Monday, November 24, 2008

the aftermath of relative intimacy, and if i were a man

the show went mo'bettah than i thought it would, and that's not saying much, but i am relieved. installation was a nightmare and a half, because my school has a shortage of functional digital projectors (actually we have a shortage of functional goddamn everything, it's kind of a janky operation, to be honest), so i was still up on a ladder, leaning over a tiny shelf, messing with buttons, trying not to die, like a couple HOURS before the opening. when you're not totally confident in the work you're showing and the installation process is more time and work and headache than you expected, you get really fuckin depressed. well, at least i do.

on opening night i did a performance called "get behind me", in which i left the gallery after signing in to an instant messaging application on a laptop that was on a pedestal. from a remote location in the building, i communicated with participants in the gallery through instant message, although i was writing to a specific, absent person. it was meant to deal with the imperative to cleanse oneself of their demons through words, and the inevitable futility of that imperative. so the piece failed, in the sense that i was not transformed the way i wanted to be by the experience, and yet i think that's sort of the point.

(people huddled around the laptop, seen in bottom left corner)
there is very little documentation of the event, which i think is for the best. documentation, in my opinion, needs to stand alone as an art object in its own right or it frankly is boring and a failure.

someday i'll re-create the video piece that accompanied this performance. it was a three-channel video projection in an alcove, hence the installation nightmare. i used the internet phone program skype and a screen capture program called ishowu to tape myself and my partner sleeping, for the duration of one night when we were in separate beds, and one night in the same bed. i then compressed each of these videos into an hour loop. so the left side of the alcove showed my side of the video , the right side showed his, and the center was a split screen of us taping while in the same bed, our laptops on the bedside tables. they were synced, so that our movements were reflected in each projection.

my co-exhibitor, laccone, did a performance inviting members of the audience to wrap him in blackberry vines (covered with thorns) until he was scratched and bleeding, then paint his wounds with lemon juice, then dress his wounds with gauze. don't worry, everyone wore gloves. unfortunately while we were de-installing i stepped on one of the vines and it snaked up and raked my foot with thorns, so i can attest to the fact that those fuckers make you bleed. the performance neatly divided along
gender lines as follows: two women wrapped him in thorns, two men put on the lemon juice, and two women bandaged him. in the end, the performance was more about the participants than the artist. i think he should have had written instructions rather than asking the curator to address the audience, and in general i wonder about interpollating the audience in masochistic acts in a post-chris-burden moment, but the gender division was fascinating nonetheless.

after the opening, i went home and made this. it's the first video piece that i have made available to the public on youtube, and it's also the first piece i've made using this particular mode of collage and text. I CONSIDER THIS A ROUGH CUT. i ripped the footage from youtube for the purposes of saving time but in the next week or so i am going to replace it with dvd-quality picture. i'm kind of stoked about this as a possible new direction for me. copyright hannah piper burns, 2008 (bitches).

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