you really do is you just you would pick a card  randomly out of this, so you'd get them all together, and then you divide them out, so there are these three colors, separate by what, how, and where, and that, that's the order they need to go in.    And then, this'd be the first part of the instruction's phrase. So then you draw the next one, and that tells you how to do that. So pretend to be a bird is what you're doing, how to do it is in slow motion, and then you turn over where, so where are you going to pretend to be a bird in slow motion? You're going to pretend to be a bird in slow motion on a chair.    Which I think Florian would probably do for us right now, right?   Florian: So there is no sense to the game, there is no sense, but that's the idea, to don't make sense - stuff with sense, just to lose control. And there is no goal, it's not a competition, you just doing something you never think to do.   Sarah: So here we are back at the office. Since you guys won't have the cards, we're going to check out the website and see how it works. I'm calling because I'm making a phone call how I don't like in a cafe, which is very loud and obnoxious for everyone else.   Stan: Draw in a circle in the water with something I've found, namely this stick. I didn't fall in!   Mark: Hi! How's it going? You get picked up a lot around here?   Florian: For me, the world is my playground, and I don't want even a playground, I want just the world. I'm almost against playground. I prefer to don't have playground, and to say, let's play everywhere.