Sandrine Schaefer & Philip Fryer False Summit
A false summit is a phenomenon that happens when you have been hiking all day and believe that you are about to summit a mountain. As you reach the peak, you realize that it is not the actual summit. This false summit reveals that the peak is still ahead of you. Hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and effects of altitude change are believed to bring on this phenomenon. This momentary confusion in understanding one’s place is caused by the relationship between the body navigating an environment. Both the body and context are responsible for this phenomenon.
The art world is difficult to navigate, especially for artists making time-based work. There are multiple perspectives, structures, and no clear way to summit. Philip and I are always thinking about our roles as artists, curators and archivists of live art. 100 years is an exhibition compiled of documents from time-based works. This relationship between live art and documentation is always tricky and always in flux. Is watching a video of a piece the same as seeing the piece live? If you put a photograph of a performance on a wall, does it become the art itself? How can you authentically represent experiential art practices?
Our “False Summit” is an installation that evolves through creative action over a period of two weeks. We are attempting to use the Annex Gallery as a receptacle that collects the energy of the actions that occur in it. The phases that the space, our bodies, and psyches go through in this piece are meditations on memory. We are reminiscing about the live art we have experienced through The Present Tense, the way in which our collaboration has grown over the past 8 years, and we are thinking our future contributions to the movement.
False summits are also indicative of a process of movement. Upon realizing that you have encountered a false summit, there are few options: Keep moving forward or move backwards. After experiencing the 100 years exhibition, a similar question can be applied. As artists and curators, we can recreate what has been created, or we can push ourselves to move forward in the movement. We can challenge ourselves and others to find new ways to document live art practices that inspire people to experience these happenings first hand.
“False Summit” is on view at the BU Annex Gallery in conjunction with “100 years Version 4” at Boston University until February 18th, 2012