First Person

First Person: Tino Seghal’s These associations At The Tate Modern (UK)

Expectation was a curiosity as I read a few reviews but seen none of the video’s or photo’s related to the latest Turbine Hall commision by Tino Seghal. All of the video’s and photo’s posted are all by audience members as Tino refuses to let any photo’s, video or documentation at all be professionally released for profit. Still I had experienced some previous works of his and always been compelled by his intensive investigation of the audience/performer relationship. While not a new topic and being researched by many contemporary artists this massive show at the Tate Modern is one of the best performances of this research I have ever witnessed. The audience choose their involvement to a point, the group of performers are a large group of plain clothes’ c...

First Person: “El Ausente” by Viviana Martinez (Guadalajara,Mexico)

El Ausente: means “one who was… but is no longer.” Viviana has developed as a painter in Mexico and Spain. However, during the past two years the approach to visual studies has made her work go from two-dimensional to multi-disciplinary experimentation. Her work “El Ausente” is executed in a way that the poetic scenery can distract us into space and let performative implications in second place. The assembly includes personal items of Mr. Juan Hernández García (Viviana´s recently deceased grandfather, with whom she always kept a close relation.), two racks, a mirror and a chair (these have the same arrangement they had in the house of Mr. Hernandez, therefore make public a private space), an audio file and a photo album which ends with a picture Mr. Hernandez co...

First Person: “sweep and dart towards the centre” Odin Week festival (Malta)

I have just returned from Odin Week festival, 10 days filled with workshops, demonstrations, lectures and performances lead by members of Odin Teatret. With 47 years of experience, Odin Teatret is a company which has created productions, festivals, community projects, publications, workshops, barters, films and videos and research. Living in this laboratory which is situated in Holstebro, a town in Denmark, was a dip into the routine and schedule of a company which has spread its roots in the fields of theatre, anthropology and performance and how it functions in today’s society. This experience felt like diving into the sea; when you feel the cold water waking the body system and in that moment your limbs start moving as if to remind you that you are alive. I entered this world with an ...

First Person: LAK – Festival of Nordic Sound Art (Copenhagen/DK)

The LAK Festival for Nordic Sound Art was held in an old paint factory in the Amager part of Copenhagen, Denmark. The festival consisted of both an exhibition and an extended performance programme running over 4 days, from September 6th to 9th. The festival site compromised a raw and diverse setting for the artworks and performances to unfold in. Some of the artworks had a double feature of both soundsculpture and instrument for performances in the evenings. The festival showed a collective piece called The Rainforest led by artists Derek Holzer and Mads Bech Paulszewski-Hau, which was a performance-installation made out of trash hanging from the ceiling and of soundscapes made by invited performers. In “The Rainforest” live sound was tranformed into vibrations running through...

First Person: Findlay//Sansmark’s fractured bones/let’s get lost (NYC)

Probably the first thing one would notice walking into findlay//sansmark’s new piece would be the row of programmers lined up in front of the stage, wearing costumes and foil hats. Or perhaps it was the small tower of aged computer monitors playing loops of the set’s design. Either way, the technician stepped into the literal front row of this performance, guiding the dances and creating a performative universe that could ultimately only be inhabited by a true performer. The most pressing question still left is whether the machines on the stage were extensions of Marit Sandsmark or whether she was just another robotic arm protruding from the stage. The presence thing is getting worse and worse, or, better and better. The introducing segments of the show made me feel that San...

First Person: 9.11

“September 11th, eleven years after two planes leveled the Twin Towers.I was on a plane last night, flying to NY, and coincidentally the woman next to me had been exactly where I was during the crash, just north of Canal Street. She and I were probably then standing in the same crowd, staring upwards, horrified. I remember that someone had parked a SUV and was blasting the news on their car radio. That is the sound I remember, the news, and the shrieking of the crowd around me when the building collapsed.The aftermath of that day extended via the sound of that radio. News broadcasting replaying endlessly scenes of horror, television doing what it does: using suspense and scale and the unexpected to keep viewers glued, breathless and afraid. Everyone I knew had become unhinged for mon...

First Person: Igvonne (Houston, TX, USA)

Igvonne is a site-specific work of architecture and performance which is on view in a window at 110 Milam Street, as a part of Blaffer Art Museum’s Window into Houston project. Linda Post and Robert Appleton have created a scene of Houston as a stand-in for Berlin in the 1970’s. According to Blaffer’s press: “During these years (1976-77) American musician Iggy Pop and American artist and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer happened to be living in Berlin at the same pivotal time, when Pop was making albums with David Bowie and Rainer was on an academic exchange grant.” Similarly, the Post and Appleton collaborate with another space and time through video, sound and performance. A live performance of dancers interacting near the site took place the night of the opening and remains on view in the street...

First Person: Worldwide Vexations (Global)

In a recent collaboration, musicians in cities around the world put together a singular performance comprised of 97 musicians in 16 different cities concurrently. This was broadcast on a central website via webcam. The piece being performed was Eric Satie’s Vexations–a piece when performed in its entirety, is repeated 840 times, totaling an 18-hour performance. Very few other performances of the piece in its totality have occurred. The most notable being a performance put on by John Cage and David Tutor at the Pocket Theater in New York in 1963. In the 2012 performance, titled Worldwide Vexations, performers would broadcast individual performances simultaneously from a central website, not only to complete the 18 full hours, but also to make a statement about collaboration in music. ...

First Person: Silence, The Menil Collection (Houston, TX USA)

  Silence is on view at the The Menil Collection from July 27 through October 21, 2012. The day after it opened, I visited the exhibition for what I hope to be the first of several visits. This exhibition is packed with a range of fascinating works. A performance highlight is two versions of a video of John Cage’s 1952 composition 4’33”. For this piece, the musician sits at a piano without producing any sound with the instrument. The sounds taking place as the musician sits in the environment are the work. Also on view is Tehching Hsieh’s One Year Performance (1978-1979). This includes documentation of the artist locking himself in a cage in a Manhattan loft for twelve months taking a vow of silence which included no conversing, no listening to the radio, no reading,...

First Person: Medium by The Bridge Club (Houston, TX, USA)

All four performers were wearing skirts and shirts appearing to be in a style from around the 1950’s which also included similar hair styles. While suspended well above the audience in their unique, matching attire, they appeared otherworldly and in fact did not acknowledge the audience. During this time, one of them held a mirror, various sounds were heard, and a projection including flying birds also appeared in the world of the sitters. The Bridge Club is a contemporary visual and performance art collaborative comprised of artists Annie Strader, Christine Owen, Emily Bivens and Julie Wills. Art Palace is located at 3913 Main Street, Houston, Texas. For more information, please visit www.artpalacegallery.com.  

First Person: Esther Kläs at MoMA PS1 (NYC)

Esther Kläs Better Energy MoMA PS1 June 3rd to September 17th   On Audience Activation One’s typical reading and research on Esther Kläs would lead to a discussion over self-generated sculptural work, the fluidity of her creative process, and an overarching sense that Kläs was born to be a sculptor. This visit inside of the artist’s work will not aim to discuss the merits of her sculptural process. Stepping into the naturally lit room on the third floor of MoMA PS1’s transformed public school, (this particular room closes at 5pm for lighting purposes) I entered with skepticism and left with my body spinning delirious. Whether Kläs is aware of it or not, her sculptures force the spectator’s body to frenetic limits. At this point in the discussion between per...

First Person: Bruce Nauman – Days (London, UK)

Bruce Nauman’s latest exhibition ‘Days’ is a sound installation that comprises of fourteen flat panel speakers playing the sound of seven different voices reciting the days of the week in random order. The work reflects both the complexities and simplicities of the passing of everyday life. Time and space is a key theme in the work. Depending on where you stand in the exhibition (and the entire gallery for that matter) changes your experience of it. In the main entrance hall and bookshop the performance can be heard, however what we hear in these locations is something completely different: a choir of noise that is created as a result of the mash-up of voices. This could be a reflection of Nauman’s desire to depict the chaotic experiences of every day life. Once in the lower gallery, where...