lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Want – 3

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm

September 4 – Want 3 at Art City, St. CatharinesStrega sign view

 This was the third and final installment of recordings for Want. At the final Art City event  coming up in October, I will play back the recordings. On this occasion I was set up at Strega, a restaurant on King St., with a smaller canopy measuring 8’ x 8’, within which I hung just one of my silk 20’ drapes. This is an improvement over the previous arrangement as it approaches the intimacy I have in mind. (I recently noticed a product in the Mountain Equipment Coop catalogue that is even closer – but saw this after I had purchased the current canopy on sale.)  I had set up the canopy itself in the morning on their west patio with the assistance of the co-owner, Steve.

The first thing I noticed was how being at a restaurant affected the piece. Each time is different of course as context shapes so much. I didn’t want to ask for the participation of people going into the restaurant, out of concern that it might annoy them. So I asked mostly on the way out, as well as the usual approaching people on the street. I had my car parked right in front of Strega which reminded me of the conveniences of car camping! (This is the first year since 1996 I have not gone camping.) Strega plays music outside. At first it made me a little crazy but I got used to it and know it will be interesting when I deal with editing the files. It was mostly 60s and 70s music.Want sign CU

Instead of sitting in a chair and waiting for people to pass by, I was ensconced on the east patio and ate a meal during the piece;  I ate as a gesture to the restaurant owners who potentially might have lost business by my presence. I read, continuing to read Feelings Are Facts by Yvonne Rainer. my stuff viewEchoes of my life continue and explication of influences that floated to me through the atmosphere. When I have read about 70s art, I often find some illumination of some aspect that shaped my life and work but at the time was not neat and tidy like a book allows. My sister visited, bringing me her camera to take these photos and we updated on family business since our father’s death.

I had a lengthy conversation with a Barbadian man in St. Catharines to set up his eldest daughter at Niagara College. Both he and his eldest had attended Ridley College, a local, old private school on the old British model which is now co-ed. I talked also with his youngest daughter who was one of the first to participate (her father had refused) and who sent two of her sisters to me later in the evening. She is 14 years old and a serious runner in the 400 meters. She asked me why I was doing this and I had a great conversation with her, telling her that most art was about people on some level and that human beings almost always are in a state of wanting something. She completely agreed and was intrigued and enthusiastic. I think she may be the only person who has asked me why I am doing Want.

entry viewIt seemed to me that the general tone of the evening included more mildly hostile encounters. If you have read Want 1, you will see I was overwhelmed with people’s generosity. There was still more generosity and openness than not. I think it possible that the hostility I encountered might be in reaction to me more boldly approaching people than I did previously; perhaps unconsciously coming on in a more challenging or provocative way. Who knows. I have been aware from the start that my reactions to reactions is essentially about judging people which I do not see as a positive (another judgement!). One man was so dismissive that I shot back, “You don’t want anything, eh?”, which was quite unnecessary. It is the public’s choice to participate or not and respond how they choose. Of course it is the social interactions that make this piece so fascinating to me.

I was refused by two older women who were downtown for Art City. One had a hearing problem, heard the word “art” (in my invitation I mention Art City), heard me asking her what she wanted, and turned it into me asking her if she needed any art supplies – which she explained she didn’t as she was an artist and already had what she needed.  They asked where the art was and the other woman was disgusted and  angry when I said what I was doing was my art. “I don’t want to do that!”, she practically spat. Too bad the audio recorder wasn’t on! But it’s just as well since I would be tempted to include it and of course did not have her willing participation. So I am relieved of having to face that moral quandary!

The evening ended with a highly enthusiastic group of youth as you can see!youth 1


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