This site represents an unprecedented two year collaboration between artists and Primetime television—originally exhibited on Fox's Melrose Place, with later showings at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Kwangju International Biennale in Korea, and Grand Arts in Kansas City.
        This complex collaborative endeavor was created by The GALA Committee: a group comprised primarily of students and faculty from the University of Georgia and CalArts. The group organized initially around the activity of developing site-specific art objects for the sets of the popular television series. Working first with Melrose's Set Decorator, GALA's collaborative structure quickly grew to include scholars, critics, other artists, and, most notably, the writers and producers of Melrose Place itself.
        With the ultimate goal of involving the television audience, the GALA Committee placed numerous props and set pieces in camera's view, which were then broadcast to an international audience of millions. Although the artworks were not intended to subvert or parody the series, the characters and stories often provided an opportunity to create pieces which addressed topics like gender, infectious diseases, violence, environmental devastation and global conflict. The exhibition sidestepped editorial posturing and aimed instead to infiltrate and transform the medium, reinventing television with interpretive, interactive possibilities. Simultaneously, the GALA Committee moved public art into the most broadly communicative context possible.


"Government Issue"
Altered US Mail bag
with AK-47 clip

An investigation into the possible long-term effects
of the GALA Committee's collaboration
with Primetime television.

It's 2021, a quarter century after the GALA Committee initiated its viral infection of the global electronic net. As we now know, that world historic event started humbly enough with the GALA Committee's gentle invasion of its first host, Melrose Place, a kitchy if surprisingly clever soap opera destined for the recycling bin of syndicated nostalgia, which instead found itself not only remembered but revered for its pioneering effort to creatively fuse the worlds of art and television. Who could have known that this small yet unprecedented collaboration between the television veterans who produced Melrose Place for Aaron Spelling (mega-producer Tori Spelling's father) and the GALA Committee artists would lead to a profoundly radical transformation of worldwide art, entertainment, communication and government.

GALA's noncommercial PIMs (product insertion manifestations) began to take hold with the introduction of HDTV (now obsolete.) Popular VVs and F2B/B2F parties (aka Vice Versas and Foreground to Background) were the way to watch PIM-affected programs. Meanwhile, in the academic world, multidimensional conceptual perceptual field dynamics grew more powerful as CPOs (Conceptual/Perceptual Oscillations) produced a cascade effect of democratic expression and desires. The worldwide fan net, once under the control of consumer/media marketing professionals, had no choice but to rethink their strategies to match the yearning for ideas provoked by the new forms of intelligent simulevel entertainment.


"Total Proof"
photographic image

From the perspective of twenty-five years, it is easy to see the GALA Committee's historical predecessors (it also helps being wetwired into the Global Instant Database) Throughout the 1980s, ACT UP, the slashers, Paper Tiger Television, the Tape Beatles, Emergency Broadcast Network, the Barbie Liberation Organization, local TV pirates, and indigenous media groups made guerilla raids on television. Using the cultural terrorist tactics of poaching, hacking, slashing and jamming, these groups of artists and activists created a new electronic folk culture out of the materials of mass-produced culture. The GALA Committee tweaked those tactics to develop a more viral strategy of infection and mutation that eventually spread through the whole electronic realm.

MP Art, as the collaboration between the GALA Committee and the television producers came to be called, soon sparked similar projects as people around the world began to reinvent their relation to television and the public sphere. Some projects worked with existing shows while others created new public spheres for art within the world of broadcast television. The Hollywood film industry, by contrast, remained impervious to any art influences and eventually withered away. In the US, President Clinton's leadership in folding the FCC into the NEA showed yet again that her vision of the role of the arts in American life went far beyond anything that either of her parents had been able to accomplish.

We used to watch television. Now we live in it. Improbably, it was the GALA Committee's fuzzy-grained millisecond presence on Melrose Place that inspired the new forms of truly interactive virtual environments that we inhabit today. As Amanda Woodward often said, there's no predicting the future.

"RU486 Quilt"
Applique onCotton Fabric