Week 8 Assignment Post

Here is what you need to have done by class on March 31:

Email me your proposal for the Being Audience project; read pages 97-113, 177-194, and 203-224 in the Fusco book and section 8 in the library reserve binder: Actuals: A Look into Performance Theory by Richard Schechner; add four links to your del.icio.us site; and post at least two thoughtful comments on the readings for this week (if you choose to post more than 2 comments and if they are well-reasoned, I will give you extra credit.)

Here are some considerations:

  • Comment on the usefulness and functionality of some of the alternate labels for work (other than “performance art”) mentioned in the Ramos essay. How might some of these terms better describe your own work? How are they useful in the context of Venezuelan work, or do you find similar problems with all terms?
  • Discuss the claim from the 1981 CADA work that “the work of improving the accepted standard of living is the only valid art form/the only exhibition/the only worthwhile works of art.” Pay attention to specific implications of words and how they translate for you and your experience, i.e., if this statement is assumed to be valid, what is really meant by “form” and “exhibition”?
  • Are you persuaded by Lotty Rosenfeld’s discussion of her work? Why or why not?
  • What are the implications of Felipe Ehrenberg’s designation of the street happenings between the two galleries as art? If these are pieces, is he the artist of the piece because he identified them as such? Or do the pieces have unwitting artists, or no creating artist at all?
  • Concerning Schechner’s use of the term “actuals:” what are the implications for performance art specifically? What examples can you think of that fit within/outside of his parameters?
  • What examples can you cite relevant to artistic practice that bear out his categories of contemporary (or modern) movements: “wholeness,” “process and organic growth,” “concreteness,” and “religious transcendental experience”?
  • Concerning ritual, are you aware of rituals that are examinable and explainable following his model? Elaborate.

For those of you especially concerned with issues of documentation, consider this JSTOR essay: “Presence” in Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation” by Amelia Jones.

Enjoy your Spring Break!

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32 Comments

Filed under Assignment Post, Extra Credit, Readings

32 responses to “Week 8 Assignment Post

  1. cmndrkeen

    This comment has nothing to do with the readings, but I think it’s something some of y’all would like to know. The student one acts are going on down in the Osbourne theater in University hall this weekend. Anna is putting on two Chekov plays, and after a short intermission Angie is putting on 24 of the Neofuturists short plays from the collection Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. They start at 8:00 on Friday and Saturday night, and there is also a 2:00 matinee Saturday afternoon. Angie’s is especially fun and I encourage all of you to come see it!

  2. Trinityblk

    In reading the Munoz essay I thought about the scientific makeup of a memory. Munoz does his “On a Street Corner” which is comprised of his memories and I thought about what makes a memory. I heard a science news segment on NPR about what constitutes a memory. Scientists believe a memory is a protein that is in its purest form the first time it is remembered. So when people relive a memory over and over (as Munoz does in his piece) the memory gets corrupted and is no longer in its original form.

    With this idea does that mean that Munoz’s art is fake? If he continually relives a memory in his art can he himself deteriorate of his own performance.

  3. ladywood

    The quote that, “the work of improving the accepted standard of living is the only valid art form…” is fascinating. Most everyone would think that art is a piece you create, that people can examine, and is beautiful in someones’ eyes. But, the idea of art as an improvement of society is a view of art that I have never thought of. So, Extreme Home Makeover could be seen as a work of art, and I think this is valid. The creation of a beautiful house is one half of the art piece, and the second is the change in the lives of the owners who have come from near destitute and whit’s end to a magnificent blessing. After thinking about it, the above quote is quite valid.

  4. ladywood

    I think Lotty Rosenfeld’s “Operations” works as a performance piece. The idea of making something as common and unthought of as a road into an art piece is creative. The fact that she brought in ideas of politics and culture into surely makes it more in depth than seeing it as just a piece of art. Now it is art with a function and a meaning. For me, I see it as a positive signal, and with the cultural and political meaning behind it, I understand where a plus sign can come into play. To me, it is an addition of positive politics, and culturally valid because everyone knows what a plus sign means.

  5. Cheri Soulia

    Luis Alfardo’s performance he did using memory is so rich. It is full of different meanings including him being a homosexual but it also means so much more about the city of Los Angeles. His choice of song and monologue “nail” the irony of the city. People are connected to places but places are also defined as people. When Alfardo simplifies his sentences it actually simplifies the problem of Los Angeles.
    Not only does his performance define the city of Los Angeles but also shows the stereotypes of his culture and reveals the truth of it as well. However, the thing that I also think is great in his piece overall is the clash of ideals…Alfardo recalls his drunk father purchasing a Virgin Mary doll and this he remembers very vividly but Alfardo is also gay. This icon or religion is completely oppposite to how he lives his life morally. It is interesting how his first love has this doll- complete irony. His work does a great job of making the audience think how all of these things are intermingled.

  6. Trinityblk

    I found the essay on the self-deprecating artists Leppe, Zurita and Eltit interesting. It is very hard for me to feel so passionate about a personal opinion that I would “sacrifice” my body in the ways they did. From the way Nelly Richard writes the essay I can only conclude that while there was pain in most of these artists works, they seemed to be proud of it. As if by doing this self-deprecation (especially Zurita and Eltit) their “art” meant more or maybe they thought their artistic message was more meaningful. While I admire this sense of passion all I can say is “Oweee”. I too fell strong about many things in my life, but there is nothing that would make me scare my face of cut into myself. It makes me wonder that after time went by did these artists ever think “Man that was stupid of me”! Scars are permanent and leave little room for do-overs.

  7. Trinityblk

    I personally dislike the term Performance Art. When I first signed up for our Performance Art class I had no idea what it related to and thought it had something to do in the arena of Theatre. After being in our class for a few weeks now I especially do not like the term. While the art pieces we have been studying, and creating, seem wholly non-related I do see one common thread. To me there is the element of something personal in each and every Performance Art piece I have seen or read about. Based on this I feel the term Interpersonal Art would be a much more descriptive term then performance. By using the term Interpersonal Art it would be harder to lump this type of art into other categories and thus lessening its importance.

    For me the term Interpersonal Art leaves me at a loss of its meaning. If I saw a course in our UCCS catalogue called Interpersonal Art VAPA 390 I would have to investigate it more to understand its identity. Isn’t that one of the main themes of this type of art we are studying… to investigate? When people investigate art, social issues, personal issues we are connecting with others, ourselves, societies rules, our own thoughts and feelings.

    I feel that if artist continue to use the term Performance Art they will get swept up into a category awarded by society that will leave this art unseen.

  8. cleasure

    Terms mentioned in the Ramos essay such as, action poems, living sculpture, infiltrations, body ritual, live action, mail art, body gesturing and street actions are both useful and problematic in their nature. On one hand, they provide a more specific categorization for performance art that perhaps more clearly defines the nature of the actions that qualify it as a separate art form. On the other hand, labeling different kinds of performance so specifically might limit the different interpretations that are possible from an audience. Another problem might be that performance would get mislabeled and an artist intention or meaning would be completely lost. In other words, I see a purpose in the term performance art being vague. It is less limiting as a definition.

  9. cleasure

    In the context of the quote about the 1981 CADA work, the words form and exhibition take on the meanings of idea and action, respectively. In this case, the purpose of the performance is less about the artistic and aesthetic value and more about the outcome or meaning that the performance takes on. The actions that CADA took can still be considered performance art, in my opinion, but the terms as normally applied no longer have the same meaning.

  10. cleasure

    I am not sure if I am persuaded merely by Lotty Rosenfeld’s discussion of her work, but I do see some validity after the essay’s discussion of her work. She is taking a basic element of everyday life and contextualizing it to mean something other than it originally did. She uses the basic necessities of roads to make an observer pay attention to their actions more and to demonstrate that a small change can have a greater impact. I did not get all of this from her explanation, but regardless of this fact, I find her work successful.

  11. cleasure

    In regards to Felipe Ehrenberg’s piece that took place between the two art galleries, I believe that he could be considered the artist because he chose the specific location, designated hours and days where events would take place. It does not really matter whether he staged the events because he decided that they were art. One way that the ambiguity of the piece could be reduced would be if Ehrenberg recorded the events in a specific way or participated in the occurrences. These are merely ideas that might have enabled a more solid definition of the piece as a performance.

  12. thehankfuldread

    i like the ideas behind alfaro’s work, but it seems cliche. having grown up as the minority in a completely hispanic community, there are many other things that are important within the chicano community. now, i realize that this is a play on stereotypes, and it challenges those stereotypes. but, instead of that, why not do something that is showing people what the chicano community is really made up of, rather than supporting (with irony) that stereotype?

  13. desibrink

    Lotty Rosenfeld’s art seems legitimately successful to me. Cause and effect, she played on ideas of simplicity and subtle who’s effects seem drastic. I think there’s a lot of hidden importance that makes people really have to dig around to understand. For instance, I think it could be argued that the owners of Extreme Home Makeover appreciated it for a multitude of different reasons such as gratitude first, artistic appreciation second.

  14. desibrink

    I think Trinityblk brings up an interesting issue. Performance art nowadays is either so loaded with connotations of being ‘weird’ or done by a bunch of crazies (I don’t know if there’s much helping that perspective without getting the general popular culture more interested in it, which then might commercialize it and that could be bad), or it is thought of as a theatrical artwork. Performance art, to perform artwork , could be thought of as a theater or a play, but makes since to be a broader term. Performing art, not just acting scripts. I can’t decide if Interpersonal Art would be a better term, though, considering it has a very heavy emphasis on interactions between people. From all that’s been learned and experienced in this class I don’t think that’s true.

    I personally liked Ramos’ term infiltrations. It just sounds so James Bond who wouldn’t be interested if it was called that?

  15. thehankfuldread

    i really like sosa’s piece del cuerpo al vacio. since i am primarily interested in improvised music and sound, i thought that her sounds were somewhere in between improvised, and accidental, which i think is the most interesting type of sound. i also think that sounds made by the human body are some of the most interesting, and so underrated. i really like using contact mics on things that they are not necessarily meant for. while i really like this piece, it is solely because of the sounds, and i think that the rest of the piece is lost for me, once i catch hold of the aural aspect of the piece.

  16. molly

    In response to Alfaro’s work, I could not help but think his work was entirely theatrical drama, rather than “performance art”. Aside form the element of the artist sitting in the audience for half of his “Chicanismo”, while the video of his characters is rolling like a movie, I have a hard time placing his work as “performANCE art” rather than “performING art”. Of all the works we’ve looked at in class, his work, “Cuerpo Politizado” seems too close to dramatic theater, using dramatic monologues of stories of his life and people, costumes, and theatrical rehearsed spotlighting and the like. I was under the impression that successful performance art goes beyond monologuing in front of a large audience. If I look at his work as theater, I enjoy it more, and try to understand the stories being told. However, labeling his work as performance art forces elements in his work that aren’t really there. I find that I’m trying to see something and look for a unique concept rather than listening and visualizing the words and poems recited, which seem to be, by Munoz’s essay, the most important elements.

  17. molly

    Out of all the artists written about in Ramos’s essay, I found Obregon to be the most closely related to the project we’re working on now. Obregon observes and is an audience to vegetation and nature, watching a rose grow bloom and die. He adds an unusual element, going beyond meer observation, documentation and record keeping and slowly creates a flower out of a man made object. This connects performance with the audience and observation, plants with humans, nature and culture. I think, however, the element of creating the flower slowly, representing the natural growth of the flower, is what makes his work most didactic.

  18. kait

    The terms used to alternately describe performance art define performance art in a more specificity rather than the broader term or performance art. Body art, informational events, actions poems, or living sculptures. These terms are more specific to what the performance is trying to communicate rather than it being just purely a performance. A performance could be through sculpture, body art, poetry, ceremonies, etc. Venezuelan’s I believe tried to become more specific with what they were trying to communicate through specific forms of performance art, hence the alternate terminology used to define their performances.

  19. heidirides

    Lotty Rosenfeld, pretentious much? Her work is so simple it’s ingenious, a minus sign to a plus, brilliant! No, not really. Ok, I don’t get the whole negative society, banks, government, street connection. Wait, she does this in more than one place? Now I get it. No, not really. I don’t think her explanation of her work is convincing at all. It may be helpful (necessary) in order to decipher her intent, but knowing her intent does not increase the significance or impact of the piece for me.

  20. heidirides

    I’m going to agree with what CADA said (but not necessarily intended). “The work of improving the standard of living is the only vaild art form.” What other kind of art is there? What kind of art creates a decline in the standard of living? Well, art that kills everyone on earth would reduce the standard of living. Otherwise, art that creates a pleasurable experience or any experience at all would qualify as improving the standard of living. A place with no art or the cessation of art would cause the standard of living to decrease. So yeah, I would have to agree with what CADA said, but perhaps not with what they meant.

  21. kait

    Lotty Rosenfeld…interesting concept to say the least. Simplicity in structure but broad and intricate in meaning. Basically by her idea of altering urbanized circulation and connectivity of power through the use of a strip of white tape seem to me a bit of a stretch to find its meaning to the observer. One must understand her background, purpose, and meaning before seeing her art in order for her concept to be interpreted correctly. One of the main things I have learned in this class is that the purpose should be obvious in order for the concept to be understood otherwise the piece could be seen as a failure. I understand what she is doing but only because I read it. If I witnessed it, or saw the white tape I would not understand the meaning at all.

  22. kait

    Felipe Erenberg seems to find art in anything. Granted the art is his art because he names it so. Even though the actual pieces used are not created with his hands. He observes art in emotion, ie. a fight between two people. He observes art in mechanically created pieces of steel, ie. cars on the street. Basically because he feels a though anything in this square footage is art between certain hours than one cannot disagree with him being the artist, because he conceptualized it, executed it, and deemed it to be art.

  23. IsaiahD

    The CADA article identifies the goal that they were trying to reach in creating a better living environment for the poor citizens of Chile. CADA is giving the citizens the title of “artist” in order for them to be the ones whe change their fortune. The terms “form” and “exhibition” for me mean “human being” “Form” to me would mean how we are shaped by outside forces, like the government. While, “exhibition” would refer to how we display these characteristics.

  24. IsaiahD

    I don’t think Felipe Ehrenberg is the artist but is a contributing artist, just like all of the other participants who were at the exhibition. Felipe could be considered some kind of artist because he technically did set up the exhibition but what he was considering art is not new to anybody. He just gave everyday actions a name and place then called it art.

  25. kkomaenge

    I do not know how important the performances in the 1970’s were. Maybe people never tried to do performance art, but it proved successful. People might look for something different than conventional art. I still do not understand performance art. However, Ramos’ essay is interesting. Artistic cultures is still interesting to people I think because people have never seen the art in other cultures before.

  26. kkomaenge

    I do not understand why Lotty chose the White House in Washington to perform. I may not understand what she did. She brought a sign and crossed the road. What do people think about that? People might not understand what she was doing even thought the sign had letter on it. Also, people might think she was doing a demonstration. They did not know she was doing as performance.

  27. cmndrkeen

    I think I’ve classified art in my mind into two categories. There are the artworks that artists create on purpose to be art, and there are the artworks that an audience percieves as art. Most artworkds fall into both categories simultaneously, but I think some many belong to one or the other. I think the street happenings may be a part of the second category. Felipe Ehrenberg recongnized them as art though they had no concrete creator.

  28. cmndrkeen

    kkomaenge made me think about something. What is the difference between a performance and a demonstration? I don’t think they are one and the same, but, though not all performances are demonstrations, it seems to me that maybe most demonstrations could be considered performances by a lot of the qualifiers we’ve discussed in class and read about. The demonstrators are creating actions that have a message.

  29. Cheri Soulia

    Extra Credit Assignment Post

    The work by Felipe Ehrenberg is very simple but also very important because it does a crucial thing that most art has a hard time doing: It connects the outside world with the art world. It brings everyday life on the streets into the art world. It also questions what is art? Today the bondaries of art are constantly being questioned and this makes Felipe’s work revoluntionary and unique.

  30. proverbs3v18

    In my own work, I do not adhere to labels – even in my own life, I do not like labels because of their…charged nature. Language is inadequate to treat a work of art because it is invested with expectations – as are words in life generally. When you say someone is “leftist” for instance, it conjures up a whole set of ideals, people, and current events – which are then projected onto said person – you judge by your knowledge of the word which includes associations and personal perspectives – which may not be wholly true for said person. Larger terms that treat more intellectual/abstract things are less concrete (ambiguous?) that those that describe something, like black/white, up/down, sit/stand…

    They can mean everything and nothing all at once…depending on the person.

    Labels can be misleading. An example would be: I am Catholic. Immediately, you may think of all the ritual, religious doctrine, hypocrisy, dogmatism, recent scandal, and then formulate an opinion about me from there. However, what you do not know is how fully I adhere to this label (with all its invested meaning), or how deep my belief goes. I’d have to say that I am Catholic by official label, but my practice and belief of said religion is not… complete. You’d have to get to know me a little better to understand –kind of like kait’s comment about Rosenfeld: “One must understand her background, purpose, and meaning before seeing her art in order for her concept to be interpreted correctly”.

    This problem of invested language is why I do not like to judge by labels – it puts unnecessary and sometimes restrictive boundaries/ideas on a person/artwork. This is likely why these performance artists are trying other names for their work.

    On the other hand, not having labels can be troublesome for the kind of fast-paced society we live in today. Having labels is likely a tool for time-efficiency for decision-making and such. I think as a society, we have a need for absolutes so we may have a solid foundation to build upon – for if the base of the skyscraper is not stable, will not the whole structure crumble?

  31. proverbs3v18

    “One of the main things I have learned in this class is that the purpose should be obvious in order for the concept to be understood otherwise the piece could be seen as a failure”.

    If that is the case, then Rosenfeld’s work was a failure – because I cannot for the life of me understand what she is doing.

    But does a piece really need to be obvious to others? To be successful? Mondrian’s paintings are visually interesting, but the concept is not readily accessible or understandable by me. But that doesn’t mean the work is any less interesting to me. In fact, depending on the work, learning the concept might actually ruin it for me.

    It’s this terrible ambiguous flux of an art world that makes being an artist difficult at times. We each stand upon the base knowledge we have accumulated to only have it knocked from underneath us by others who insist on their knowledge base as being the correct one, or those that say there is no knowledge that is correct. What are we to do? Certainly, we must examine other knowledge that may be more correct – perhaps we should be like Socrates (I think it was him), and profess to know nothing and change our held beliefs as soon as something better comes along. –But then, how are we to finish building if we are constantly changing the architectural framework of our lives? Shall we gut and re-gut the buildings we have made, wasting time already spent and perfectly good materials already in place?

    Does truly believing in something make one dogmatic? -simply because a person does not believe what you believe, and holds fast to their own ideas which they believe to be correct? Then we pretty much are all dogmatic – because there are some absolutes that we each hold to as true that another person could/would/should(?) challenge. What are we to do then?

    🙂 -I Dare you to keep building-

    “-to live with unfathomable ambition and an unbending will
    to firmly grasp your human potentiality-
    -with all of your being for the pleasure of your being regardless of anyone else-“

  32. elpetty84

    In Schechner’s article in his discussions of “actuals” he discusses several examples while giving a definition as well. According to Kaprow who describes an actual by “calling mystery the simple but altogether upsetting idea of art as an event.” Then the article proceeds to use various examples of this meaning, even going as far back as ancient Greece. Aristotle uses a food analogy as a comparison art and life. He says that “Art is cooked and life is raw.” He then continues by saying that “art is the process of transforming raw experience into palatable forms.” According to Fergusson, “art always “comes after” experience: the separation between art and life is built into the idea of mimesis. It is this coming after and separation that has been so decisive in the development of Western theater. In anthropological terms; American culture is in a state of crisis or in repression and as such we as a nation have “yearnings” for a better life which come in a set of four categories that overlap, interpenetrate, and sort of feed of each other in primitive cultures. These categories are: Wholeness (“getting it together”), Process and Organic growth ( an end to the assembly line for the production of goods and the conformism of people), Concreteness (making demands known and act on them) and Religious Transcendental experience (zen, yoga and other ways to truth through participation or formulation). These terms may differ from culture to culture but they are the strongest and the most easily understood in what we consider art, specifically in the era of new theater that range from play, to dancing to doing.

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