Kiosk: An independent stand from which merchandise is sold, often placed in the common area of a shopping center.
KIOSK is: a travel story depicted through objects, a collection of things that interest us, a study in material culture, a shop, several people's efforts to preserve uniqueness in the world, an installation...
We started KIOSK about 10 years ago in 2005. At the time, downtown Manhattan was becoming hyper-commercial due to the beginning of the massive rent increases. The interesting, unique places filled with inspiration were quickly disappearing. We felt an urge to fill the void. We wanted a place where people could look, learn, touch and talk about what we were showing and wax on about anything in the world.
KIOSK was always thought of as a shop by some and not at all by others. In terms of commerce we were a mess, in terms of art, totally undefinable. Almost everyone on their first visit would say "What is this place?" You might be saying this to yourself now. That's OK. It was always just “KIOSK”: a place, an installation, a store, a happening, a whatever. We never completely defined it, we never put our names straight on it and we viewed everyone who worked on the project as a contributor. It's not about the one, it's about the sum. In that sense, the project is constantly changing.
Still, at the beginning we created some parameters in order to get things done. We decided to show things from around the world, one location at a time. Our format is really simple: we go to a place, search for the very basic, common, independently produced objects, bring or ship them back, present them in an exhibition format (by having one of each thing on view with it's accompanying text) and sell the stuff. Easy. Every object tells a story, everything opens a conversation, look, learn, touch and talk and then take the thing home with you. That way, the life of the object and in turn KIOSK, goes on and on.
KIOSK was located at 95 Spring Street up on the 2nd floor for its first 8 years. It was a hub in the neighborhood with an amazing stairwell covered in graffiti. It was laborious, we loved it and hated it. At first we were there 3 days a week, then 6; it annoyed people we were never open on Sunday. The building was eventually sold for record prices and torn down. What was a two-story, funky hold-over from the 80s with lots of local businesses is now being replaced with a multi-story flagship store. Ironically, while we were working hard to preserve independent operations, we ourselves were forced out of our home and business. Eventually we moved to a studio space and we have this online shop.
Our goal has always been to stick to our artistic and moral values; to have a creative project that we believe in, that functions simultaneously as a business. Rather than applying for grants or funding, or relying on sales from commercial gallery representation, the public supports us through their purchases. What they give us is what we have to work with, it’s a direct relationship which affords us the freedom we need to do our work and facilitates the type of engagement that we want to have with the public.
Hopefully what we share encourages you to go out and meet and talk and learn and see and show. You don’t have to travel far; look up, down and around...
When you open your eyes fascination is everywhere.