Found Magazine Tour at The Public Trust 5/31/09

Sunday night I attended Found Magazine’s Denim & Diamonds tour at the Public Trust.

First let me say thank you to Brian Gibb (owner of the Public Trust gallery and co-founder of Art Prostitute) for first, being awesome in general, and second, being relentlessly relevant and bringing his craft to Dallas. Secondly, Found Magazine is awesome. It brings the magnetic draw of voyeurism together with a strong sense of “man, i’ve been there” or “holy shit, that guy’s nuts!”.

For those of you who don’t know, as I didn’t before Sunday: Found Magazine, co-founded by Davy Rothbart and Jason Bitner, is a collection of found objects (“love letters, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles– anything that gives a glimpse into someone else’s life”). If you ever get the chance, buy one of their magazines – its $5. You can even buy it online, though I think it supports the overall experience if you go find one.

Now to the action: We’re all gathered round the microphone at The Public Trust waiting for Davy Rothbart to start readings. The floor is littered with anyone who can sit on the ground and get back up, white wine, and cans of Tecate and the walls, covered in Nick Z’s art, buzz with their own life. Davy takes the front at about 8:30 and shortly explains who he is and what he does. He collects things, some handed to him, some mailed to Found headquarters (his mother’s house). He reads through some of his favorite Finds, some hilarious, some heartbreaking, all intensely interesting. Strange how others can appreciate even very personal notes scribbled on napkins, though only one was ever meant to see. Strange to know that hundreds or thousands of people read the letter that one man waited his whole life to write to the woman he loves – but she never got it. From a 12-year old’s initiation contract to the neighborhood Death Walkers (the Finder let the neighborhood boys know that her dog overheard all their rules, she then recited them. She noted they were EXTRA secretive around all dogs afterward) to one man’s journey from providing “Internet Help” to “Clairvoyant Readings” in six months, we were all rolling with laughter.

Sample find:

The night wrapped up with interpretive songs from Davy’s brother, all created in response to a found note or tape. One was about a couple’s second miscarriage, one about a homemade tape found on the sidewalk title “The Booty Tape” (this inspired “The Booty Don’t Stop” – PLEASE, if you do nothing else today, watch this 7 minute video – and ended in a sing-along with the audience).

The Booty Don’t Stop

What they’re doing is awesome, something about the preservation of society/culture through our “trash” and discarded objects is extremely interesting. It makes me wonder, though, what will become of this sort of art as the digital age finally permeates society? Will it permeate society? Will the physicality of the object hold its own through the transition? IF we accept digital format as a comparable replacement for the physical object, what will become of the “found object”? Will it fade out with the object itself, or will it morph into a digital form of its own? Personally, I can definitely wait. There’s something about HOLDING an object that’s irreplaceable.

Check out their 57-cities-in-63-days tour schedule!