This week, Burlington City Arts is launching an exhibition called “User Required.” It features a variety of pieces that require user participation. One piece, for example, gives you the opportunity to squish virtual bugs on a giant iPad-like device. Another features lights that illuminate the basement when you step on them.
This exhibition will be on display at Burlington City Arts during our book launch party. And the Burlington Writers Workshop will attempt to write pieces of literary art that respond to and create conversations with the physical, interactive pieces of art on display. If we produce good work, we’ll share it with the public at the book launch party and beyond.
DJ Hellerman of BCA was gracious enough to give us all a guided tour of the artwork. As the artists worked around us, we toured the galleries, pushed buttons, scratched meowing pictures of kittens, and sent text messages to a whirling fan that’s designed to display our messages. (Send a text message to 802-373-1117 on Friday night, and whatever you write will appear on the fans for the art-loving public to see.)
In my view, this is the perfect art to surround the launch of a book that exists because of community participation. Users are required for these pieces of art as much as the writers in the workshop are required to make this crazy thing work.
“User Required” is open to the public on Friday. If you didn’t attend our private viewing tonight but still want to attempt a poem or short piece of prose inspired by a piece at BCA, visit on Friday or Saturday and send what you’ve written to me (peterbiello @ yah0o dot c0m) by Saturday night. Your participation is required!