Performing Boundaries: An Expansion of the One to One Framework

A thesis presented to

the faculty of

the College of Fine Arts of Ohio University

In partial fulfillment

of the requirements for the degree

Master of Arts

Jennifer N. Fisk

August 2013

© 2013 Jennifer N. Fisk. All Rights Reserved.

2 This thesis titled

Performing Boundaries: An Expansion of the One to One Performance Framework



has been approved for

the School of Art

and the College of Fine Arts by

Jennie Klein

Associate Professor of Art History

Margaret Kennedy-Dygas

Dean, College of Fine Arts


FISK, JENIFER, N., M.A., August 2013, Art History

Performing Boundaries: An Expansion of the One to One Performance Framework

(160 pp.)

Director of Thesis: Jennie Klein

This thesis outlines and the One to One framework used by

Stephanie Fisk during her time at Ohio University. There is a brief explanation of performance art and thorough explanation of the One to One framework that many performance artists have turned toward in recent history.


This thesis couldn’t have been possible without the support of my thesis advisor,

Dr. Jennie Klein, committee members Dr. Marilyn Bradshaw and Dr. Jody Lamb, the

Honors Tutorial College, Dean Jeremy Webster, Assistant Dean Jan Hodson, Kathy

White, the HTC Dean’s Discretionary Fund, the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fund,

Anita Leach, Debi Tallman, Dr. Rosemarie Basile, and Rachel Mihuta Grimm. It is because of these wonderful individuals, organizations, and opportunities that this thesis is a reality.

I would also like to thank Ohio University Printing Services, John Oancea, Union

Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Kelly Lawrence, Barbara Jewell and Susanna Grubb for making my thesis show not only a possibility but also a success.



Abstract ...... 3! Acknowledgments ...... 4! List of Figures...... 7! Introduction ...... 10 What is Included ...... 16 Chapter 1: Live Art: Movements, Artists, and Pieces Relevant to the One to One Genre and My Creative Developments ...... 18 Chapter 1 Figures ...... 36 Chapter 2: Tim Miller and My Intensive Entrance into Performance Art ...... 44! Chapter 2 Relevant Documentation ...... 54! The Introduction of Pieces of Us, Transcribed ...... 54! My Performance in Pieces of Us, Transcribed ...... 55! Chapter 3: The NRLA and Its Many Inspirations ...... 57! Chapter 3 Figures ...... 67 Chapter 4: One to One Performance Art and Its Significant Artists ...... 69! My First One to One Experience ...... 71! Chapter 4 Figures ...... 83! Chapter 5: The Secrets Series: Relevant Theories, , and the Importance of Documentation ...... 85! Chapter 6: The Intimacy Series: Exercises, Beds, and More Documentation Fiascos ...... 101 Chapter 6 Figures ...... 112 (IN)Timacy Audio Components ...... 121 The His Pillow Audio, Transcribed ...... 121 The Hers Pillow Audio, Transcribed ...... 125 Chapter 7: Love In Other Numbers: Revelations in Collective Intimacy, Memory, and Participation ...... 131 Chapter 7 Figures ...... 138 Conclusion ...... 149 References ...... 152

6 Figure References ...... 156




Figure 1. , Fluxkit, 1964-66...... 36

Figure 2. , Cut Piece, 1964...... 36

Figure 3. , , 1965 ...... 37

Figure 4: Barbara T. Smith, Feed Me, 1973 ...... 37

Figure 5. , Meat Joy, 1964...... 38

Figure 6. Carolee Schneemann, Interior Scroll, 1975...... 38

Figure 7. , Shoot, 1971 ...... 39

Figure 8: Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971, detail: artist with bullet wounds ...... 39

Figure 9. Chris Burden, Transfixed, 1974, detail: two views...... 40

Figure 10. , Seedbed, 1972...... 40

Figure 11. Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970 ...... 41

Figure 12: Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970, detail: arm ...... 41

Figure 13. Vito Acconci, Following Piece, 1969...... 42

Figure 14. Marina Abramović, , 1974, detail of table ...... 42

Figure 15. Marina Abramović, Rhythm 0, 1974, detail of artist holding object...... 43

Figure 16: Marina Abramović and , Breathing In/Breathing Out, 1977, detail: artists with covering mouths ...... 43

Figure 17. Curious, the moment i saw you i knew i could love you, 2010...... 67

Figure 18. Manuel Vason in Collaboration with Francesca Steele and Stuart Core, Collaboration #2 Plymouth, 2009...... 68

Figure 19. Sam Rose and Annette Foster, Melting Point, 2010 ...... 68

8 Figure 20: Kira O’Reilly, Action for Bomb Shelter, 2003 ...... 83

Figure 21. Chris Burden, Five Day Locker Piece, 1971...... 84

Figure 22. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, performance pamphlet...... 112

Figure 23. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: bed ...... 113

Figure 24: Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: audience ...... 113

Figure 25. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two girls, under covers...... 114

Figure 26. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two expo participants...... 114

Figure 27. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: participants intently listening ... 115

Figure 28: Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: WOUB filming ...... 115

Figure 29. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two girls adjust pillows...... 116

Figure 30 Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: couple talking ...... 116

Figure 31. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: couple listening...... 117

Figure 32. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two women...... 117

Figure 33. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two boys...... 118

Figure 34. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: three boys ...... 118

Figure 35: Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: young couple...... 119

Figure 36. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: group of girls...... 119

Figure 37. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: three young boys...... 120

Figure 38. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: boys wrestling ...... 120

Figure 39: Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: woman sleeping ...... 121

Figure 40. Love In Other Numbers, 2013, promotional postcard, front...... 138

Figure 41. Love In Other Numbers, 2013, promotional postcard, back...... 139

Figure 42. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: opening sign ...... 139


Figure 43. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: right wall ...... 140

Figure 44: Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: left wall ...... 140

Figure 45. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: performance...... 141

Figure 46. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: right wall half through the performance...... 141

Figure 47. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: left wall half through the performance ...... 142

Figure 48: Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: taking a pulse ...... 142

Figure 49. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: calculation in a one to one...... 143

Figure 50 Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: reflection of totals .. 143

Figure 51. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: overlap...... 144

Figure 52. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: instructions ...... 144

Figure 53. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: notebook ...... 145

Figure 54. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: info cloud ...... 145

Figure 55: Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: viewer explanation.146

Figure 56. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: final calculations. .. 146

Figure 57. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: final calculations, aerial view...... 147

Figure 58. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: final calculations, recording ...... 147

Figure 59: Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: EKG ...... 148

Figure 60. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: EKG, close up...... 148


This thesis is primarily a creative thesis. It is more closely modeled to a practicing

M.A. where I explore theory and art in historical context through more creative means. I always approach my work first as an art historian and consider relevant research a head of the performance. Also, I examine my past One to One performances within their two series, Secrets and (IN)Timacy, and my thesis performance, Love In Other Numbers, performed from March 30th through April 2nd 2013. All of these performances explore intimacy, vulnerability and an exchange between the audience and the performer in a One to One performance framework. I have included documentation of all the performances as well as written statements about the work.

I started to become more interested and involved in live art, also referred to throughout this paper as performance art, after attending Tim Miller’s performance workshop at Ohio University from March 8-12th, 2010. This intensive workshop ended in a performance entitled Pieces of Us on March 12th in the Forum Theatre. This performance highlighted the original work of those who had been involved in the intensive workshop.

I was even more fascinated by performance after attending the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow, Scotland, shortly after participating in Miller’s performance workshop. This was where I was introduced to a One to One performance framework. I was immediately captivated by the framework and decided to make works of my own that operated primarily in this One to One mode.

One to One performance structures allow an audience member to experience a performance individually. These performances range from one minute to one hour per

11 performance. They are often site-specific performances rooted in the aesthetics of live art. This structure allows the spectator an opportunity to become an active performer in the piece. The stakes for the spectator often feel higher as they are personally implicated in the outcome of the piece.

The Secrets series, which I performed during the spring of 2010, was concerned with the iterative and performative action of secrets. A secret creates a relationship just by being shared. The two (or more) people involved in a secret-sharing create a special bond that is unique to that relationship. There is also a slight contractual feeling of obligation; if someone shares a secret with me, I feel obligated to share one of my own, as do many other people. The act of withholding from this obligation is likely to cause concern to the secret-sharer and may prevent the telling of other secrets. However, if the obligation is fulfilled, a closer bond is formed. Therefore, the sharing of secrets forges new dimensions and power dynamics within relationships.

I explored power dynamics within secret sharing by first placing my viewers in a spot of heightened vulnerability in the performance Closing the Chasm. Viewers were both blindfolded and disoriented by the use of a rolling chair. I would move my blindfolded viewers around in the chair to slowly disorient them. I then asked for a secret, a memory, and a lie during the course of the performance. There was also an audio component outside the space that that transitioned the viewer into the One to One performance.

The hyper-vulnerability and lack of control within the environment was intended to allow the verbal exchange to take place as the one comfortable and commonplace

12 attachment in an otherwise disorienting space. The viewer always had control of the content of the conversation.

I performed this piece with several MFA and senior students from the School of

Art. A dialogue about the performance was held after all the participants had experienced the piece. Reactions varied between extreme disgust and internal discovery. Some participants were upset that I took advantage of them by making them so vulnerable. A participant at one point even suggested that I was attempting to play “God” within the performance.

Other participants were intrigued by what the performance exposed. The structure of the performance revealed some underlying feelings in those who participated. One participant talked about a lot of anxiety concerning his upcoming wedding. Throughout our verbal exchange, he explored how he had pushed it away by using a dissertation and work as a distraction. After the performance, he thanked me for helping to reveal what was really on his mind.

All participants for this performance were in a course together that was focusing that day on women as mothers within media. I found that a lot of the content was symptomatic of the context of the course; a pattern emerged as childhood, motherhood, and maternity appeared as recurring themes of our conversations. Not all of the content generated through the performance concerned mothers or family life. Topics of sexuality and future aspirations also surfaced during the piece.

During Closing the Chasm, disorientation and physical vulnerability may have led some of my participants to feel emotionally vulnerable. The post-performance discussion, which took place in class, helped me reroute the piece in order for my viewers to have a

13 more positive experience while still confronting vulnerability. I believe that hyper- vulnerability within the viewer can be a useful, though largely unexplored, tool. I did not want this hyper-vulnerability, conversely, to shut down the autonomy or self-discovery of the viewer due to an overarching feeling of violation. I knew I had to allow a degree of choice and control for my viewers.

The next performance in the Secret series was a complete turn-around. This performance focused on my vulnerability, involved myself being blindfolded and sitting inside a series of squares. Viewers were permitted to step these squares that were taped on the ground and do various services for my well-being, such as back rubs, hugs, feeding me, and walking me around the space. In exchange, I would give them a secret and often they would share one with me as well. A business card that acted as a contract of secrecy was signed with a kiss and handed back to the viewer completing the exchange.

Rachel Mihuta Grimm, my collaborator, conducted and protected the performance and myself. She acted as my eyes in order to view the reactions of the participants and onlookers. I was only aware of the one person who entered the space and sat with me each individual One to One performance. I could hear many people around me but could not figure out their location.

This performance, which I retroactively entitled Of Secrets and Squares, was held in the Convocation Center during Ohio University’s Creative Research Expo, in the middle of a sea of presenters and projects. At the time, I had no idea that onlookers and a line of participants waiting to join me constantly surrounded the performance.

14 The most personally challenging aspect of this piece was not the vulnerability but my feigned ignorance. A trusted friend and collaborator protected me while I was at my most vulnerable. I knew that if someone wanted to hurt me, Rachel would quickly stop the performance. Luckily, this never happened.

It was difficult to attempt to approach each One to One interaction with a sense of anonymity. The majority of people who surrounded me were people I had met before or known for a long time. Voice recognition, unbeknownst to my viewers, would often take the anonymity away from the exchange.

It was after this iteration and observation about my performance that the idea of personal relationships began to intrigue me. Out of this and a few other performances, the

(IN)Timacy series was born. The (IN)Timacy series initially focused on vulnerability and evolved into a multi-layered piece that addressed authorship, the aesthetic of emotional and spatial relationships, collective memory, and performative objects. This main theme was crafted around relationships between people. These relationships were not necessarily exclusive to romantic relationships but those formed through any interaction.

Space, as noted above, also became a large factor in this series. State of a Union,

(IN)Timacy, and Layered(IN) showed how viewers negotiated vulnerability as well as physical proximity in the context of relationships, vulnerability, and intimacy.

The first performance in the series, State of a Union, was a video of my former partner, Alec, and me cuddling. The sound went in and out while the physical give and take of space was projected as one crumpled mass under a large, grey comforter. The audience was able to hear bits and pieces of our conversation. Stillness really revealed how we possessed and shared space while our movement, outlined by the comforter,

15 showed our organic, un-choreographed negotiations within the space. This performance was posted to Facebook as a video on my profile. It currently remains on my

Facebook page.

The edge of the blanket would often block our faces and muffle our conversation.

This allowed for an inside look into the dynamic of a relationship behind closed doors. I was particularly interested in understanding how the camera affected the presentation of the relationship. I was also interested in understanding how the set up of this particular cuddling session as a performance piece affected the authenticity of the intimate exchange.

The next performance, arguably the most successful of the series, invited the audience to share the space of a bed my partner and I had shared while listening to our voices through an audio component inside the pillow. The performance began with an empty bed completely made with the corners of the blankets turned down. Sound recordings had been mounted inside the pillows, so the sound component was only audible while lying on the pillow. Viewers outside the bed had access to the bodily silhouettes that moved through and negotiated the space of the bed. Active audiences members—those who participated in the piece by entered the bed—and passive audience members—those who chose instead to only watch the performance—each experienced a different form of intimacy by interacting with the piece at a different range.

My thesis show, entitled Love In Other Numbers (2013), attempted to address intimacy in a more collective and collaborative way with my audience. The audience was invited into a room with black walls. They were then encouraged to trace their fist at heart height somewhere on the wall. The viewers proceeded to write their age, how many

16 times they had had their heart broken, and how many times they had loved someone else. I then walked around and took each viewers pulse and wrote his or her beats per minute inside his or her individual fist print. Each viewer would be forced to confront his or her individual history, memories, and his or her definition of love. These marks varied by height on the wall and had the effect of an arrhythmic EKG. I modeled the performance this way in the hopes of obtaining a large audience; a large volume of audience members would overlap their marks to eventually create a thick, flat line around the room.1

What Is Included

First, in order to understand some of the frameworks and history of live art that my work responds to, I provide a historical narrative of performance art in Chapter 1,

“Live Art: Movements, Artists, and Pieces Relevant to the One to One Genre and My

Creative Developments.” Chapter 2, “One to One Performance Art and Its Significant

Artists,” delves into the One to One performance genre to explain exactly what the One to One framework entails, why the framework is utilized, and who has successfully produced pieces, or sometimes entire oeuvres, that employ this performance structure.

Chapter 3, “Tim Miller and My Intensive Entrance into Performance Art”, explores my introduction to live art through a performance workshop guided by luminary performing artist Tim Miller. Chapter 4, “The NRLA and Its Many Inspirations,” continues to detail my emergence into the performance art scene and my exposure to multiple performing artists at the National Review of Live Art, some of which utilize the One to One

1"Elektrokardiogramm"(EKG)"is"used"to"document"a"person’s"heartbeat."It"is"also" known"as"an"ECG"or"Electrocardiogram."This"introduction"will"be"completed"after" my"thesis"performance"has"closed."

17 framework within their work that was featured at the performance festival. Chapters 5,

6, and 7, entitled “The Secrets Series: Relevant Theories, Performances, and the

Importance of Documentation,” “The (IN)Timacy Series: Nude Explorations, Beds, and

More Documentation Fiascos,” and “Love In Other Numbers: Revelations in Collective

Intimacy, Memory, and Participation,” feature my creative work, the successes and failures of each performance, and any theory relevant to the piece.



I could probably pay back the extent of my student loans if I had a dollar for every time I tried to explain what live art involves. The discipline is so varied from artist to artist, genre to genre, and medium to medium that any sort of definition feels way too confining for this relatively new practice. The discussion usually starts with someone saying, “Oh, it’s like theatre—plays and stuff right?” and ends with me rambling a few pieces and ultimately proclaiming, “It could be a lot of things. It’s just sort of, well, you know it when you see it.”

I would also like to note that while I use the terms performance art and live art most frequently, there are many different names for what is essentially the same process.

This genre can also be called , actions, action art or interventions. Live art can combine many different elements in order to create a performance hybrid, including: dance, theatre, literature, installation, duration, technology, biology, music, , and bodywork. Many of these elements have been integral to performance art and uniting across cultures within various rituals throughout history. I believe that there are four basic elements that are common to all performance art: time, space, the performer’s body

(either in person or through a medium), and a relationship or an interaction between the viewer and performer. 2

I would loosely define live art as a form that challenges an audience to think in unconventional ways and/or break traditional art practice. This genre

2"Some scholars find minute differences between these classifications, but oftentimes the names are used interchangeably."

19 of art is very broad and often is based within a multi-media approach. Documentation is essential for all live art practice. The actual performance, as it is , is very temporal and ephemeral in nature. If there is no documentation, essentially, there was no performance.

This dependence upon documentation is a unique stricture on performance art.

Many of the performances I’m citing would cease to exist outside of the actual performance without documentation. This documentation can be seen in any sort of indexical reproduction of the performance. Photographs and video recordings seem to be most frequently utilized. Documentation, however, is not limited to these mediums; scores, directional components, or written remnants can also serve as documentation.

To further complicate the already vast field of performance art, there are many different genres and subgenres. Each subsection varies from the others but core processes or elements often overlap. This chapter will provide a general overview of the performance art that has been specific to my work: the One to One framework that I most often use and have chosen to focus on for this thesis. The One to One genre is more fully covered in the next chapter.

Historically, the idea of performance art or live art would not be considered a post-modern development. Performance art wasn’t, however, considered an art form on its own until the early 1900s. Even a while after that, when performance started to gain some following, it was not widely considered worthy of galleries, museums, and praise until a performance boom in the 1960s.3

3 Adrian Parr, “Becoming and Performance Art,” in The Deleuze Dictionary, rev. ed. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 30-32.

20 The Futurists and Dadaists really sparked the performance revolution by combining multiple techniques and motivational concepts with more traditional performance outlets; these concepts can be seen in , geometric collage, noise poems, and improvisational shows. This hybrid style can be seen in the work made at the

Cabaret Voltaire that combined actions with live readings of poetry and original literary material. The Cabaret Voltaire was founded by husband and wife duo, and

Emmy Hennings. Ball wanted to depart from the typical cabaret mentality toward a living art that was more “irrational, primitive, [and] complex.” He also believed an artist could be responsible for the production of other artists. The artists working in the Cabaret

Voltaire were less focused on creating new work. Instead, they often expanded on already existing work to develop new contexts. 4

Action paintings5, for example, took the two-dimensional aspect of paint and canvas and turned it into a performative action of applying the medium. This shifted the focus from composition to application and ultimately to the idea of the performative action as a valuable contribution. Futurist self-painting, for example, was a performative modification to typical painting where the artist would paint his or her face, dress in outrageous costume, and walk through the public.6 The wearing of the paint became part of the performance. The performance of applying the medium began to become valuable outside the tangible . This performative application also broadened the

4"Roselee Goldberg, Performance Art: From to the Present. rev. & expanded ed. (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001), 50-61." 5 , also called gestural abstraction, is the free-style application of paint. The application of paint, by throwing, shaking, dripping, or splashing the paint over the canvas, embodies the action of painting. 6"Ibid., 33."

21 outlines of what can be considered canvas or media. Essentially, the work produced that would be featured in a gallery took a back seat to the actual making or wearing of the work. This shift in value would later form the basis to the anti-rational, anti-art cultural movement in .

This departure was necessary in regard to my work. Classically, art focused on the object. The move to focus more on process allowed performance art to come into being.

If action artists hadn’t shifted to this focus, performance could still be solely rooted in ritual or classic narratives offered by theatre companies. It gave the process validation apart from the work. The movement and happenings really hinge on this on this involvement of life and the everyday in art.

The Fluxus movement and happenings slowly started to surface from the Futurist and Dadaist modes of thought and definition of performance. Fluxus primarily focuses on the action or the happening as the piece itself, which slightly departs from the more theatrically dependent framework within Futurist or Dadaist performance. This is often seen as the prime emergence of performance art as we would identify it today. Fluxus works utilized multiple mediums in order to create a piece and would often bridge gaps between many different genres of art. It was not uncommon for piece to embody multiple artistic practices rooted in genres like experimental music, visual art, literature, and architecture. The Fluxus movement often relies on these bridges and uses collaboration between a highly international network of composers, artists, dancers, and designers alike. The name Fluxus speaks to this idea of fluidity or flow between mediums and collaborators. The Fluxus movement is also still in existence.

22 Fluxus is rooted in the concepts presented by . Cage is best known as the founder of experimental music. His most well-known composition, 4’33’’, focuses on the organic noise that occurs over four minutes and 33 seconds of time. He would later create very time-based scores, conducted with the guide of a stopwatch. Cage would perform very deliberate actions on stage, such as tapping a toaster, turning on a radio, or pouring water into a glass and taking a drink, at precise and predetermined times.7

Cage’s work gave a whole new look and identity to what a score could contain and created a large controversy within the music community as it challenged the definition of music itself. In fact, it broadened what had previously been considered aesthetics and performance. Cage’s compositions encouraged people to question the boundaries of medium and what constitutes or contributes to an art practice. It is unsurprising that Cage taught many years at the New School, which in turn churned out many of the artists that formed the basis of the Fluxus movement.

It was then not so far a jump to see actions as compositions. Cage helped to broaden the idea of which mediums could be considered in art making, or more specifically, music making. His work also puts a deliberate focus on the process and actions involved in producing the piece. The piece, likewise, would cease to exist outside of its process and actions.

Cage was influenced by Marcel Duchamp’s ideas concerning the relationship between art and life. Duchamp made readymades, which were considered everyday objects that had been signed and featured in unusual places and in unusual positions. The

7 “John Cage—Water Walk,” YouTube video, 9:22, from a 1960 televised performance on “I’ve Got a Secret,” posted by “holotone,” May 4, 2007, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSulycqZH-U , accessed April 29, 2013.

23 use and signature of these objects thus questioned the elitism of the gallery space and the consumerism intrinsic to the sublimated artist signature at the time. Duchamp was also somewhat responsible for Cage’s fascination with everyday sounds as music, which ultimately produced the Fluxus movement. Neither Cage nor Duchamp, however, were considered responsible for Fluxus though their work directly lead to Fluxus’ inception.

George Maciunas is credited with coining the term “Fluxus.” Maciunas was a designer and a contemporary of many in the New York art scene that were involved with the proto-Fluxus movement. In addition to contributing as a designer and collaborator within the movement, Maciunas also provided a performance space for his artist friends and collaborators. This gallery included works by artists including Yoko Ono, Henry

Flynt, and .8

Maciunas first coined the term Fluxus in a June 1962 performance brochure.

Maciunas, who was also perhaps the largest critic of and writer on Fluxus at the time, had been referring to the movement as “Neodadism” or “Renewed Dadaism,”9 but thought the movement deserved a name more fitting of its practice.

Many Fluxus pieces relied on some sort of score or directional component and included audiences in a way that action painters and Dadaists before them did not. The

D.I.Y. feel that Fluxus is overwhelmingly known for increased during the mid-sixties.

Multiple collaborators were creating Fluxus kits that would include many directional

8 Jon Hendricks, Fluxus Codex (Detroit, MI: Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection in association with H.N. Abrams, New York, 1988), 22. 9 George Maciunas, quoted in Hendricks, Fluxus Codex, 23.

24 works for the viewer to execute or perform. Macuinas called these Fluxkits (fig. 1) and attempt to sell them at his Fluxhall.10

Fluxkits often incorporated works or printed concepts authored by the artist but to be executed by the audience member(s). One such example can be seen in George

Brecht’s Water Yam, which included many event scores, or art directions, inside a small cardboard box.11

Kits much like Brecht’s were bought by whoever performed the directional components. Occasionally, these kits would also instruct the buyer, who functioned as both the viewer and the audience, to document the performance or the event score as it was put into action. This blurring of authorship and active incorporation of the audience are still often key points in contemporary performance art. It is this blurring that I especially like to weave into my pieces.

Finally, Fluxus expanded what the performer(s) could ask from his/her/their audience. Such can be seen with Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece (fig. 2) performed in March

1965. Ono sat in front of her audience and invited them, to approach her one at a time one at time, and cut off her clothing until she was naked. Ono, meanwhile, sat perfectly passive with little emotion on her face. Timid at first, the audience would cut very small pieces in very modest parts of her clothing, around her sleeve, for example, but soon they became very brave; eventually they would cut away her undergarments, leaving the artist clutching her naked body in an attempt to hide it.

10 Thomas Kellein, The Dream of Fluxus: George Maciunas, An Artist's Biography, trans. Fiona Elliott (London: Thames and Hudson, 2007), 93. 11 Hendricks, Fluxus Codex, 216.

25 Fluxus continued to evolve through the millennium and has maintained its

D.I.Y approach, simplicity, and the collaboration of artists, audience, and materials necessary to complete the pieces. In Art Since 1900:1945 to Present, Benjamin H.D.

Buchloh mentions that “Fluxus saw no distinction between art and life, and believed that routine, banal and everyday actions should be regarded as artistic events.”12 The Fluxus movement addressed the ideas of composition and documentation, which could be seen in the written directions or tangible event score, as well as Duchamp’s readymade objects and performance of process. It also addressed the aesthetics of the everyday that the work of both Cage and Duchamp hinged upon.

The movement addressed sublimation vs. desublimation, the collective of the audience, commodification, and an ephemeral process.13 In my opinion, Fluxus formed the basis of the contemporary live most significantly by incorporating the audience as an active role within the work and with its approach to authorship within composition. This movement helped validate the creator of the idea as the overall author of the piece while still citing collaborators as necessary components in the work’s development.

Cage and Duchamp are key influences on my work. I’m constantly trying to address a problem set that is not unfamiliar to most people; such can be seen in the main themes of my oeuvre. Vulnerability, intimacy and love are all concepts that have been targeted in for ages. I am continuously attempting to present these themes in a way or using a vehicle that is outside of more normative art practices. I look to Cage to

12 Benjamin H.D. Buchloh. Art Since 1900: 1945 to the Present, 1st ed. (London: Thames and Hudson, 2011), 457. 13 Ibid., 461.

26 find beauty and art in the most banal of happenings, and I look to Duchamp to subdue any elitism I might be portraying as the artist or author of the work. The overall directional, do-it-yourself feel of Fluxus is also a large inspiration for my work. The One to One performance framework that I typically use to support my work usually requires twice the amount of pre-planning. This framework makes the audience incredibly responsible for the execution of the piece. It can be really difficult to express very detailed expectations of the viewer without some sort of directional component. The piece can often fall flat if the directional component is not well thought out.

I was also heavily inspired by some of the more politically inspired performances that surfaced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This period of performance was also highly resonant with . Cut Piece, mentioned earlier, and other pieces, such as

Vagina Painting (fig. 3) performed by Shigeko Kubota in 1962, paved the way for later artists to push and document the medium of the body.14 Vagina Painting involved

Kubota applying red paint to a canvas with a paintbrush that was inserted into her vagina.

Body art simply requires that “the body is both subject and object of the work.”15

Barbara T. Smith and Carolee Schneeman confronted a lot of feminist underpinnings by using their bodies as a medium for performance. Chris Burden also used his body but his art focused more on the violence of society. Similarly, Vito

Acconci questioned the self, especially when caught between tensions of “privacy and publicity [and] trust and violation.”16

14 Benjamin Buchloh, “1962a” and “1974”, Art Since 1900, 458, 566. 15 Ibid. p568. 16 Ibid.; for more information on body art consult ,. Body art/performing the subject. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998).

27 Smith addressed the dialectic of abject desire and bodily sustenance in Ritual

Meal, performed in 1969. Ritual Meal invited audience members to dress up in surgical gear and use instruments to eat a meal together. The backdrop to the unorthodox meal contained projections of open-heart surgery and other bodily noises. The theatricality of hosting a dinner party and the feminine role within such an event were hurled against such an abject display.17

Smith’s most well-known piece, Feed Me (fig. 4) performed in 1973, went to greater lengths to address the feminine body and caretaking actions. The piece was contingent upon Smith installing herself nude and on a bed in a woman’s restroom surrounded by various objects associated with pleasure or sustenance. Smith then invited audience members one at time into the space with the words “feed me” on loop through the all-night duration of the piece.

The idea was that audience members would provide basic caretaking for Smith in exchange for conversation and/or affection. Smith was able to examine the tension between her ownership of her body while simultaneously questioning cultural standards on sexuality and womanhood.18 Politically, this piece opened up all the roles women could inherit at the same time; Smith performed as mother, caretaker, sexual being, and a dependent sometimes simultaneously.

17 Amanda Coulson, “Barbara T. Smith,” Frieze, June–August 2009, http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/barbara_t_smith/. Accessed March 26, 2013. 18 Jeanie Forte, "Women's Performance Art: and ," Theatre Journal 40, no. 2 (1988): 217-235. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.ohiou.edu/stable/3207658 (accessed January 18, 2013).

28 Her invitation to audience members to come feed her emotionally, psychologically, physically and, a few times, sexually subverted the expected roles of the masculine/feminine dichotomy. The One to One framework Smith used was extremely important to the piece and the future genre of One to One art. Caretaking, intimacy, and vulnerability remain popular topics that are addressed within One to One pieces.

Carolee Schneemann also addressed feminism within her work but in an extremely different way than Smith. Schneemann departed from her more

Fluxus/happenings inspired pieces, such as Meat Joy (fig. 5) performed in 1964, which addressed different flesh as material,19 toward Fuses (1967), in which Schneemann drew on celluloid film itself to combine elements found in film, painting, collage, and performance. This multi-faceted approach then created a cohesive performance piece.

Many of Schneemann’s early performances address themes of feminine sexuality and masculine violence that are more deliberately focused on in her pinnacle work,

Interior Scroll (fig. 6) that was performed in 1975. Interior Scroll involved Schneemann disrobing, covering herself in paint, and extracting a tangible feminist speech from her vagina. Many of the documentations show Schneemann with part of the scroll still partially inside her as she is holding the top and reading from it about chest level.

Visually, the scroll is very phallic, giving masculine undertones to the feminist words and origin of the scroll. This dichotomy between the imagery and content of Interior Scroll helped further the feminist underpinnings within performance.

19 The flesh material included sausage, paper, paint and live chickens within a dance of eight naked bodies

29 Chris Burden was another important body artist. Perhaps one of his most renowned performances, Shoot (fig. 7-8), performed in 1971, involved Burden being shot in the arm by an assistant in front of an audience.20 At the time, Burden and the rest of the country were being bombarded by media images of the Vietnam War and the American

Western genre that so often involved an antagonist being shot 20 times without falling to a knee. Burden similarly addressed the violence of consumerism in his 1974 performance of Trans-Fixed (fig. 9) by being crucified onto a Volkswagen Beetle. The politics of violence and consumerism were consistent threads in both performances.

Vito Acconci’s piece Seedbed (fig. 10), which was performed in 1972, addressed sexual violence and an inherent lack of responsibility. Seedbed required Acconci to install himself under the floorboards of a gallery and masturbate while vocalizing fantasies about those who walked above him over loud speakers. This caused a forced exchange with the viewer that made them implicit to the abjection of Acconci’s sexual behavior and their role within those actions.21

Many of his pieces before Seedbed were equally if not more interested in the personal boundaries and limitations. In his 1970 performance of Trademarks (fig.11-12)

Acconci would sign himself by biting his skin. He would then ink the wound in order to make a print. This signature was both an act of possession and objection. In a way,

Trademarks split himself into part commodity and part ownership. While in Following

Piece (1969) and Proximity Piece (1970) he implicated other people. Following Piece

(fig. 13) involved Acconci following a citizen on the street until the person would enter a

20 "Chris Burden - ." Gagosian Gallery - Gagosian Gallery, accessed January 22, 2013, http://www.gagosian.com/artists/chris-burden-2. 21 Buchloh, “1974”, Art Since 1900, 567–8.

30 private space and Proximity Piece placed the artist in the personal space of museum goers until the viewer would become uncomfortable and move away.

Acconci’s later work would involve much video documentation and self- reference. Centers (1971) included Acconci looking at a camera and attempting to point his finger directly at the center of the lens for as long as possible. This piece joins

Acconci’s exploration of stamina and endurance and the implication of the viewer.

Centers also uses the documentation as the performance as he seemingly thrusts responsibility on the viewer, as if to directly implicate the viewer in their voyeurism, all with a simple gesture.

Ono, Smith, Schneemann, Burden and Acconci are all great influencers on my work because they started involving elements of bodily risk, violence, and vulnerability in their work. I feel these artists effectively addressed many dualities and opened many doors for their viewers to continue contemplating the problems each artist was trying to confront. So, I am highly attracted to this great element of risk within social interaction, and I am, also, very aware that performances can heighten this sense of risk between the audience and the performer. I feel like we are taught that art is not to be touched and theatre is not to be interrupted from a young age. Ono, Smith, Schneemann, Burden and

Acconci all took their ideas and somewhat threw them at their audience, almost as if to say, “Here, now you have to interact or react in some way. What are you going to do?” I really aim to put both that element of social and bodily risk in my pieces as well as a framework that engages my audience on a more participatory level.

Linda Montano significantly extended the medium and durational aspects of performance art. In Seven Years of Living Art, Montano wore monochromatic clothing,

31 listened to tonalities specific to one of her chakras, and spent time in a colored room.

She also created many drawings using her dominant right hand. Each year was represented by a different color, different sound and different chakra.22 Montano decided to depart from the strict rules she had outlined in her first project and created Another

Seven Years of Living Art. She also decided to draw, but with her left hand rather than her dominant right during these next seven years in order to see what the chakras could teach her. This second iteration didn’t focus as much on the colors. Eventually this would prompt Montano to extend her Art as Life practice to other artists in order to form 21

Years of Living Art.23

Montano influences my work similarly to the ways Cage and Duchamp inspire me; she takes the everyday, distorts it ever so slightly, and presents it to a larger audience in the hopes that they interact with the piece. Montano, however, brings a huge element of duration and dedication to her pieces. I am highly attracted to this idea of a series or highly durational set of performances that are tied to the same cause. The element of study that Montano brings into her work is also quite appealing to me within my work.

Marina Abramović’s work, which is the greatest influencer on my work, is extremely different from Montano’s. Both artists, however, work with life as art concepts and longer durational components. Abramović’s solo work first gained attention around

22 The three correlated to each other; , “Chakra Story: Chapter 5,” accessed March 26, 2013, http://www.lindamontano.com/story/chapter5.html. 23 Linda Montano, “Chakra Story: Chapter 7,” http://www.lindamontano.com/story/chapter5.html , accessed March 26, 2013; for further Linda M. Montano, Letters from Linda M. Montano. Jennie Klein, ed. (London: Routledge, 2005).

32 1973 with her piece Rhythm 10.24 Abramović addressed ritual. She pushed physical and psychological boundaries by setting up 20 knives in front of her and attempting to quickly tap between her spread fingers with each knife. She would change knives each time she cut herself by missing. This first process was recorded and then replayed after the 20 knives had all been used. The second part of the performance involved Abramović listening to the taps the knives made and trying to mimic herself from the first process.25

She continued to test the limits of her body and her audience with Rhythm 5 and

Rhythm 2 (both performed in 1974). Rhythm 5 involved her entering a burning star, representing communism, and laying down. Eventually, the smoke rendered her unconscious and it wasn’t until much later that her audience intervened to help her. In

Rhythm 2, she took two pills. The first was a pill was developed for people with catatonia. This gave Abramović a very violent bodily reaction and resulted in seizures and loss of total bodily control. The first pill, though wreaking havoc on her body, allowed her complete mental clarity. Then, she took a pill prescribed for schizophrenia.

This gave her bodily control but she mentioned after the performance that she had no recollection of the second half of the piece.

However, Rhythm 0 (fig. 14), also performed in 1974, was perhaps the most extreme and well known of her solo performances. Abramović placed both objects of pleasure and pain on a table and allowed her audience to do anything they wanted to her with the tools she provided. Much like Ono’s Cut Piece, audience members started out

24"“Marina Abramović—Rhythm 10 (‘The Star’, 1999),” YouTube, video, 1:46, posted by “aszmedai”, October 29, 2007, accessed March 26, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9-HVwEbdCo." 25 Janet A. Kaplan, “Deeper and Deeper: Interview with Marina Abramovic,” Art Journal 58, no. 2 (Summer 1999): 9.

33 passively, as though testing to see if she would retaliate or react in any way. After a while without reaction, the audience became increasingly violent (fig. 15). One of the pinnacle images of the performance involved an audience member holding a loaded gun to her head. Another audience member who witnessed the exchange luckily intervened to rescue her. Later she commented:

What I learned was that... if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.” ... “I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.26

Abramović would soon collaborate with Frank Uwe Laysiepen, known as Ulay27, who at the time would also be a romantic partner of the artist. Some of their notable performances included Breathing In/Breathing Out and Imponderability, both of which were performed in 1977. Breathing In/Breathing Out (fig. 16) involved Abramović and

Ulay connecting at the mouth and breathing until they ran out of oxygen and passed out.

Imponderability (fig. 16) addressed the viewers’ boundaries. The Abramović and Ulay would stand naked in a doorway and viewers’ were forced to pass through between their naked bodies to get to the next room. The performance was roughly 19 minutes long. In

1988, the two decided to separate with one last performance. They walked from separate

26 Marina Abramović, Marina Abramović, A. Daenri, ed.. (Milano: Charta, 2002), 29-30. 27"Alastair Sooke, “Marina Abramović: ‘It Takes Strong Willpower to Do What I Do’,” The Telegraph (London), July 2, 2007, accessed March 26, 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-features/8609085/Marina-Abramovic-It-takes- strong-willpower-to-do-what-I-do.html."

34 sides of the Great Wall of China, met in the middle, and said their goodbyes. Duration and physical endurance continue to be a commonality in her work.

From March until May 2010, the Museum of (MOMA) did a large retrospective of Abramović’s work, including some of the pieces that she collaborated on with Ulay. During her retrospective she performed a 736 hour and 30 minute One to One performance. Audience members were invited to sit across from the silent and motionless

Abramović to share a moment with her. This piece, entitled The Artist is Present, was also made into a documentary film.

The retrospective also included “approximately fifty works spanning over four decades of her early interventions and sound pieces, video works, installations, photographs, solo performances, and collaborative performances made with Ulay.”28 The performances that required a performer were re-performed by other artists.29

Abramović has probably been the largest inspiration and influence for my work.

She has also been extremely influential on performance art as a movement. Her work is approachable but also reveals an integral violence, as well as durational and dangerous aspects. Her visual images and motivations are also stunning on their own. Balkan

28"“Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, March 14–May 31, 2010,” , accessed March 26, 2013, http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/965." 29 The Artists re-performing included: Maria José Arjona, Brittany Bailey, John Bonafede, Lydia Brawner, Rachel Brennecke (aka Bon Jane), Rebecca Brooks, Isabella Bruno, Alfredo Ferran Calle, Hsiao Chen, Rebecca Davis, Angela Freiberger, Kennis Hawkins, Michael Helland, Igor Josifov, Elana Katz, Cynthia Koppe, Heather Kravas, Gary Lai, Abigail Levine, Jacqueline Lounsbury, Isabelle Lumpkin, Elke Luyten, Alexander Lyle, Justine Lynch, Tom McCauley, Nick Morgan, Andrew Ondrejcak, Juri Onuki, Tony Orrico, Will Rawls, Matthew Rogers, George Emilio Sanchez, Ama Saru, Jill Sigman, Maria S. H. M., David Thomson, Layard Thompson, Amelia Uzategui Bonilla, Deborah Wing-Sproul, Yozmit, and Jeramy Zimmerman."

35 (1997)30 involved a white robed Abramović atop a large pile of cow bones.

The artist then attempted to scrub the bones clean to no avail, having to put them back in the bloody pile. My number one goal in my artistic practice is to capture the simplistic aesthetic, raw content, and powerful performances that Abramović weaves into all her work.

The other artists included in this chapter were mentioned as the building blocks of the One to One movement, which will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 4. Without action art and the subsequent Fluxus movement, the shift in focus toward process and performative action might not have happened. Likewise the early performances of

Kubota, Ono, Smith, and Schneemann directly contribute to the onset of body art. Burden and Acconci revealed the violence and violation of the audience within the context of performance, as well as the performance body. And Montano contributed duration and the everyday element on which One to One performances often rely31.

Abramović, in my opinion, really captures all of these elements within her work and performs a stunningly beautiful way. Her aesthetics are presented simply, but they resound with and continue to haunt a diverse audience. The next chapter outlines in detail my introduction to live art through the Tim Miller performance workshop and subsequent performance, Pieces of Us (2010).

30 Performed at the . The Venice Biennale is held once every two years and is an extremely prestigious festival. 31 Many One to Ones function much like a conversation might. Most people have One to One interactions every day."

36 Chapter 1 Figures

Figure 1. George Maciunas, Fluxkit, 1964-66. Data from: Whitney Museum of American Art. Available from ARTstor, www.artstor.org (accessed March 20, 2013).

Figure 2. Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1964. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed March 20, 2013).


Figure 3. Shigeko Kubota, Vagina Painting, 1965. Photo credit: Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed March 20, 2013).

Figure 4. Barbara T. Smith, Feed Me, 1973. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed March 20, 2013). © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VISCOPY, Surry Hills, AUS.


Figure 5. Carolee Schneemann, Meat Joy, 1964. Data from: University of California San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed March 20, 2013). © 2007 Carolee Schneemann/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Figure 6. Carolee Schneemann, Interior Scroll, 1975. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013). © 2007 Carolee Schneemann / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Figure 7. Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971. Photo Credit: Larry Qualls. Data from: (Larry Qualls Archive). Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).

Figure 8. Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971, detail: artist with bullet wounds. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).


Figure 9. Chris Burden, Transfixed, 1974, detail: two views. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).

Figure 10. Vito Acconci, Seedbed, 1972. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).


Figure 11. Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970. Black and white photos, documented performance; 4 views. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).

Figure 12. Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970, detail: arm. Black and white photograph, documented performance. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).


Figure 13. Vito Acconci, Following Piece, 1969. Black and white photographs, documented performance. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).

Figure 14. Marina Abramović, Rhythm 0, 1974, detail of table. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013). © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VGBK, Bonn.


Figure 15. Marina Abramović, Rhythm 0, 1974, detail of artist holding object. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on march 20, 2013). © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VGBK, Bonn.

Figure 16. Marina Abramović and Ulay, Breathing In/Breathing Out, 1977, detail: artists with covering mouths. Black and white photograph, documented performance. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor, www.artstor.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013). © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VGBK, Bonn.



My first face-to-face run-in with performance art was a week or two before spring break of my sophomore year in college. And boy did I hit the ground running. I had a week-long, intensive workshop with well-known performing artist Tim Miller. This eye- opening experience would bleed into a transatlantic journey to Glasgow, Scotland, for the

National Review of Live Art (NRLA), a performance festival that incorporated performing artists from across the world and will be covered more in-depth in the next chapter.

Like many of my live art experiences, I had no idea what to expect going into Tim

Miller’s workshop. I took a seat in the Forum Theatre inside OU’s School of Theatre building. About three to 40 students showed up the first day; this number would dwindle to roughly 21 in two days. All of us were staring at the empty thrust-style stage and I’m fairly certain that none of us knew what we were getting into. I can’t really be sure what I was thinking when Tim bounded down the stairs out from the audience and onto the stage.

Tim Miller is a very well-known performance artist who has performed internationally. His work often confronts and utilizes real stories in a very theatrical modality. Most of his performances confront issues that involve sexuality (specifically gay sexuality), marriage, and immigration issues. He is often mentioned in association with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Four. This organization provides numerous grants and funding to working artists. The NEA Four also includes Karen

Finley, John Fleck, and Holly Hughes. Tim and his associates had all been awarded

45 money from the NEA. Later, the then NEA chair, , vetoed all of their awards in June 1990 due to political pressure.32 Each of the artists had already undergone the peer review process and passed to receive funding. The NEA has now stopped funding individual artists as a result.

Tim has continued to work both creatively and politically to address marriage inequality and injustices toward the gay and queer communities. Many of his pieces are inspired by the struggle Tim and his life partner, Alistair McCartney, originally

Australian, have encountered with immigration issues being same-sex partners.33

The piece that Tim had performed in my Queer Theory class, however, focused on his childhood and the terrors of being a “little gay homo,” as he put it. The piece, very frenzied, took up the entirety of the 3x20 feet or so of space at the front of the classroom.

Tim paced energetically up and down the narrow space with large gestures. The story involved a younger him, maybe an elementary-aged student. He talked a lot about his pockets and how he found comfort in touching himself through his pockets at that age.

The majority of the piece focused on Tim getting caught doing this action at school by another student and then being verbally harassed. The teacher then later yelled at young

Tim for touching himself and threw him homophobic slurs in the presence of his entire class.

The piece was superb, however, shocking. So when Tim bounded down stairs I was somewhat frightened. Even at a collegiate level, talking about artists like Annie

Sprinkle, a former sex worker turned artist who had once had an audience look at her

32"Tim Miller, “Biography,” last modified 2013, accessed March 27, 2013, http://www.timmillerperformer.com/about.html." 33"Ibid."

46 cervix through gynecological equipment, I didn’t think I was really ready or wanting to talk about my sexuality in the way Tim did, and often still does. Part of me was worried that we would have to divulge huge personal stories or private matters. I deliberated leaving a few times.

Luckily, Tim didn’t push us to talk about anything we didn’t want to talk about.

After bounding onto the stage he simply explained to us that this intensive would be, well, intensive. We were expected to be there every day of the week. A few people left.

And we would be displaying the work of this intensive in a performance featuring ourselves. A few more people left the room.

He also explained that we would have to think a different way and have to really figure out the story inside that we needed to get out. The performance vaguely outlined above had featured a much different Tim than the one now speaking in front of us. The man that spoke to us here as an instructor completely departed from the lively, somewhat jumpity style he used within his art. This would be my first a-ha moment of performance: oftentimes, performers are entirely different outside of their work. It is called performance art. Sometimes it is performative.

Tim made performance art approachable for all of us. We started with some warm-ups after he invited us onto the stage, stretching first our bodies, then our minds, and finally our vocal cords; it was similar to the warm-ups I had done in middle school and high school theatre. Then, he began to foster trust between us by having us interact with each other. We began these trust exercises by telling small bits about our lives in a way that I imagined resembled live art speed dating. The last exercise was what I would

47 consider an unorthodox group meditation. It might have been the very thing that brought me to the performance world.

After exploring the space by improvisational pedestrian movements, Tim stopped us. He told us to close our eyes and let our minds wander. He guided our thoughts for a while in a more conventional way, asking us to sway and think about the way certain parts of our bodies felt in this movement. He then diverted into a more synesthetic path:

“Move the way chocolate tastes . . . transition into the movement of purple. What’s purple? How does it feel? Keep your eyes closed!” We continued on through more inanimate objects and conceptual movement.

I remember trying to focus so thoroughly through the exercise. My mind was racing. I was so excited. Finally, someone else who thinks in colors, who moves with tastes, and explores concepts through body! Finally, someone else who operates in a way

I have my entire life. It really unlocked a lot for me.

I felt creative freedom in this exercise. I wasn’t pinned down grammatically or given other logical strictures; I could just explore through movement. Although I was confined by the limitations of my own body, after dancing for 18 years those limitations didn’t necessarily seem like limits.

Eventually, we found stillness during the exercise. Tim prompted, “I want you to think of your favorite color. Without raising your hand or opening your eyes, I want you all to say what it is but not at the same time. You’ll find that, even with your eyes closed, you’ll be able to navigate the space. Try to speak in the silence and you’ll find a rhythm”.

Silence fell. All I could hear was my breath and the breath of someone to my left maybe a couple feet away.

48 The first thing I noticed about having my eyes closed in this soundscape was how bad my special perception was in the room. I couldn’t pinpoint where anyone was or how close I was to those around me. My second observation was how hesitant I was to speak. I got really nervous in a way and kept critiquing what my response should be. My inner monologue, once settled on a color, just kept repeating burnt tangerine, burnt tangerine, burnt tangerine. The room felt like a standoff. There was so much tension in the silence but which one of us would break it?

“Deep Plum” shot from somewhere across the room around the same time the person to my left decided she would speak. They sort of started a verbal tug of war by trying to feel out which person might take the lead. The floodgates were opened and colors started pouring out into the soundscape with frenzied voices—some of which projected undeniably into the room and others more timidly stopped halfway through their color, yielding to whoever overlapped them.

Tim had to stop us a couple times in the beginning because colors would avalanche onto the silence and fall muddled together. Eventually, we figured out an imperfect pace with occasionally overlapping responses. It was also interesting how little

I listened before I provided my “burnt tangerine” response. I was almost disgusted with how self-involved I was in this exercise. Even after volunteering my response, I found myself silently critiquing myself against others’ answers. For instance, one person yelled out, “that rosy orange after a sunset on a perfect day.” I knew instantly what that color was and I was criticized myself: “Why the hell am I not more creative? Why would I think burnt tangerine was an acceptable response?”

49 This, however, was not the most important thing I took away from the exercise.

The exercise provoked us to learn to navigate the space from every angle in an unorthodox way. We moved through it; we spoke through it; we learned from it.

I was amazed at how the space seemed to dictate our pacing. It urged us to speak faster sometimes and in quicker succession. It would slow us down when we went too quickly and overlapped. “Open your eyes. This was a great first day. Circle and pass the squeeze.34 I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

The next few days were kind of a blur for me. We were learning so quickly and I was thrust into a whole new world of performance art. I remember one circle-up that must have been maybe two days from our performance day. This circle-up was the result of an earlier movement exercise.

We were asked to try to put the entirety of our identity into one movement. If we would be any movement, which one would we be? After repeating this movement a few minutes, we formed a circled. Tim looked around and explained that this movement could be the starting point for our individual story that needed to be told. In the circle, we would perform one at a time the movement for a moment and then speak in a conscious stream of dialogue about the movement, why we picked it, and so on and so forth. As I remember, a lot of people found their stories that day; those of us that didn’t find our story needed to be told found our jumping-off point.

34"This practice is often used in the theater community as a passing of good luck or goodwill. The cast or group of performers stands in a circle holding each other’s hands (which are typically crossed one over the other). One person starts by squeezing the hand of the person to his or her right, and the person to his or her right reacts by squeezing the hand to his or her right. The squeeze is sometimes passed multiple times around the circle."

50 I don’t remember many of these early pieces, but I do remember there being a general sense of therapy in all of them. We would all do our movement at the same time and gradually as one person left the center space with his or her individual movement another would enter it. We really started addressing deep and sometimes disturbing issues. Some of the performers cried and some of us cried in the circle around them.

One particularly emotional story was that of a girl whose gesture was this ripping motion with her fingers facing toward us. She evidently had had some sort of medical condition where a layer of skin grew over her urethra as a child. Her story turned out to be a traumatic retelling of being made fun of by her family and having to go to doctors as a child over and over and over again for this skin to be forcefully ripped with no form of anesthetic. Her tale continued to divulge into physical separation from her vagina and the problems that generated from her condition and the “treatment” she received for it. One of the hardest things to hear during the story was her account of how the operation even made a tearing noise and that she would often feel physically ill, even to the point of vomiting, anytime she heard paper rip.

Not all stories involved genitalia or sexuality though. Some were based on financial issues, personality traits, and specific happy events that had occurred and helped the person to develop. My motion had been that of a tightrope walker. It was with this motion that I realized that I was dealing with my personal history in a way I hadn’t entirely realized. I was abused as a child and put into foster care when I was three-months old. Luckily, the same woman who fostered me from three-months on was able to adopt me after what I have been told had been a rough of half a decade of custody battles.

51 After hearing my story, many people often respond by stating how hard my first five-years and nine-months must have been, considering it is so altered from what is normally considered a good childhood. It was, however, the only life I knew from three- months to six-years old, and I had no control or choice in what happened to me after that.

I had had a couple last visits with my biological father, mother, and families. I wasn’t aware that they were my last visits until the week later when I was dressed to go visit one of my other families. It was the taking away of these very routine visits and people in my life that was particularly hard on me. I started acting out and subsequently seeing a therapist, who would eventually comment that I might not ever function normally within society. He advised my mom, the woman who eventually adopted me, to not even change the furniture without my knowledge. Suddenly, I had this rage and a need for control.

Luckily, the therapist was wrong and I’ve been able to lead a very normal and socialized life. The trauma of everything and everyone I had known being taken away from me had still managed to manifest in different ways.

It was because of these events and subsequent control issues that I felt I was best defined by tight rope walking. I learned at young age that if you don’t do everything the best or in the right way things can be taken away from you. I learned to want what other people wanted for me so that if those opportunities were taken away or withheld I wouldn’t have to deal with emotional baggage that could come with it. After all, it hadn’t been something I had wanted for myself.

52 Even through years of therapy growing up, it wasn’t until Tim’s workshop that

I actually realized how manifest this trauma had become. I didn’t exactly address this trauma in our later performance, but it was the beginning of me finding that story.

This exercise put us over our time limit that day and got a bit rushed toward the end. Everyone, nevertheless, was able to enter the circle, perform and obtain some catharsis. We even got homework; we were to go home and write the story within that needed to get out.

Another day, a bit before or after our identifying movement exercise, we were handed large pieces of paper about two-by-six feet dimensionally. Tim told us, “You have 20 minutes to draw yourself. These pieces will be on display for our performance. I want you to draw yourself however you view yourself. Maybe it’s physically accurate or maybe it’s more abstract. Just draw however you feel.”

I don’t really remember entirely what mine looked like but it was basically an outline of my body with lots of abstract shapes and colors in the inside. I don’t even think

I put a face on myself. After our masterpieces were completed, we traipsed around the room looking at everyone else’s. I remember being jealous of all the awesome artistic talent. I looked at my piece from across the room and noticed it was the only abstract one.

I still don’t know to this day whether that was because of my technical (or lack thereof) capability or whether its abstraction actually addressed some of the issues I had been dealing with at the time.

We ran through our written performances a few times before we actually showed them off to the world. We also developed an introduction, which is transcribed in the

Chapter 2 Relevant Documentation section below, to our show where we carried our

53 shoes to center stage and said “These are the shoes of a…” and finished the sentence with a word or phrase that best defined our piece. I would be first to go on stage and second to perform. I believe my phrase was “These are the shoes of a water droplet.”

The evening of the performance we took our body drawings and lined them in a circle on the stage. We then waited in the lobby to escort small groups of audience members into the space. Each performer introduced roughly 10-15 audience members to his or her individual body drawing. Each of us explained to them in detail why we had drawn ourselves in that particular way and then escorted them to their seats in the .

My piece was basically a huge, extended metaphor. I was water and the people around me were vessels that I filled and formulated my own identity to. My piece incorporated all the performers. I danced for parts of the performance and I concluded my piece by dumping a bottle of really cold water over my head.

After the performance was done, a couple of people approached me and commented on how well they like my piece. I remember beaming at one of the school of theatre professors when they told me that my piece had been the best technically written of the bunch. Looking back on the performance, I’m reminded at how far I’ve come.

I’m actually quite embarrassed by this piece, transcribed in full under the Chapter

2 Figures section, but I also recognize it as something that was necessary. It’s led me to my current approach to art for my audience through myself and less for myself.

I think the disgust I had with my self-involvement during the intensive kind of helped lead up to that. I just wanted to be listening and watching instead of judging myself against my collaborators. I wanted to be listening when I should and firm in my voice when I wasn’t listening. I think I’ve definitely taken some strides in that as an

54 artist. The Tim Miller intensive was my first run-in with performance art. The National

Review of Live Art would also be extremely eye opening.

Chapter 2 Relevant Documentation

The Introduction of Pieces of Us, Transcribed

Each performer walks down from the wings of the audience with his or her shoes in hand. At center stage, the performer turns around says, “These are the shoes of…” and continues to provide a brief description of his or her individual and original piece.

These are the shoes of a water droplet searching for a shape

These are the shoes of a woman who has way too many non-believers.

These are the shoes of a girl who’s hungry for life.

These are the shoes of a girl who doesn’t really matter.

These are the shoes of a woman who is not afraid to erupt.

These are the shoes of a creature caught in the trap of habit. These are the shoes of girl who is just looking for her ‘h’.

These are the shoes of a woman filled with hope.

These are the shoes of a woman who is “cuming” into being.

These are the shoes of a man who has unfinished business.

These are the shoes of a man that really, really loves the world.

These are the shoes of a dog whisperer who won’t lie down.

These are the shoes of a seed eager to grow.

These are the shoes of a man who’s lost track of the roads he’s walked down.


These are the shoes of a queer who is tugging at the strings of history. These are the shoes of a girl with an Autistic brother.

These are the shoes of a woman who will fight for her dreams.

These are the shoes of a girl who has built walls.

These are the shoes of someone who changes when they can.

These are the shoes of a girl who never saw them coming.

These are the shoes of a woman who needs a serious virus scan.

These are the shoes of a man who is caught is in the cogs of a machine.

The last performer in the introduction runs on stage and begins his performance.

My Performance Piece in Pieces of Us, Transcribed

All performers remain on stage until my performance. They walk out into the space from a straight, horizontal line in the back of the stage. They walk to a predetermined point on the stage, stop, and pose in a variety of positions. Performers chant, “I am” in unison as they move.

I am water.

Performers chant, “You are” in unison.

And you, you are my cups. I suffocate myself to conform into your boundaries. I hug; some may find me overwhelming. But as free flowing as water should be, it will always have it’s own entity; it will always just be water. But when you pour me into your glasses, the only thing I can see are my dreams and my goals as coming

56 back as yours. And everything is blurred, nothing is tangible, I cannot hold any more. .

Water, a very changing identity; I can fall from the sky, I can dew on your brow, I can mix in your eye, flood your thoughts, I can engulf cities and opportunities. I am, I am for everyone. I am? I am. I. Am. But I can only go as far as you let me.

I’m just searching for a shape. All I want is to have a shape to have some sort of identity I can hold on to. But the only time I can seem to find a shape by myself is when my environment is so cold that I just cube a shape or god forbid I into something that’s shapeless. You chip away at me and put me in your glass.

It’s really not your fault, it really isn’t. You simply think, “Oh, there’s Stephanie, high up on the shelf. Best water I’ve ever tasted, very refreshing.” And there’s at least one man in the audience that can attest.

But just remember that I am free flowing potentiality. Pour me into your subjectivity. Remember that I am not plastic though I can conform to it. Your plastic is special; I accept it. You’ve had your top cranked off so many times and then replaced that makes you special.

And I, I cannot be glass though I can adhere to it. Because I don’t know what it’s like to fall off a shelf and break in to a thousand pieces until the only thing that can put me back together is, ironically, a glue called Krazy. So, please, please remember, that I, I will always be water. (Here I dumped a bottle of water over my head). And you may always be plastic. It’s special hold on to it forever.

Cherish it.


The National Review of Live Art (NRLA) hurled what seemed to be an unending and inordinate amount of performance exposure into my life. The NRLA took place from

March 17–21. In those four days I was exposed to more than 25 performances, five lectures, multiple installations of performance documentation, and probably close to 12 hours of standing in line, or queuing as they called it in Glasgow. The hours spent waiting

(and they were often multiple) for performances were compensated for by conversation with fellow viewers, many of whom were writers, critics, or artists themselves.

My first live art experience was Curious, in all senses of the word. The queue began in a dimly lit back room under The Arches, one of the spaces being utilized for the festival. The arches looked like what I imagined to be the basement of a train station.

There were columns, concrete floors, and narrow hallways.

Curious, the performance group, asked us to leave our coats and belongings outside the room that Curious was using as a performance space. We were then encouraged to split up to sit in different life rafts. Six people were forced to cramp pretty much on top of each other, knees jutting into others’ elbows. A film was projected in the front of the room while the performers of Curious talked over or between film’s stills.

The piece was entitled the moment i saw you i knew i could love you (fig. 18).

The rafts formed small communities and Curious began to tell us the narrative of how we were lost at sea. We were told that the performance was set in the belly of a whale. We were then explained the reactions of our bodies’ reactions in fight, flee, or freeze. At this point in the performance, I started to be pulled in both psychologically and physiologically. Before the narration of fight, flee, or freeze, the projections involved an

58 elderly couple slow dancing, the beach, and a woman standing on a chair in the ocean.

The stills weren’t very cohesive to me and seemed to affect me little.

The opening speech, however, told us how our heart races to pump blood to our extremities to flee and fight, whereas in freeze the body is delivered to a perfect calm: blood pressure drops, the heart slows, and respirations slows and shallows.

My heartbeat, which had been racing, started to slow down. Curious continued to outline the physiological responses to freezing in free fall (from a building, for example), saying that this state of bodily shock is calm, numb, and peaceful. We were then told the story of a man found barely breathing with a slowed pulse in the belly of a shored whale.

An icy cool seemed to float down onto the life rafts in the form of the projected light; the film began again. Curious’s theme emerged from the black-and-white blinking screen: Love. The performers called it “the fence connecting the mind to the soul to the body.”35

The narrative effect Curious had was incredibly different than Sylvia Ziranek’s

FOOT, FOOD, AGO. Sylvia’s piece used language more as a medium than as a means to storytelling for her piece. I was fortunate to able be able to spend some time with

Sylvia36, at the time in her late 50’s with bright pink short hair, through the duration of the festival.37 Sylvia’s work is spectacularly written. She plays with language much like

35"International*Festival*of*Live*Art,*Scotland:*New*Territories*10,"information* booklet,"Curious’s"artist"statement,"25."" 36"Sylvia"and"Jennie"met"in"2007"on"a"panel"Jennie"chaired"for"the"NRLA"on"the"state" of"discipline."Sylvia"was"also"included"in"The*M*Word,"a"coRedited"book"by"Jennie"and" Myrel"Chernick"(Toronto:"Demeter"Press,"2012)" 37"Jennie"Klein"became"my"thesis"advisor"and"allowed"me"to"accompany"her"on"the" Glasgow"trip.""

59 the spaces she creates. Her spaces frequently reference motherhood, domesticity, and textiles and are often covered in bright neon-esque colors and textural variations.

Julia Bardsley, in great contrast to both Curious and Sylvia, was absolutely terrifying. I don’t even know how to begin to describe Bardsley’s AFTERMATHS: a tear in the meat of vision. Jennie and I queued for the performance and were told to gather any small, all-black token that we wouldn’t mind making as an offering. We were herded into a black room on a large neon-lined, cross-shaped catwalk.

Bardsley, strapped in all leather and with a rather large plush penis attached to her pelvis and a heavy dark mustache on her face, was helped up onto the stage. Her walk was very rigid and sporadic. It looked as if she was seizing or walking for the first time, unable to bear her own weight. She was also wearing contacts that gave a bright yellow- green color to her entire eye with exceedingly small pupils.

Bardsley began preaching to her congregation (audience) about consumerism and the End of Time. The whole thing was stressful. I was extremely fearful throughout the entire piece that she might stare at me and get into my face, as she had done to a couple others in the audience. Bardsley writes in her artist’s statement that the piece was a

“display of secreting surfaces, wounded landscapes, curtain of skin and hair, mutating bodies, fragment of meat, merchandise and money.” That is pretty much how it felt.

The same evening we watched Bardsley’s piece, we also saw Forced

Entertainment’s Void Story. Void Story follows two protagonists through a dilapidated, almost apocalyptic society. The two characters had a lot of very violent and unfortunate events happen to them during their journey. Forced Entertainment added sound effects and provided the voices of the characters as the film played. The end of the film was very

60 bleak and depressing. We funneled out of the theatre back into halls of the Tramway, where Bardsley and Forced Entertainment had performed, and gathered for

FrenchMotershead’s Were You Here The Last Time. All NRLA viewers, performers, technical crews, and programmers were invited to gather at the Tramway for a mass photograph documenting our best look as the NRLA participating community. The photograph was supposed to represent “the collective nature of artistic production.”38

Kate Stannard’s RAW (body as machine) spanned the duration of the festival.

RAW was based off of the Race Across the West, also known as the Race of Truth. This extreme race tests cyclists’ physical and mental endurance with an 860 mile journey with little sustenance and sleep. Stannard cycled on a stationary bike in the gallery space for

860 miles. Only liquid carbs and small amounts of grain and fruit nourished her. During her ride, she would also often talk to her viewers to let them know how she was feeling or what the performance had revealed to her.

I was also able to see Kira O’Reilly’s Untitled (syncope). Unlike her previous One to One performances, O’Reilly addressed a rather large, standing audience for this piece.

The front row indented to create more circular space for her to perform. O’Reilly emerged from a hallway, walking backwards in only stiletto’s and a cabaret-inspired feather headdress. She carried a mirror and a scalpel in one hand.

As she walked backward, O’Reilly used the mirror both to navigate the space and look into the faces of her audience. She then took off her headdress and made incisions on each of her calf muscles. She then proceeded to dance and bleed. The most interesting

38"New"Territories,"International*Festival*of*Live*Art,*Scotland:*New*Territories* 10(Glasgow,"UK:"New"Moves"International,"2011),"31."

61 part of this piece to me was when she invaded the audience to make small stages for herself within the crowd. She would perform facing many directions and then switch her position in the crowd, as if performing so that everyone could be in the front row at least once.

Geraldine Pilgrim’s Not Waving But Drowning was a quite inspirational piece.

After queuing for an eternity, we were ushered into a small room sectioned in thirds. The third furthest away from us contained a sitting Pilgrim, wrapped ankle propped up on an ottoman in front of a television, a phone in hand, staring toward us. The middle section that split our world from Pilgrim’s contained plastic bags floating up and down at the whim of a grid of active fans below. The audience’s third looked visually very similar to

Geraldine’s. Our third, however, didn’t have a television and the phone sat alone in a corner on top of an end table. We stood in our third as our phone rang shrilly and incessantly.

Alienated and unable walk across the room to Pilgrim, we began to try to answer our phone. Every time we picked up the phone there would be complete silence on the other end. We tried to mix up the , size, and eye color of the audience member who answered the phone to see if there would be a different response. No matter who answered the telephone, the response would be the same.

The gratification of the piece for me was the solidarity of that viewing third. We were driven by the piece to find comfort and unity in each other. A problem as simple as a continuously ringing phone made us work together in order to rectify the problem or answer the call.

62 It was around Pilgrim’s piece that I really started enjoying the NRLA and began to leave my fear and timidness behind. I got more involved in the pieces when I could, particularly the pieces that were constructed as events with audience members or performers who were willing to create an experience for me. , Francesca

Steele, and Sam Rose would all do this in different ways. I was fascinated by Athey’s Self

Obliterations I, II & III: Ecstatic, Sustained Rapture, Mortification, not necessarily because of the piece or the copious amounts of blood it involved, but the response it ignited in his audience.

Even queuing for Athey’s piece was intense. People were murmuring about his past work and whether or not they had seen his first performance of this piece at the

Arnolfini Gallery in 2007. It probably took us 40 minutes to cram into Athey’s performance space. A line of artists, some which I had already seen perform, formed a rectangle about five feet around the tiny, platform-like stage Athey would use during the performance.

We were warned, though minimally, that there would be blood during this performance, and that if we were uncomfortable we were welcome to leave at any time.

Jennie just stood beside me telling me to sit down if I felt lightheaded and to be aware of my surroundings if someone were to faint on me. An eerie soundscape of ringing and elongated tonalities filled the space as Athey, kneeling naked, brushed a light blonde wig that hung over the front of his body from front to back. He later teased the wig and pulled on it in all sorts of directions.

Athey, who was diagnosed in 1986 as HIV+, tore the wig from his head to reveal that it had been pinned to his scalp. He then began bleeding everywhere. All around me I

63 started hearing loud booms of people losing consciousness and falling to the floor.

Then, because I was standing toward the back, I would see a line of people rush toward the loud noise. It was that day I learned what smelling salts smelled like. There were roughly eight people who lost consciousness during the piece and probably about 40 people who left the performance entirely. Later Athey anally fisted himself to what I could only suppose was completion after he had finished painting with her blood. The performance ended when Athey was covered in salt to stop his bleeding.

Overall, the performance was a little too much for my taste. I understood the reasons and motivations for Athey’s spectacle and certainly respected the dedication he had for his piece. The abjection of his blood and sexuality were presented in vehicles that were wrapped up in disease and survivor guilt. The awesome part of Athey’s piece, in my opinion, was the one part he had no control over: the way the audience reacted.

Many people passed out from the sheer amount of blood they saw. People who had been unaffected were talking about how Athey must have ruptured an artery or a larger vein than he had thought. Many were concerned that Athey himself would pass out. The community of the audience coming to the aid of the unconscious with salts or a helping hand to lead them outside was really refreshing and solidifying. People flocked in waves to the sound of the fallen; this produced an extremely powerful image for me. So powerful, in fact, that I missed all of Athey’s fisting—a gesture I wasn’t too upset to miss.

The fainting came to halt about three-fourths the way through the performance. If you hadn’t fainted by then, it seemed you weren’t going to. I had an interesting observation after the fainting and scattered booms of bodies falling had stopped: every

64 person in the room seemed to be holding or touching someone next to them. It seemed to me that the audience members had to ground themselves to something or someone. It seemed like that tangible tether to another person was necessary to be subject to Athey’s extreme practices. That was a really awesome moment to witness.

Another artist working with his body is , a performance artist who was growing a human ear on his arm at the time, had installations of casts he had made from his unique appendage. Manuel Vason, a popular performance photographer/collaborator, also had an installation of his photographs hanging up. Most of his photographs were of performing artists, some of which were performing at the NRLA. Vason provided smaller, postcard-sized versions for the viewers to take home.

A more visually dependent piece included a showing of La Ribot’s mariachi no

17. La Ribot has long been using dance and innovative film techniques to represent her performances. In Oreet Ashery’s Hairoism, Ashery used donated hair from the audience and then coifed herself to look like four male public figures. The performance ended with

Ashery completely covered by the audience’s hair. Alastair MacLennan39 installed himself in a transparent gallery cube with a few objects and balloons to blow up. The cube was filled with condensation in the five-hour duration of the performance. Finally, during LOOC: Line Out Of Control, Arsha Nair and Len Eriksson tied two continuously drawing pencils to each other from opposite ends of the room and drew on a singular scroll that had been wrapped around the space. The audience was welcome to enter and navigate the space between the two performers.

39"Alastair"MacLennan"was featured for the cover of the New Territories Catalogue from a different performance: Collaboration #5, Belfast, 2006, photo by Manuel Vason."

65 The two most influential pieces that I viewed at the NRLA were Francesca

Steele’s Routine and the lecture piece after Sam Rose’s performance of Melting Point.

Both of these performances were in the One to One framework. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate in Rose’s piece because I had not been not invited. I did, however, queue over 3 hours to see Steele’s piece.

As I mention in the last chapter, the rush of entering the unknown of a One to One is exhilarating; the piece I outlined in Chapter 3 was Francesca Steele’s Routine. Steele was also featured in Vason’s photography (fig. 19). Each individual One to One session of Routine was seven-minutes long and the entirety of the performance for Steele lasted over three-hours. When I entered the room alone with Steele, a camera was focused on her back and facing me, and the image of Steele’s back was projected on the wall behind her. The room contained white washed walls and a 360-degree view of myself against the sculpted Steele in the projection. I joined Steele on the small stage on which she stood, waiting. She stood about as high as my nose even in stilettos, her toes a mere two inches from mine. She craned her neck back to connect her eyes with main and continued to maintain eye contact throughout the performance. She then posed in many bodybuilding positions showing off her incredibly jagged muscles.

I felt caught both in my actions and in my image. My back was now blocking

Steele from the camera routed to the projector and my image completely blocked Steele’s because my body was so much larger than hers. I fought with myself about what I was doing, how I should be responding, and how Steele wanted me to respond to her or to the piece. I ended up just staying still attempting to keep all emotion from my face. I wanted to be unreadable.

66 Steele’s last position entwined our bodies. Steele, with one foot wrapped around my left leg, pressed her ripped torso along the padding of mine. She exhaled through her mouth onto my chest as she flexed her muscles and stared into my eyes for the last few moments.

After this last position, she untangled herself, took a step away from me, grabbed my hands and smiled. I spoke a few words and nodded with a grin of gratitude. I thanked her for her time, told her the piece was very good, and left the room. I was preoccupied with that particular performance longer than any other performance I had seen. I still think of it sometimes, wondering how other people reacted and what they might have done within that same space with Steele, who may have prompted other viewers in similar or contrasting ways. The potentiality of it all was really effective for me.

Rose was interested in notions of intimacy, exchange, and the senses. Though I was not invited to attend Melting Point. Rose did, however, invite any and all to the lecture she presented after her piece with Annette Foster, a collaborator and viewer of the piece.

Rose refused to document her One to One to allow full disclosure within the content generated by both the performer and the viewer. The Between One Another series contained three parts: Melting Point, A Place of Encounter, and Our Pod. Each part contained a different emphasis on similar involvements: exchange, intimacy, risk, chance, dialogue, conversation, feelings of control, power, closeness, vulnerability, loss, and a blur of the line between audience and performer. Melting Point was said to “be a sensual and seductive One to One performance that offer[ed] a series of whispers, gentle caresses and sumptuous flavours.”

67 The lecture that Rose shared with Foster was entitled Melting Point: A shared encounter, a shared exchange a shared account. During the lecture, Rose and Foster attempted to communicate from the viewpoints of both the performer and the audience.

The idea of documenting One to One works through lecture or, more so, dialogue between the performer and viewer, was and remains interesting to me.

Overall, the NRLA expanded my knowledge greatly in a week bombarded by live art. I feel like I learned just as much queuing as I did from the actual performances. It is no surprise that many of these artists and pieces have influenced or manifested in my work, sometimes in peculiar ways.

My Secrets series, covered in the next chapter, refers heavily to Rose’s Melting

Point. My (IN)Timacy series, found in Chapter 6, could easily be referenced back to the performative installation Pilgrim presented in Not Waiting But Drowning. Love and

Other Numbers, my thesis performance, is outlined in Chapter 7. This final performance marries many of the undertones present in the works I viewed at the NRLA with new inspirations and approaches to themes of body, intimacy, vulnerability, and memory.

Chapter 3 Figures

Figure 17. Curious, the moment i saw you i knew i could love you, 2010. Film still. Available from: Curious’s website, http://www.placelessness.com (Accessed on March 20, 2013).


Figure 18. Manuel Vason in Collaboration with Francesca Steele and Stuart Core, Collaboration #2 Plymouth, 2009. Available from: Art Collaboration, www.artcolaboration.co.uk/ (Accessed on March 20, 2013).

Figure 19. Sam Rose and Annette Foster, Melting Point, 2010. Available from: A Space for Live Art, www.aspaceforliveart.org (Accessed on March 20, 2013).




One to Ones, as the name suggests, extend an invitation to a single audience member to participate within a performance, which could be set up by an individual artist or a group of collaborators. They are also known as “One on One” or “Audience of One” performance pieces.40 These One to Ones are a subgenre of live art. Much like live art,

One to Ones can also incorporate multiple tropes or vehicles of presentation, such as installation, conceptual, abstraction, body, theatre, feminism, materialism, technology, and durational just to name a few. More often than not One to Ones encompass many of these tropes to create a new hybrid within the live art sphere.

Duration is a key factor in the One to One system of performance. A typical One to One piece is rather short in duration for each individual audience member but is exceedingly durational for the performer. Duration can be a double-edged sword in One to One performance as it dictates how many audience members will be able to participate in the piece. It is, however, always a priori implicit within this structure of performance.

The durational nature of the piece is largely for the performer (or group) that sets and/or oversees the performance structure. The audience of one usually experiences the piece in a very brief duration.

Oftentimes the duration of the piece will be capped within a certain timeframe. A gallery might decide to pick up the piece and carry it for a month, for example, or the

40"Rachel Zerihan, “Live Art Development Agency Study Room Guide on One to One Performance,” Live Art Development Agency, last modified 2008, 3, accessed March 26, 2013, http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/pdf_docs/Zerihan_SRG_Final2.pdf."

70 performance space might only allot for hours within a larger festival. In a non-One to

One piece, these parameters that dictate the duration would traditionally have little bearing on how many people might be reached by the piece.41

One to One durations are more finely tuned and dependent upon time in order to function as a widely witnessed art piece. A shorter duration allows for more performances within the allotted time, which in turn admits more audience members to participate. Where duration typically does not dictate the amount of audience exposure to a piece in the larger practice of live art, the volume of the audience is dependent on the duration.

One to Ones are also fully dependent upon audience participation. According to

Rachel Zerihan, author of the Live Art Study Room Guide on One to One Performance

Art. What I find most exciting about One to One performance is the opportunity it affords the spectator to immerse themselves in the performance framework set out by the practitioner. This can be seductive/ scary/ liberating/ boring/ intimate prospect and an even more intensive experience.”42

There are multiple artists who use, or have used, the One to One structure for purposes ranging from viewer/audience reversal, heightened intimacy, heightened risk on behalf of either the viewer or audience member, the violence of independent viewing, or the supply/demand structure that relies upon duration (or often lack thereof for the audience) or endurance for the performer.

41"The size of the performance space may limit the size of the audience." 42"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” 3."

71 My First One to One Experience

I was absolutely terrified.

Let me set the stage for you: I’m in a slightly damp, basement-like hallway in The

Arches, a performance space in Glasgow. I know no one around me. This is one of the first times that I’ve ventured on my own since being in Scotland. I’ve been waiting in this line for 2 hours now and have recently noticed the young man next to me is the only other person in line not engaged in a conversation. So, naturally, I turn to him and begin a conversation. He asks me if I’m a performance artist and if I attend some school in

Glasgow. “No, I’m not a student here. I’m from the US. I’m not really sure how to answer the first question. I’m on my way, I guess,” I reply. We continue to exchange small talk until one of us finally asks, “So, Do you know what this is about?”

Neither of us did. This mysterious subgenre of performance art seemed shrouded in what was already a definitively hard to understand field. This was a One to One performance. It would be my first.

After a bit of conversation and a lot of awkward pauses, the beginning of the line filed down until it was my newfound friend’s turn. “Well, you’re up. Tell me how it is afterward,” and just like that my conversational buddy was swept away into a room so many before us had disappeared and reemerged, unreadable, 7 minutes later. He was no different. He didn’t tell me how it was. He barely met my gaze. He just grabbed his bag next to me, smiled a little, and left. Then, it was my turn.

I stood up, convincing myself that I couldn’t be harmed because clearly I hadn’t signed any waivers. They would make me sign a waiver right? That is if I was to be physically implicated in any of this. Wait, by standing in line do I waive my autonomous

72 rights and assumedly consent to whatever this artist has planned for me just by wanting to participate? Shit.

It felt like a trap. “There are two doors. Make sure the first closes behind you before you open the second. She’ll let you know when she’s ready.” I looked to what I could only assume was the artist’s aide somewhat skeptical, “That’s it?”

That was it. I opened the first door and let the darkness between the two consume me. Here my thoughts raced through performances I had already seen. I think I was trying to prepare myself. This could be a very tender and intimate performance like

Curious’s the moment i saw you i knew i could love you, which was the first performance

I had seen in Glasgow, or it could be more like Ron Athey’s Self Obliterations I, II & III:

Ecstatic, Sustained Rapture, Mortification,43 which I had seen the night before. Curious’s performance was more compassionate and focused on a narrative outlining human relations while Athey’s piece was more extreme and involved a lot of blood letting. I was hoping for the tenderness of the former in lieu of the cutting and blood letting of the latter. What is it that Jennie, my advisor, had mentioned before I went to wait in line?

That she was in a one to one with . where he disrobed his audience.44 Did she call it liberating? Will I have to shed my clothes? The first door came to a close behind me.

I closed my eyes and reached for the second handle. I hesitated; was it too late to turn back? I recounted all the platform diving boards and roller coasters I had waited in

43"Both"performances"are"further"outlined"in"Chapter"3."" 44"Franko B.’s piece was entitled Aktion 893 (Why are you here?), a response to a previous piece entitled Aktion 398, which featured the artist naked and holding a wound while wearing a large surgical collar to keep him from tending to his wound."

73 line for just to get to the top, chicken out and apologize to a million people as I climbed all the way back down. Yes, it was too late and what did diving boards and roller coasters have to do with it anyway? I took a deep breath. I opened the second door.

And that was that. Such was my first One to One. I was hooked. The performance in and of itself was only seven minutes long and I spent the entirety of the time trying to figure out what it was that I was supposed to be doing. I’m not sure I got the answer right—granted I’m not sure there was a right answer. That seems to be the case with many performances.

One to Ones are all about the experience of experiencing a One to One interaction. This framework invites the spectator to collaborate with the performer in order to create “a shared experience—responsive and dialectic as opposed to imposed and prescribed.”45 The autonomy given to the viewer within the performance requires a great deal of vulnerability and risk on both the part of the spectator as well as the performer. “It is the idea that anything—or indeed, nothing—might happen during these encounters that makes them so charged and interesting,” Lyn Gardner writes in on the remarkable unpredictability and high stakes in One to One performance.46

It reminds me of the haunted house I built in my garage when I was eight. I built this haunted house with a few of the neighborhood children. We used an entire day of play to build this thing; gathering boxes and fake cobwebs, we mapped out our attack, we painted our faces, we donned our apparel, and finally we were ready. Or so we thought.

45"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” 3." 46"Lyn Gardner, “‘I Didn't Know Where to Look,’” The Guardian (London), March 3, 2005, accessed March 26, 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2005/mar/03/theatre2."

74 One of the neighborhood boys who was much older and thus much more worldly and knowledgeable about the execution of such things (haunted garages included) helped us plan our attack. Granted, as you soon will see, this young man had some issues of his own. When we opened our haunted garage, our haunted garage advisor was there with his family. We thought he was being supportive.

We had structured our haunted tour much like a One to One piece, only allowing one guest at a time. Our first guest would be our advisor as he was, of course, a V.I.P. guest and required special treatment. After all, it couldn’t have been possible without him.

He stepped inside and, as the garage came to a close on the soft dim of twilight outside, he snapped. He started yelling out where everyone was, knocking fake cobwebs over, and kicking boxes to the floor. I was flabbergasted. My 8-year-old mouth dropped to the floor, tears rolled from my eyes, and any hopes of ever running a haunted garage were swiftly removed from my future occupational endeavors.

The risk of emotional and occupational devastation was too great. One to One performance presents risk and elevated stakes for both the spectator and the performer.

This unfortunate haunted garage experience of my past perfectly represents the breech of trust that can happen in a One to One, either on the part of the artist, or as in the case of the haunted garage, on the part of the audience-participant. It is this possibility of broken trust and vulnerability that raises the risk compared to performance pieces catering toward larger, more traditional audiences.

Kira O’Reilly speaks to Gardner about this interesting tension in reference to one of her NRLA pieces. Gardner does not name the piece in her article, although I can

75 assume she is referring to O’Reilly’s Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter (fig. 21).

O’Reilly invited audience members of Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter to hold her naked body and make an incision on her body with a scalpel. The audience was not, however, obligated to make an incision; they could choose not to cut the artist. The artist mentions that,

Perhaps it’s a disarming of audience (you) and of artist (I) by the sharing of a tender moment or a series of moments . . . . Or an unmaking and remaking of what happens between us as we explore the possibilities of where I end and you begin, and what might happen between us if I ask you to do something for me. Or perhaps it’s about what happens when we sit for a short while in a space where not a lot happens.47

Rachel Zerihan, one of the leading scholars of One to One performance art, notes that

Participation in the performance event often triggers spontaneity, improvisation and risk—in both parties—and requires trust, commitment and a willingness to partake in the encounter. This gift of explicit responsibility could be considered an extended elevation of the spectator’s participatory role.48

The risk that is inherit in the vulnerability represented in the One to One framework allows for more uncensored content and/or reactions, but it can also allow (or even provoke) a great deal of violence. It is a risk all One to Ones take and even rely on for the heightened experience of an interaction that is fairly common in typical day-to-day life.

47"Gardner, “‘I Didn't Know Where To Look.’”" 48"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” 3."

76 This framework also heightens the One to One encounter by placing attention on the performative meeting and allows these performances to feel personal in a way that frameworks including a larger audience are incapable of doing. Sitting in an audience of even 30 people allows a viewer to hide from the performer and those around him or her.

The viewer loses his or her individuality and is instead grouped into the singular mask of the audience.

While larger audience frameworks continue to offer opportunities for growth, empathy, sympathy, and individual epiphany or critique, they lack the stakes that make viewing an inherently personal experience. There is little personal risk in a sea of people, in which none know your name and have only just seen your face for the first time.

The scenario, however, completely changes in a One to One. You are the only face in the crowd, there is nowhere to divert your eyes, there are few rules, and leaving part way through is usually not an option. Then again the performance could not happen without you. It simply would not exist. The entire result of the piece is contingent on your presence. One to Ones rely on the viewer’s responsibility.

Adrian Searle, who writes for The Guardian, writes on how performance art took over the art world. She touches on some of the motivations saying that “the proliferation of performance in museums has a lot to do with both art itself and the changing role of these institutions, as well as the demands of an audience that wants to feel empowered, engaged and participatory.” She continues on to state that “today’s spectators demand a role, whether they are inventing their own performances in the gallery . . . or clamouring

77 to take part in artist-led workshops. . . . We [the audience] want to be active, rather than passive spectators.”49

It is this awesome amount of responsibility and autonomy that seems to draw audiences to One to One performances. Zerihan notes that

festivals such as the National Review of Live Art (particularly in 2005) and Nottingham Trent University’s Sensitive Skin 2006) . . . showed numerous One to One works. . . . Festivals including Intimacy: Across Visceral and Digital Performance (2007), Visions of Excess (2009) and 51 Reasons for Living (2009) at Battersea Arts Centre all platformed increasing amounts of One to One performances by both emergent artists and established practitioners.50

She projects that the first One to One format was accidentally discovered in Chris

Burden’s Five Day Locker Piece (fig. 22), performed in 1971.51 The piece involved

Burden being confined to a locker for five days, adding to the multiple artists in the early

1970s who were testing their corporeal limitations within performance frameworks of body art.

C. Carr writes that Burden “just expected to curl up and endure for five consecutive days. But to his surprise, people he didn’t even know came unbidden to sit in front of the locker, to tell him their problems and the stories of their lives.”52 The

49"Adrian Searle, “How Performance Art Took Over,” The Guardian (London), July 3, 2012, accessed March 26, 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jul/03/performance-art-abramovic-- modern." 50"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” [4]." 51"Zerihan admits that it is impossible to give a definitive answer as to the first One to One framework or artist associated with it. Ibid." 52"Cynthia Carr, On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2008), 18."

78 audience member projected a new identity on to Burden, as Zerihan mentions, “re- imagining and in effect re-defining Burden’s performed role to that of priest or healer, judge or lover, spectator psychology and behaviour became instrumental and affective as their secret intimacies (fantasies and fears) were projected onto him, re-casting Burden as confidant.”53

Burden and his framework for the piece were inextricably linked to the audience member visiting one at a time; this was something that was very violent and forced upon the artist. Zerihan further attributes this audience violence to perhaps be one of the sparking inspirations for Burden’s infamous piece, Shoot as well as his “trend towards making works that seemingly distance himself from his audience or disrupt or antagonise this relationship . . . [including] inviting electrocution [and] crawling over broken glass . .

. that followed Locker Piece.”54

Many artists use the One to One framework as a vehicle for different purposes.

Franko B. mentions that for him, One to Ones are about “a serious intimacy. It’s not purely about confession or therapy but as well about the fact that anything could happen .

. . One to One is not necessarily [to him] this thing about One to One person [intimacy] because you can have intimacy in front of 2000 people”.55

He cites Kira O’Reilly’s piece Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter56 as one of the

53"Rachel Zerihan, “Intimate Inter-actions: Returning to the Body in One to One Performance,” Body, Space, and Technology 6, no. 1: 4, accessed March 26, 2013, http://people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol0601/rachelzerihan/zerihan.pdf. * 54"Zerihan, Ibid.,5–6.* 55"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” [12]." 56"Kira"O’Reilly,"Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter, Glasgow, 2005. O’Reilly structured an interaction that invited audience members, in a One to One framework, to make a small incision with a scalpel into the artist’s body."

79 most successful One to Ones [he’s ever seen] because “there was a raw element of risk.

And also a demand of interaction [from the spectator].” He continues, “[the audience member] might not want to cut her but if [he/she] refuses it’s very interesting, it’s like passive [dominance].”57

Adrian Howells uses the One to One framework for completely different reasons than the element of risk that attracts O’Reilly and Franko B. Howell’s motivation for the

One to One vehicle is to create “above all, mutually nourishing and nurturing

[experiences] for both [himself] and the audience-participant.”58 He asks himself “how can I simultaneously exploit the potential for two people to be very intimately responsive to each other.”59 Howells typically employs elements of caretaking within his performances, for example: bathing the audience member, drying them off, and holding them afterward in The Pleasure of Being: Washing, Feeding, Holding (2011).60 Likewise, in Foot Washing for the Sole (2009), Howells washes an audience member’s feet, anoints them and massages them with oil for 30 minutes.

Sam Rose uses the One to One vehicle similarly to Adrian Howells in her work

Between One and Another: A Place of Encounter in 2006–7. Rose states “[her] intentions as a performer were to experience and connect with others, to bridge the distance between performer and audience member.”61 She continues on to describe the exchange within the One to One vehicle contingent on the idea that if I touch you, you immediately

57"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” [12]." 58"Ibid., 35." 59"Ibid."" 60"Chitra Ramaswamy, “In the Raw: One-on-One Theatre with Adrian Howells,” Edinburgh Festivals, last modified August 7, 2011, accessed March 27, 2013, http://www.edinburgh-festivals.com/viewpreview.aspx?id=2488. " 61"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” 67."

80 touch me in return.62 For Rose, this idea of touch and exchange in caretaking or verbal communication “brings about an un-detached perception where performer and audience are no longer separated.”

In Melting Point, seen in figure 21 at the end of Chapter 3, performed 2007–8,

Rose furthers the mutual exchange of touch to include the senses of taste and hearing as well.63 Her performances often continue to use the One to One vehicle in order to reach a sensually caretaking intimacy with the viewer by feeding them chocolates, telling them secrets, painting their fingernails and continually touching the viewer.

Departing from the caretaking intimacies characteristic of Howell’s and Rose’s pieces, Eirini Kartsaki, in her performance of Kiss, Miss, Piss and Other Stories, displays the tension between desire and rejection within intimacy. Kartsaki serves the audience- participant tea, drinks with him or her, dances, and asks in her performance, “Will you kiss me and hold me and stay for a while?”64 She then unfolds, at times whispering in the audience-participant’s ear, an imagined narrative of the audience-participant with a fever and how she would take care of them. The narrative at first seems comforting, but odd and unsettling details slip in and out of the narrative. Kartsaki asks, “what about the ones

[relationships or people] you have forgot about,” adding that “my [the artist’s] armpits will smell but you will not mind.”65 All of the caretaking seems contingent upon a kiss and the artist waits, at the end of her dancing and whispered narrative, to be kissed.

62"Ibid.,"68." 63"Melting Point involved the audience member being blindfolded as Rose touched, fed, and whispered seductively into his or her ear. The performance included some autobiographical elements and drew attention to the passage of time, memory, and loss." 64"Zerihan, “Guide on One to One Performance,” 41." 65"Ibid."

81 In this performance, the audience-participant then chooses whether to consent or not to kiss the artist. If he or she does consent, the power transfers back over to the artist to determine what kind of kiss it will be, how long it will lasts, and how passionate it is, if there will tongue or not, etc. The rejection and fear Kartsaki weaves into her One to One vehicle largely reiterates the risk component of One to One performance as well as intimacy in general.

I feel the one to one vehicle allows an exchange more catered to the audience member’s field of experience. The viewer’s personal connection to the material is emphasized and irrefutable. It’s as if the structure is made to fit each audience member simply because they have no other entrance to the piece. That level of heightened awareness, which I would compare to my anecdote about standing between the two doors—waiting for my first one to one, puts the performance on a different level. This is a level that is much harder to attain, especially without structured prompting or performance content, within a piece directed toward a larger audience.

The autonomy and responsibility of the audience member encourages a dual ownership of the piece. Furthermore, each time the piece is performed (each time to a different audience member) the piece is entirely re-contextualized and rewritten, even if the dialogue and actions remain the same. This personalization of the piece encourages the viewer to continue to think about it even after the piece has wrapped and the documentation has been archived. It becomes an experience the viewer can look back on as an individual who made choices that affected the piece. Even inactivity, much like I did when I participated in my first One to One with Steele, becomes an action that affects the piece.

82 For these reasons, I continue to use the vehicle in order to subvert or draw attention to the very intimate yet quotidian One to One interactions within our daily life

(telling secrets, sleeping, cuddling, social networking). These One to One interactions and performances are uniting. Zerihan interviewed 16 performance artists in addition to her classification of the One to One performance framework. I decided to feature the above artists as they most directly addressed the issues of intimacy, violence, risk, anonymity, and exchange within their interviews and parallel many of the reasons I choose to use the One to One vehicle within my own practice.

Ultimately, risk and intimacy seem to be consistent with the One to One framework. The framework necessitates durational endurance and planning on the part of the artist. Each performance is usually on the short end for the audience member in order to get a volume of members through the piece. A range of topics mediums, as discussed in Chapter 1, can also be represented through the One to One vehicle. The level of anxiety, excitement, and connection involved with the One to One framework seems to be attractive to audience members as the popularity of One to Ones has increased.

83 Chapter 4 Figures

Figure 20. Kira O’Reilly, Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter, 2003. Photo credit: Pekka Mennan. Available from: BST Journal, Brunel University West Union, www.people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol0601/rachelzerihan/home.html (Accessed on March 20, 2013).


Figure 21. Chris Burden, Five Day Locker Piece, 1971. Photo credit: Gladstone.uoregon.edu. Available from: BST Journal, Brunel University West Union, www.people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol0601/rachelzerihan/home.html (Accessed on March 20, 2013).




My first performance series revolved around secrets and the unsaid and unwritten bonds the sharing of a secret tends to form. I felt that there was a connection between performative language and the telling of a secret. Both seem almost contractual in their utterance.

J. L. Austin first mentions performative language in a lecture series that was later turned into a book. These performative utterances reference the act of saying or writing a specific phrase that in turn constitutes an action or change within the contextual environment the utterance was given. The framework of the performative utterance, which prompted later ideas on performativity from theorists like Judith Butler, Shoshana

Felman, Jacques Derrida, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, rests in locution (the actual words said), illocutionary force (what the speaker is attempting to accomplish by using the words) and perlocutionary effect (what effect the speaker actually has on the other party in the saying of the words).66

Typically, performative utterances are split into explicit and implicit performative utterances. An explicit performative utterance is a performative phrase in which the phrase and the context clearly indicate the action that the phrase performs. “You’re charged with treason” is an example of an explicit utterance. In this statement, the action of being charged and the context of being charged with treason coexist within the utterance of the phrase. Also, both the context and action are present in the phrase.

66"J. L. Austin, “Performative Utterances,” Philosophical Papers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), 23-52."

86 An implicit phrase requires outside knowledge of the context for the performed action to be clearly understood. One must know the circumstance of the situation in order to understand whether or not the utterance is performative. This can be seen in the phrase

“I do.” In the context of a wedding, this phrase is performative. The locution of the phrase indicates a change within the context. So, when saying “I do” in such a circumstance, an action is being performed, in this case, the creation of a legal or religious union between two people.

The phrase “I do,” however, is not always performative. I could use the phrase in response to the question, “Would you like coffee?”. The response of “I do” in this context does not unite me to the coffee or perform any other such action with its utterance.

Therefore, “I do” is an implicit performative utterance. Both explicit and implicit utterances signify a change of context or a prompt for action.67

Secrets are a kind of abstract performative language. The secret utterance elicits a verbal contract in a way. There is a trust that is formed by the telling of the secret. A variety of emotions, most often empathy, can manifest from this trust. Secret sharing often prompts the listener to divulge a secret of his or her own. Secrets evoke bonding and socialization. They are like little tests that determine whether someone is trustworthy or whether he or she can relate to the teller in an extremely intimate way.

Secrets also often prompt nearness in physicality, as well as a hushed tonality.

Ultimately, the action is a performative, implicitly contractual bonding between the two or more people. The bond is formed as the content of the secret is brought into being

67 J. L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), 5."

87 through language. While there isn’t a consistent phrase or language that weaves through the telling of secrets, it seems to be an action that is prompted directly by the phrasing or categorizing depicted through secrets’ politics. These politics seem to outline the keeping of a secret safe and quiet and prompt the sharing an equally valued secret from the other party.

In a secret, to go back to Austin’s framework, the content of the secret fuels the locution. The illocutionary force can range from personal catharsis to empathy to manipulation. Finally, the perlocutionary effect, though highly dependent on the illocutionary force of the particular secret, often results in a similar secret shared by that of the original listener, a transference from listener to teller, and oftentimes a heightened and more intimate relationship between the parties involved.

There are two consistencies with secrets. The first is that they are shared. Secrets, unlike confessions, are usually shared willingly and are often prompted by an attempt to strengthen or test the accountability of the specific relationship. The second is tied into the perlocutionary effect; to accept a secret is to participate in a vow of silence and discretion kept within the confines of the party present for the telling. The breaking of this vow immediately affects the relationship(s) and subsequently the performative identity of the relationship(s). This is where the action of keeping or swearing/being sworn to secrecy is present and parallel to performative utterances. The oath is implicit in the telling however unwritten or unsaid.

88 Austin’s theory does not account for secrets, since secrets vary from one another and they have no consistent anchor phrase.68 Since I am not so much looking at the words or phrases involved within the telling of a secret, but the contexts or events that happen in the exchange, Austin may object to the classification of secrets as a part of performative language. This would be a valuable point to make in concern to a philosophy of language and not necessarily actions. I do, however, think that Austin’s format works very well within the language and larger action of sharing a secret.

This realization of the similarities between Austin’s framework and the typical framework of secret-sharing led me to further examine the performativity present within secret-bearing relationships. I then started thinking about how the philosophy of language merges with the identity of a relationship; if performativity refers to a singular constructed identity, can relationships between two or more people also have a performed identity?

The latter findings presented by theorists like Butler and Sedgwick in regards to

Austin’s framework focus on performativity in the context of constructed identities.

These identities are multi-faceted and multiple words can be used to classify a sole identity construction within a social interaction. In short, performativity can be defined as how we show and identify ourselves in the outside world with which we interact.

Performative language could be present in an identity that is performed in the words Caucasian, Masculine, and Heterosexual, for example. Neither word necessarily

68"By anchor phrase I mean a consistent set of words that are utter in the telling of a secret. Obviously, not every secret begins with the phrase, “I hereby entrust you with this secret.” If this phrase were congruent with the subsequent telling of telling of the secret(s), it would anchor every exchange. Secrets are very rarely prompted or associated with such a phrase. "

89 detracts from the other, as one can perform and maintain all three of these identifying words within his/her performed identity; the words instead contribute to the overall identity performance of an individual that happens to associate racially as Caucasian, gendered as masculine, and sexually as heterosexual. These words often become even more layered as the constructed identity swerves away from a hetero-normative narrative.

This is largely why performativity has become standard in feminist and queer theory discourses.69

Two or more people who possess fluid and performative identities are necessary in order to form a secret-bearing relationship. It logically follows, then, that this relationship also has an identity that is performative in nature. This relationship may have been prompted by performative similarities between the two parties; these similarities may have given originally the individual parties reasons to talk and identify with one another.

A performative identity can be seen in close friendships. Close friends don’t wear nametags or any other type of signature to announce to the world their existing relationship, but people outside of the relationship are often able to identify it as such.

Outsiders, as I’ll call them, can categorize this relationship or the identity of the relationship through signifiers like body language and verbal communication. The relationship is performed to the outside as a relational identity. The friendship has its own history, boundaries, influences, and aspects that define it. This relationship can also

69 See Eve Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003); Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (New York: Routledge, 1993); Butler, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (New York: Routledge, 1997).

90 interact and intertwine with other relationships that are also being performed.

Therefore, each friendship or relational identity is as individual and performative as a singular performative identity would be.

I classify the relationships between people as performative identities in their own right. These relationships are often fluid and evolving; they are made from varying components, histories, and boundaries. Finally, they are performative in the way they show and classify the nature of the relationship to the rest of the world.

In practice, two people that relate to each other begin to converse. Time passes and the two parties find they have many interests in common that play into the formation of their personal identities (the performance of which may have placed them in the same social proximity in which to converse in the first place), and they begin to trust and become vulnerable by the admittance of certain potential commonalities. These admittances could be considered confessions70 of a sort. Later these low-level confessions might result in full-blown secret-sharing, resulting in closer physical proximity, a more intimate performance to the outside world, and the reciprocation of a secret of similar or greater value.

It sounds very parochial in a sense, that full-blown secret sharing produces faster friendships and stronger bonds between people, but it is a practice that we have participated in since childhood. Furthermore, this practice lasts through our adult years.

70"Confessions"should"not"be"confused"with"secrets."Secrets"are"shared"and"given" voluntarily"and"in"an"almost"in"a"contractual"way."The"listening"party"is"sworn"to" silence"through"the"sharing"whereas"a"confession"does"not"imply"this"implicit"oath"of" silence"or"reciprocal"sharing."Confessions"are"often"oneRsided"and"can"be"coerced"or" withdrawn"through"force."Secrets"are"more"likely"to"be"volunteered"and" reciprocated"by"the"listening"party.""

91 Ultimately, the performative aspects and language that secrets possess transcend age and continue to evolve as our performative identities evolve.

The performative characteristics of secret-sharing fascinated me, so I wanted to development an artistic vehicle that further explored my hypothesis about secrets, performative utterances, and performativity as a whole, both in concern to individuals and the relationships they may harbor. This is how the Secrets series came to be.

I had just returned from the NRLA when I started making these observations about secrets. My process to develop my ideas was rooted in the theories outlined above and the connections I had drawn between them. This was very indicative how I approached my work early on; I would pin down issues I wanted to address, then look at relative theories, figure out what I wanted to highlight or address specifically within my work, and then find the best vehicle to present my findings to the public.

I decided that I wanted to address identity, emotional and physical intimacy, performative actions/utterance, the power struggle of all social exchanges, the physicality/mentality dichotomy, defense mechanisms, and the multiple consumerist values that we, as a society, tend to place on personal, individual identity.71

It was no short order. Looking back on this list, I think my approach was one of the many difficulties in my early work. I wanted to address everything just because I thought I could. This affected my early performance vehicles. I was simply trying to address too much. I don’t think the performances in this first series were as resonant within my audience as I wanted them to be. Also, these pieces often felt forced and a

71"These"concepts"are"taken"from"a"paper"I"wrote"about"my"Secrets"series"at"the"time" of"its"production."

92 little narcissistic in my execution. Nevertheless, this led me to further connect my above musing with the psychoanalytic lectures by my favorite Jacques: Lacan and


Both psychoanalytic philosophers fit nicely with the theories of Austin and Butler explained above. The gaze, mirror, and reflection stabilizing the ‘self’ in this pseudo- psychological struggle within the words of Lacan72 resonated with my work. Derrida’s theories of iterability73 and pre-existing matrixes also found a place in my performances.

Patterns started to form between my problem-sets and the theoretical frameworks that were influencing me at the time.

I was also influenced greatly by the work had just viewed at the NRLA. Francesca

Steele’s Routine piece gave me the most intense reaction. I was allured by the power one to one’s could present to a viewer. The piece extended past the performance space.

Waiting in line, opening the door, and the moments after the piece’s completion were all part of the experience. I wanted to design a piece that addressed my revelations about secrets and extended the performance experience outside of the space.

Closing the Chasm, the first performance in my Secret series, was performed in

April of 2010. This piece would further investigate the separation of audience and performer through a One to One framework. My idea for this piece was contingent on creating a space for the viewer to provide the piece’s content through the telling of

72"Jacques Lacan, Jacques Alain Miller, and John Forrester. "The Object Relation and Intersubjective Relation." in The Seminar of Jacques Lacan. New York: W.W. Norton, 1991. 209-219. 73"Jacques Derrida. "Signature Event Context." in Deconstruction: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies, Volume I. London, : Routledge, 2003, 222-44.*

93 secrets. The performer’s role was supposed to be more passive by providing the space and helping the viewer with content if the occasion was presented.

Both pieces in the Secret series were meant to be an intimate performance between members in a space where they were isolated away from society. Neither performance really provided this in the end, but it was integral to the groundwork of the series. I wanted documentation, much like Rose’s Melting Point, at a minimum. This, however, caused all sorts of problems and still continues to have been a very problematic decision. We’ll touch more on this later. The performances also intended to provide some sort of material exchange alongside a provided service.

I was also hoping to provide the anxiety-inducing uncertainties that Steele, intentionally or not, had woven into Routine. I wanted there to be a lack of precedent, instruction, or description of the piece for the viewer before each performance. I also wanted each performance within the greater piece to be unique both in framework and in content provided by the viewer.

My first run of the Closing the Chasm would involve the telling of secrets. These strange uniting events that can sometimes form an even stranger bond between two people would be my singular performative tool on which the piece would be reliant.

The act of secret-sharing was fascinating to me at the time. The large differences in responsibilities on the part of the teller and listener addressed the issues of control I wanted to evoke within the piece. There was also a lot of comforting proximity within the telling of a secret. The performer and viewer74 have to get physically close and quiet for


94 the exchange to take place. Elements of touch are also quite indicative of secret- sharing. Secrets could provide the physical and mental aspects I wanted to address.

I then started wondering what might happen if I took sight out of the equation. I thought blind-folding my viewer would be an interesting exploration both in what constituted a ‘viewer’ and what this disparate power dynamic might mean for the piece, especially because I would have full access to my sight. I wondered if the viewer’s other senses would be heightened and what would happen to the exchange without the detection of non-verbal gestures. The blindfold functioned both as a violent thrust upon the viewer’s vulnerability and also a mask for my own reactions as the performer.

I used Jennie’s office for my first run of Closing the Chasm. It was a small room with painted brick walls and one window. Inside there was desk, a rolling chair, and a few bookshelves. I wanted less light in the room but made do with the copious amount of natural light the window provided. I figured the blindfold would do the rest. I also had my collaborator, Rachel Mihuta Grimm, outside the room with an audio component that was meant to hopefully ease the transition into the room and with the blindfold (fig. 23).

This performance was held during my “Representations of Gender” class, taught by Jennie, and was viewed exclusively by students from that class. We scheduled the performance so that my peers, many of them artists themselves, could participate in the performance. Afterwards, we held a post-performance discussion about the piece. They gave me insight as to what was working, what was not, any suggestions they might have, and their overall experience with the piece.

95 My classmates signed up for the performance. Each performance would last between one and 15 minutes, which I later found was much too long to get through the volume of people that I had wanted to involve.

After making their way down to the performance space, the viewer would put on a set of noise blocking headphones and listen to the audio component for the first half of the performance. After being blindfolded at the end of the audio, Rachel would then blindfold them before they joined me in the performance space in Jennie’s office.

This framework functioned so that one viewer would be listening to the audio component while another was in the second half of the performance with me.

After the audio component, I would take the now blindfolded “viewer” and lead them into the office. I then sat them in the rolling chair and would begin the second half of the performance. I always started with a script and then allowed the viewer to create the space with his or her personal narrative.

I attempted at all times to maintain a physical connection with the other person through touch. I would ask them to give me a memory, a secret and a lie. While they would volunteer this information, I would roll them around in the chair hoping to disorient them in the room. I didn’t entirely think that part through as a lot of my viewers in the post-performance discussion mentioned that this rolling and disorientation worked together to make them nauseous.

The push-pull dynamic of the piece added a constant struggle for the viewer instead of the switching of roles I had hoped would happen. Finally, when the performance was done, I would hand them a tic-tac inside a flower petal to represent the narrative they had shared. Typically, I would also ask the viewer if they desired

96 something of me after I had asked them for a secret, a memory, and a lie. I was overwhelmingly asked for a secret, a memory, and a lie myself, almost as a reassertion of control from the audience member from whom I had unintentionally taken all form of control.

The framework of this piece really worked in opposition to what I had hoped to address. I was hoping the restriction of sight and mobility would free the viewer to think only of the narrative. I wanted my audience disoriented but only so they could focus more on the content they provided. Instead I violently removed their sight, moved them until some felt physically ill, and overall made a very uncomfortable space and experience.

The last line of every performance was “Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.

Please tell the next person on the list in class a secret and then tell them to come down to the room. Thank You.” This last line seemed more fitting for the reality the piece had unintentionally inherited. Looking back on this piece, I violently isolated my viewer even in my presence. My framework encouraged them to immediately go on the defensive.

Most of my audience did not enjoy the piece because of this violence. They were automatically shut down by inherent power imbalance of the piece.

Luckily, the feedback provided after the performance was really blunt. They did not hold back from telling me how disconcerting the piece was. At first, I thought maybe this would still be a fruitful endeavor. There is violence and fear in vulnerability, which was ultimately what I wanted to address. In the talk I started to realize that that vulnerability, especially when imposed externally and unequally, really didn’t allow the viewer to focus on his or her own emotional vulnerability, the nature of secrets, or the

97 performative identity of human relation. Instead, the piece entirely shut them down and made them only focus on how uncomfortable they were in the execution.

I do still value the first framework I used in Closing the Chasm. It was because I had unintentionally exposed the inherent violence of vulnerability and secret culture that I was able to reroute the piece to make it more appropriate for the oppositional effect secrets can also have.

In my second and final performance of the series, a piece I’ve retroactively entitled Of Secrets and Squares (fig. 24), I performed at the Ohio University’s

Undergraduate Research Fair. The fair was held at the convocation center and was be neighbored by other undergraduates within the Fine Arts discipline.

This performance, held May 13, 2010, still addressed the same issues but was more inspired by the likes of Ono’s Cut Piece and Smith’s Feed Me. Closing the Chasm taught me that my viewers didn’t like to be thrust into vulnerability. I played with the framework and instead decided to blindfold myself. I then invited my viewers to be responsible for my vulnerability much like Ono in Cut Piece. I wasn’t completely vulnerable, however, I once again enlisted the help of my friend and previous collaborator Rachel.

Rachel would essentially be my eyes for the duration of the piece. This way, if anyone wanted to kick me in the face, for example, Rachel would be able to stop that person. She also functioned as the go-between for the interior of the piece and the exterior of a larger audience.

The space was marked off by taped squares nesting on the floor. There were three squares in total and one taped pathway to the smallest center square. The center square

98 held enough room for one viewer and myself. This square was really tiny and to enter the space the viewer would have to be touching me in one way or another.

The second square contained life necessities like food and water. The third square was more decorative and was covered in rose petals. It also functioned to put enough space between the interior performance space and the exterior installation that any content generated from my One to One interactions would be private and inaudible to the outer audience.

This was the first piece I did where the structure of the performance allowed a kind of performance within a performative installation. This way, viewers weren’t forced to interact with me or accept responsibility for my vulnerability without choosing to do so. They could simply remain on the outside of the third square and watch the performances happen as an installation. I called these sections, from the outer square inward, the watching section, a walking (transition) section, and a whispering section. A poster was also hung behind the space with a list of actions an audience member could perform on me (fig. 25). I wished I had made the actions more risky, almost Rhythm 0- esque, but I knew the fair would be host to many middle school aged children, and all the actions had to be pretty PG.

Much like Smith’s Feed Me, I allowed my audience to lavish me or neglect me.

The piece included food and a few pleasurable actions, none of which were X-Rated. I sat the entirety of the piece on the hard concrete of the small square, actually causing a bit of nerve damage in one of my ankles. The piece lasted for 4–6 hours. I made sure to wear all black and a black blindfold. I tied my hair back and attempted to remove all identifying factors. The only color I included on my body was a copious amount of red lipstick,

99 which I reapplied between every few performances. At the end of each One to One, I handed out contractual business cards that were signed by a kiss. I would then hand these mini-contracts to my viewers stating that I would never tell their secrets; they often exchanged the promise with me.

Sometimes I would play with the format and ask them questions, almost prompting them for a secret of my own. I wish I had asked Rachel to also photograph or film parts of the performance. She relayed to me afterwards that I had anywhere from three to 40 people around me in a constant flux just watching each One to One performance. She said that she would tell them, “just walk into the piece, you can participate in it,” and many audience members would just shake their head, almost in a fearful way.

A line to have a One to One with me in the inner square eventually formed, but not everyone in line was able to participate before the end of the piece. Of Secrets and

Squares was much more successful than Closing the Chasm. It provided a different outlook on the world of secrets, vulnerability, trust, and intimacy. In Of Secrets and

Squares, my audience was sometimes afraid to talk with me and enter the space because they had dehumanized me into some sort of installation. They also realized that they would be accepting responsibility for anything that happened or was said in the piece.

Unfortunately, there was little to no available documentation for these two performances. This is how I learned the hard way that without documentation, performance seeks to exist. Even if I had recorded the post-performance discussion for

Closing the Chasm, that would have been better than the amount that of documentation I currently have. A promotional film clip for the Undergraduate Research Fair for which I

100 was film supposedly exists. I only know this because the camera guy stomped into my squares and disrupted a performance to ask me questions about the piece. His questions were aggressive and somewhat angry. The cameraman said that he was filming and needed to be in the exact spot he was standing and that Rachel had let him in. I haven’t ever seen this documentation or promotion. Even if it exists out there, there’s no telling if the clip from my performance ended on the editing room floor or not.

I did, however, discover that both renditions revealed that vulnerability is one of those hidden things, just like secrets, that can be both a negative experience, as with

Closing the Chasm, and a positive experience, as with Of Secrets and Squares. These performances taught me that vulnerability is dependent on power and control.

This series also prompted me to make my next series on focusing on intimacy within the relationships as well as the performative utterances and actions we use to create them. I also continued to attempt to utilize this very organic performance within a performative installation framework that I discovered by accident in Of Secrets and

Squares. The Intimacy series is elaborated more in the next chapter.




My Intimacy series focused on and attempted to address a lot of the issues I had discovered in the performances of my Secrets series before it. Unlike the Secret series, my approach to the Intimacy series was very different and influenced by different artists.

I had been taking a class called “Expanded” with Professor and artist

Duane McDiarmid.75 This class was designed for performance artists or those who wished to further their artistic practice. The Intimacy series would eventually come out of this class’s curriculum. I also took a tutorial with Duane.

Duane’s approach to work, though brilliant, was inherently different than mine. I think I frustrated him a lot. He has a very absurdist core to his often politically charged work. His biography notes that he has,

fed the public ice cream from a solar work in remote deserts, bathed in used motor oil for an audience of animals in a wetland, worn a French-court inspired wig while traversing mountain passes with a Mr. Coffee pot, and dressed an Arabian horse in a ‘I dream of Jeanie’ inspired garb in the Sierras.76

I once remember him telling us that he makes his performances so absurd because when the absurdity overwhelms the performance, the audience will gravitate toward and remember the most sane line or address. That’s when you hit them with the important message.

75"Duane McDiarmid, “Biography and Resume,” last modified 2013, accessed March 27, 2013, http://duanemcdiarmid.30art.com/index.php?menu_id=1002." 76"Ibid."

102 I remember some elements of our tutorial more vividly than others. Most of what I remember was this tension between our different approaches to work. It was really helpful to have this kind of artistic antagonist to get me to think differently than I was used to thinking.

I remember a particularly interesting conversation in tutorial we had about vulnerability. I had told Duane that I was really interested in raw and simplistic human interactions that were full of vulnerability and was afraid that one of my performances would require me to be naked.

I have had a lot body issues in the past and the thought of having to get naked was just terrifying to me. Duane dismissively responded, “Well it’s really cliché to get naked for performance art anymore. Unless you can tell me the exact reasoning you’d have to get naked for a piece then you shouldn’t get naked for a piece. What’s at stake? Why can’t you have your clothes on? What difference would it make?” I don’t even remember what the piece was that I had suggested, but Duane, seeing this very real fear I had about stripping down in public, asked if I would be willing to come to the larger performance class naked.

I just sat there, almost shaking with adrenaline and laughing out my nervousness.

After I calmed down a little, Duane and I had a very serious talk about this exercise. It wouldn’t be a performance; it would just be an exploration of sorts. I didn’t have to do it if I didn’t think I was up to it.

The plan was that I would come to the next class early, strip down, and sit through class. My tutorial was shared with another student in the performance class so only the three of us would know.

103 The next class date came and I arrived a whole 30 minutes early. Already nervous, I open the classroom door and of course it was locked. I then had to go through an adjoining classroom to almost break in to the room. I spent the next 30 minutes jumping around everywhere. I had so much adrenaline. I just kept thinking about how my classmates would react, if any of them would be offended, what would happen if there was a shadow student, and any other possible negative outcome that could come from this.

I spent the next 15 minutes attempting to gather all my moxie just to take off a layer of clothes at a time. I remember feeling like I had to be very prim and proper about it. I would take an article of clothing off, fold it up neatly and set it beside the table I had decided to lay on. Then I would kind of flounce around the room, trying to get ready for the inevitable. Eventually when all my clothes were off, I turned the lights off and lay down on the table, thinking to myself, “Oh my god, I’m really doing this.”

A few minutes later, students started lining up outside the still locked door. Duane didn’t have keys, evidently, and we had to wait for Jennie to unlock the door. Jennie started getting really concerned, asking if I was okay, if I needed anything, and then worried about fussing over me too much and being maternal. The students came in, turned on the lights, and that was that.

I was astonished at how much my nakedness seemed a non-issue to them. A couple of people came in the room, their eyes widened and then they just said hello.

Others were even less affected and had full conversations with me while I was lying there. I stayed on the table for the remainder of class, eventually sitting up and opening my tiny, pink Dell notebook.

104 I think I was trying to use my laptop as a fig leaf of sorts. I would slouch so dramatically to try to get my laptop to cover my upper-bits and lower-bits at the same time. The class later circled and moved their desks to include me. I noticed during this that I wasn’t verbally participating in class, which was very unusual for me. I had no desire to speak though. I already felt so vulnerable.

It wasn’t until half-way through the class that someone asked, “Uhh, so why is she naked? Is this a performance or something?”. I started explaining to them that it wasn’t a performance but an exercise in what physical vulnerability meant and whether or not it was vital to a performance I was going to put into the works. They asked me how it was feeling and responded, “A little cold.” We talked about it for a little bit but overall no one was unnerved by it.

After a while, I forgot completely that I was naked. Every once in a while, I would look down at my laptop and be reminded, “Oh yeah. I’m naked. In my classroom.”

It was very surreal.

The worst parts were the anticipatory undressing and the redressing at the end of class. I had so much anxiety. I was all too happy to put my clothes back on but redressing while my classmates were present somehow seemed more violating than I having sat naked with them for three-hours. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of how I attended class naked.

The most interesting part of the exercise to me was my complete reticence to say anything. I was so physically vulnerable that I didn’t want to volunteer anything mentally. The tension between interior and exterior became a large theme through my work after that.

105 I started thinking about interior and exterior in the relationships we have with people.77 All of our relationships differ depending on the context. I was, at the time, in a long-term relationship with my boyfriend, Alec. Alec was the closest relationship I had at that time. He was also the most accepting of my friends to be involved in my work.

I had made a couple of preliminary pieces that involved danger and intimacy.

Usually, these small pieces would involve knives. I was really inspired by Marina

Abramović’s Rhythm 10, where the artists practices stabbing between her fingers with a knife. The danger and intimacy of the object really appealed to me. We use knives to cut our food, and we mold the handles to rest close to our palms. The aspects of repetition and ritual also spoke to the social interactions I was exploring at the time. Knives make many tasks easier for our daily lives and are considered a necessity in just about every culture. It’s very symbolic of social relationships both on an external and internal level.

I collaborated with Natalie Preston on one knife piece.78 We attempted to hold a knife without our hands, just using our chests for support while the blade rested on a melting ice cube on our skin. This was supposed to be in silence and seriousness but having a knife that close to my chest just made me laugh incessantly. It was around this piece that I felt I needed to change my approach.

I had been really struggling to come to my pieces with the absurdist or oppositional approach Duane had been earnestly trying to impart on me. He was really encouraging me to find the raw and organic through exploring the mundane and artificial.

77"Here I do not necessarily refer to relationships, but to the relationships we have all have in our social sphere."" 78"For more information about Natalie and her work see Natalie Preston: Maker, Creator, Artist, last modified 2011, accessed March 27, 2013, http://nataliepreston.net/."

106 I settled on a compromise. The same day of the 2011 State of the Union Address, I decided to have my own personal State of the Union performance. I filmed Alec and I cuddling one night before going to sleep.

This performance would address my relationship behind closed doors in order to hopefully bring into light the hidden dynamics we have with certain people in private. It would also be a nice tongue-in-cheek, pun-like performance about how the state of a union thrives or operates. This piece would address private vs. public, negotiated personal space, and intimacy. The video was posted to Facebook as a pedestal for the performance’s documentation with the title State of a Union (January 2011) and the description “A private performance made public.”79

During the performance, a large grey comforter outlined our bodies. Occasionally, one of our arms or legs would stick out from singular mass. A lot of the dialogue was hushed, but key phrases would leap into the soundscape of the piece. One such moment occurred when I attempted to navigate to a different laying position and Alec exclaimed,

“Check yourself before you wreck yourself!” There were also a lot of special politics of the bed. We would turn together, almost as if it were a choreographed dance, but all of our movement was spontaneous. The piece effectively showed how intimacy settles into concrete rules, motions, and dialogue. This is when I started to feel like I was really on to something.

Our final assignment for the performance class was to do an individual performance. The majority of the work the “Expanded Sculpture” class produced was

79"Taken from the video documentation."

107 collaborative in nature, so I would really be branching out with this individual performance.

My individual performance would be performed, once again, at Ohio University’s

Creative Research Expo. And, once again, I would win first place in Fine Arts for my performance. The piece was entitled (IN)Timacy and was performed twice: once in

Mitchel Auditorium inside Seigfred Hall, the School of Art building at Ohio University, and once in the Convocation Center during the Expo. These performances took place on

March 7-8, 2011 in Mitchell and May 13, 2011 in the convocation center respectively.

I was trying to address what intimacy has become in the digital era. I thought the piece functioned so that

I could communicate through the medium of intimacy about intimacy in a broader sense (including but not limited to sentiment, banality, vulnerability, insecurity, and shared history) without subtracting our need to socially broadcast through available medias.80

(IN)Timacy involved the transport of my mattress from home, with all the bedding

I use, and two special pillows. The pillows had been constructed with a bit of memory foam to hold a set of speakers on the inside. The speakers were then connected to iPods, which played an audio component from each pillow.

One pillow was a ‘his’ pillow and the other was a ‘hers’ pillow. I arranged them in the way Alec and I usually slept when we were at home. The audio81 was about 15–20 minutes of Alec and I talking about our relationship on loop. We divulged our memories, insecurities, future plans, and difficulties.

80"Taken from Performance Pamphlet seen in the Chapter 6 Figures section, figure 26. 81 The transcript of the audio component can be found in the Chapter 6 Figures section.""

108 The audio was prompted by a series of questions, though we mainly used them as a jumping-off point. We would start by addressing one question and then just let our mind wander as we talked to the recorder. The only way the audience could experience the audio was to lie on the bed and press their ear to one of the pillows.

In each showing of the performance the bed would be set in the space completely made with one corner of the comforter folded over. My audience would enter the bed two at a time and participate in the piece. This time my framework seemed to resemble an installation inside a performance like that of Geraldine Pilgrim’s Not Waving But


The viewer, after entering the bed, became an active performer just by interacting with the installation. The larger audience could watch how they negotiated space either on top of or under the covers with this other person. The bodily outlines and movements almost functioned like a dance. They created truly beautiful images in which two people, sometimes complete strangers and other times close friends, family, or lovers themselves, negotiated this space that is usually private. The viewers would also sometimes hold conversations during the piece. The audience outside the bed watching could see these very intimate silent conversations.

The interior of the bed mixed the viewpoints of my existing relationship and told a layered narrative between the two audio components. It really gave an identity to the bed as a manifestation of this relationship. A bed symbolizes comfort, safety, and is a staple vehicle for basic needs like sleep and sex. To invite someone into your bed is a loaded statement. We grow up sharing our beds with friends at sleepovers or watching movies. We crawl into our parents’ bed after having a nightmare. Beds have become

109 performative object that perform a larger safety when it’s shared with someone else.

It was the perfect vehicle for this piece.

Mitchell Auditorium is Seigfred’s lecture hall. The very front of the space contains an elevated stage. I placed the bed in the center of the stage with very soft lighting. The front of the stage was lined with instructional pamphlets that invited the viewers to lie down in the bed. The pamphlet encouraged the audience to interact with piece, saying

Feel free to lie with a partner, a friend, a family member, a stranger, by yourself, up close, at an arm’s length, or far away. [Or] if you prefer not to participate, the piece transforms into the shaping of bodies, outlined by a comforter, trying to situate in a world inaccessible outside the bed.

The performance had maybe 20 people participate in two days, which was a much lower number than I had anticipated. I felt it was still pretty successful that being said.

Once again, I had technical difficulties with my documentation. I attempted to film the performance over the course of the two days but the camera died and the footage we got wouldn’t speed up enough to document the piece through more than two rounds. I made sure to document the second performance more deliberately.

The re-performance of this piece a few months later at the convocation center was even more successful. WOUB, a student run news outlet, even filmed live from my bed.

A lot of people participated. I think it helped that it was so cold in the convocation center and people could cover up by climbing in the bed.

The Expo was an interesting place to hold this performance. It was ultra-public, the lighting was really bright, it was noisy, and there were people walking all around. It

110 was all I could do to get people to stop for more than a second and ask my why there was a bed. People did eventually start warming up to the idea though. Once again an influx of middle school students were very involved.

There were so many layers that worked so well together in this piece, some of which I hadn’t even actively thought of in my creation of the piece. As with every performance piece, there were also a few glitches as well. I learned that this form of One to One performance mediated through the audio component needed a smaller duration to reach the maximum number of audience members. Many audience members would stay in the bed until the audio was done and looped to the beginning, making each performance about 20 minutes long. I had hoped that my viewers would have cycled in and out after five minutes or so. This, however, rarely happened, and as a result my piece didn’t get as much exposure as I had hoped it would.

I had some technical difficulties with my documentation and my speaker system.

The system was supposed to connect wirelessly to a music-playing device, but I couldn’t get the iPods to connect wirelessly. I had to think on my feet and plug them in inside the pillows. I hadn’t, however, made any special place in the pillow to hold the iPod. As a result, the iPods were occasionally thrown out of the pillows, causing the audio to stop. I was forced to interrupt the piece and reconnect the system, unfortunately giving away the whole magic of the embedded audio.

Overall, the piece effectively addressed many of the issues of public vs. private, the intimacy of a relationship, spatial politics between people, and collective memory. It also provided a vehicle that was accessible to non-performance-oriented people that didn’t overwhelm them or shut them down to the issues at hand.

111 Another issue this piece effectively questioned was the problematic nature of authorship within a performance. I didn’t participate in the piece, except in the audio component. Also, though the relationship featured was my own, it didn’t have to be. The piece would have functioned just as effectively if the relationship had been that of someone else or even different relationships that had been collaged together. Technically the audience was the most active performer within this piece; otherwise it just looked like a bed. The participants really became the main aesthetic subject of the piece.

I do think that having the audio focus on the relationship between two people more effectively addressed collective memory than a collaged piece would have. The audio that was provided by Alec and me overlapped through our history together. There are few events we remember completely differently, like how we first met. We both think we were the person to walk into the room that the other was already in. Other memories, on the other hand, mirrored one another or responded to the other person’s audio. Such can be seen in Alec’s confession that communication was a difficulty in our relationship and me responding that communication was my largest frustration with him without knowing that he had been talking about it. A collaged version would have had less authenticity and would have constructed these happenings. These overlaps happened spontaneously strengthened the piece.82

The separation between the piece and myself at times was problematic at times.

Viewers would get very confused and unsettled at the idea that this performance wouldn’t be featuring the person who authored it. I tried to keep calm and just tell them to

82 I further explored this idea in the piece Layered(IN), an audio piece that overlapped the two recordings. At times the layered words seemed to be speaking to each other even though the two audio bits were captured separately.

112 reference the pamphlets that I handed out with every performance. I would explain that they had the choice to lie on the bed or to watch other audience members interact with the piece. I had about 15 conversations every 10 minutes to try to explain this to certain audience members.

This piece really taught me that the raw and unfiltered reactions I wanted to invoke with my pieces most often happened when I allowed my audience to provide the piece. It is this lesson that I am taking with me the most into my thesis show, covered in detail in the next and final chapter.

Chapter 6 Figures

Thank You for coming to (IN)TIMACY

You are encouraged to interact with the piece, as there are audio components within the bed. Feel free to lie with a partner, a friend, a family member, a stranger, by yourself, up close, at an arm’s length, or far away.* That said let’s (IN)TIMACY keep it PG. If you prefer not to participate, the piece transforms Convocation Center into the shaping of bodies, outlined by a comforter, trying to situate in a Undergraduate world inaccessible outside the bed. Research Expo May 13, 2011 A reconstruct of intimacy, largely due to technological dependence within our culture, has occurred. I Special Thanks to wanted to create a piece where I could communicate through the medium of intimacy about intimacy The School of Art, in a broader sense (including but The Honors Tutorial By: not limited to sentiment, banality, College, the @Lab, Stephanie Fisk vulnerability, insecurity, and shared Alec Bojalad, Debbie history) without subtracting our Talman, Duane need to socially broadcast through available medias. I hope that the McDiarmid, Ian experience of the piece, especially Bojalad, and Louise the audio, transports you to O’Rourke relationships of the past and present, as well as your hopes for future relationships.

*Bedding was washed in Tide detergent, for those who may be Allergic

Figure 22. The performance pamphlet that was present at the second performance of (IN)Timacy.


Figure 23. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: bed. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. The turned down covers welcome audience members into the piece. Photo Credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 24. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: audience. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. An audience looks on as two participants climb into the piece outside of the frame. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.


Figure 25. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two girls, under covers. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. An aerial view of the performance in session. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 26. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two expo participants. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Two expo participants leave their posters to experience the piece. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.


Figure 27. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: participants intently listening. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Two friends participate in the performance. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk

Figure 28. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: WOUB filming. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. WOUB films from the bed to viewers. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.


Figure 29. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two girls adjust pillows. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. More audience members enter the space of (IN)Timacy.

Figure 30. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: couple talking. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. A couple participates in by talking over the pillows. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.


Figure 31. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: couple listening. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. A participant removes his shoes to get more comfortable. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 32. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two women. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Friends lay in the bed without shoes together. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk


Figure 33. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: two boys. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Two middle school boys negotiate the space of the bed different. One hogs the covers as they listen and talk to each other during the piece. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 34. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: three boys. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Three boys listen to the audio components together. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.


Figure 35. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: young couple. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. A young couple participates in the piece. Photo Credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 36. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: group of girls. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. A group of young girls squeeze in to listen to the audio components in the pillows. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.


Figure 37. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: three young boys. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Two boys marvel at the “talking pillows” while a third leaves the piece. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 38. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: boys wrestling. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. A group of boys start wrestling for their duration on the bed. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk

121 .

Figure 39. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, detail: woman sleeping. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Some audience members would experience the piece alone. This viewer fell asleep during the performance for roughly 20 minutes. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

(IN)Timacy Audio Components.

The His Pillow Audio Transcribed: Duration 16 Minutes, on loop for six hours

We established pretty early on that in our relationship that I was going to be big spoon and she was going to be little spoon. I really like that. I’m not one to prescribe to gender norms or stuff but when I’m holding her I feel strong. I feel like I’m the one keeping her safe and I’ve always liked that. Sometimes when I need it though she’ll hold me and I love that she’s willing to do that for me. We met when I walked into my friend’s room. And the way I remember it is… that she was already there, there were a bunch of people there, and she was off in a corner just sitting on a chair. And I walked in and I just kind of scoped the room like you do when you enter a room and I

122 just kind of saw her and I was just immediately attracted. But it went kind of deeper than that. Being a man, I’m attracted to a lot of the people I see just all the time. But when I saw her, it was different. I just felt something. And I knew that the immediate future of my life was going to be pursuing her. And I’m not really the pursuing type, I just sort of let things happen. Just the moment I saw her I knew I was gonna go after her. Not in a creepy way, but I was going to make sure we were dating at some point. That was just going to be the theme for that immediate portion of my life. I’m not even a love at first sight guy. It was a something at first sight. We spent pretty much the whole night talking. I was new to this group of friends, and we spent the whole night just talking about each other and talking about life. And at some point we were comparing who we would be if we were red sox players. I don’t why, she’s not even a baseball fan, but I was talking to someone who was. We were deciding who was who. And I decided she was Jonathan Papelbon because she was tall and she was closer. She could close things out; she could get things done; she’s the person who you want to be holding the ball as things wind down. And I think in hindsight it’s weird how right I was about that. We pulled an all-nighter and got doughnuts in the morning, which has become sort of a trend and a theme. My favorite thing in the world, if I can schedule a day, is getting doughnuts with her in the morning. I’m not even a morning person but I guess that’s the definition of love: someone who makes you a morning person. I think after that night the next time we hung out we were with a group a friends and had gone for a walk and she was on the phone with somebody. And she was talking to somebody on the phone and she was really upset about it; I don’t know I made it my personal mission to go over and talk to her and make sure she was okay. I was all about that that night. Later on we started to become friendly and she invited me over to her room that night to watch a movie and I thought score! So she had me over and it was late at night. We were watching this movie on her bed. And I just kept creeping closer and closer and closer because the lights were out and I was on a bed with a pretty lady and that’s what you do. And she wasn’t having any of it. She

123 kind of just scooted subtly away every time and the movies over and we’re talking about life again. Getting into deep stuff and then she mentions that it’s probably time to go. And I get up all dejected and she walks me to the door to let me out. And I figure this is the moment of truth so I kind of sort of go in for a kiss but she’s taller than me and easily turned it into a hug. So that was that. The next day she told me she just wanted to be friends. So I got friend-zoned pretty early in the game. I think in almost any other case I would have gotten the message loud and clear. But she was a special one. There was no friend-zone strong enough to keep me from pursuing her. One of the things I like about her is that she makes all the mundane stuff so much better. I’ve always enjoyed being lazy on my own. But I’ve never realized how doing nothing can be so much more rewarding with someone you love. I love her voice. At the end of the sentence she has this way of talking where her voice will kind of get higher. It seems like there’s always one more thing she has to say. I’ve been with her a while and it never I’m never not amused by it. It’s like she always just has one more thing at the end of every sentence. I like her smile because she kind of does this, she doesn’t do half-smiles, she does this big quick smile with her whole face and she laughs at the same time. She normally has something witty to say after that. She always has a bunch of witty stuff to say. She loves to banter. I think one of the reasons I dug her so much in the beginning is that I just like the way she flirts. And I like that she still flirts and that I still flirt with her while we’re still dating and not just while I was pursuing her I have a lot of memories with her. I think my favorite one was one time we were back that same room that we met. It wasn’t even our room; we were just there because everyone else had left. I was sitting on the couch with her and I just gotten this new video recorder for Christmas and I didn’t know what to do with it. So, I just videotaped her for 30 minutes to an hour just talking about stuff. Some of it was kind of deep most of it was just babbling. I would zoom in on her face and then zoom out. I would put the camera directly somewhere on her body and then take it away. We were just laughing like schoolgirls

124 and having a blast. And that was pretty early on. I think that’s one of my favorite memories. The other time we were at somebodies house and she was outside and I was inside of the kitchen. And she was so tall that she could just see into the window kind of pressed up against it. I was bent over on my knees, arms resting on the sill just leaning out and we were talking and laughing and kissing and it just reminds me how effortless it was to love her. And how much fun we have together and it’s still one of my favorite memories. I’d say one of the biggest struggles we have is that I have a hard time communicating with her. And it’s odd because I pride myself on being a good communicator. I feel like it’s part of my personality but there’s something about her that just makes me shut up. Maybe I’m worried about her finding out how weird I am or how depraved my own personality is. It’s always a challenge because I’m not really a sharing type person and she’s just so generous with everything she gives out. I think that’s hard for us sometimes. Especially on her I imagine. So that’s a difficulty Our relationship has been a really consistent thing for me in a really inconsistent part of my life. Now I know why old people and married people call the people they love rocks. It’s a cliché statement but I think I understand it now. I don’t know rocks not a very fun thing; it’s kind of boring. There has to be a better noun for her. My first impression of her way back when I first saw her and I had that immediate attraction was, and I don’t know why I had it, but I was like wow she’s hot. She must have been popular in high school. Maybe it was that immediate connection to my adolescence and high school that so drew me to her but for some reason I just imagined what she was like in high school. For some reason, I imagined her as the queen bee, and I imagined what it would have been like to know her then… and how she could have helped me and taken me under her wing. And I would hang out with her group of friends. And we would have all sorts of crazy adventures together. I think that’s a pretty intense depth of love when you have the desire not just to share your present with someone but the past. I mean it’s even one thing when to want to spend your future with somebody because that’s something you can want and can do. But sometimes it’s so strong that somehow you want to share your past together


too. Even though it’s nonsense and sci-fi, that’s the draw I had to her. That’s how I knew I was going to love her one- day. She repeats a lot of words all of the time and it bugs the hell out of me. She uses anymore all the time and I think she uses it in incorrect context. She just throws anymore at the end of every sentence. She also, misuses the word also. She says it all the time, just kind of as an interjection between sentences and she doesn’t even say it right – she’s leaves the ‘l’ out and says ‘aso’ instead of ‘also’. It’s just one of those things that drives me crazy. We don’t really have a song I don’t think. One time I played the only hope for me is you by my chemical romance for her and I don’t know if she liked it or not. I still to this day do not know if she liked it. But she suggested that it should be our song because we listen to it all the time. The album had just come out, it was new and that’s how I know she really cares about me. That she would suggest some random emo song that she probably hates to be our song because she knows that I like it. I hope we can find a real our song someday. I’m not really one to think about the future. As a matter of fact, I actively don’t want to. But when I do think about the future she’s usually there. I know when my parents were younger they were just young, stupid, love struck fools who would travel everywhere. See things and experience things together. I don’t want to do what my parents did but then again I kind of do. I want to just wander around without any responsibility, I want to go places and visit every city in America. Max out all our credit cards just living and hanging out and why not.

The Hers Pillow Audio Transcribed: Duration 20 Minutes, 31 seconds, on loop for six hours I met him through a friend. I remember walking through the door and seeing him sitting in a chair just staring at me with a weird smirk and his head tilted to the side. He reminded me a lot of a puppy dog. I could tell he wanted me or wanted something from me. But that really wasn’t something that I was ready to give yet. So we stayed friends for a really long time. I should have known at the end of that night which wasn’t really the night but the

126 morning when we had walked a mile and half or two miles to get doughnuts at six in the morning after staying up together and talking all night. I remember asking if he had seen a movie that I really really liked and he said yes apparently. I didn’t hear him say yes but I didn’t hear him say yes instead I invited him to watch a movie with me just as friends. The whole night was just really really awkward where he just kept scooting closer to me and I curled up into a little ball to try to deny him access. I remember the look he gave me in his eyes, just this puppy dog yearning and not being able to give that back to him at the time was really hard for me. Just how I shut off all possibilities to be just friends. I’m glad things changed though. I don’t remember the first things we said to each other. If I had to guess I think it was probably something like “hey, hi, how are you, nice to meet you” type thing. I don’t remember what our first full conversation was about either. My first impression of him was completely different than what it is now. I feel I’ve grown to understand him slightly better from not understanding him at all. I’ll probably never understand him. He’s very withholding, but when I say that there’s a little bit of restraint of wanting to say that, because he’s withholding from himself as well. He doesn’t really know if that he is feeling a certain way or isn’t feeling a certain way and he likes the tangible; he likes the superficial. Not superficial in the way where it’s not important but he very much likes talking about things and I very much like talking about ideas and internal where’s he’s very external. I think that I’ve had a lot of problems trying to communicate because we think so differently. I’m not sure if that’s a gender thing or just an “us” thing. But between me and him, there are different worlds, different ways of explaining things. I try to explain things to him in a way he’ll understand and he just rolls his eyes because he knows what I’m doing and doesn’t understand things any better than I thought he may have. I think he would say that I’m subtly high maintenance that I make him do things and I don’t allow him to just sit around and be which I think he’d enjoy a lot more. I think he sees me as a strong woman even though I think he sees me much stronger than I actually am. He’s very childlike in a way. He likes to be taken care of which I’m all right with. I take care of people as like a love

127 language. I like taking care of people. I like making people happy. Making sure they’re doing okay. Kind of like a mom, but not annoying or maybe it is annoying I don’t know. He definitely gets away with a lot of things, like not doing dishes, because he knows that I’ll do them. Or say he’s going to be at the library all night just offhandedly, he knows that I’ll be like “oh, do you want me to bring you food or something?” and the answer is always “yes.” So, I’m always up until three in the morning waiting for him to finish up. I think the thing I like the best about him is how grounded he is. It’s double-edged though. It’s really frustrating sometimes when he’s so grounded and I can’t uproot him to understand where I’m coming from. I think that his stability is definitely the thing that I latch on to the most. His consistency is also unrivaled. Predictable but in a good way and it’s amazing how much I still can’t predict. He’s an enigma without trying to be mysterious. One of the first people who I really haven’t been able to figure out. It’s almost as like parades as simple to distract people from his own complexity. And I really like that because it’s a challenge but in a very approachable way. It’s not a direct challenge but I don’t want to call it passive aggressive but I guess it kind of is. He likes questions and I like asking questions. I wish he would ask me more questions about me though. Maybe that’s egotistical but I don’t think he knows me but he knows how I act in certain situations. So he has little red flags for when I’m upset or something went really well or if I had a bad day or was annoyed or really any emotion. I suppose I kind of show my cards right away especially to him. It’s impressive how he’ll know I’m upset about something before I’m realize I’m upset about something. I think My favorite memory of him, that hard because there are a lot of memories. I think my favorite memory is really not a memory but an accumulation of this one face that he does. Whenever he’s rewarded in a certain way he makes this face and I can just tell that he’s beaming on the inside but he purses his lips, so it’s like he doesn’t want that feeling to escape through is face somehow. It’s just kind of this knowing happiness. And I really really enjoy all the times I’ve seen that on his face. Whether it’s me I’m surprising him with some sort of gift, especially an intuitive gift,

128 where he doesn’t really know what he’s getting but it’s something that fits him to a t or he’s wanted and hasn’t said anything about or when something on his day to day happens and everything just goes right he just has a certain look about him and I love that. A lot of our time is spent talking while watching TV shows. Sometimes I wish we could relate over more things than TV. I’m ready for this to go a step beyond something broadcast over a cable network. I don’t feel like it’s limited to that; don’t get me wrong. We have a lot of intimate moments: we try to cuddle each night before we go to bed, even if we’re not sleeping in the same bed, we try to incorporate touch and let each other know about our days and our fears. I’m probably the better one at that. I’m pretty vocal about how I’m feeling at any given time which means that a lot of our fights have been simply generated by me complaining about something and they usually end with me apologizing for being crazy which I’m really trying to work on through this because I’m frankly sick of it because I’m not sorry anymore when we’ve had the same conversation 80-billion times. And I’m not sorry anymore, but I always want to be the bigger person who makes it end. And I think it’s really unfair of me to assume that he won’t be that bigger person. It’s unfair of me to not give him a chance to make things better. The most annoying habit he has is—this is hard— this is going to come off badly but when you live with someone you spend outside and inside time with another person referring to the outside world and inside a house a place of rest a place of safety you notice a lot of things they do like keeping their room completely clean but when they come into your room they just drop their stuff right in the middle of the floor so that’s one thing that annoys me. That just came out. Not doing your dishes and assuming that I’m going to do them. A lot of those are like menial things though. I think my biggest annoyance with him in terms of habit or terms of person is when I catch him off guard or say something he doesn’t want to hear his first reaction is to be defensive and then throw it back in my face and his next reaction is to just stop. Just zone out, check out and that’s really annoying because I’m trying to express something that’s really important to me and he can’t handle it so he just views it as unimportant or not important

129 enough for his attention which is really offensive and I don’t like that that much. This relationship has meant a lot of different things for me. It’s my first relationship but I think I’ve been pretty good at it. It’s meant to have a person again. Through high school I was always surrounded by a close group of friends that were always there if I needed them and when I got to college I realized that people are busy. They’re busy and their priorities rest within themselves or within a certain field, a certain scope. So I had a hard time adjusting to the fact that I didn’t have a person anymore let alone multiple people who would always be there no matter what. Alec has really represented that for me. He’s always been my rock and I test him all the time. I’ve had emotional breakdowns or I don’t know he’s been through a lot with me and I think he’s learned how to handle me. I know that sounds really bad but he knows how he needs to be to get me through a particular hard time and I trust him with that to a large, large degree that I don’t usually trust to other people. He’s definitely the dominant one in the relationship. I don’t know why though. I feel like I try and by my personality, I should have more power in the relationship. It’s almost disturbing how domestic our relationship has become. In a very conventional sense, it’s just the way we happen to be with each other now where I’m the one who will do things with the house and he’s the one who will do things without the house. It almost makes me mad thinking about it right now. I think that as time goes on and I learn how to ask for more things that I want and how to express that; I think that that dominance will change in the relationship. I don’t think that he’s not respectful; I think that he’s respectful for how I feel in situations. I think I have power where there’s duress. Where my power comes from him constantly being worried that I’m upset with him or disappointed by him and I think that’s where my power comes from. One day I hope for it to not be like that. I hope for it to…you know, equal off, level off. The first time we exchanged the words I love you it was about three months into our actual relationship. We had been kind of talking kind of in a relationship month for a month and half, a month or so in addition to a year of friendship prior that. So we waited a long time, I waited a

130 long time to make sure I was ready for it. To make sure I actually meant it. That’s not something I take lightly. I don’t throw those words around. I know they’re just words but for me they have a very powerful meaning. I think a level of trust would just be completely broken if they were just brandied about within my own relationship. We were lying down at the end of the night in each other’s arms and there was just this silence. Just this all-knowing silence and he was just staring at me and I remember thinking I want to say it. I’m ready. I want to say this. And I just thought about how scary it was but how liberating it also was. Because I thought I love him in my head and I just wouldn’t let it out because I was too afraid that it wouldn’t be returned or it wouldn’t be or I don’t know it would seem too infantile or too soon or too late or too anything I was just so afraid. I remember staring into his glassy blue eyes and just thinking it’s been silent a long time and this is the moment this is the moment and I couldn’t talk .I just started crying, not crying by that point but just started tearing up at that point. And I think he said “just say it, I know you want to” and then the tears really started flowing and I just started crying and I said “it’s true, I love you” and he said “good cus I love you too.” And that was the first time we shared that with each other. I didn’t expect to be so emotional about it but it was weird how those thing hold with you.



My thesis performance, Love In Other Numbers, was held from March 30-April

2nd at Union Arts Gallery and Performance Space. This piece spoke more to the semiotics of intimacy and its many clichés. The heart is often symbolized as a physical manifestation of love and is referenced in phrases pertaining to intimacy. Phrases such as

“my heart races”, “brokenhearted”, and “my heart skips a beat” are all commonly found within the discussion of intimacy. I wanted to use these phrases in a more literal and applicable sense, so I decided to calculate issues of the heart in beats per minute.

My original inspiration for this piece was Roman Ondak’s Measuring the

Universe (2007). This installation, held at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New

York City, involved a small white room that viewers were encouraged to mark their height on the wall. Thousands of viewers participated and the marks began to overlap.

This created the visual effect of a nearly solid black bar surrounding the room. Upon closer inspection, one could see a name and date next to each indexical height mark.

I used this inspiration to map out my own topography of the physical manifestations of love. I collected statistical information about the love history of my viewers and mapped them through the space. Union Arts, a space covered with black walls, was an excellent venue for this endeavor. Each viewer was encouraged, both by myself as the performer and an instructional component found in a picture frame at the beginning of the space, to choose a place on the wall to trace his or her fist at heart height. I chose the fist because each person’s heart is relatively the size of the person’s fist. This mark would simulate the viewer tracing the size of his or her heart on the wall.

132 The viewer would then write three numbers in a vertical column outside of the indexical heart mark. The top number was his or her age, the middle was how many times he or she had had his or her heart broken, and the last number in the series was how many times the viewer had loved. After he or she finished the numeric column, I would then come to the viewer and take his or her pulse. I would gather the viewer’s pulse while he or she thought of the times that he or she had spent in love and/or heartbroken. I did that in hopes that there would be a physiological response in his or her heartbeat. I played love songs through the duration of the piece.

I made a deliberate choice to not talk to the participant about what may or may not constitute either love or heartbreak. I did this so any data collected was predetermined by the viewer’s individual construct of love. This way the viewer was unbiased by my constructions of love and heartbreak. In the event a viewer would ask me what I considered as being in love or what denoted heartbreak, I would attempt to be as vague as possible. Oftentimes, I would simply tell the viewer that I was unable to determine what love or heartbreak within his or her individual construction. Viewers were encouraged to take as much time as they needed to figure out their personal statistics.

The last segment of the performance involved a mathematical analysis in order to calculate how many heartbeats the viewer had had in his or her life, how many heartbeats the viewer had had while in love, how many heartbeats the viewer had had in recovery of a broken heart, and how many heartbeats were left unaffected by love. It was clarified that the beats unaffected did not necessarily mean that the person had not been loved during that portion of his or her life but that there were certain events that he or she

133 chose, either consciously or subconsciously, not to include within his or her particular data set.

The first calculation I would do figured out roughly how many heartbeats the person had had in his or her lifespan. This was of course a rough number taken from flat rate data. I would use the viewer’s age in years to do this calculation but did not consider the possible months after his or her birthday in my data. I used the flat rate in order to gain these estimates. The equation existed as age multiplied by 525, 949, or the number of minutes per year, in order to calculate age in minutes. The viewer’s age in minutes was then multiplied by his or her beats per minute as relative to love in order to determine how many beats the viewer had had in his or her lifespan.

The next calculation followed closely to the first, but, instead of age, it focused on the amount of time the person had spent accumulatively through his or her life in love. I would then multiply this time spent in love by 525, 949 minutes to get the amount of minutes spent in love. The minutes spent in love figure would then be multiplied by the individual’s beats per minute in order to get the number of beats in love. I would often tell the viewer that this was amount of beats their heart had beaten for someone else.

The third calculation in the series focused on the amount of heartbeats the viewer had spent in recovery of heartbreak. I would ask them if all their heartbreak had been caused by a romantic interest or a death. Heartbreak of romantic relationships is similar to the grief system experience caused by a sudden loss through death. I calculated that it took roughly half the time of the romantic relationship to recover from heartbreak. This was a minimum estimate on my part. In a heartbreak caused by death, I would add one- two years in addition to half the time the viewer had known his or her loved one. I would

134 then figure out using the formula relevant to the viewer’s heartbreak multiplied by the minutes in the year and their beats per minute to figure out how many beats the viewer had had in recovery of heartbreak.

My last calculation was to figure out how many beats the viewer had had that were unaffected by love. I called this number beats unaffected and in most cases it was a positive number. I found that in the event of the death of a close family member the number unaffected was often a negative number. I explained this to the viewer by telling them that his or her life was more dedicated to love and subsequent recoveries. The unaffected equation subtracted both beats in love as well as beats in recovery from the total beats per lifespan of the viewer. I would ask the viewer to disclose a memory of love and a memory of heartbreak throughout the calculations. Emotional reactions extremely varied from viewer to viewer. Some cried, others laughed, and even others were embarrassed. Some seemed completely unaffected or refused to disclose anything in response to the questions.

Each person was given his or her individual love in beats profile on an index card for personal keep. I would tally all the data at the end of each performance. March 30-

31st the performance ran from 12-6pm and from 12-8pm April 1-2nd. A closing reception was held from 5-8pm on April 2nd. I attempted to make my own chalk for the performance but the overall quality was, in the end, undesirable. I, instead, painted chalk that I had bought from a craft store.

This piece, though concerned with the language and theories of intimacy and relationships, was more imagery based than my previous performances. I was really enamored by the image of a fist being the same size as the heart. Hands are such a

135 valuable asset to intimacy and care, and a fist is typically a very violent image. A fist, however, can also be an image of unity or success. The paired with the actual physiological approximation to the heart as an organ was a beautiful image to me. It was similar to my attraction to knives within my work during the Intimacy series. Another contrasting image of violence and care occurred during the time I spent taking the viewer’s pulse. The easiest way for me to find the pulse at the wrist was to grab the person with an underhand grip. This would line my index finger with the pulse almost immediately. The imagery of grabbing someone by the wrist felt and seemed aggressive to me in an almost violent way. The action of taking the pulse also inherited this caretaking and violent dialectic as well. Lastly, the chalk outlines were very reminiscent of something you may have found at a crime scene. One doesn’t typically outline his or her body in chalk but it is often outlined either in play by another or because of a huge traumatic violence. Bodily parts traced in chalk seem to call back to crime scenes and violent loss. These images really addressed the inherent violence in intimacy and risk involved in being vulnerable.

In addition to addressing the lexicon of the heart in relation to love, I was also interested in taking a three-dimensional topography of love and a collective history flattened that into a vertical and statistical plane. I created an EKG of the space at the closing reception by connecting each individual tracing and revealed the final statistical tabulations on a result wall.

The piece, in the context of a larger exhibition, gallery, or museum, would have eventually created that flat line on the walls with more participants. Viewers in the thousands would have had to overlap their marks in a larger context. In the context of

136 Athens, Ohio in Union Arts with 50 overall participants, the EKG created was more sporadic. I also would have tweaked the framework of the piece so that it could be experienced and contributed to by viewers in my absence. Although I originally intended a higher volume of participants, the piece was still really successful.

The date of the piece fell on Easter weekend, which limited the volume of people that attended. The space was also confused in a couple of cases with Arts West, another multi-purpose performance area on the opposite side of town. Documentation, however, was not an issue. I think I finally figured out and adequately planned for appropriate documentation.

I made this piece with the motivation of finding a collective history and narrative of love through heartbeats. I knew the material contributed by viewers had the potential to be powerful. I didn’t, however, think I would have such differing reactions from participants. Five people broke down in tears when telling their personal stories of heartbreak. This put me in a very interesting position as the performer. I didn’t know whether to take responsibility for making the viewer cry or whether the framework of the piece was more responsible.

I also found out less about my viewers’ romantic histories than I thought I would have and more about their individual boundaries. It was not uncommon for someone to shirk on details in their recount of love or heartbreak. I could always tell when the viewer had reached his or her personal limit. It was almost as if I ran into an internal wall. The viewer would just stop and the conversation wouldn’t go any further.

The question of authorship was also inherent to this piece, perhaps even more than in my other pieces. The content was entirely viewer generated as opposed to the

137 pieces I’ve done in the past. The question of authorship has always been something

I’ve played with in my work. Never have I ever had such an overwhelming response from viewers in responsibility for the piece. Oftentimes, I would be with a viewer doing the one to one of the calculations and a new group of viewers would enter the space. The one to one prohibited me from going up to the new viewers and instructing them on the piece.

Viewers outside of the one to one who had already experienced the piece would approach new visitors and explain the piece for me. Some of them would even help the new viewer trace his or her fist and figure out his or her vertical numeric column. It was really interesting to see my viewers step up to the performer role on par with what I was doing.

My reaction to the piece was also interesting. I had to stay in the dimly lit space, surrounded by black walls and love songs. I am not one to enjoy being alone, and I spent nearly 30 hours in the piece waiting for viewers to come. I think about 10 of those hours may have been occupied by viewer interaction. I spent 20 hours alone, listening to love songs, and reflecting about my currently bleak love life. It was, frankly, super depressing.

I had a huge emotional response to the piece. Waiting was extremely difficult and a lot of the time I felt as if my piece was unsuccessful. This, however, was not true.

Overall, I thought that this piece, though slightly less trafficked than I would have liked, was extremely successful. It completely subverted the viewer-performer dichotomy. There were physical emotional responses to the piece both during and after the performance. I know that a lot of my viewers are still thinking about what defines love gained and love lost, which is the sign of a good piece. I always want my work to first be about my viewers, second about art theory and context, and lastly about my personal revelations through the work. This piece adequately addressed the issues I

138 sought out to explore and reached my audience at a level unattained by any of my other performances.

Chapter 7 Figures

Figure 40. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. The front of the promotional postcard for Love In Other Numbers 2013. Photo credit: Susanna Grubb. Design credit: John Oancea.


Figure 41. Stephanie Fisk, Love in Other Numbers, 2013. The back of the promotional postcard for Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Photo credit: Susanna Grubb. Design credit: John Oancea.

Figure 42. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: The opening sign for Love In Other Numbers. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 43. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. detail: Close up of right wall. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 44. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: close up left wall. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 45. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: watching a viewer perform. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 46. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: right wall, half-way through the performance. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 47. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: left wall, half-way through performance. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 48. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: taking a viewer’s pulse. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 49. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: one to one interaction. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 50. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: reflection on totals. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 51. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: overlapping performances. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 52. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: instructions. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 53. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: notebook of love in recovery. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 54. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: infocloud. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 55. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: previous viewer explains piece to a new viewer. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 56. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: final calculations. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 57. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: final calculations, aerial. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 58. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: writing the final tabulations. Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.


Figure 59. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: EKG. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 60. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013, detail: EKG close up. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.



I have been extremely blessed to have been able to work with Tim Miller and go to the National Review of Live Art. It was there that I was inspired to start approaching my work my creatively. It is because of those two weeks that I got into performance art.

Live art is a genre brimming with possibilities. The variety of elements it is able include, oftentimes simultaneously, allows the genre a unique opportunity to captivate any audience. Sometimes the performance is focused around an art object and other times it is focused on an artistic action or invitation. The genre’s framework is extremely conducive to viewer participation. The role of the audience becomes more active in these performance pieces and sometimes involves a framework that includes the viewer as a performer of the piece itself.

The one to one genre has been, in my opinion, a large advancement in performance art. This framework is completely dependent on the viewer. Each performance of a one to one is integrally different from the next. These performances require long durations from the performer and usually last a short amount of time for the viewer. The high element of risk involved in this framework is ultimately what attracted to me to incorporate it within my work.

I find inspiration in Tim Miller and often return to his exercises in order to brainstorm for my performances. Questions of authenticity, agency, and authorship are always implicit within my work and harken back to John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, and

George Maciunas. The vulnerability addressed by Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece and Barbara T.

Smith’s Feed Me also resonate within the main topic of my work. I’m entirely interested

150 in the negative dialectic that intimacy presents as a theme. The contrast between violence and intimacy that so often resides in the same moment. I try to address these fundamental violence within caretaking similarly to that of Chris Burden or Vito Acconci by putting my audience in a place of responsibility.

I try, much like Marina Abramović, to keep my framework simple with powerful imagery. I emulate Sam Rose, Francesca Steele, Adrian Howell, Geraldine Pilgrim, Kira

O’Reilly and Eirini Kartsaki in their involvement of risk, the one to one framework, intimacy, and violence caused by vulnerability.

My thesis show really explored intimacy in a different way than the pieces I performed previously. There was a didactic sense with all the statistics and recordings. I really felt as though my viewers were able to get more out of the piece than me as the performer. So much of what each viewer went through, from deciding what constituted heartbreak or love to the memories they flipped through before sharing his or her pinnacle love and heartbreak memory, was internal. It was almost as if there were another performance happening that was just for them.

I think that was an element that was missing from the pieces in the Secrets and

Intimacy series. Too much of those performances were solely about me. They limited my audience to only my experience or the experience I basically forced upon them. The more

I removed myself from the basic framework of the piece, the more successful I felt the piece was overall. It’s also really interesting to me how a performance could still be considered a performative installation even with the performer or creator absent. It creates a DIY feel that harkens back to Fluxus and the root of contemporary performance art.

151 Each series involved vulnerability and intimacy in a completely different way.

The Secrets series focused on secrets as a performative bond between the secret-teller and secret-sharer. It was inspired originally by theories on performative utterances and performative identities. The Intimacy series focused more on relationships and the performative identity of objects, namely that of beds. Finally, my thesis show focused on a topography of love in heartbeats and a collective history of heartbreak and love. All of these performances hinged on an active viewer that would participate in the work, a one to one framework, and the general topic of intimacy and its fundamental violence.

I’m really looking forward to the expansion of the one to one framework into

more unorthodox performative fields like installation. I’m hoping to be one of the first

theorists/artists to push it into that critical discourse. I’m excited for what is to come.


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Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter, performed by Kira O'Reilly, Glasgow, 2005.

156 Figure References

Figure 1. George Maciunas, Fluxkit, 1964-66. Data from: Whitney Museum of American Art. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 2. Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1964. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013.www.artstor.org.

Figure 3. Shigeko Kubota, Vagina Painting, 1965. Photo credit: Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 4. Barbara T. Smith, Feed Me, 1973. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org. © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VISCOPY, Surry Hills, AUS.

Figure 5. Carolee Schneemann, Meat Joy, 1964. Data from: University of California San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org. © 2007 Carolee Schneemann/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Figure 6. Carolee Schneemann, Interior Scroll, 1975. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org. © 2007 Carolee Schneemann / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Figure 7. Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971. Photo Credit: Larry Qualls. Data from: Contemporary Art (Larry Qualls Archive). Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 8. Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971, detail: artist with bullet wounds. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 9. Chris Burden, Transfixed, 1974, detail: two views. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 10. Vito Acconci, Seedbed, 1972. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 11. Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970. Black and white photos, documented performance; 4 views. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

157 Figure 12. Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970, detail: arm. Black and white photograph, documented performance. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 13. Vito Acconci, Following Piece, 1969. Black and white photographs, documented performance. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org.

Figure 14. Marina Abramović, Rhythm 0, 1974, detail of table. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org. © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VGBK, Bonn.

Figure 15. Marina Abramović, Rhythm 0, 1974, detail of artist holding object. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org. © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VGBK, Bonn.

Figure 16. Marina Abramović and Ulay, Breathing In/Breathing Out, 1977, detail: artists with covering mouths. Black and white photograph, documented performance. Data from: University of California, San Diego. Available from: ARTstor. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artstor.org. © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VGBK, Bonn.

Figure 17. Curious, the moment i saw you i knew i could love you, 2010. Film still. Available from: Curious’s website. Accessed March 20, 2013. http://www.placelessness.com.

Figure 18. Manuel Vason in Collaboration with Francesca Steele and Stuart Core, Collaboration #2 Plymouth, 2009. Available from: Art Collaboration. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.artcolaboration.co.uk/.

Figure 19. Sam Rose and Annette Foster, Melting Point, 2010. Available from: A Space for Live Art. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.aspaceforliveart.org.

Figure 20. Kira O’Reilly, Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter, 2003. Photo credit: Pekka Mennan. Available from: BST Journal, Brunel University West Union. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol0601/rachelzerihan/home.html.

Figure 21. Chris Burden, Five Day Locker Piece, 1971. Photo credit: Gladstone.uoregon.edu. Available from: BST Journal, Brunel University West Union. Accessed March 20, 2013. www.people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol0601/rachelzerihan/home.html.

158 Figure 22. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011, performance pamphlet. PDF. Design credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 23. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo Credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 24. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 25. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 26. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 27. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk

Figure 28. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 29. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk

Figure 30. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 31. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 32. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk

Figure 33. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 34. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 35. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011 at Ohio University’s Convocation center. Digital photograph. A different practice of the space is utilized from these participants. Photo Credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 36. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

159 Figure 37. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 38. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk

Figure 39. Stephanie Fisk, (IN)Timacy, 2011. Ohio University’s Convocation Center, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Stephanie Fisk.

Figure 40. Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Photo credit: Susanna Grubb. Design credit: John Oancea.

Figure 41. Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Photo credit: Susanna Grubb. Design credit: John Oancea.

Figure 42. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 44. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 45. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 46. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 47. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 48. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 49. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

160 Figure 50. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 51. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 52. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 53. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 54. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 55. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 56. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 57. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 58. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 59. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

Figure 60. Stephanie Fisk, Love In Other Numbers, 2013. Union Arts Gallery & Performance Space, Athens, OH. Digital photograph. Photo credit: Barbara Jewell.

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