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Experimental exhibit offers Kingman a 'passaporta' to new views

Kingman’s Hill Top Motel will host DocuMart starting this weekend as part of the High Desert Test Site 2013 Art Festival. (Courtesy)

Event is part of High Desert Test Sites festival

KINGMAN - A tongue-in-cheek art project at Hill Top Motel starting Saturday will allow visitors to obtain a driver's license for their cat, marry whomever or whatever they want and receive a document authorizing them to travel anywhere without a visa.

While the art project is all in fun, said Alex Kenefick, it also playfully erodes assumptions people make about the requirements for establishing identity and securing permission from government agencies.

Kenefick, an urban planner, and artist Julianna Parr will run the interactive exhibit. Both are from Los Angeles.

Called DocuMART, the art project will run from noon to midnight Saturday through Oct. 19 at the motel, 1901 E. Andy Devine Ave. DocuMART, which features a variety of business machines, is one of 60 art projects set up in towns between Joshua Tree, Calif., and Albuquerque as part of the High Desert Test Sites 2013 Art Festival. It supports experimental art that engages the community and challenges the traditional conventions of ownership, property and patronage.

"It's going to be a blast," said Herberta Schroeder, whose husband, Dennis Schroeder, owns the motel. "Julianna and Alex said they had been to several other places in the area to see about setting up the art project and people looked at them like they were nuts. I'm familiar with interactive art because my cousin works with it, and when I was asked, I was thrilled. It's going to look like a real document center but it will be tongue in cheek because it's located in a motel."

The art project will go along with the theme of the Mother Road, said Schroeder, which is that travelers on Route 66 never know what they will see along the way. Schroeder said reservations at Hill Top Motel are filling quickly for Tuesday, when artists taking the HDTS tour will hit Kingman to view DocuMART.

Visitors to Hill Top Motel will enter the DocuMART room, take a number and wait in line to fill out paperwork for free identification cards, marriage licenses, affidavits and passports, called "Passaportas." None are legal for use anywhere. Bland office coffee and dry cream - the kind found in offices and document centers - will be available to the public.

"The documents aren't for real, but we are for real about showing some of the hurdles the government puts up when people are trying to get their documents," said Kenefick. "We want to start a dialogue and put the government in check. It has a lot of power, and while some of that is good, people can't blindly accept what they're told about government authorization, permission and documentation."

Hill Top Motel was chosen as the DocuMART site after Kenefick and Parr took a road trip in May and talked to 20 motel owners in Arizona. Kenefick said he and Parr love Arizona and wanted to take DocuMART beyond California but were limited by budget constraints, so they chose the western edge of their neighboring state.

"We got the best response from Hill Top Motel," said Kenefick. "Herberta was friendly and said she would help promote DocuMART. We needed a good nest for our venture. We're excited about coming to Kingman and this is definitely going to take place."


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