"Phone Dad was born of a desire to expand the standard art conversation a bit and expand it to [hopefully] do two things: make it more participatory, and draw in insights that [are] a bit outside of the fairly well-worn talking points that art talks often fall into." Cara Despain's roundtable discussion at Locust Projects this Thursday is the psychological staple of female adolescence when little princesses cease to be and become independent women.
Her discussion is a litmus test for where we generations divide us. Fathers have always been "squares." For all the oil changes, doll-house construction, and beating up on no-good boyfriends, there will always exist the questionable fashion choices, inability to function with certain technologies, and the befuddlement of halter tops.
Fathers will remain eternally unhip.
That's fine. In Phone Dad, Despain shows the slightly humorous and artistically augmented side of a dad fending off the proclivities of the rapidly-evolving future, the sneaky charm of auto-correct and the placement of well-meaning but unsuspecting fathers in the middle of the mix.
"I'm also interested in this common practice of calling Dad when you don't know what to do. It's both admitting; not defeat, but that you don't know something, or that you need advice. It's vulnerable and familial in a way that intellectual or philosophical discussions often are not," Despain says.
Father's might not always remember that their children are grown and can stray a little into pedantic mode, especially with their adult children. Despain sees this as a possibility for the "embarrassing, hilarious, right on, or right off." How does she get it all seamless in a deus ex machina kind of way? Employing a technique from TV game shows: the "life-line." The intended result here is getting the involvement of attendees' fathers on record during the proceeding. Will daddy get mad that you called him and made an ass out of him in a heated debate about some esoteric art question?
How successful this is depends entirely on how much of a good sport some men can be and the inherent artiness of creating a form of order from controlled chaos. There's no autocorrect in real talk. Dad will be dad and he'll take notes. He might not text you the most coherent message ever, but he'll certainly bring whatever fool plagued your mind with such artsy nonsense within an inch of his unnecessary life. In the end, you do phone dad, because dad knows best.
Locust Project's Roundtable event, Phone Dad, will take place on Thursday, August 28 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This is a free event. Visit locustprojects.org or call 305-576-8570.