Thursday, April 14, 2016

clay

video

I changed my ideas for this performance at least fifty times, but decided to go back to my original plan: to brush my teeth with clay. I had thought about it for a while, but reading "I Am for an Art" by Claes Oldenburg solidified the idea in my mind, especially the lines:

"I am for an art that is combed down, that is hung from each ear, that is laid on the lips and under the eyes, that is shaved from the legs, that is brushed on the teeth, that is fixed on the thighs, that is slipped on the foot."

I knew that I wanted it to be an intimate experience*, both for me and the audience. I feel that the mirror introduced this, as well as the lighting, amplified sound and use of many readers interspersed throughout the audience. I wanted it to feel somewhat enveloping and overwhelming, much like the relationship it refers to. I wanted them to truly feel what I had felt- creating discomfort though my actions and sound.

Having changed my mind about what I wanted to do an hour before class, I allowed for a great deal of improvisation. I didn't practice at all, and gave the readers vague instructions, trusting their judgement.

Part of this improvisation was that I began putting the same clay and water I had in my mouth before back in again and again. Someone brought this up in our discussion afterwards and I didn't realize that it had added to the feeling of guilt and submission to the treatment.

I'm happy with how this performance went, and want to continue to use this intensity/vulnerability in my future performances. Being vulnerable is scary, but I like it.

*When I decided to use messages from my ex I didn't think about telling people about it outside of class- I had planned to keep it private, between us. I'm still working through this.

8 comments:

  1. Jessica -- raw it was. and that in my estimation makes it powerful. unrehearsed yet all considered. seeing what happens.
    also experiencing what it feels like to do the piece -- scary -- but afterwards? did you feel better or ? it may be more challenging to use Fluxus scores for this next project -- but I think some of the scores can be serious and not funny. All depends upon the artist and how she interprets the work. -- in the piece you did I still wonder about mirrors and better light - it was difficult to see you from where I was.

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    1. My initial thoughts about this piece were for it to be on video- a close up shot of just my mouth and the clay, in natural lighting with audio recordings of the messages playing and overlapping. I'd still like to do this.

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  2. Jessica -- I have been thinking and Sophie Calle came to mind -- she did work about receiving a break-up letter from a boyfriend. https://youtu.be/Q9E4dA0EGaM

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  3. This link is on youtube but it is from Tate Shots - a really good resource.

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    1. Thank you! I'm thinking about possibilities related to this.

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  4. You managed to take an experience that many must experience everyday, all around the world, and made it powerful. Although the words were harsh, the fact that you were able to relive the experience as the performer and not as Jessica per se made your piece much more formal. Additionally, the incorporation of clay in the performance was a piece of you and who you are, and was only revealed to be a personal attachment after the performance; otherwise the audience would have never known. The positioning of your performance in the corner of the room was meaningful in its own symbolic way, which made me enjoy it more. Thank you for being confortable with yourself and your personal history enough to reveal it to strangers. It shows me you are a strong person as well as a strong performer.

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  5. I was really quite uncomfortable with your piece, but in the best way possible. I thought this was such a bold and angsty move right out of the park. I was really quite shocked with how the how thing developed and turned out. "to leave a bad taste in your mouth" came to my mind in both aspects of your piece. In the aspect of the clay your physically had to feel and live that bad taste, just as a parallel to your relationship which still carries a little residue. I really loved the sound and how that created this kind of enveloping surround sound and emphasized the piece as a whole. I think the mirror was a really powerful and strong choice, to me it seemed like you wanted to see yourself go through that and deal with that. Kind of like when people are crying sometimes they will look into a mirror to see that pain and understand it. But what you decided to do was better, confront it.

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  6. I like your comment about when people cry they look into the mirror to visually see how their face changes when there is so much pain and/or sadness. This was a BOLD piece -- I mean, it was the 1st performance and it was the 3rd day of class!!!!! Kudos! Just keep going!

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