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.