Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Traci Tullius

What is performance artist Traci Tullius asking in her video piece Kneads?

Here is a link to the page http://www.tracitullius.com/index.php?/ongoing/kneads/

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.

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