Monday, April 7, 2014

Reality vs. Appearance

Instructions: This performance must involve your body - conceptually and physically. You may collaborate. It may involve the audience. You may use aspects of one of your previous projects. You can use sound, film, slides, objects, video, etc. It may be serious or humorous (but not "entertainment"). It may be feminist, gay, activist, fluxus, political, absurd, serious, etc. Time: 1-5 minutes.

For this performance, Corissa and I were influenced by Heather Hansen's Emptied Gestures (drawings implementing the body), Janine Antoni's Moor (lifeline), and Adrian Piper's My Calling (Card) ( pain). I asked Corissa if she wanted to collaborate for this project because she had been working on performances that had to do with how her arthritis has affected her life; this inspired me to want to make a piece that incorporated my blood disorder, neutropenia (a condition of having no white blood cells). This rare condition has had a very traumatic impact on my life, and has changed my outlook. I see life as being very fragile, which is why making the most of everyday is important. In the past, I have played with the idea of a "lifeline" in my paintings (influenced by Abstract Expressionist Clifford Still), and have again experimented with the concept in this performance (influenced by Janine Antoni). Everyone has their own "lifeline" that they try to balance on. Everyone has struggles in their life, which they attempt to control and get over. The bodily problems that Corissa and I have are hard to deal with, but they will always be there. In addition, they are kind of invisible to people who do not know us.

So, our performance consisted of each of us outlining the other on large pieces of paper. Then we each proceeded to draw our issues inside of our outlines. I drew a heart and veins, and Corissa circled joints on the body. Then, we stood up and held the sheets of paper in front of us, dropped them, and walked out of the room in separate directions.

Our intention for this performance was to contrast realities and outward appearance. We wanted to reveal the issues that we deal with, but then not let them define who we are. If we were to recreate this performance, I think that ripping the paper or breaking through would have a stronger effect and would make a nice noise. 

How to Eat an Oreo

Instructions: Create a piece using food as subject matter..."food for thought". Involve the body. You may present this piece live or as a video piece. Collaboration is encouraged, but is not mandatory. You may perform this at the Live Art Night. Time length: under 3 minutes.

For this project, I was inspired by Yves Klein's Anthropometries of the Blue Period (how the models "painted" how they wanted), Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (how audience members cut her clothes in different ways), and Marina Abramovic's The Onion (how she ate an onion differently, like an apple).

I created a video of myself sitting down at a table, which I had set up with a plate of three stacked Oreos, a glass of milk, and a fork and knife. I proceeded to eat each Oreo in a different way, and then walk away. For the performance, I had my audience draw a piece of paper, randomly from my hands. Two of the pieces of paper said, "As soon as everyone has a piece of paper, walk up to the tables in the front of the room, and eat the Oreos in any way you like". The rest of the pieces of paper said, "Please remain seated". As the two, randomly selected, audience members walked up to the two tables, each set up with a plate of three Oreos, a glass of milk, and a fork and knife, I played the video on the screen behind them (I didn't want the two participants to be influenced by the way I ate).

My intention for this performance, was to reveal how different people are. I thought about how differently people eat their food, especially Oreos, and how this would be a good metaphor for my intention. My two classmates that participated in the act certainly showed very different ways to eat an Oreo. For example, Zoe'e graded one with her knife into her glass of milk, and Eve gobbled them up, using her utensils. It was really interesting to watch the three of us eat in different ways. While utensils are not needed to eat an Oreo, everyone used them in some way or another. My intention for this aspect of the performance was to comment on formal practices in the dining room. Some people are raised to eat very properly, while others are not, depending on their social background.

This performance brought up a lot more conversation that I had anticipated, which was really interesting. Because I implemented Oreos, American culture became a big topic. A lot of people believe that there is a specific way to eat an Oreo, as seen by commercials on TV. This cultural phenomenon also alludes to conformity. Cookies, or Oreos, are very round and multiply like clones. They all look the same. In society, people are expected to conform to whatever is accepted. However, I think that it is good to be different, and break away from conformity, and eat Oreos however you want!

If I were to repeat this performance, I like the idea of having a whole bunch of TV's stacked together against a wall, each showing a different person eating Oreos. It would be a great visual. If only I had the time to collect a lot of TV's!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Laurie Anderson at the Englert Theatre

As my classmates and I stood outside, lined up against the theater, waiting for the doors to open, I felt very excited and curious about what I was going to see and experience. The only thing that I knew and could remember about Laurie Anderson from class was her O Superman. So, I was expecting to hear that plus other songs that had the same sort of techno vibe to them. I thought that it was going to be more of a performance than what it was. However, I really enjoyed hearing the stories that Anderson told. In particular, I liked the "symphony for dogs". It's such an interesting and funny idea to play music for a bunch of dogs. I was also entertained by the story about her blind dog that learned how to play the piano. While I enjoyed Anderson's stories, I often got lost because she jumped around so much. I got really confused about what she was talking about sometimes. But, that might just be me not being able to pay attention. The part that I enjoyed the most was at the end of her talk when she showed a preview of the new piece she is working on and trying to come up with a name for. I loved the visual of looking up at the sky, especially when the camera was moving in between the tall buildings of the city. While this was happening, Anderson was speaking in a deep voice, which was interesting, but again I had a hard time paying attention to what she was saying because I was thinking about the visual aspect. It made me think about how much I miss the city. I really enjoyed the way in which the camera was moving through the city. It was clearly following the grid pattern of the streets, kind of in a robotic way. This video also made me think about how much I look up at the sky, even when I am walking. I like to enjoy the scenery and I like the perspective. The sky is so big and full of mysteries.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What is Sculpture?

Instructions: This project must be a simple activity. It could be using your body as sculpture. Be aware of TIME, endurance. You may involve repetition and some element of the absurd. Be aware of ambient sound. Be aware of TIME and rhythm. Can be collaborative. Research Fluxus artists and/or conceptual artists using their bodies as sculpture. Experiment! Use sound in a creative way by using software and editing. Post the video to your blog. You will do a live performance in class and have someone document it for your blog or re-create the performance and document for your blog using video or digital stills.

For this project, I wanted to make some sort of statement about the process of making art. Sculptures that were created in antiquity took years to create with the skills of a trained artist. Whereas, some modern sculptures, like the one I created in my performance, were created in minutes, without the need to carve or mold with special tools. With this performance, I explore the idea of what art is, specifically sculpture. Do you have to be trained to be an sculptor? Do you have to know how to build something? Do you have to know how to carve something out of marble? If not, can anyone be a sculptor?

In order to express this idea, I created a performance in which I poured a bag of flour into a pile on the ground. Then, I spread it out with a large metal ruler. At first, I spread the flour out into a circular form, but then I made it into a long oval form. Next, I laid down on my back in the flour. This made an imprint on my all-black outfit, which I rubbed into my clothes. I then laid on my front side, making the final imprint in the flour, and made a pile for an imprint of my face. I finished my performance by walking over to a stool and lamp that I had set up in the corner, turned on the lamp, and perched on the stool, like a statue (I should have posed longer than I did). 

The performances that inspired me for this piece were Live Sculpture by Gilbert & George, Flour Arrangements by Bruce Nauman, and Loving Care by Janine Antoni. 

During the performance, I felt pretty nervous because I didn't know how well the flour would stick to my body, or how much flour I would need, and how well it would spread out. I ended up using two bags of flour, but I think I would use more, if I would re-create the performance. I also didn't know if I wanted to re-create a famous sculpture or just come up with a pose on my own, which is what I did. I might want to pose in some sort of feminist way in a re-creation, as someone had made the comment that my performance leaned in that direction, which I had not even thought of. I am a woman, making art and displaying it at the same time, which is not how it has traditionally been done.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slippery Slide

Instructions: Create a 1-2 minute performance/concert using ordinary tasks and using FLUXUS ideas. Sound must be primary. Found sounds are everyday - both naturally occurring and man-made, machine-made. Must be collaborative.

For this project, my partner, Zoe'e, and I thought about the rhythmic sounds that the hand clapping game, Slippery Slide, makes. Zoe'e actually taught me how to play the game because I had never played this particular one (I have played others). During our performance, we had our audience sit in a circle, facing towards the outside. We sat in the middle of the circle, and proceeded to play the game. We didn't want the audience to watch us because we wanted them to only focus on the sounds and imagine how we were making them. As the game progresses, it gets a lot harder because there are more "claps". For example, round 3 has 3 claps for each move, etc. We messed up a lot of times, laughing when we did, and had to start over from the beginning. Our goal was to make it to 15, but we messed up at 11, and just gave up because it was getting a little bit frustrating. I was also worried about the audience getting bored because they weren't actually watching us. Despite the ending, I think it went well. After it was over, someone mentioned that it would make a good video performance, with the camera just focused on the hands. The video could then be projected on multiple walls. This idea was particularly inspiring to me because I can see how the audience got a little bored because the rhythm was very repetitious, especially because the game couldn't be seen in our performance. I think that watching the hands move and make sounds would be very interesting.

Tea Time

Instructions: Do something YOU KNOW: A Task - use real materials, objects, no pretending. It is not representing, not recounting, not re-enacting, but simply doing. This should be something that makes sound. Use minimum language or none at all. EXPERIMENT. Short. Simple. Direct. SOLO.

For this project, I began by thinking of everyday sounds that I hear. So, I thought about the annoying sound that my tea kettle makes when I boil water and the sound of a spoon clanking around in a ceramic mug. I had absolutely no idea how to make a performance out of making tea. The task seemed to fit all of the criteria given to me, but I thought that it would be a stupid and boring performance. Nonetheless, that is what I did. This being my first performance, I felt pretty nervous, especially because I was unsure of it and because I didn't no what I was going to do with my body when I was waiting for the water to boil. Basically, I just tried to look really bored and impatient by tapping my fingers, folding over onto the table, and blowing the tea bag wrapper onto the floor. I'm not sure if that came off to the audience. It felt a lot like acting to me, which is not one of my strengths. Plus, performance art isn't even about acting; it is about doing. Once my tea was made, I took a sip, looked at the audience, and walked out of the room. Overall, I didn't like my performance, and it felt weird and silly, but I got some good feedback from my audience. One suggestion was made to have lots of tea kettles and lots of actions going on that have to do with making tea (like putting honey in or having things to eat). That would surely make this performance more interesting, and the sound of a lot of tea kettles would be cool. Another observation was made that my performance kind of looked like a painting. This inspired an idea to make a performance of recreating paintings/sculptures with my body and other props.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Sounds of Environments

Sounds are constantly occurring in life. Life is art. Listen to the art around you.
The following are the sounds I heard in various locations.

Environment #1: Upstairs in the Thomas Commons of Cornell College at 4:00 p.m. on 3/20/14
Spraying of a spray bottle and the squeaking of wiping on glass.
Lots of distant conversations.
Yelling that echoes from the kitchen.
Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack. The sounds of computer typing.
Footsteps on the tile floor.
Scuffs of someone dragging their feet.
A different type of click-clack. Sounds like a rubix cube.
Crinkling of paper.
Footsteps up the stairs.
Jingle of keys.
Someone, a man, coughs.
Clicking of a pen.
"What if we get to the point where we are out of coal? What about oil? Coal and oil are the same thing. Do we use corn? What about water?"
"Oh sorry." "That's okay."
Door opens and closes.
Something that sounds like a whipped cream can coming from the kitchen.
Zipper sound and rustling in a bag.
"Frieeeeendss! What's up?"
Background noise echoes and starts to get louder.
"I have your i.d."
Someone blows their nose.
"What does that have to do with the question?"
"That is too perfect."
Rattling of metal dishes in the kitchen.
"But, yeah."
A deep voice laughs.
"But then there was like a..."

Environment #2: Fuel at 9:30 a.m. on 3/21/14
Moving of wooden chairs.
Conversations that I cannot hear.
"Hi, what can I get you?"
Music plays softly.
Water pours.
Clanking of metal.
Suction sound of the rubber bottom of the door scraping against the ground as the door opens.
"Hi! How are you?"
"Excuse me."
"Would you like a copy of your receipt?"
Jazzy music plays.
Glass dishes being placed on a table.
Chair creaks.
Bell dings.
Silence, except for music playing.
"Thank you!"
Sound of the milk frother.
Steam sounds.

Environment #3: My room at 10 p.m. on 3/23/14
My roommate rustles in her bed.
A door close by opens and closes.
A couple of people yell outside, but I can't hear what they say.
The wall makes a sound (someone/something making noise next door).
Heavy breathing by my roommate sleeping.
The sound of my hand moving across paper and the tip of my pen touching the paper, as I write down what I am hearing.
My roommate rustles again, shifting positions, and makes one heavy breath.
Soft murmurs and beats (might be someone playing music in another room).
My nose sniffles.
I shift positions in my bed, rustling my own sheets.
My phone makes a ding noise.