The Smith twins flirt with the mainstream, and the mainstream seems totally into it
If you’re able to look at any news source today and not feel a brick of horror in your gut, you should stop reading this now. This is not for you.
OK, for the rest of us:
I get it. It’s been hard to feel ok about anything lately. But the dark events of global culture and the people generating them can be seen from two perspectives; as a reason for despair, or a chance for each one of us to be heros. Pick a side.
Ki and Sei Smith have picked a side. They have been dedicated to developing antidotes to despair since 2012. They’ve been called “party boys”, “sell outs” and probably worse. Are they heros? Maybe. You decide.
What they are doing is creating cool art shenanigans–and shenanigans might just be exactly what the world needs now. For example; Ki and Sei Smith are banned from the Whitney for life. They were allegedly kicked out of Brooklyn for not paying off the police. They are young, fresh-faced and jacked on good coffee. They are constantly putting art where authorities think it doesn’t belong. If that’s not enough, they are also the co-founders of Base 12, a 12 member collective of multimedia artists, and Apostrophe, an art collective now based out of Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. Um, Jersey City? Trust me, I would not cross that river unless it was something serious. Do they even speak English up there? Will I get stopped at the border or something? I checked with my lawyer and he seemed to feel I would be ok. I bit the bullet and bought a ticket on the Path train. We sat together in the well lit studios of Mana Contemporary.
What is Base 12?
Base 12 is 12 very different artists. A lot of these guys we’ve know since we were kids. Some we kidnapped along the way. Everyone does their own thing and we do it together.
How do you make plans and keep the spontaneous nature of your work and shows?
Most of the time when we try to make plans, it doesn’t work out. It all ends up being spur of the moment anyways.
Yeah, we have gotten good at moving and adapting to the circumstances. A great example is how we ended up here at Mana Contemporary. We came in for a show and ended up being asked to do a residency.
Now more than having a plan, base 12 has like a gravitational pull. Something in the center that we all orbit around.
So what is the gravitational pull of Apostrophe?
It depends. You know like when you’re kids and you want to play, you gather your friends around. It’s not like if you don’t have a plan, you don’t play. You want to play so you figure it out. We find that having rules just gives a thing more places to fail. But if you start with an ideology, there’s no mold, and things can happen more freely.
Keep it coming brothers, keep it coming.