Today, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., I am sitting in a desk in front of Philadelphia, PA's City Hall on South Broad street. I am once again exploring stasis while reading Alfred Jarry's Supermale, a book that "is obsessed with the potentialities of man and what he considers to be his limitations, with the idea of extending frontiers, pushing the possible to the limits of the imaginable, discovering what might be done by will power to liberate and control the energy of the universe" (Jarry XIII). It would appear that finding similarities between Supermale and my work, performances that deal with human capability, should be easy. I am placing myself in a public context with a wardrobe that provides assumptions as to my line of work and what I should be doing during the work day, yet I am doing the quintessential leisure exercise, reading. In my last post I talked about the sacrifices one must make when joining a social group; conforming is needed for order. Questioning the status quo though is fundamental to the human condition. Here, I am playing the role of the white-collar worker at his desk, doing something he presumably enjoys. It is my hope that passerbys question the available enjoyment opportunities in their work place environment. Does their job allot time for said enjoyment. What if the job world had time set aside where you engaged in fun physical exertion, and on other days you read your favorite literature?
View down South Broad Street.
Donated by City Hall Coffee House, by accepting I entered an inadvertent advertising agreement
At first glance, she appears to be dealing with submissiveness. Not unlike Marina Abromovic's Rhythm 0, 1974 wherein Abromovic assumes a passive role; allowing the audience to use 72 objects on her person in any way they pleased. These objects ranged from things that nurture to those that harm. There is a connection to these artist's submissive/passive states and my exploration of capability's opposite.
My Immobile piece explored stasis. Traci is also exploring stasis, and allowing the placement of another artist's hands on her face. The man starts out with caressing strokes and progresses "to aggressive and possibly sadistic" maneuvers (http://www.tracitullius.com/index.php?/ongoing/kneads/). The moments before I started Immobile I struggled with the possibilities of what might happen. What if someone played with my face against my will? What if someone put a gun to my head like in Marina's Rhythm 0, 1974?
I think I can appropriate Tullius's use of the up-close, still video camera shot on the subjects face. In a simple fashion Kneads creates an immediately personal experience for the viewer. You focus on each facial expression made not by Traci, but by this man whose head is never shown. My desire for this next piece, which will be called 925, is reach the audience not present on a personal level (those who only have documentation to go by) as I raise issues of conformity through a stasis state. I'm not exactly saying conformity is a bad thing either. It exists and is necessary for particulars reasons. I think one will put up with or live with such realities if they truly care about their business. Whether it's a Fortune 500 Company or an artist collective in North Philadelphia, sacrificing a little bit of yourself for the sake of the group may not be a bad thing. If you do not think such sacrifices are worth the benefits of said incorporation into said group then maybe my piece will reignite the spark that everyone asks themselves, "What am I doing?" Those who don't see the sacrifice worth it might choose to rediscover themselves.
Immobile, a performance piece, isa reflection on my time spent bedridden last week. Last week's sickness struck me with unforgiving blows, leaving me at it's mercy. Last night I made the conscientious choice to be temporarily immobilized for twelve hours, 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Conversely, last week I did not choose to be off my feet for days. This piece can metaphorically serve as a drop in the bucket for the unforgiving realities of the disabled.
I have an idea of reading the book Poetry for Dummies in it's entirety while engaged in a physical task. A portion of my work is performance based, pushing the body to its perceived limit. In these moments of extreme physical stress I channel the beauty of spoken word poetry. However, I am well aware that I do not have an extensive poetry background. So, reading this beginner book on poetry is a gestural act acknowledging my novice status while committing acts (working out) that I feel quite knowledgeable/comfortable partaking in.
Mock up of the diagram that will accompany the installment of pull-up bars around the city by the Philadelphia Wellness Initiative (PWI). One pull-up bar will be installed underneath i95 on Fairmount Ave in Northern Liberties and another along the Schuylkill River Path. A graphic designer from Philadelphia, who will remain nameless, is interested in contributing to the growth of PWI. It is my opinion that this designer's professional skill will lend an air of official credibility to the placement of these pull-up bars. It is PWI's hope that these pull-up bars are installed without incident i.e. the authorities do not impede on our installment at the two sites. To help diffuse such possible situations, I think PWI needs t-shirts and ID's. Also, I am working with a sculpture faculty member, who will remain nameless, to make it difficult for metal scrappers to disassemble the piece. The Philadelphia Wellness Initiative would like to thank you for your continued support.