Performance Now was a three-day event in February at The Roper Gallery in Bath. Arts Editor and curator of the event reflects on the experience.Read More
Today I did a test performance piece at Sion Hill campus in the reception area. I took the idea of using a mask after reading Yoko Ono’s book which gave instructions for a mask performance piece, in which the audience adds the wrinkles and features etc.
However I wanted to relate this idea more towards my project and interests, and so I decided to ask the audience to write about their insecurities.
I started sat at Sion Hill reception, wearing a mask and tying a piece of latex around me like a skin cloak. Next to me was a sign encouraging the audience to interact. Standing next to me, was Zachary, the photographer/encourager. Whenever a person approached nearby Zachary would ask them if they could spare a minute to take part in a performance, whilst I sat silent, looking at my possible audience member.
The majority of the time, people would say no to Zachary, seemingly scared by my appearance. However, some people stopped and participated. Zachary would instruct “Please write any insecurities you have, either on the face or the latex skin”. Nearly every person who participated, would stop still and say they have to think and then they would write. One person however, didn’t need to think and wrote “I have no insecurities”. Some people said that they don’t like to think about their insecurities and this is why they had to think. Some people said they felt uncomfortable talking about it.
I gave people to choice to choose between the mask and the latex skin, to see which they would feel more comfortable touching, this was partly for reference for later performances, and partly to see which area they identify with this theme. The majority of people chose to write on the mask. When faced with the latex skin, it was apparent the back was preferred, it was almost like they didn’t want to face the real me.
This piece took place on a Friday Afternoon, which I mistakingly chose. It turned out Fridays are the quietest days at university, and so I didn’t have as many participants as I would have liked. However, this is a reminder to see timing as an important aspect of performance or an exhibition, something which I actually tell my curator friend a lot (I should listen to my own advice).
Overall this piece, explored confrontation and making the audience uncomfortable. It made the audience confront their own fears, whilst also mine. And explores the idea that props can be documentation. These props now tell a story of a performance.