FAILE is the Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, who we recently visited at their studio to discuss the busy year they've had. Between collaborating with the New York Ballet for two performances and having their first solo museum exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, you'd think that in 2013, they've done enough.
Well, Art Basel Miami Beach is here, and they've let us know that they're bringing back the Deluxx Fluxx arcade, which they previously showed in New York and London in 2010. The arcade has been updated for Miami and has been done with frequent collaborator, BÄST. Comprised of unique custom-designed pinball machines, custom-programmed video games, and “psychedelic foosball” tables, the project comments on "the art world’s fixation on ideas of relational aesthetics and democratization." FAILE and BÄST are giving the audience a chance to genuinely engage with their work without the frills or pressure of the traditional gallery environment.
The FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade Miami Beach, presented by Perrier, takes place at a vacant retail space on the corner of 16th Street and Washington Avenue. The public is invited to tackle the games from December 3 – 8. Learn more about it below.
What made you decide to bring back the Deluxx Fluxx arcade installation to Art Basel Miami Beach this year with the help of Perrier?
This is a show we really love doing. It brings together so many aspects of art. Painting, sculpture, installation, music, and gaming, which is definitely an art in itself. We've always had plans to travel with this show again, and we still want to in the future. Each time we do it there are new ways to push it forward, and every city we do it in brings its own unique character to it.
It's great to have Perrier's help in bringing this to Miami. We do a lot of shows independently, and that can be a bit overwhelming. We've been fortunate to have support from time to time when trying to accomplish ambitious projects like this, and Perrier has been great about understanding the vision and supporting that.
What did you decide to change from the 2010 versions in London and New York? What have you learned about Deluxx Fluxx since then?
Everything is new in this Deluxx Fluxx. All new cabinets, games, and pinball machines. It's an evolution from where this started. It's much tighter. There were a lot of technical challenges working with the old arcade cabinets, so we completely gutted these and started fresh with all new components. Also, the games are a bit more "game-like" this time around. We still really like the artfulness of non-objective based gaming, but people like winning and losing. It somehow completes that process and gives them the chance to improve. It's interesting to see that.
Deluxx Fluxx seems to combine all the disciplines you work in (painting, sculpture, multimedia) to yield a highly immersive piece. How is it (or isn't it) gratifying to see people interacting with your highly concentrated, fun work, that's really rooted in the histories of punk rock, graffiti culture, and gaming?
There's something so rare as an artist to see people sort of stumble into this show and not really understand what it is, then become immersed in that and leave with a huge smile. People often come back multiple times. That's one of the motivating factors for doing this show again. It lets us celebrate a part of our childhood in a way that we've always identified with—mixed with the ideas, imagery, and stories that we're interested in today. It also feels like an evolution of working on the street, as this show pops up randomly for a few days here and there, and then it's gone. It's much more complex than a single piece on the street, but it has the same ability to let people access the art without the formal confines of a gallery.
Your history of collaboration with BÄST is extensive. What do you enjoy about working together on such a variety of projects? What was the very first project you did together and when?
BÄST is a great counterpoint to our work. We push each other creatively, and that's an important thing to share. After working together so many years, there's an awareness of how the two styles work together, and that's always fun to see. It's like a Ying and a Yang kind of feeling. The first "project" was in 1999, just making prints together in the print lab at FIT and working on the street together.
Between doing a two-part commission for the New York Ballet and your "Where Wild Won't Break" exhibition that's still at Dallas Contemporary, you've had a busy year. What connects those two endeavors with Deluxx Fluxx? It seems like there's a spiritual, psychedelic, and even magical aspect throughout.
It's been an incredible year. I think Deluxx Fluxx celebrates the work we've made this year in its unique world. Oddly, 2010 was the busiest year we've had before this, and that was the year we did the first two Deluxx Fluxx shows. What's great is how it takes the work out of the context it was created in or for, and brings it to life in a whole new way. We are literally plugging it in. It's like a scene from Weird Science without the bras on our head.
What music are you listening to these days? Seth Jabour of Les Savy Fav worked on the music for Deluxx Fluxx, right?
Seth is amazing. One of the best parts of doing this show is being a part of the music being made. Seth has taken up residency in the studio to work on the music, and that's been great to see coming together. Other than that, the new M.I.A. album is fun, Jagwar Ma's Howlin, Arcade Fire, Elliot Brood, Kendrick Lamar, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. We've also been listening to a ton of Radiohead as usual.
What are your plans after Miami? Any upcoming exhibitions or projects to keep on our radar?
We have a few things on the radar for next year but haven't quite locked down the timing. After the madness of this year we are looking forward to a little break over the holidays. Until then it's just time to play.
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