What What About L.A. is an art project involving a video projector installed in a cargo van driving around Los Angeles after dark projecting a pink blimp (from our What What In the Butt piece) onto various art galleries, museums, and other culturally significant spaces. The project premiered at Nate Page’s Machine Overnight Guerilla Project at Storefront Plaza, located in the Machine Project gallery in Los Angeles. 

“Milwaukee-based Special Entertainment inserted their signature into the L.A. art world. Wide reception of their work — which has gotten attention everywhere from the animated television series South Park to the journal Artforum — shows that the duo encompasses mass appeal while maintaining some complex layers of meaning and form.”
— Megan Sallabedra, L.A. Weekly

“A hot pink blimp appeared across Los Angeles landmarks like a Bat Signal of absurdist art. Special Entertainment had a unique tool at its disposal: an image of its own that carries cultural significance. What What About L.A. straddles the same line as other Special Entertainment productions like William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet and the upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Hamlet A.D.D.  Ciraldo describes the balance he and Swant achieve when talking about the What What (In The Butt) video: “You can be silly and sincere, subtle and blatant, derisive and celebratory, all at once.”
— Parker Winship, The Onion A.V. Club

Valentine’s Day, 2012 was the 5-year anniversary of our What What (In the Butt) project, and we decided to highlight the occasion by projecting an iconic image from the piece onto the entertainment capital of the world.  Some of the locations we projected onto include:

Museum of Contemporary Art
Walt Disney Concert Hall 
Actual Size Gallery
Chung King Road galleries
Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame
2nd St Tunnel
Scientology Center
An abandoned hotel on Sunset Blvd
Mann’s Chinese Theater
Ooga Booga Gallery
Out of the Closet store
Micheltorena school mural
Mural on Edgemont Terrace
Hollywood First National Building
4th Street Bridge Overlook (w/ LA skyline in the background)

Storefront Plaza by Nate Page relocates the windows of Machine Project and reinstalls them twenty feet back into the main gallery space. Machine Project is a storefront gallery space, an informal educational institute, and a loose group of artist/performer collaborators located in Echo Park, L.A.

MKE<=>LAX, directed by Sara Daleiden, investigates cultural exchange between Milwaukee and Los Angeles through residencies and public programs. MKE<=>LAX provided site analysis, public relations and networking support for What What About L.A.

We premiered the original What What (In the Butt) video at The Green Gallery in Milwaukee, then uploaded it to YouTube a few days later on Valentine’s Day. Over the last five years the piece has taken on a life of its own. Viewed nearly 50 Million times, the video has inspired thousands of bedroom reenactment videos and has wiggled its way into the mainstream via shows such South Park and Tosh.0.

This project was made possible in part because of the Mary L. Nohl Suitcase Export Fund, a grant created to help visual artists with the cost of exhibiting their work outside Milwaukee and designed to provide greater visibility for artists, their work, and Milwaukee.

We would like to thank Sara Daleiden, Evan Murphy, Nate Page, Machine Project, and Polly Morris for their help in making this project possible.

L.A. Weekly“What What in the Butt” Viral Video Inspires L.A. Art
The Onion: Special Entertainment celebrates 5 years of “What What

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘What What’ Turns Five, Lights Up L.A.