15 minutes of fame
15 Minutes of Fame is an interactive sculpture installation featuring a prison bed (reclaimed from the former Kingston Penitentiary for Women); an orange, standard-issue get-out-of-jail prison suitcase filled with a variety of objects; and an individual — with Artist-facilitated Question & Answer sessions.
Immensely popular with people of all ages, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, this work has shown in art galleries, museums, festivals, street fairs and public events since 2005.
How it works . . .
Participant(s) open a standard-issue, “get-out-of jail” orange suitcase containing various personal items; then, consider and arrange these objects on or around the bed to create their own personal artistic statement.
Immediately afterwards, Participant(s) may, when witnessed by other Visitors, either choose to explain the significance of their installation to their audience; or solicit interpretations from onlookers first. They may decide to explain the work after hearing others' reactions, or leave the work to speak for itself. Either choice is respected.
Visitors, guided by the Artist, Amanta Scott, examine the Participant'(s) creation, interpreting the installation according to their own personal perspectives and associations. Varying interpretations are encouraged; lively discussion frequently occurs. Viewers often remark upon something that the Participant may have unconsciously done.
After hearing other Visitors interpretations, Participant(s) examine their original intentions and their resulting conscious and unconscious choices. They may then choose to explain what they aimed to express; the significance of the arrangement of objects; and share any stories, ideas or feelings associated with the work.
A surprising catalyst for intensely personal, intimate, thoughtful, revealing and insightful installations created by Visitors of all ages, this work creates a forum for creative expression and release.
Since its inception, when 15 Minutes of Fame premiered at the Art Gallery of Algoma (2005), no two participants have conveyed the same idea.
Refugees, former inmates, juvenile delinquents, survivors of Canadian residential schools, prostitutes, victims of incest, insomniacs, workaholics, soldiers, adults, children, seniors, travellers — literally anyone who has slept or attempted to sleep in a bed — everyone has their own unique story and perspective to share.
A former inmate shared his experience: — “The safest place in prison was under the bed.”
Hearing this, a large Italian man burst out —
“Are you kidding? I spent half my adult life in prison. You’d never catch me under a bed.
I ruled the place!”
During one exhibition, a disabled woman spoke of being paralyzed by a drunk driver; descending into alcoholism and despair; losing her family and her home; and ending up living in a shelter:
“It’s like a prison — the only difference is you can come and go”.
Finally, she said, she decided to rebuild her life, began studying to be a social worker and learning to walk again —
“It only took eleven years.”
At another exhibition, a Sri Lankan woman enacted a harrowing scene.
Later, through a translator she spoke of being imprisoned, forced to surrender her children and ordered to choose which one would live and which one would die.
“I was imprisoned. I was there a long time. All I know is I feel numb."
As other Visitors reacted to her story, a young man spoke up —
“It’s true. She’s my mother.”