Wednesday, August 1, 2012

BWAC Opening


The crowd

Putting My Face On, officially installed.  

The opening was great fun.  I spent most of it enacting the bizarre meta-voyeuristic experiment of me watching people watching me performing in the video...I repeat, great fun.

I realized pretty quickly that the installation across from mine actually provided the perfect lurking spot.  I could hear what people were saying from there, and I could conceal myself among the hanging objects while I took photos.


Watching people look and listening to them talk to each other, I got the idea to add my notebook to the podium with a note asking people to write down their thoughts and feelings about the video.  I wanted there to be a more direct vehicle for people to communicate their thoughts to me, but I didn't want to interrupt their experience or color it by talking to them as the artist

The notebook ended up being an enriching element to the piece.  People actually got closer to read what was written, and stayed longer at the piece, thinking about the question.  It prompted them to have more involved discussions with one another, and prolonged solitary experiences.


And people actually wrote things!

I wish I could have left the notebook there for the entire run of the show, but it's the notebook I'm currently using as my sketchbook, and my mom and I went right from the show to the 2-week family beach vacation I'm currently on, so I really couldn't bear to leave it behind.  It's definitely a prototype for the kind of engagement I'd like to incorporate in future installations though.
I think the smaller scale did lend itself to a different, more intimate experience of the piece--it was powerful to see people standing face-to-face with it.

Also, the nature of it playing on a loop became important.  People would walk up to it when it was already halfway through, and they would stay to see how it began.  I like the idea of the process revealing itself in a different way to certain people, depending on when they encounter it (more specifically, I like the way it messes with the chronology, expectation, narrative, suspense of the experience).

Watching children engage with it was also great.  There was a pair of little girls who were sisters.  I saw the younger one sitting and staring for a while.  She got up and returned with her older sister...

She squealed, "Isn't it SO CREEPY?!"

The older one agreed that it was, and lingered, watching it for a full 2 loops before scurrying off to catch up with her sister and mom, who'd migrated to a different area of the floor.  I saw her tug her mom's skirt and point back at the video and I heard her say, "Mommy, I like the red one!"

Some other overheard responses include:
"I don't know if I'd call it art...I mean, I know it's's just not my kind of art"
"Now that's an interesting piece"
"I wonder what motivated her"
"It's a shame it's not larger.  The installation itself leaves something to be desired"
"[looking at the title] That's hilarious! [watches closely] It really does make you think about getting ready to go you cover your face to do it..."
"Her face is so pretty.  I don't know if the lipstick is enhancing or detracting from it"
"The ending is great--I just wish it were longer"
"I feel weird watching this--kind of perverted...voyeuristic?"
"It's like she's putting on war paint.  Look how she's sweating.  Look, you can see the sweat!"
"The technique of how she's applying it--so measured and even...and what a color"
"That red!  It's's overwhelming.  Powerful.  Yeah, powerful"
The piece won Best Assemblage/ Installation, as chosen by Brooke Kamin Rapaport herself!  They added a ribbon label to the podium and gave me a certificate and even some prize money!

Exciting stuff folks.  The show is up through August 19--go see it for yourself if you find yourself near Red Hook before then.