Geek Culture: Back Issues: Satellite Store, 2012, process-based performance; exhibited at Those Who Can, Palitz Gallery, New York, NY.
As a lifelong sci-fi and comic book fan, Chris is interested in how many pop culture fans don’t just passively absorb pop culture, but instead actively engage in cultural production in their own right by writing fan fiction, participating in cosplay, making video mash-ups, and so on. The projects in his Geek Culture series reflect my interest in these issues as they play out via various comic-culture venues. Back Issues created a mini satellite comics store using comics from his local comic book store, Cloud City Comics.
Chris has volunteered at Cloud City Comics for a while, organizing their comics. When he got another comic-based idea for a project, he asked if he could borrow one of the boxes of comics he had organized: he would bring it to a show and try to sell the comics. Jeff Watkins, the owner, is involved in a lot of creative activities, and he was happy to do it.
Chris picked out a standard box of back issues with a fairly random mix of old comics. He wanted to sell them for 3 comics for a dollar, which is the price Jeff sells his cheapest comics for during his regular sale events, so they took out all the really rare and expensive issues.
He installed the box in a gallery show and encouraged people to look through it and pick out some comics. Chris put out a jar for their money (they were on the honor system to pay up!) and asked them to write down the comics they bought on a nearby clipboard.
At the end of the show, they sold 39 comics, making $13.00. Chris split the proceeds with Jeff (both of them thought the other should get it all).
Chris liked this project because it offered an opportunity to put the comics in the back of the store to use, since otherwise they would have been waiting around in the store room until they were eventually listed for sale online. It also helped to get comics outside their normal context, bringing them to the attention of people who might not see them otherwise.
Chris wants to thank Jeff Watkins, the owner of Cloud City, for generously allowing him to work with the store on this project.
You can see the list of all the comics people bought here, and a picture of the money jar and its profits here.
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