Assignment Post Week 9 (Part 1)

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

Read pages 266-286 in the Fusco book; read section 8 in the library reserve binder (the Schechner article from last week); add four links to your del.icio.us site; post at least two thoughtful comments on the readings for this week to this post and at least two comments on the McLuhan essay from class on the forthcoming assignment post; and have your Being Audience project ready to perform.

Here are some considerations:

  • 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.
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23 Comments

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23 responses to “Assignment Post Week 9 (Part 1)

  1. ladywood

    I wanted to address the performance art piece of Angel Delgado who defecated in public on a communist newspaper and was imprisoned. What makes me laugh is that the government displayed his piece until his release 6 months later as proof of the crime, which just encourages people to understand the point he made. So really, he was the one who won and succeeded in getting his point across. Fusco even helps him by publishing his story. It seems the governments’ tries to silence him failed miserably.

  2. Cheri Soulia

    Leandro Soto is a very interesting person and I think that refelcts in her performance art. Her culture in Cuba and the influence of the government is what drives her work and also her beliefs drive it as well. Her perfromance art with the cans is so unusual because I have never look at a can as symbolic for a person. The accidents that the cans have with cars running them over is like the people in Cuban society who have been thrown away or burned because of their beliefs.

    The other thing I thought was absolutely hilarious was the piece that Angel Delgado did in 1990 taking the Cuban saying “Me cago en eso” literally by taking a crap in the gallery and then being arrested. The even better thing was that they didn’t remove it from the gallery right away because it was evidence. By not doing so they let the performance and Delgado’s point drag on.

  3. Cheri Soulia

    The article or essay by McLuhan is very very confusing! You really have to sift through what he is saying. But, after I finished it I think I know what he is talking about: he is basically the discusses the imperceptibility of environment. What does that mean? He is talking about how people do not realize the influence of envirnoment on our lives. He says that we “designed schools as anti-environment to develop perception and judgement of the written word.” An “anti-environment” is something that merges an individuall with the environment. It makes the individual aware of what they did not realize. An in that case he aslo says that nobody realizes this except artists and children. The artist brings forth the anti-environment.

  4. proverbs3v18

    For some reason, when I read about the piece about smashing cans in the street, it reminded me of the time a little while ago when one of the “green” groups on campus was doing some informational drive about the amount of paper being used on campus. They put empty boxes that the paper comes in at the library entryway.

    One day, I just started playing with the boxes, building towers and such. Every now and then there would be more boxes and I would build something new; the last construction was an igloo. I’m like one of those kids that played with the cans and probably didn’t know what it meant to the artist – or the message trying to be conveyed – just like I had no real idea of what the “green” group was trying to say or if they had intended on me playing with the boxes they left there.

  5. cleasure

    The work of Artecalle is intriguing to me because of the popularity they gained within their community almost immediately in the span of their work. They seem to have struck the social climate in Cuba at just the right moment in order to be so fully embraced as a cultural phenomenon of sorts. The instance in Vibora in 1987 where the community had asked that Artecalle paint a mural and the community made an entire performance out of their visit is an example of the idea that not only was the community ready to accept a new art movement but they were ready to fully participate in it. They were ready for political change and it really seems that they knew that art was a powerful vehicle for making such changes.

  6. molly

    I have a hard time with Soto’s label “plastic actions”. To me, plastic is unnatural, fake and superficial, which is not at all what Soto is getting at with the performances. It was amusing to me the statement of the problems other people had that the term, “was applied to events that were not at all creative” which coincided with my own issue with the word “plastic”.
    The performances Soto termed “plastic actions” were hardly unnatural, as Soto uses objects and surroundings the artist is most familiar with such as the sea and the objects found on the shore, or flattened beer cans from the middle of Soto’s neighborhood road.
    As for hardly being creative, I think that is clearly untrue because Soto’s “plastic actions” inspired many others, spread throughout Cuba and were used in theater experimentation.
    When I think “plastic actions” I think Barbie doll and Victioria’s Secret catalogues, not performance art. And definately not reflections of one’s culture and identity through performance art.

  7. molly

    It seems like 1987 and 88 were great years for the Cuban artistic youth; running around, hiding meetings from authorities, putting together group shows and events that were, “strange and incomprehensible”, painting words on city walls at night and starting rumors. Anger and rebellion can certainly be motivators for art and, most definately, performance art.

    It would probably go much less noticed here in the States but it would sure be fun to be a part of.

  8. desibrink

    Marshal MuLuah’s Relation of Environment to Anti-Enviornment was a really d-i-f-f-i-c-u-l-t read. His big words hurt my little brain.
    From what I think understand, his anti-environment ideas are basically environments that we recognize as environments, and therefore are anti-environments. Or, well, it made since in my head but I don’t think I can describe it very well.
    I believe its an interesting concept that artists and kids create these environments. I couldn’t tell if that was a compliment or an insult to artists.

  9. desibrink

    I completely agree with ladywood’s comment.
    I think the fact that Angel Delgado wasn’t doing his performance art for capital, but for spreading his message just made his work all the more successful. Therefore, in a sardonic kind of way, his piece wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was with the government arresting him and displaying his piece.

  10. trintiyblk

    I totally agree with MuLuah’s ideas regarding the environment and how people use anti-environmental situations to control others. Verbal proof of this is all around us ” stop and smell the roses” ” In the eyes of a child”. We tell ourselves to slow down and really “see” the world around us not just “look”. I can also see how the environment we create can control our art. If we think we live in a Malibu Barbie world then our actions, art and life will resemble that environment. If we think the life we live in is a battle then it will mold us to that belief. This made me think of National Geographic. They travel the globe to showcase a specific environment. It is often not the one showcased by the normal media so people are awed by this different “environment” that they see. It’s all very interesting!! Remember The Matrix mantra- “There is no spoon”.

  11. trintiyblk

    What I find interesting with Cuban art is that the main stream media portrays the people of Cuba as having no voice at all. When I hear reports of the oppressed Cuban people I visualize starving people kept in torture camps with no hope at all. Yet here this section in Fusco is the exception. It shows the world, that even with the political environment; people are exploring their own voice and making a difference in their own lives. They are creating this art for their own people not for an art gallery in Paris or New York. It is personal and dear. Even the act of defecating is a personal statement that is meant to be shared with those that feel the same way and to hopefully change the minds of those who don’t want to admit to the state of things in their own community.

  12. trintiyblk

    I loved the section on page 277when Aldo described how when art slogans were taken in multiple meanings. The quote “Art is one step closure to the cemetery” is wonderful. It has so many possible meanings that this one sentence can cause a whole gambit of responses. Our class knows I love the line “Whatever it means to you” and this section confirms my use of the line. The simple tag of AC caused Cubans to believe all sorts of explanations and it didn’t matter if they were correct or not. The main point of these lines is that they got people thinking and communicating.

  13. cleasure

    I find the opposition to the Electronic Disturbance Theater interesting. It seems absurd that some people consider it “cyberterrorism” when it does not directly cause harm to anyone or pose any real threat. Yes, their actions may be inconvenient for the government websites they disturb, but nothing that they change is permanent. A lot of what EDT does is slow down and redirect websites. People create traffic in the roads on a daily basis and I never hear them called highway terrorists.

  14. heidirides

    A few examples of artists who embrace the contemporary movements regarding transcendental experience, growth and process, concretness etc. are: Ana Mendieta with her bloody chicken ritual (transcentental, process), Leonardo Soto and his conjuring in “Ancestros,” and last but not least Beuys in any number of his performances, but namely the one with the wolf, and the one where he lays covered in felt making animal noises. Ladywood, what are the performances real names?

  15. heidirides

    In regards to Ladywood and Desibrink, I am not sure I can agree with your conclusion. I read an article that totally slammed Delgado. It said he was not contributing to society and the people, but rather interested in only profiting for himself. The article suggested he used the language of others (prisoners) only for profit, not to advance or address the issues of Cuban people, or even the prisoners whose methods of creating art he has capatilized on. He makes a significant amount of money off altered hankerchiefs and bars of soap. The article also called his public pooping infantile.

  16. kait

    When reading about the Argentinean performers last week I remember the artist that levitated in order to transcend this world and did it as performance. This seems to be a religious experience for him, in the sense that it removes him from this world and weight of the world and creates a different world and understanding for him. This seem to be part of the Cuban performance art movement as well. Where the leaving of this world in order to understand it.

  17. Isaiah D

    Schechner stats that art is the actual of the idea of art. Somewhere an artist has an idea for making an art piece or performance. This would be the first step into making the actual. The designa and process would come next, then the performance and finally the finish. The actual refers to the art as well as the lifespan from idea to death. For an actual to take place it must happen somewhere at sometime, it must be about something, it has to have some meaning for the viewer and the performer, there must be an audience, and the space is used concretely and organically.

  18. kait

    The electronic disturbance theater caused disruption to governmental powers. Granted it was not concrete and it was used in order to shock and alter but I feel as though it hinders what people hold dear and disrupts the innocent. Those that work hard to create these web pages for the masses but the activist hinder their everyday duties. In order to create a point is it acceptable to harm the innocent.

  19. cmndrkeen

    I don’t know if I consider Angel Delgado’s defecation on a communist newspaper art. It did get across a message though, and the fact that it was left in the gallery as proof, being somewhat displayed, seems to lean in the direction of art. But I’m not sure how much thought must have gone into it before he did it. It seems like it might have been just a rebellious action meant to shock. I know art can have that purpose too. But what did he add to this act that made it art? I’ve been thinking a lot and I think that something else does have to be there.

  20. cmndrkeen

    To contrast my previous comment, I do think that De Soto’s plastic action of arranging flattened cans is art. It is another seemingly everyday type of thing that a child might do. But de Soto put a lot of thought into what he was doing. Every decision he made symbolized something or looked a certain way to say something he wanted to convey. Though it may have been just as visually unappealing as the defecation, it seems to have more artistic value to me. It seems that meaning was applied to the spontaneous defecation after the fact, and deSot did a lot of thinking beforehand.

    But, I don’t want to lay down rules about what is art.

  21. thehankfuldread

    the schieder essay was an interesting one. i found the theory of wholeness to be a breath of fresh air, even if i took it out of context of the reading. since most of the performance theory we read is pretty heady and dense, it was nice to see such a straight forward, clean theory. i find this much more meaningful than most of the heady mumbo-jumbo written by pretentious “performance scholars.” and then just to make the theory clearer, it is followed with the element of concreteness. “Down with theories, abstractions, generalizations, the “biggies” of art… Make your demands known, act them out and get your answers now.” hell yeah. sayin’ it like it is.

  22. thehankfuldread

    when it came to the masks, i thought that was stretching it a little too far. when talking about ceremonial masks for an indigenousness people, and then making the connection between those and how we as artist all wear our own “masks” while performing, respectively. the cheese factor of this connection is overwhelming. in a published piece of academia? really? i think that even completely excluding this relationship would have made me respect the essay more, or at least use it in a tasteful way.

  23. trinityblk

    Post for Schechner:

    After reading Schechner and then some of the other articles in week 10 I wish that we had been assigned him right after the Gomes-Pena essay and that both had been at the beginning of the semester. Both are great road maps for the intro investigation into Performance Art.

    Schechner talked about the actual and the “actual” being the idea of a piece of work. How idea started in the beginning and continued until the end of a work. How audience is a critical piece to the “actual” and how the artist must not disregard the audience. For me this is a confirming thought. I never appreciated art (of any form) that disregarded the audience. To me apiece of art , either performance, still, mainstream, musical, or theatrical) must acknowledge the audience. If audience wasn’t important than art would loose its long-term impact and social enlightenment ability. Actual “ideas” must be shared. There is not point of creating art if the artists actual cannot be discovered.

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