ALIVESHOES is an Italian entrepreneurial venture that takes the wholesneakers-as-high-art craze to absurd extremes: High-tops arerecycled from art installations, then sold individually as “wearableart” — dirt, dust, and all.
So shoes that were strewn acrossthe woods of Monte San Vicino for a piece about raising consciousness(or something) can be bought for a mere 160 euros! And then you wearthem! As if you had The massacre of the Innocents, but on your feet!
Theproject works on two levels. Artists use ALIVESHOES — eco-friendly,Italian-made kicks that come in a bunch of acid colors — to design aninstallation: shoe boxes on the beach, a shoe mandala, an enchantedshoe forest. Then they dismantle the work, and the shoes are soldonline. Each has an id numberand a copy of the artist’s original sketch stitched into the tongue, soyou know you’re spending your dough on capital-A art. Halfthe proceeds go to charity, half to making more art.
Accordingto the ALIVESHOES manifesto (yes, there’s a manifesto), the project isabout making you become “more aware of who you really are and how youperceive the world around you.” They even claim to have a team ofneuroscientists studying the effect of the shoes.
It’salso apparently about making art more democratic. “We want people tohave access to unique real pieces of art at a small price,” themanifesto 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 inmud. Even though the shoes are cleaned before they’re put up for sale, they “may contain imperfections due totheir 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.