I stand in a room in the dark. The audience can enter the room one person at a time and contemplate the palms of my hands softly lit by a spotlight.
“I trust the audience. I don’t just consider it merely to be an audience. Once we are in the same room at the same time and we are all focusing on each other, the audience is performing as much as I am. As things correctly stand, most of the time the public enters the room and sits waiting for the performer to create something that hopefully fulfils or perhaps disappoints their expectations. Only a few performers have escaped this format successfully.
I believe that a more critical approach from the audience is needed at the moment of the action. Not before. Not after.”
In times of radical political changes it becomes difficult to keep the focus on the importance of what ‘sharing’ means. How can we come together if we feel separated? How is it possible to exist together when we don’t know how to understand the other(ed)? Performance art, social movements and protests clearly blur into each other more and more in their attempt to raise awareness on the topic of ‘sharing,’ thereby creating confusion, noise and sometimes the erasure of important embodied self-narratives.
What we see happening on the street, in galleries or underground scenes is only the surface of a hidden landscape that unravels itself between the walls of our actual homes. They are interestingly connected —the individual, the group, and larger culture. Dialogues, interpretations, and meanings unfold about these spaces, “homes,” and stories of identity manifest.
Inspired by the private battles for our identities that we “do” within our closer circles of family, these clashes are what the sort of “domestic activism” challenges that are the point of departure for understanding this performance piece. If the family is the initial place for socialization about culture, it is certainly influential in determining not only how we come to see and engage with the world, but also in how we see and engage (and accept) ourselves. This approach is a secluded movement that sees ourselves involved on a daily basis where our body and embodiment plays a very important role in identity, activism, social relations (families, cultures, etc.), and beyond.
‘An Object of Study’ has been developing different stages at different times.
A): In the first stage the artist’s skin was the surface offered to Mishka Stein, an apprentice tattooist who participated in the project sharing a conversation with the artist while tattooing freehand 100 symbols on his body.
B:) The second stage was presented by the program LiVEART.US, curated by Hector Canonge and hosted at the Queens Museum in New York City, in which the artist offered his body as a performance tool for those present to “come together” and “experience together” an open and informal, theoretical and practical conversation on the themes triggered by Professor Ryan Ashley Caldwell from Soka University of America.
C): The third stage was an online workshop with the students of Soka University of America, during which the artist investigates the dynamics of performance art inviting the class as a community to design a new symbol to add to his skin.
‘An Object of Study’ is an ongoing project and it is currently developing a new series of workshops and interdisciplinary performances.