“Boolean Fears AKA Merry Christmas”
A collaborator (Christopher Duncan Saalbach-Walsh) and I created a physical-digital interface that was carefully scripted. I wrote a script based on my basic knowledge about his life, in the first person. He memorized the script and we filmed him reciting it. Some of the script included questions that he would later answer in real time during the performance, or questions he would ask his digital self to answer. We recorded another video of him playing the ukulele and singing, to which we aligned with the first video recording and had him harmonize in three parts to in real time during the performance (song was “you are my sunshine”).
The script was divided into three main parts—the first was a real-time performance of self-identifying declarations AKA “I am 22 years, 11 months, and 3 days. 19 hours and two minutes old,” while the second part was mostly the first video recording—in which the same declarations were made in backwards sequence, and with some language errors/puns included. The third part was questions and answers between the first video recording and the real-time Chris, concluding in the truet with ukulele Chris.
Inspired by elevator music (called officially, Elevator Muzak), a collaborator and I stood in a public elevator. In one instance, Chris would sing a single note evenly until he ran out of air, then inhale and proceed singing the same note, all while I was filming him and all while passengers entered and left. Another rendition had Chris screaming at the top of his lungs whenever there were no passengers, and immediately quiet when some boarded. He would resume screaming as soon as passengers left and the doors re-closed.
Performance Documentation in Text 1: “Guide”
I designed a small book that I dubbed a “Guide to Life,” complete with diagrams and fashioned after video game guides. Each book was about 5 inches square with over 20 numbered pages and each section or chapter included several required tasks in order to complete that area of ones’ life (including but not limited to love, goal setting, and dreaming), Each was printed and hand-bound with thread and glue. The thread was strung up the spine and looped around the back of the book so that each could be hung from the ceiling. Each thread was a different color and different length. The books were hung together to create a cluster or swarm of over 80 floating books. Scissors were provided so that participants could cut down their own book to keep, and by the end of the exhibition, all that remained was a rainbow of threads.
Performance Documentation in Text 2: “Labels”
Inspired by facebook trends of labeling friends by funnily labeled emoticons or cartoons that were based on character stereotypes, I chose and printed out simple labels on sticker paper. Black sans-serif text on white, examples include “The Quiet One” “The Strange One” “The Brave One” “The Risk Taker.” I went out into the streets with friends and stuck these labels on people when they weren’t looking. On subways, I would offer for people to pick labels out of my bag of them at random, which sparked some interesting conversations. I was invited to contribute this project to the Lumen Arts fest, where I chose (at random) labels from my bag to give guests and other artists during the night.
Performance Documentation in Text 3: “Proprio-ception”
I embodied a series of ex’s of the opposite gender by assuming each of their mannerisms as completely as I could recall.
Performance Documentation in Text 4: “Met you Half-Way”
A collaborator, Christopher Duncan Saalbach-Walsh and I provided a dating relay service to statues surrounding and inside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We took instant-film photos of statues in some areas and presented them to statues in other areas that we thought would make a good match. We tried to convince the statues to consider our matchmaking suggestions, with varying results. We left violet flowers at the foot of each statue we engaged.
Performance Documentation in Text 5: “Ritual Machina”
In a series of short performances at Cooper, I would design scenarios that would attempt to build machines out of my classmates and get the machines to accomplish tasks. No verbal direction was given. One of my favorite renditions of this was performing “Mary had a little Lamb” by using a xylophone to instruct each participant to sing the proper note when I squeezed their palm. At the end of each performance, a cherry seed was offered to those I hoped would participate the next time.
Performance Documentation in Text 8: “Articles”
I asked classmates in the art school (Cooper Union) if I could photograph parts of their clothing, and created a large-scale “mural” painting incorporating all of the parts into a balanced, clustered whole.
Performance Documentation in Text 9: “Architects”
I painted portraits from life of every member of the Cooper Union’s Architecture 3rdyear class. Each portrait took on average 1.5 hours and was done in a two-week period. Major gratitude goes to Mark Ressl (Markitekture), who coordinated and organized the sittings.
Performance Documentation in Text 10: “Washington”
I went to Washington Square park and asked strangers if I could photograph their hands, fronts and backs. I included all on a large-scale “mural” painting. Positioning of hands was based on patterns created by flocking birds. I later gave the painting away to an anonymous collector.
Performance Documentation in Text 11: “Midnight Kiss”
My collaborator and I went about Central Park, kissing statues on their lips in the night.