THE ENDURANCE PERFORMANCE: DAYS SIX/SEVEN
Day 6: 05.10.10
I’ve been at Day Job since 8:11 a.m. Feeling poorly. Possibly the 24-hour bug that started circulating in the office last week. I email Arzu to wish her a good morning and find out when she’ll be at SPACES for rehearsal.
Arzu writes back:
We will be there around 2 p.m. I am running around like crazy today. Will get more stuff to make connectors.
Connectors? What kind of connectors? She never said anything about connectors. I write back to tell her I’m scheduled to work until 5 p.m. Will she still be there then?
Reader, how can I give you play-by-play if I’m not there? I’ve never felt more trapped in a corporate white cube.
Arzu must be starting her first rehearsal with The Choreographer, Alice Dunoyer de Segonzac, one of her students. I’m missing everything. Arzu’s ideas are now being rehearsed live, and I’m leashed to a desk and a phone, just a few miles away. But Arzu has promised to send images. Documentary evidence is not always reliable, though. When looking at multiple images, the viewer might create a narrative that never happened at the live event. You can’t capture energy exchange between performer and audience anyway. This is the Great Debate that divides scholars of live art. One camp says live art should not (and cannot) be documented; the other says a document is better than nothing, even though they agree that the document creates a new, mediated “text.”
As promised, Arzu sends images. The subject line is “Wow. Am I too old to dance?” Image 1: Arzu enters (or does she saunter into?) the gallery, the performance space. Images 2 and 3: Is she seducing the gallery space, or is she trying to get the space to seduce her?
As I’ve mentioned before, Arzu rarely works in galleries, perhaps for these reasons: fetishization of the object; the spectator is often reduced to a role of passive contemplation; the space is a site of commodity exchange; the spectator brings a set of (largely received) expectations; there’s a limited potential pool of spectators (the audience), since certain publics may not seek out these spaces; gallery rules frustrate artistic freedom; and time and space constraints minimize accessibility, among many others. Dump the baggage! New media and public intervention strategies circumvent, turn upside-down and sometimes solve the problems that stultify galleries. The works are accessible to larger audiences—who may have minimal or no expectations—for longer periods of time, and, most importantly, they offer opportunities for the spectator to become a participant-author. More to say on this topic, but no time…
I’ll be able to tell you more about Arzu’s dance after I see Rehearsal Two at SPACES on Wednesday after work.
Arzu was asked to “stage something” and “bring an audience”—a major detour for an artist who traffics in public interventions. She has to communicate with spectators who have made a decision to see the performance, rather than unwitting spectators who happen upon it. People come to SPACES to see “art”; participants in public interventions may not frame the encounter as “art.” But she’s embraced the challenge, without complaint. She sends a postcard-advert for “Love at first site,” all tricked out in signifers of love: red, white, lace tights and frilly font. I also think White Stripes CD cover. She plans to distribute the cards “all over Cleveland.” I don’t exactly know what that means. But I’m distributing it here.
Day Seven: 05.11.10
Arzu was busy teaching today, so she didn’t have much time to communicate. I was home sick with the flu. With the help of a collaborator, I’m working on the “Love at first site” performance score/script. Updates tomorrow.