performance, and ambition.
Performance art is often created according to a human scale since it is based upon the body/bodies of the performer. The performer moves his body around a space; she engages with the audience’s bodies; the performance is documented by another person using a manageable hand-held camera; etc. I am interested in exploring avenues of performance art that are habitually passed over because of issues of scale. I propose to create two performances: one that explores performance on a small scale and another that creates a mega-scale performance.
I will reserve a classroom in Columbine specifically for my performance. The room will be darkened for visitors as they enter. Inside the room I will have constructed a small box that will house me and an opaque projector. There will be a small hole through which the opaque projector will throw its image and a few small slots for ventilation. Since opaque projectors enlarge whatever is in their viewfinder, whatever I perform within the viewfinder will be enlarged for the audience. I will use a small needle to implant corn silk into a strip of apricot fruit leather. When enlarged, this will appear similar to the act of adding hair to a hide, but just different enough to make the viewer question what is actually being performed. The use of unusual materials and their shift in scale will create an unsettling image for the audience.
I have chosen not to use video for this project because of the complications it can create. If video is used, the audience may wonder if the image is simply a recording or if it has been altered with special effects. Using the opaque projector will allow the audience to understand that it is a live performance being carried out in the box.
My choice of materials and their apparent similarity to skin and hair will hint at the body – a constant in traditional performance art – without using the actual image of a body, thereby playing with the history of performance and reexamining its uses.
My macro-performance will consist of one iceberg in the Antarctic located at latitude: 72.087432 and longitude: 94.394531. For the next two weeks, I will drive everywhere I go, even from class to class. I will leave my car running as much as possible. The bumper of my car will bear a sticker reading, “Al Gore Loves Global Warming. It Makes Him Rich. I Work for Al Gore.” If I have to walk anywhere, I will dispense an aerosol can full of CFCs into the air during the duration of my walk. My actions should melt and move the iceberg an infinitesimally small amount. The performance is not my driving or walking, but the reaction of the iceberg.
This performance requires no formal audience and my only documentation will be scientific data accumulated by scientists in the region that I will never see, my gas receipts, and the empty aerosol cans. My performance is large in scale because of the amount of people involved – the scientists, those holding me up in traffic, the landscape architects who require me to walk around a corner rather than through it, the manufacturers of the aerosol, and the Subaru corporation – as well as the scope of the geography and land involved.
This project examines the effects of an individual and where an artwork begins and ends. My actions will be felt far into the future as well as here in the present and they involve many more people than those within my immediate “audience.”
— Maria Samuleson