In 1962 the philosopher Umberto Eco wrote an essay called ‘The Open Work’.
Informed by the writings and music of Franz Kafka and James Joyce, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, Eco argued that not all artworks had a definitive meaning. Rather, some artists might embrace the idea of ‘openness’, leaving certain elements of the artwork to chance, or to be completed by the audience. Meanings could be multiple, the conversation could always be open-ended.
Over 50 years later his idea has been embraced by artists across the world. From YouTube memes to fan-fiction, from music remixes to performance art; the possibilities for artists and audiences to connect are endless.
Inspired by Eco’s idea, BMW Open Work is a visionary project that creates an immersive experience for the viewer. Drawing on dialogue with BMW designers, engineers and technological experts, artists will be able to consider current and future technologies as tools for innovation and artistic experimentation, creating artworks with the potential to unfold across a range of media and exhibiting platforms. This will include physical spaces at Frieze London, such as the BMW Lounge and the Courtesy Car Service, as well as online platforms where viewers can interact digitally.