Leav app leads to on-location pop-up art

Art need not be something that is merely hanging in a museum; the beauty of it is that it's fleeting, and it can be experienced anywhere at any time. The developers at Six Impossible Things have come up with a new project that will create a platform for local artists to showcase their work in a completely new way. The app, Leav, will allow people to find out when and where a certain event is taking place, curated by the artist that is creating the piece. This might entail a song becoming available while you're at a specific intersection of the city, or a film that can be viewed only when in a park at dusk. The concept is to capture the moment.

We chatted with Joey Kantor, a member of the Six Impossible Things team, about the project and how to get involved.

What prompted this idea, and how did it come about? 

Joey Kantor: The idea came from the notion that digital technology allows us to listen to music, watch video, or access content just about anywhere, anytime. On one hand that's fantastic, but on the other it encourages us ignore the world around us. Technology has, in many ways, taken location away as a contributing factor to content. We've lost the power of place. You see people ignoring their surroundings and the world around them. Leav reinstates that power of place by putting the "here and now" at the forefront of the digital experience. 

Can you explain to me a little more about the app? 

The idea is simple, really. Leav is a mobile platform that allows the user to access art that has been placed in a specific location. Imagine a piece of music that's available only along Lake Street, with the music evolving with you as you change direction and move from block to block. For the creator, then, it affords a completely fresh set of variables to work with, and the artist can engage the world around us as a key element of the experience. 

How much will the app cost? 

It's free.

How did you select the artists you're working with? 

For its inaugural iteration, we wanted to pick a variety of Minneapolis and St. Paul artists who we hold in high esteem. We intentionally picked artists who encompass a range of media -- music, mixed media, dance, video -- to take advantage of the various possibiltiies in Leav. 

Can you name a few examples of what they might be doing for the project? 

They are still very much in creation stages, but we're very excited about how the four of them are taking advantage of the unique platform. One of our artists is creating an audio/visual collage which incorporates specific locations and times, one artist is creating a sound sculpture intended to be moved through different times and temperatures, and another is working with video that relates to the areas in which it's available. As you can see, the ideas are taking on lives of their own, which is genuinely exciting for us. 

From what I get from the idea, art is meant to be an elusive thing that is here and gone, before we realize it, thus we should appreciate it while it's here. Is this the thought behind the project? 

I think that's a big part of it. With the onset of the digital era art -- and content in general -- have become expected luxuries. We can get them, they're free, and then we're on to the next thing. But equally important to championing art's elusiveness is prompting people to experience a profundity that happens when a convergence of variables align, singularly, and in a way that can't be replicated by clicking a link across the world. 

There's beauty in the here and now; there's beauty in that power of place. That's what it's about. And in the process, it makes a powerful argument that the experience of art is bigger than what's on your screen, and it's more than a disposable distraction on a news feed. 

How can more artists get involved? 

They can contact us at [email protected]. The reason for the Kickstarter is for us to be able to commission more artwork to fill the Leav world. We're actively speaking with more artists all the time, and are especially excited about works that take advantage of the app's unique platform and its ability to use factors like time, movement, direction, temperature, and so forth as a means of manipulating and altering the artwork and its accessibility. 

Do you see this project moving to a national platform? 

Ideally, yes. We think it's the sort of idea that can engage people in a unique and geographically charged manner. What if you had remixes that were city-specific and you had to go to Portland to hear that remix? 

It's about reinstating that power of place into experience, and it's something that is universally treasured in the human experience. It's why we travel, it's why we don't stay stagnant. We want to experience things that are unique and new. In a world where things are seemingly disposable and recreatable by hitting "send," we think there's some magic in keeping these "pieces" exactly where they were meant to be experienced. 

Why crowdsource for this project? What will the money go toward? 

Thanks to a generous grant from IFP MN and the McKnight Foundation, the app is entirely functional at this point, but the Kickstarter is in place for us to be able to commission more work. We'd like the app to spread beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul, but first we'd like to fill the map with great content. And it's extremely important to us that we provide artists with the financial support that is essential for a flourishing arts community. The cultural capital of art is powerful, but unless we support artists with economic capital to match -- with money, in other words -- we'll lose a lot of great art as they look to other means to achieve financial solvency.

To contribute to Leav's Kickstarter, click here.
For more information, visit Leav's website.