Swarming is a form of SURVIVAL. Swarms take the form of a collective body engaging a task that a singular body cannot. Swarms are related to INFLUENCE and INTUITION. Swarms may erupt in social situations as ENCOUNTERS with SPECTACLE. Swarms may erupt in social situations out of a DESIRE TO ACQUIRE an object or experience. Swarms may erupt in social situations out of DESIRE TO ASSIST. A swarm is a TEMPORARY GATHERING. To understand the desire to swarm, one must acknowledge the desire to FRAGMENT.
Dissemination occurs after the subsequent dispersal of a SWARM. The singular parts that once made up the swarm are RELEASED. Changed in some way by the experience, these parts spread the auric artifact/LEFTOVER charge that once surrounded the swarm.
Intentional ambiguity embraces the uncertain, the LIMINAL, and the GRAY. Through ambiguity (not to be confused with ambivalence) deep CREATIVE STATES can be UNLOCKED. The ambiguous asks for a divergence from what is expected and demands a re-imagining of the banal. Engaging with the ambiguous is an URGENT activity.
We all navigate the world through the vehicle of a body. The body is the most readily available material. Therefore, it is an accessible material. It is a familiar material. It is a sensational material. It is a political material. It is a transmissive material. It is a receptive material. It is a conductive material. It is a collective material. It is a decaying material. It is ecologically responsible material. It is an economic material. It is an indulgent material. It is an obvious material. It is a redundant material. It is a reliably unreliable material. It is a confrontational material. It is a spectacular material. It is a banal material. It is a material that interrupts. It is an abundant material. Is a forgotten material. It is an articulate material. It is an inarticulate material. It is a volatile material. It is a fugitive material. It is a demanding material. It is an exclusionary material. It is a fragile material. It is a durable material. It is a burdened material. It is an urgent material.
Presenting a face with little expression de-emphasizes the face as the body’s EMPATHY center and requires witnesses to look elsewhere. The display of an expressionless face ensures that one emotional state is not privileged over another. Although one may attempt neutrality, a neutral body does not exist.
Site-sensitivity CONJURES ACTION and is related to time. Site-sensitive works are always site-specific, but site-specific works are not always site-sensitive. Site-sensitivity acknowledges aspects of the PRESENT identity and PAST identity of a space while exercising foresight into what the space might become in the FUTURE. It celebrates LIVENESS by being adaptive. It invites adjustments in the moment of the making. Site-sensitivity rewards the curious. To be site-sensitive means to be in a constant state of ENCOUNTERING a space and its MULTIPLE IDENTITIES. It means being ADAPTIVE which is a necessity when working with the PREDICTABLY UNPREDICTABLE material of the body. Within contexts where OBJECTS and PERMANENCE are UNABASHEDLY FAVORED, working with a site-sensitive approach is a form of RESISTANCE. It is an approach that seeks to DISMANTLE traditional MODES OF VIEWERSHIP and DE-PRIVILEGES SIGHT as the primary sense with which to engage the work.
When encountering a body engaging in action in proximity to glass, one is forced to navigate their own reflection. This implicates the witness’ own body into the situation
The repetitive encounter exhausts the OBVIOUS and cultivates a space of return.
ENDURANCE vs. DURATIONAL
In ENDURANCE work, what is endured is a specific TASK and what is privileged is the IMPACT of this task on the BODY. Since the work’s treatment of time is reliant on corporeal boundaries, the body is rendered HEROIC. In DURATIONAL work the material of the body is not privileged over the material of TIME. Durational work endures time and relies on moving through MULTIPLE TEMPORALITIES. Durational work strips the notion of time from its anthropocentrism.
“the artist’s body seeks to ingrain its movements on the corporeal presence of the viewer, to reprint or implant memory [...] the trace of the performer should in fact be erased.”- Sandra Johnston
In artist to witness TRAnsferenCE: bodies communicate beyond obvious tendencies; reciprocal exchange builds shared lived experiences that extend the performance; the “performing body” is called into question; sight is de-privileged as the primary sense in which to engage the work, and most importantly the work’s inquiry is transferred into the bodies of those witnessing.
A distinguishing feature of performance art is its PRIVILEGING of the PRESENT moment. If one misses the performance it is an experience that can NEVER be RECOVERED. Consequently, the form promotes exclusive experience.
The witness serves as an addressable OTHER to receive the artist’s testimony. One becomes
IMPLICATED in the fulfillment of the work when they reject the role of observer/viewer to ASSUME the role of witness. Witnesses are SURVIVORS. Witnesses, to some degree, enjoy a privilege in their survival. A witness to performance art inherently assumes the privilege of having survived an exclusive experience. While RECIPROCITY is often the artist’s ideal, one may bear witness against their will (as is often the case in other situations that produce witnesses). This may result in one REJECTING the encounter, RESPONDING when unsolicited, or perhaps even REACTING with hostility. A witness may take UNEXPECTED liberties while navigating a piece as they become more comfortable, FEEL bored or frustrated, and/or CONFRONT their feelings around how the performance is SPENDING SHARED TIME. This charged territory between artist and witness is performance art’s primary concern.
The GRAY ZONE of performance is the encounter of EQUALITY between the ARTIST and WITNESS.
The gray zone of performance necessitates one to develop a witnessing politic: a CODE to which each witness adheres while NAVIGATING a piece of performance art.