Saturday, July 10, 2010
PERFORMANCE AS DIRECT EXPERIENCE
All art attempts to create direct experience. To put us in our bodies, in this moment. To question ourselves, our lives, our place in the world, and our common humanity. It's like a round of Kumbaya. Typically sans campfire.
When I decided to create a new solo performance, I wondered if I could make a piece that was as direct an experience for me as for the audience. Something personal that would strip down the artifice of performance.
FEED ME is that experience. It's the simple and poignant event of having someone feed me. In silence. In the way they see fit.
I will record each performance and paint selected frames from the video.
WE ARE ALL CONNECTED
Sometimes, with all the blur and hub bub around, it can be hard not to remember the truth. We are all dependent on each other. Anything we do is thanks to someone else's actions. Thanks Mom and Dad.
WHY I'M DOING IT
Fact is, this project, and all its simplicity, scares the bejeezus out of me. Which is always a good place to start. It also fascinates me to no end. Because...
1. I love to eat.
2. I love people.
3. I'm a control freak and performances are where I get myself to do things I wouldn't do otherwise ... like give up control to someone else as they do something I can do myself.
THE FIRST ATTEMPT
I attempted my first performance of FEED ME at The Dinner Party in June 2010. During the performance I was fed a Stouffer's stuffed green pepper by my friend Kate Gorman, a local DC artist.
Unlike my other performances, I had nothing to prepare. I sat down at a table and Kate did most of the work. The experience was both nostalgic, comforting, and completely uncomfortable.
And, when the audience gave their feedback, I found a lot of different interpretations. Some saw a power dynamic reflecting traditional gender roles. Others saw a statement of passivity and how passivity doesn't mean lack of activity. Many were moved, if not a little unsure of what it all meant.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS
Eating is as important as breathing. But without other people there'd be no food to put in our mouths.
I'm creating a direct experience for myself and the audience by actively illustrating my interdependence. The other interpretations from the performance are dependent on the person feeding me. Their experiences. Their talents. Their concerns. It shows through. In the end, each FEED ME performance is a reflection of the person feeding me.
FEED ME makes it clear, our lives are thanks to each other. Those we know and those we don't know.
So. Thanks. And if you're interested in being part of the project, let me know. I'm looking for chefs, foodies, and ordinary people ready to question the blinders we naturally put up between our selves and each other.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
In mid March 2010, I publicly challenged myself to paint 30 self portraits in 30 days and post each one of them as my Facebook profile image once it was done. I succeeded in painting 30 paintings and I learned that, even when I'm painting, I'm really performing.
Here is my Artist's Statement from the show:
Everything is a self-portrait. A diary. Your whole drug history's in a strand of your hair. Your fingernails. The forensic details. The lining of your stomach is a document. The calluses on your hands tell all your secrets. Your teeth give you away. Your accent. The wrinkles around your mouth and eyes. Everything you do shows your hand. --Chuck Palahniuk (Diary)
This is a performance. It's my attempt at capturing who I am within the constraints of 30 days, 30 pieces of paper, and some paint.
Performances are a sort of slow dialogue. And each portrait in this project is a conversation. They don't live in a vacuum. they're molded by likes, and comments ... and silence.
The first 23 paintings were done in 16 days using an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 Moleskine watercolor notebook and a small field watercolor kit. The final 7 paintings were painted over 14 days on 8 1/2 x 11 Yupo using a few more brushes and watercolors.
With each post, my community of Facebook friends chimed in. Sometimes with praise (i.e. "This one's my favorite.") and sometimes with distaste ("I'm going to have nightmares tonight.").
In the end, what started as a personal challenge, became a community dialogue. So, to end the project, I invited followers of the project to come to The Twin Oaks Collective's Apt 118 Gallery for a one-night exhibition of all 30 paintings. The evening was a great way to say goodbye to the project and spend some time looking at some other faces.
Here are images of all the paintings from LOOK AT ME:
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I am the convention leader for a parade of school kids. They are following me so I start the parade by flexing all my muscles and growling at them. They all growl back and the parade begins.
It's more like a race. Hundreds of kids piling together and running. We get to some steep steps. I help some of them down as we continue to growl.
When I look up, two kids have thrown their backpacks into my belly. It hurts. Then we sit down on the grass.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I am having a crazy repetitive never ending dream of a multisensory but scary internet meme wherein I am walking into a dark alley way and just about to leave when I am stuck up by ball point pen by a man that brings me into a room and benignly maligns me. Annoying.
I am visiting with a zombie who is a Theraveda monk who makes wine. I'm shocked to learn zombie wine is so good. And double shocked to find out the zombie was stripped ofhis robes after beginning to make wine.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I unexpectedly find myself part of an investigation to find a serial murderer.
After receiving a sensitive note and previous letters showing proof of his whereabouts, I know who he is, and where he is. And I'm scared.
The police chief seems to be fine with having me keep these highly sensitive documents in my hotel room where I found them originally. I disagree, and insist on putting them in the safe. He agrees and says that that's what he would do.
What strikes me strange is why he didn't offer that in the first place.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I'm dreaming of a stage performance comprised of a woman playing my grandmother. She is shorter and younger and doesn't act anything like her. My real grandfather is there. And my father. She is spunky. And she jumps into my father's arms.
At some point, the dream transitions to me being in the audience and one of the actors I knew from high school comes out in a wolf suit. But you can see the t-shirt and tighty whities he is wearing on underneath the suit. It must be made of pantyhose material. His face is covered by a wolf's head. It's obvious he put this suit on last minute. There is an unidentifiable person/woman on stage with him. He begins to exaggeratedly shimmy and shake around her. Almost as if he is preparing to sacrifice her.
Then I remember I had planned breakfast at 8am with Adam. And I wake up. Feel the wine from last night. And go into the bathroom.