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In the Name of the Place

1995-1997 (continuing through syndication)
props inserted on the set of Melrose Place in collaboration with students, artists, critics, set decorator, producers

A. 200 objects, mixed medium
B. Television Broadcast and Museum exposure
C. Live Auction Benefit for Education

The GALA Committee: David Adams, Elizabeth Adams, Eric Andersen, Emily Arthur, Katie Bauman, Cameron Bernie, David Blanchard, John Borthwick, Barron Brown, Alan Bush, Heather Champ, Heeyeon Chang, Mel Chin, Lance Clarke, Roymont Clements, Kathleen Hillseth Clinesmith, Karina Combs, Melissa Conroy, John Crowe, John Cupit, Lesley Dill, Heather M. Eastman, Diane Edison, Brian Ellison, Evan Firestone, Mark Flood, Joe Girandola, Terry Glispin, Nuala Glynn, Jason Grier, Garrison Gunter, Elizabeth Huber, Chip Hayes, Frank Irving, Kim Jensen, Bryan Jernigan, Karin Johansson, M. Dana Jones, Cheryl Kaplan, Kendal Kerr, Kat Kinsman, Koichi Kimura, Jeff Knowlton, Leo Knox, Bernie Koersen, H. Lan Thao Lam, Ed Lambert, Elizabeth Langford, Jon Lapointe, Tom Lawson, Kristi Leonard, Donna Marcantonio, Diana McIntosh, Mara Lonner, Wendy Lundin, Steve Maleski, Thomas Mann, Stephen McRedmond, Carol Mendelsohn, Georgia Metz, Tamara Mewis, James Millar, Stever Miller, Tam Miller, Tess Miller, Dallas Moore, Margaret Morgan, Jerry Murphy, Helen K. Nagge, Yana Nirvana, Gail Patterson, Kim Patterson, Constance Penley, Joseph Pizzorusso, Chuck Pratt, Elizabeth S. Puckett, Dan Pugh, Martha Rees, Carl Robertson, Guadalupe Rodriguez, Sandra Rodriguez, Jeff Roe, Kathleen Rogan, Huan Saussy, Sanjit Sethi, Maura Sheehan, Jocelyn Shipley, Eric Shriner, Deborah Siegel, Rachel Slowinski, Frank South, Rachael Splinter, Eric Swangstu, Troy Swangstu, Janice Tanaka, Valerie Tevere, Joseph Tucker, Kathy Vargas, Tony Velasco, Jim Wade, John Watts, David Wilson

A two-year, covert, collaborative, conceptual, public art project conducted on primetime television’s Melrose Place. Mel Chin initiated and formed the collective called the GALA Committee.

The southern California television studios have dramatically shaped the face of global cultural consumption and attitude through the embedded promotion of U.S. goods and lifestyles. The GALA Committee sought to work with commercial television by actively approaching it as a proper site in which to develop possibilities for education, to generate the transfer of information, and to layer narratives and poetic constructions. In the Name of the Place can be considered a blueprint for the development of the geography of culture on multiple levels.
____The GALA Committee, 1997

Conceived as a viral, conceptual, public artwork to be conducted on primetime television, the project, entitled In the Name of the Place, found its host on television’s prime-time soap opera, Melrose Place. Free from gallery walls, this collective effort by scholars, artists, students, faculty, and television producers continues to air through global syndication. The GALA Committee was formed at the University of Georgia and California Institute of the Arts (“GA” for Georgia and “LA” for Los Angeles) to create props and make slight script revisions and adjustments as “product placements” not in service to commercial interests but to initiate the possibility of using the medium to assist in the generational transfer of ideas.

The project was also conceived as a collective, thus removing solo authorship. It relied on collective invention and cooperative presentation by the producers of both art and television.

Getting works broadcast to millions through television was not the only venue for the project. In the Name of the Place was presented in an exhibition at MOCA in Los Angeles and at an auction at Sotheby’s in Beverly Hills. The proceeds from the auction were given to educational charities in Georgia and California.

This project of covert insertion was not intended to be subversive, but to offer a blueprint on how artists can collaborate with commercial production from the “inside.” During the last fifty years television has been routinely criticized and commented on as dedicated to consumption and control. In this project we sought to enhance content and context and to deliver art on weekly global telecasts.