Temporal City Festival 2011-2014

From 2011 until 2014 Temporal City Festival was an annual festival that featured up to ten interdisciplinary art installations in derelict or unused buildings in Downtown Mobile, AL. This 3-day event sponsored by downtown’s Arts Alive festival, focused on intersecting downtown geography with unconventional media in support of both Artists and community. Site specific project proposals in time-based, performance, new media and installation art were selected to activate spaces of blight and compel patrons to re-imagine what is possible in their city.

Each year I worked as the curator with a team of 20 artists and volunteers who ran power and water to buildings as needed, ran tours, promoted, solved a huge array of technical and logistical problems, working in shifts to cover the 36 hour event. Average attendance each year was between 500 and 700 people. We never used a building twice and 50% of the buildings we sited work in were under renovation by the following year. 

About TCF:

Ten to twenty artists (ten projects in total) were invited to execute projects for anywhere from one day, to the entire duration of the Arts Alive festival. Each work was site-specific, fore-grounding ‘negative space’ within the downtown landscape. All works were sited within a three block (short walking distance) from Cathedral Square. The call for proposals specified work that is durational or temporal media, may incorporate performance, designed to either grow or degrade over time, or use a time-based narrative to evolve. 

Each year an artist-designed map of the downtown area included all work sited in the festival as well as the location of scheduled artist talks. Viewed through a scavenger- hunt of temporary works activated both the forgotten catacombs of the city, and the community. A map was created and tours ran alongside Arts Alive and Loda Music Festival. The map was designed to inspire a journey through the downtown area to the ends of discovering sites of creative consciousness otherwise overlooked or neglected. 

Still from the Echo Project, Adam Taylor, 2011

Program Goals

• To host nontraditional media, and accommodate work that is without a home in the current art market structure downtown.
• To exhibit work that prioritizes context and social engagement.
• To build a formal relationship between work and site, focusing on the ways in which the city informs temporal works of art, and in turn the ways in which these works may inform the viewers’ experience of the city.
• To dissolve barriers between traditions of ‘making’and ‘doing’.
• To activate “negative” space, and make use of neglected spaces within the downtown area.
• To create dialogue around the cultural, political, and social relevance of art.
• To make experimental art practice accessible to the general public.
• To create an experience of art that engages the curiosity and the activity of play inherent in artistic production.

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