Outside! a street TV and talk show project for Liverpool Biennial
The title of the project, "Outside!" refers to the essence of street TV, but also, to the porous nature of the "fourth wall", in this case referred to the television screen. In Outside!, the people who are on television are the same who watch television and are the same who make television- the interface between actor, medium and audience is porous- they go through the screen, as it were, they are exchangeable.
The talk show, on the other hand, is the symmetrical opposite of street TV; the set often reproduces a domestic atmosphere, a living room, full of fake books and fake chimney and fake sofa and door; it is a make-believe of cosiness. But again, the TV screen becomes a mirror of the audience watching it: a similar sofa, a similar door and similar (sometimes even fake as well) books. As it has been often said (about Ikea), we are living in tv sitcom sets.
So Outside! wants to take the best of both worlds- the street, and the living room. Street TV and Talk Show.
Outside! street TV, which is perhaps more strongly related to the notion of community TV- television made by citizens- , feeds, as much with people as with subjects of debate, the talk show part of Outside!
Following a tradition taken to its best expression in my opinion with Troppolitani (Reza and Mastrella), a very small crew, made of camera, sound, and interviewer, will walk the public space(s) of Liverpool. Public space is not only "the street" but it is certainly public buildings, schools, museums, malls, cafetarias, bars, and supermarkets…
The small crew of Outside! will do their best to establish a natural conversation with the users of public space, starting with the very simple question: What would you like to talk about if you were on television? Wether it goes to the very private ("I'd like to talk about my children and how much I love them") or the political ("I'd like to talk about censorship"), or the very negative ("I hate television and do not want to be on it") the conversation rolls. When the interviewer judges the interviewee engaged and passionate enough, he will invite him to come over to the Outside! talk show. It is possible as well to improvise, and when meeting someone somewhere that seems like an interesting character, Outside! crew can just invite him or her straight away.
Therefore, each day guests are different and somehow improvised in the Outside! talk show. And even when the guest have come and are sitting and talking, the interviewer, now turned into the frontman of the Outside! talk show, might go to the street and fetch a voice that was missing in the discussion- the big windows of the Bluecoat gallery help him to locate and aim at the improvised guest.
The main idea is to create a performative structure that allows the citizens of Liverpool to narrate their own story of the city and its undercurrents. Street tv and talkshow are the well-known formats employed. The reference to the interface/ surface between audience and entertainer/broadcaster is central. The name of the program, Outside! alludes clearly to the porous nature of such a surface (the audience is constantly moving from entertainer to audience, and so is the entertainer/presenter) and to the capacity of the audience/ public/ spectator to generate its own spectacle.
The space where the talk show is going to happen, Bluecoat gallery and urban surroundings, allows the project to happen in the best possible circumstances: architectonically (big transparent windows, access to the street), institutionally (oldest art gallery in England, the relation it already has built in all that time with the city and its inhabitants) and geographically (center of the city).
The collaboration with Toxteth TV —not only for the recording, but also for the editing and distribution of the audiovisual material resulting from Outside!— places a group of citizens of Liverpool in the position of editors, directors and producers of the work. Toxteth TV will provide the manpower to record the program both in the street as in the talkshow stage, and to edit the rushes. The resulting material will be uploaded to this site.