The PDL Rap
PDL as SBC at TAM
Offspring at Olympic Sculpture Park
Ceci N'est Pas Une Swing Set @ OSP
Portable Confessional Units
Deep Space at Motel, Motel, Motel
Seattle Art Museum
Unauthorized Audio Tour
SQUAT at Kerry Park
Wake(up) at OSP
Wind Farm in Bellevue Park
Zoo to You Foundation at Free Sheep
Portland Art Museum
Unauthorized Audio Tour
The nature of an object can change dramatically depending upon who you talk to. Even the simplest things, like a paper cup or a fire extinguisher can become fascinating, priceless, or horrifying, depending upon their individual history.
Museums have gotten in the habit of providing hand-held devices that explain the history and significance of their collections. It is quite common to see visitors strolling through galleries with headsets on, connected to plastic chucks of technology, that, at a push of a button, explain who made it, why it is important and any number of details that pertain to the object in front of them.
PDL has no problem with this practice. Quite the contrary. They recognize how powerful a tool these audio tours are in shaping the visitor’s perception and understanding of art. With the right narration, one could turn a bland painting or abstract sculpture into an exciting, accessible, potentially thrilling revelation. PDL loves the concept of transforming the public’s perception of an artwork through use of audio narrative. They just aren’t so keen on telling the truth.
In PDL’s first run at an unauthorized audio tour, they took on the Seattle Art Museum’s permanent collection with great enthusiasm. From Rubens to Motherwell, Duchamp to the Porcelain Room, PDL offered their own perspectives and narratives that will make you look at artwork in an entirely different light.
PDL burned fifty sets and spread them around Seattle, encouraging people to download it onto their iPod or MP3 player and take their walking tour through the museum’s various galleries. When all fifty copies were in circulation, they stood in the lobby of the museum and checked them out for free to any interested party.
Below is a small sampling of some of the works from the SAM tour. There is no substitute to being in the museum with headphones on, face to face with the real thing, but it is a way to get a better understanding of PDL’s approach to the traditional audio tour.