ALIVESHOES is an Italian entrepreneurial venture that takes the whole
sneakers-as-high-art craze to absurd extremes: High-tops are
recycled from art installations, then sold individually as "wearable
art" — dirt, dust, and all.
So shoes that were strewn across the woods of Monte San Vicino for a piece about raising consciousness (or something) can be bought for a mere 160 euros! And then you wear them! As if you had The massacre of the Innocents, but on your feet!
project works on two levels. Artists use ALIVESHOES — eco-friendly,
Italian-made kicks that come in a bunch of acid colors — to design an
installation: shoe boxes on the beach, a shoe mandala, an enchanted
shoe forest. Then they dismantle the work, and the shoes are sold
online. Each has an id number
and a copy of the artist's original sketch stitched into the tongue, so
you know you're spending your dough on capital-A art. Half
the proceeds go to charity, half to making more art.
According to the ALIVESHOES manifesto (yes, there's a manifesto), the project is about making you become "more aware of who you really are and how you perceive the world around you." They even claim to have a team of neuroscientists studying the effect of the shoes.
It's also apparently about making art more democratic. "We want people to have access to unique real pieces of art at a small price," the manifesto says. To that end, buyers are supposed to set their own price — on top of a 150-euro base cost for, you know, production and "management" expenses. And don't blame them if your pair comes caked in mud. Even though the shoes are cleaned before they're put up for sale, they "may contain imperfections due to their usage within the artworks," the Web site warns.
Which sounds cool and meta and stuff for the 12 people who still have a Vice magazine subscription. For everyone else, it just means blowing $180 on a pair of dirty shoes.