Erase all of an artist’s ideas, tonight at Transformer Gallery

There are 6,048 erasers on the floor of the Transformer Gallery right now, and for 24 hours -- from 6 p.m. Thursday, July 11 until 6 p.m. Friday, July 12 -- you're invited to pick up one of them and erase one of artist Adrian Parsons' greatest ideas. Or, it could be one of his worst ideas, and thus worthy of your edits. Or, the idea might be so good -- or so bad -- that you can take it for your own use.


A view of Adrian Parsons' "EVERYNONE" ( All photos courtesy Eames Armstrong)

Parsons, last seen starving himself for D.C. voting rights, has kept a file of ideas for the last eight years. There are several components to his endurance performance piece "EVERYNONE," a part of Transformer's E10 series curated by Eames Armstrong. It begins with his Google document of brainstorms, which can be anonymously edited by anyone (jump in there and try it). Since 6 p.m. Wednesday, Parsons has been handwriting all of the ideas, along with the edits people have made to the document, in pencil on the gallery walls.

A few of those additions:

-- "Fencing masks. Masks in general. Mardi Gras masks on dogs. Dog masks on people. Human face transplants onto Mardi Gras floats, stretched across the paper mache’d head of Saints football players."

-- "Screenshot every minute forever."

-- "Prewrite your resume and CV for 2022. Fulfill it in the next ten years."

-- "Run for office. Effuse and debate only aesthetic issues."


Some of Parsons' rejected ideas.

As people make changes and deletions in the online file, Parsons adds them to the wall. Beginning tonight at 6 p.m., and all through the night and most of the following day, visitors can come in and physically erase any of the ideas.

"The space is a document," said Armstrong. "The wall is becoming a witness to the amount of time he's spending here."

Fifteen hours in, Parsons was up on a ladder, pencil shavings strewn beneath him. Two cans of Red Bull were waiting nearby.

"I'm getting a little less fancy," he said. "My text is getting kindergarten large."


Parsons prepares to climb a ladder to fill the gallery wall with text.

While he's welcomed the additions -- including the not-so-serious ones from friends, like suggestions to get a job at Raytheon -- there are a few losses he would feel more deeply, if erased. One is an entire application for a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. It's a proposal to create the appearance of an insurgent training camp that would actually be an art residency, with sessions like "interrogation resistance," which would refer to communication techniques during art critiques.

If it disappears, he's not sure he would be able to rewrite it in its entirety. "It is dangerously low-hanging fruit," he said.

Still, like every other idea in the document -- such as "Drone goes to art opening. Drone delivers Zoloft" -- the application is fair game.

"I can't tell if [my ideas are] being deleted because a person's taking it for their own work," said Parsons, "Or if they're just like, 'That's crap, delete.'"


Parsons, working at 1 a.m. Thursday.
Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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