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Showing Up: “Almost Public/Semi-Exposed” in ATA’s Window

 

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“In the pieces that I watched from outside, I felt a push and pull from the glass membrane. It felt vulnerable for me as a viewer… a step of trust to make contact with hand or eyes with performer, or come close to it.” -Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic

IMG_5853IMG_5772For the month of November, 2014, ATA’s window was animated by daily inhabitancies. Each day, a different artist or group of artists installed themselves in the storefront window, occupying it for a range of one to 48 hours. Their actions varied from just being there to performing music to outraged/ous splattering of substances. In the words of the ATA Window Gallery curators it was “a series of installed performances ranging from movement to musical, ritual to reenactment, interactive to endurance.”

Busting up the original architectural purpose – merchandising – of the display window, these artists tweaked the power mechanics of subject/object. By implementing the corporeal gaze to stop people in their tracks, they oscillated between Observed and Observer. Merely by their physical presence, they ruptured the usual experience of public visual space along the increasingly consumption-based Valencia Corridor. It’s always a surprise to see a live person or animal in a shop window, but prolonged observation of these events revealed additional layers that confound Capital, Culture, and Meaning.

Any kind of performance or action has a potential performer and viewer, roles that can be reversed or shared: by stopping and watching, the passersby also observed one another reacting to the people in the window. Aptly entitled “Almost Public/Semi-Exposed,” the series caused the window glass to function as a permeable “glass membrane,” creating and transmitting street-level information that was radically different from the usual.

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Jacquelyn Marie Shannon “Salvaging/Selvedging and the Ghosts of Yes”

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“Modern Limen” by Nathalie Brilliant, Sarah St. Leger, and Maria Dawn

 

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Amanda Chaudhary “CatSynth”…playing the Theremin

Most of us have encountered “live mannequins,” animals up for adoption, or shop cats dozing in store windows, but the things these artists were doing were unusual, odd, mesmerizing, and/or shocking to those who saw them. Most of the passersby have not, nor will they ever, attend performances (some of the artists do not use this word to describe their work) like these. We are all generally aware of the performative behaviors of acting, dancing, singing, athletics, speeches, lectures, announcements; corporate behaviors like selling/customer service/serving; and controlling actions by agents of power. A few of us have seen Butoh, most have seen musicians perform, but few have seen a woman play the touchless, motion-driven Theremin or have been invited to participate in a drawing exchange, especially not in a storefront window.

Mirabelle Jones, "Comfort and Civilization"

Mirabelle Jones “Comfort and Civilization”

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Marcelle Marais “Princess VuVu”

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Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh:  Butoh based movement and tableau vivant

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Dan and Cheryl ™ “Contested (1BR) Space”

 

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Ryan Schnirel re-presenting Joseph Beuys’s “Action How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”- with a live rabbit named Claire.

 

Conformity is of high importance in our society (and probably in most societies, really), but it underlies the “innovation,” “creative” as noun instead of adjective, and “thinking different” – key faux initiatives in the current occupying force in San Francisco. Most people in this country are using digital interaction at an increasing level, and of course many of the people on Valencia Street also work in the digital technology industry. Person to person encounters are mediated either directly in practice or indirectly by the lasting effects of digital communication, so to see a person in the flesh in this “almost public” context is a shock. In a discussion of algorithm-guided composition based on already popular music, an evolutionary psychologist might say that the recognizable is not perceived as dangerous. And the inscrutability of these window presences repelled some, but attracted many. It was fresh and enlivening to watch a person so intensely “being” in a public display. Mostly anonymous, these artists appeared for free. Karen Finley, commenting on the book “I’m Trying to Reach You,“mentions our “desire for interconnectivity…and…what it means to strive, cope, and love with all of our heart, brain, body and soul…” – these artists did all of that; it’s what enabled them to put themselves in such a vulnerable position, and to create such powerful experiences. Some of the public were disturbed or enraged by their presence, possibly because the artists’ position as Objects (viewed) was too unstable: the Subjects (viewers) really had no control over what they saw. They did not pay, so could not own the performers; the capitalist impulse was thwarted. No explanation was given, so they had to open up to the shock of the now. Utterly autonomous, these intractable artists created a space of agency that left viewers the choice of whether, and for how long, to continue to look.

-Claire Bain

***

Images and words from the artists; a treasure trove of insight and reflection:

April Dean (11/8, 11/9) “Sunrise to Sunset: or Room for a Room of One’s Own.”

The world of my apartment was strewn on the floor, the carpet of my living space covered with crumbs and neglected orange peels and piles of books long neglected.

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April Dean “Sunrise to Sunset: or Room for a Room of One’s Own”

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As an ode to Virginia Woolf, I spent 2 days from sunrise to sunset reading and writing in the window front, displaying my private doings in a public space, the quiet constantly interrupted by knocks on the window and stares from passersby.

The time spent in the window became a series of awkward, ambivalent, and warm smiles and grimaces. Mr. Emerson from Room with a View fully encapsulated the experience for me:

“Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them.”

I question the political and economical value to leisure and self-induced quarantine. At the end of two days, I have never been more full— from the graciousness of a man who brought me cheese and crackers to the childlike fists banging on glass, wondering how I got in.

 

Mirabelle Jones (11/15) “Comfort and Civilization”

From mirabellejones.com:

If you had asked me what I did over the weekend and I explained I had spent 12 hours contorted inside a glass display case the size of a tree stump in the ATA gallery window on Valencia Street in San Francisco, you’d probably say I was crazy. After all, this is not generally speaking how a Bay-native spends her once-in-a-blue-moon trip back home. But there were reasons behind my madness. My nearly nude, entirely public isolation was part of a performance piece entitled “Comfort & Civilization,” an attempt to communicate with my hometown community about the shifting residential and commercial landscape of the Bay Area and the position and treatment of women within that transitioning society.

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Mirabelle Jones “Comfort and Civilization”

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Mirabelle Jones “Comfort and Civilization”

 

On the street facing the window, a vigil of candles, roses, and photo negatives was arranged in honor of businesses, many of which catered to queer populations and artists, that had closed in recent years due to swift changes in property values and costs of living. I invited visitors to write in a journal positioned at the center of the vigil, providing a space where they could leave their memories of these vanished spaces and their thoughts on the transitioning residential and commercial landscape of the Bay Area.

Over the course of the performance, I would estimate that nearly 1,000 people came and went. I sat in the only position I could manage in the tiny space, hugging my knees to my chest hour after hour, and watched.

As with all street performances, some members of the public wanted nothing to do with it. They either ignored me or (yes, honestly) ran away from it (some of them actually screaming!) I’d say this accounted for maybe one third of the people who came by….read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan and Cheryl (11/16) “Contested (1BR) Space”

In Contested (1BR) Space, Dan and Cheryl TM pull an 8-hour shift living in the window of the venerable film and video institution, ATA. Dan and Cheryl endure squeezing themselves into the terrarium-like storefront window space, venturing to live as many San Franciscans do in a space that is too small for humans to occupy. Living here for one work day, they try to manage their own experience of the precariousness of the rental market for tenants, be they individuals, small businesses, or arts spaces like ATA, made even more precarious by the recent loss at the polls of Prop G, the anti-speculation tax on the flipping of large apartment buildings. Dan and Cheryl attempt to inhabit the current abject trend and pressure towards micro living.

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Dan and Cheryl ™ “Contested (1BR) Space”

The art team Dan and Cheryl™ have been working together since 2004. They have done collaborative works at SOMARTS’ 100 Performances for the Hole, in Micromanagement at the Performance Art Institute, with Capitalism is Over If You Want It, and under Stretcher’s exhibitions in Bay Area Now 4 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and in The Way We Work at Southern Exposure. Dan and Cheryl utilize interviews and situational interventions, fusing the tensions of lived interaction with the artificiality of the studio, site, or relational set-up. Dan and Cheryl™ is a product of Dan Spencer and Cheryl Meeker, visual artists living and working in San Francisco.

Contested (1BR) Space FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/729472750470184/

Here are lots of photos of Contested (1BR) Space

Peter Menchini’s photos of the event: https://www.facebook.com/peter.menchini/media_set?set=a.829315140466216.1073741976.100001632132239&type=3&uploaded=22

Other work by Dan and Cheryl:

http://danandcheryl-cm.blogspot.com/

http://cherylmeeker.blogspot.com/2014/01/dan-and-cheryl-in-magic-car-pit.html

http://danandcheryl-cm.blogspot.com/2010/07/arcades-project-and-empire-dan-and.html

http://danandcheryl-cm.blogspot.com/2010/07/bay-area-not-now-from-stretcher-on.html

http://cherylmeeker.blogspot.com

http://depletedselves.com

www.stretcher.org

 

 

 

Amanda Chaudhary (11/17) “Catsynth”

-why did you choose to do this in the ATA Window–is is specific to the site?

I have performed at ATA before, and really liked the idea of bringing a performance to the window.  This was overall the basic solo performance I do these days with my analog electronics – many of them also have the feline-themed dress and headgear.  I did make it more focused on a small number of sounds and large gestures, given the nature of the window and interface to the audience.

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Amanda Chaudhary “Catsynth”

 

-how did it feel to do the performance?

It was great, and not too difficult an environment at all.  I felt very free within the window, and also enjoyed looking at the people outside.  I was watching them even as they were or weren’t watching me.

The jazz band practicing in ATA added some challenges, but made the most of it given my own experience as a jazz musician.  I added rhythmic elements to the sound and motion to match some of what they were doing.

-what interactions, reactions, etc happened with people passing by?

Lots of interactions and responses.  Many passers by stopped out of curiosity, a few lingered and others came back.  A few started doing gestures and motions to try and get me to imitate, which I was happy to oblige.  One older man seemed to really be enjoying interacting with me through the window and came back several times to dance and imitate gestures.  One little girl apparently called me a “witch.”

-did anyone stay to watch for an extended time?

Yes, a few friends stayed for quite a while and were having fun.  Sometimes giving me motions and gestures to try, sometimes texting me about reactions outside of the window.  I really enjoyed the interaction.

-how did the window space affect your performance?

It affected me primarily though the interaction with the public on the street.

-how did the pubic context affect your performance?

The public context made it a lot of fun, and in some ways simpler to perform than in a more formal stage setting.  No one was trapped listening to me if they didn’t want to, and could invest as much or as little as they wanted in the performance.  I felt like I had a larger and more appreciative audience than at some formal experimental shows.

 

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Amanda Chaudhary “Catsynth”

-how do you think your presence impacts that particular site, the street at 992 Valencia?

I would like to think it was a positive contribution to the site itself and to life along Valencia Street.  I like how vibrant the street and neighborhood is, but providing a little weirdness and unusual performance brings back a bit of San Francisco’s long history of unique culture back.

-what is the power dynamic of performing in a storefront window?

It’s very democratic and quite independent.  I do what I do with little control over the audience, and I can also choose to interact or ignore them.  It’s a mutual coming together.

-any other thoughts, feelings, ideas

I would love to do it again more times!

 see also:

http://www.catsynth.com/2014/12/catsynth-in-the-window-artists-television-access/

http://www.amandachaudhary.com/

 

 https://bayimproviser.com/artist/252/amanda-chaudhary

http://www.catsynth.com/tag/amanda-chaudhary/

 

Jacquelyn Marie Shannon (11/20) “Salvaging/Selvedging and the Ghosts of Yes”

-why did you choose to do this in the ATA Window–is is specific to the site?

This is the 2nd iteration of this piece, which was concepted as a site-responsive work. It was different in this context, but still played off of the voyeuristic quality of the living installation and invitation to witness and project onto the performer within it.

-how did it feel to do the performance?

It was a wonderful experience. Exhausting and intense. 5 1/2 hours of dancing and focused energy.

-what interactions, reactions, etc happened with people passing by?

I had a good number of people linger and express wonder, words like “wow,” “fascinating,” “oh my god” and my favorite: “oh! She is real!” I also had a couple of intense moments of prolonged eye contact and intimacy. One woman began weeping, smiled and said thank you before leaving.

-did anyone stay to watch for an extended time?

A few people stayed for more than 30 minutes. a handful of people came for 2 hours and then returned later to linger. 1 man stayed the entire time.

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-how did the window space affect your performance?

It had been raining all day, so it was exceptionally muggy for a good deal of it. Since I perform in full body makeup- it was interesting to be wet the entire time, dripping pearls of white paint. There was a good amount of time I felt like I was in a terrarium, which gave the piece and interesting dimension. The fogginess of the windows really emphasized the spectral quality of the work!

 

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-how did the pubic context affect your performance?

Most of my work is public, or is intended for the public. It allowed it to offer itself fully, in the manner in which it was intended to. There is something very spectral about walking past a window. You see your reflection peripherally and then it is gone. It was interesting to play with this experience and add a dimension to it, offering the self as a kind of blank canvas for passerbys to project onto, if only for a second, as they passed.

-how do you think your presence impacts that particular site, the street at 992 Valencia?

Part of me is still there, dancing. I’ve since been encountered on the street (I live in the neighborhood, so I’m around a lot)- one person initiated a greeting with “hey, aren’t you the girl that lives in the window?” I loved that.

Jacquelyn Marie Shannon “Salvaging/Selvedging and the Ghosts of Yes”

Jacquelyn Marie Shannon “Salvaging/Selvedging and the Ghosts of Yes”

 

 

 

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic and Bob Webb (11/21) “Husk”

-why did you choose to do this in the ATA Window–is is specific to the site?

Initially, the idea of window box as a psychic container appealed to me. To transmute violent memories into something bite-size and palatable, smack dab on Valencia Street… sounded like a good place to do it. My piece later grew a second layer, an inquiry into cultural identities. I’m intrigued by what’s in the Right Window gallery (Paul Milosevich’s ROOTS exhibit), and the concept of ancestral home. My husband also immigrated from the Balkans. The torn superhero capes that Bob and I wore are made of Philippine barong tagalog cloth. Everyone in this neighborhood knows something about personal and collective trauma, and crossing divides.  How lucky we are to have places like ATA to share such stories.

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“Husk” performed by Laurie Buenafe and Bob Webb

 

-how did it feel to do the performance?

Curious, vulnerable.  Sometimes interacting with people felt like melting or being pierced.  I wish I dared to interact with people more because it was satisfying.  Bob was a grounding and supportive presence, whew.

-what interactions, reactions, etc happened with people passing by?

Many didn’t see us or ignored us. A few people stopped to ask “what?” and “why?”, searching the sides for a clue. There was one person who applauded when I fell out the door.

-did anyone stay to watch for an extended time?

I think a few people did.

-how did the window space affect your performance?

I liked playing with the resistance of closed in walls and the transparency of windows. Architecturally and emotionally, it’s interesting to explore.

-how did the pubic context affect your performance?

I’m sure it did affect my performance, I don’t know how yet. In some ways it felt very much like theater, maybe because of the lighting at night.

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“Husk” performed by Laurie Buenafe and Bob Webb

-how do you think your presence impacts that particular site, the street at 992 Valencia?

I’m a woman of color.

-what is the power dynamic of performing in a storefront window?

It depends on what concepts I’m projecting onto the glass.

see also: http://www.bayimproviser.com/artist/197/laurie-buenafe-krsmanovic

 

 

 

Nathalie Brilliant, Maria Dawn, & Sarah St. Leger (11/22)

The piece that me, Sarah St. Leger, and Maria Dawn did within the window of ATA was site-specific. When I discovered I had been given permission to do a piece in the window of ATA, I immediately thought about what the window space meant historically and in the general context of society. The piece we did was called, “Modern Limen.” Limen translates as “threshold” and refers specifically to liminality working in tandem with the idea of the window space itself — as being a place that is between public and private, and is liminal in its nature. The piece we did embodied the mannequin and questioned the societal role of the woman within a controversial space such as the window. Using Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Syrup, our actions signified the inability for the woman to be consumed (though maybe once thought possible), and this inability to be satiated within commercial society and representing the need to always have and want more.

Doing the performance felt powerful. It felt like our actions resonated heavily and potently with certain audience members. It was delightful and energizing to see certain humorous reactions providing laughter and an understanding towards the piece.

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“Modern Limen” by Nathalie Brilliant, Sarah St. Leger, and Maria Dawn

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Some people gasped when walking by, and say things like, “oh my god.” Others laughed and smiled at us, nodding in agreement and approval. The children were by far the best though, and often asked their parents whether we were real or not. The parents answered, “yes of course! They are moving.” My 2 1/2 year old son came by the window, knocked on the window, and then threw 2 lemons at the window and us.

Yes, people returned to see it, and others remained for a good duration of time.

The window space is a highly provocative space in that what we are doing inside that space is unexacting and outside of the defined conventions of what that space normally stands for. Thus, being in the window enabled the performance to thrive in the way that I wished. It enabled a space of controversy, bewilderment and spectacle.

I personally thrived off of the public’s attention. When the public were present, I fed off their energy. Thus, they activated the piece. Without them, the piece would still exist but would have been experienced and translated in a  very different manner.

Our presence activated a space in a different manner. The piece was unexacting and caught people’s attentions in a novel way, enticing viewers to ponder and question a space in a different way and navigate their thought in regards to the actions we were doing in that space. Thus, it stimulated thought, conversation and dynamic within that particular location.

There does exist a kind of power dynamic by performing in a store window. Though I prefer to say we were not performing, but “doing,” and that we were doing “living things,” as opposed to “performance.” We hold space in a pivotal manner and have influence over peoples’ attention and gaze. Our presence draws an interest towards a space, and in this manner we divert the path of the audience in some way. There then exists a kind of relationship between audience and performer in which we converse in some way. Though we do our actions, the audience may respond to the actions in certain ways and in this response we too notice and if not respond directly through our body, are activated via our though process.

see also:

http://blog.sfgate.com/inthemission/2014/11/25/why-were-those-women-covered-in-syrup/

http://vimeo.com/112837404

http://cl.ly/image/3o0O3e3s0X1j

http://cl.ly/image/2Y3o1h3I1q2z

 

 

Bob Webb and Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic (11/23) Butoh based movement and tableau vivant

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh

Incorporating Butoh based movement and tableau vivant, we are forms, matrices of structure (human? other?) partially obscured by the web of our interconnections with all living entities, going through the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

Does this sound obscure enough? I sure hope so. – Bob Webb

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh

Laurie: From my perspective, we slipped in and out of a mudstream of multiplicity and cycles.  The windows became a microscopic lens for people walking by to view and feel the porousness of their skin — breathing through their clothes, breathing in the sky, the exhaust fumes, the construction dust, the bold type words shot like arrows from east and west of Valencia Street, and shadows of belief systems.

Still the naked bodies breathe underneath the rigid origami of it all.  Blushing yet brave in the face of recognition of

Life reflected and smeared on opposite sides of the glass.

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh

Heeding curious bones, feet and hips drag, sometimes coming to peculiar equilibrium.  Wriggling through mud and leaves and earth, formica and cement, sometimes we dance together.

(CB: One thing I’m noticing, both when I’m able to stop by in person and from the photos sent to me, is that men seem to watch more. Or, they stay longer, or more men stop, or more men are walking by… Have either of you noticed this?

I love the children looking so closely, they are so authentic in expressing interest. That makes me  wonder: how many people go right up to the window? I did so when I photographed Amanda and Jacquelyn, but I had a “pass” since I had the camera. I think I’ll try to go right up to the glass and touch it for the next event. That glass membrane.)

Yeah I loved the kids coming right up, sometimes craning their necks for a better view.  I think that’s what a lot of people would do if they felt they had more permission to do so.  It was interesting to hear some grownups explain to kids what was happening inside the window.  Kind of dismissive and mistrusting of the kids’ own experience.

 

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh

Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic, Annikah Peabody, Pigeon, and Bob Webb/Bare Bones Butoh

At one point in Bob’s piece, I laid down and came close to window to interact with people.  Kids often noticed me because I was at their eye level.  And so their grownup guardian would slow down or stop for this brief “playtime”.  I get the feeling, or would like to think, this facilitated more magical thinking for the grownup observing, too.

And yes, in both my piece and Bob’s piece, I had noticed more men stopping and staying to look, whether solo or together.

In the pieces that I watched from outside, I felt a push and pull from the glass membrane.  It felt vulnerable for me as a viewer… a step of trust to make contact with hand or eyes with performer, or come close to it.

see also:

http://www.sfgate.com/thingstodo/article/11-Things-Butoh-3200090.php

 

 

Ryan Schnirel (11/26) re-presenting Joseph Beuys’s “Action How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”

Description:

49 years ago Joseph Beuys attached a piece of iron to his foot, dunked his head in honey; and covered in gold leaf, began explaining paintings to a dead hare. The incarnation, now the reincarnation, 49 years later, and I still believe Beuys holds truth, “it’s easier explaining art to a dead hare than it is to people.”

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 26th of November, I’ll enter the window gallery and pay homage to an artist and a piece that I feel all artists owe thanks. The work will encompass original notions, but expand beyond Beuys and offer a unique reinterpretation.

I do not speak German, I did not have my body wrapped in felt and fat as I crashed into the dreaded land of the Tatar’s; but I relate to the piece, the coincidence of time and space, and the obvious fact that November 26 is my birthday. Compelled by curiosity, I’ll reinvestigate the ideas Beuys hashed out 49 years ago.

The work will begin at 5:56 P.M. I hope I’ve said enough to entice the viewer, but left plenty for the imagination. It’s my honor bringing light to the work that has influenced me, and so many others in the field of performance art.

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Ryan Schnirel re-presenting Joseph Beuys’s “Action How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”- with a live rabbit named Claire.

 

 

Reflection: It was my pleasure and honor to educate Claire the Rabbit, and reinterpret the piece. I certainly feel I offered my best, and noticed some wonderful reactions, as well as some unpleasant gestures. However, I refrain from creating art that generates immediate and canned responses, so all observations were enjoyed and respected.

I moved here 6 months ago in pursuit of art making, actions, happenings, and an audience receptive enough to accept that which does not merely sit on a plinth. Last night provided that opportunity… and then some.

My longitude shifts, across a mighty mountain range, salt flats, another uplift, and there it is… The mighty blue, and the golden city beneath the cool, grey, fog.

 

A return to performance, an object maker conducting strange in pursuit of the absurd… I chose the ATA space for both exposure to the public and physical separation. The gallery served as a ready-made, and I opportunistically aligned my show with the site specific date and time of November 26th. My performance required an audible barrier, The ATA window gallery offered a private arena for my explanation, while deterring direct contact with the viewer. An ideal venue.

The performance felt inspired. I took stage at 5:56 and exited at 9:06. Not a moment forced, or contrived for me. I noticed my gestures, voice, body language and energy all hovering on a high frequency, yet I myself didn’t feel apart of the work. In performance, I believe my best work occurs when I separate, allowing the character I create to determine the piece. I spent little time rehearsing, but rather entered the show in a deep meditative state. The process allows me to be spontaneous and natural, and open to discovery. Physically, the performance drained me. After taking my bow, I exited the gallery and literally collapsed on the floor. Nearly in tears, I thanked the rabbit and regained consciousness. What happened? Where was I for the past three hours? These questions I’m still asking, and in terms of channeling “the shaman” it’s a space I felt near,  if you believe in that sort of stuff…

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Ryan Schnirel re-presenting Joseph Beuys’s “Action How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”- with a live rabbit named Claire.

 

Addressing reactions and viewers may be hard to answer. My immediate focus obscured my ability to connect with onlookers. I consciously refrained from interacting, the Rabbit was my subject. I did notice faces, certain people lingering longer than expected. Seeing engaged eyes, hearing slight mutterings of confusion, and noticing people unable to walk away helped galvanize my intentions. The stage provides a directive space; conducting viewers reactions with my performance, I felt viewers emotions were in my hands. I noticed some people in shock, I was flicked off twice by two men both wearing San Francisco 49ers beanie hats (odd coincidence), and I observed people walk by without breaking stride. The span of responses were later revealed to me by my friend, but the most positive being the amount of people that were stopped in their tracks and spent time observing. The Mona Lisa averages 15 seconds, I noticed faces for several minutes, a half hour, and some as long as an hour or two. I’m no Leonardo, but noticing an engaged audience inspires my creative spirit.

I question my performance being affected by a public context. I anticipated uncomfortable viewers because of the live rabbit, but the rabbit held such poise in the presence of shock. It helped the public experience something uncomfortable, without canning a challenging reaction. I do wish to know how people experienced my mask, the drawings on the wall, the honey pot in the corner. Were these elements a space for reflection, were they observed? I believe a live rabbit in a gallery resembles a flashing neon sign in a one horse town, it draws people near, yet what’s revealed must match.

I remain uncertain in my role on the corner block of Valencia Street, but I am an artist working in The Mission, I often feel drawn to work outside conventions, and so I deem it my duty to continue offering unconventional pieces for an evolving culture. In continuation my my art, I wish to inspire. I desire an engaged world, educated and challenged, so that we may cultivate a society focused on self awareness and community.

Education… That’s my system, that’s my power. I come from a family of educators, father and mother both teachers turned principals, grandparents and great grandparents all teachers, sister attending graduate school for education, I’ve been a teacher at various schools and in various capacities. Education and a life long commitment to learning remain an instilled value in my existence.

Beuys, a prolific sculptor, performer, activist, was also a teacher. He took much of his pedagogy from Rudolph Steiner, and founded an influential school called the Free International University. I credit Beuys in sparking contemporary notions of “Interdisciplinary Artists,” and see much of his work functioning as a series of lesson for a wounded world.

One more thought…

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Ryan Shnirel performing Joseph Beuys

I think education, especially of the public variety, and thus a construction of the state, serves as a major player in defining social contracts.

Simple.

I don’t follow the systems in place and like JB wish to render them obsolete in order to assemble a Free Society of shared learning, experiences, struggles, and inspirations.

see also:

https://www.flickr.com/people/ryan_schnirel/

 

 

 

 

Tessa Siddle (11/28) Exquisite Corpse Drawing Exchange

Tessa Siddle did a collaborative drawing project with passers by: an exquisite corpse-type partner drawing. The theme was animals; Tessa drew part of an animal; the viewer drew another part, they exchanged them throught the mail slot. Women were more inclined to participate, especially when they were in hetero couples. Lone men tended to stop more, to look.

Tessa Siddle is the curator of the ATA Window Gallery.

see also:

 http://www.atasite.org/exhibit/gallery-and-window/

http://www.atasite.org/2013/08/meet-our-volunteers-tessa-siddle-bruce-landick/

http://badatsports.com/2011/power-as-a-self-distributing-aura-an-interview-with-tessa-siddle/

http://badatsports.com/2012/the-chimera-in-me-greets-the-gobot-in-you-an-interview-with-tessa-siddle/

 

 

Marcelle Marais (11/29)

Marcelle.09

Marcelle Marais “Princess VuVu”

 

I created the soundtrack for the installation which was playing on the street. While I was in the window I was transported into a trance-like ritual state, I wasn’t very aware of what was happening on the street. The experience being in the window is unexplainable, I know I would really like to do it again:)

Marcelle Marais "Princess VuVu"

Marcelle Marais "Princess VuVu"

Marcelle Marais “Princess VuVu”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoLyD4YE0GE&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xEEkMjQiPU&feature=youtu.be

***
see also:

ATA Window Gallery – Jared Radin

Opening Reception: Tuesday, Dec 9, 2014 6-8:30PM

radinMuniSmall

Jared Radin was raised in New Jersey and received a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan
University.

 
We live in an unprecedented moment defined by rapid, worldwide change. The globalization of
capital has created flows of people, goods, information, and culture that move across the Earth and are
shaping it anew. The market has demanded and produced technologies that have radically altered our
sense of physical space and time while also affecting how people understand themselves and one
another.

Photography plays a special role: the world seems smaller now that there are so many images
available for instant viewing, even awaiting your own personal response. Cameras and the uncanny
images that they produce are everywhere. We give no second thought to a photograph on a billboard,
but people who were alive when the first daguerreotypes were made would have been stunned by the
extent to which photography has proliferated in less than 200 years.

The most mundane details of my daily life would have seemed like science fiction to the first
photographers, and that futuristic feeling drove my eye as I was taking these pictures. In San Francisco
especially, where there is tension around the industry that creates so much of the new technology that is
defining our civilization’s path forward, I have been moved to seek evidence of the future we already
inhabit in a present that appears less certain all the time.

www.jaredradin.net

 

Sunday November 30, 6PM: Closing reception for the Almost Public window series

IMG_6163

Princes VuVu and the Undead Machine

Tonight: Window Performances continue; “Sweet Work” Film Trio screens in the theater

Winding down the month’s excellent window performance series:

Tessa Siddle (11/28, 12pm-8pm)
Marcelle Marais, Princess VuVu and the Undead Machine (11/29)
Closing Reception (11/30)

 

You really have to be there to understand … or not. Each performance is different, and they all transform the social-spatial dynamics of the sidewalk and street.

Tonight in the theatre, San Francisco Cinematheque presents Sarah Jane Lapp’s project about labor and the historic Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn. 7:30 PM. 

 

ATA On The Radio: The “last bastion of freak culture” on Valencia turns 30

The good people at KALW have done a feature on ATA’s 30th birthday. Take a listen here:

http://kalw.org/post/last-bastion-freak-culture-valencia-turns-30