Project Space and Downtown El Paso
Thursday, October 9th - Friday, December 19th, 2014

Machine Project at the Border is an installation, education and performance series lead by Mark Allen of LA-based collective Machine Project. The Project Space exhibition will feature a series of documentaries that show how Machine Project has turned audience engagement on its head; combining contemporary art, performance, informal education, and fun in the group's storefront space in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood, and in a variety of museums and public institutions around the country.  The exhibition will be complemented by a variety of workshops, performances and participatory actions by Machine Project collaborators, that will take place in El Paso's Downtown Arts District, involving UTEP students, local artists and a wide variety of formal and informal community groups throughout the season. The exhibition provides a look at contemporary audience engagement but will also create a framework for replicating these practices locally by building relationships between artists and the community, presenting diverse models of working with the public, and opportunities for local artists to learn from this nationally recognized, cutting-edge, group of artists.

Founded in 2003 by artist Mark Allen, Machine Project distinguishes itself from more traditional arts venues by its idiosyncratic programming, its disregard for the traditional boundaries between disciplines, and its emphasis on having fun. Allen is especially interested in collaborating with artists to produce site-specific, non-commercial work and encouraging conversations between people from all walks of life. To date, he has organized more than 500 lectures, events, workshops, and installations as the Executive Director of Machine Project. 


In the words of a reporter for LA Weekly, Machine Project is “a gallery, but there is no art hanging on the walls. It’s a community center, but the ‘community’ has no concrete parameters and is ever shifting. People take classes there...but it isn’t a school. People attend art openings that feel more like intimate house parties, but anybody, literally anybody, is invited to just walk on in.” Allen will explain what makes Machine Project unique, describe some of the quirky programs it has hosted in the past, and discuss the importance of using art, ideas, and experiences to better understand the world in which we live.

Machine Project Documentary Portrait by David Fenster from machine project on Vimeo.

View the embedded image gallery online at: