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.