17 October 2009
I would like to start off by saying how much I appreciate everyone who helped with my BATTLESAPIEN performance. It was a great success. It would have been impossible to finish all of the preparations without the folks who volunteered to come early and help set up the space. It would have been literally impossible to have the performance without all of the dedicated performers who stripped down, got swaddled in felt, spray painted, and laid on the cold concrete floor while being splashed with paint. I hope that everyone got it out of their hair. I feel such a relief now that it is over. My life was totally consumed last week by 8 pages of details concerning the piece. I will post some pictures as soon as I get them from Marina. For other people that took pics, feel free to share them as none of us could see every thing at the same time.
Check out this vintage gamebox pic I found. I had just commented to Angie last week about the men playing games while the women did dishes, then I found this other version on some blog.
This week is really hard to write about as I was only focused on one piece the entire week. There really was nothing else. I was either shopping for the piece, working on parts at the studio, or working on it at home in my basement. I don’t think that I ate enough. Some days, Angie would bring meals to my studio. I drank a lot of Mountain Dew- a couple of Red Bulls when the going got really tough. Tonight, I will take a good long hot shower and throw on my special pajamas and watch footage with my partner. I think that I will have a good meal as well and eat on the couch. (I usually do not like to do that but I need some recoup time).
It was interesting speaking with people at the post-reception last night and hearing what they had to say. As the night went on, people became more comfortable talking and provided some good feedback. One thought that really stuck with me was expressed by a couple of people concerning the tone. It was obvious that the performance was a bit different than walking through a quiet gallery looking at masterpieces. On the first hit, people laughed. My gut instinct was this sucks, I am not putting on a circus here. But soon, I noticed that people were wanting to laugh. They would focus on a certain hit waiting for that moment or “release”. When I looked at faces in the audience, I realized that between those moments, there was a serious undertone. I believe that when I look at the documentation that the mediation is going to give off a more somber tone. I believe that people got what I was trying to say even if it was awkward. So, back to my subject- performers told me later that it was a sobering experience to lay on the cold floor considering the fact that they signed up to be a target. There was an internal tension that the game pieces felt as they listened to the shots called and figuring out if they were going to “get it”. I watched some of the performers wince as the gallery assistants neared them to deal out death. The assistants, Trina and Megan, were surprising as well. I was not sure how messy they would get but it seemed to work out. All characters served their purpose. The generals set back and called the shots as a “game” while the masses suffered on the floor. As facilitator, or “big brother” as some referred to me, stood by with no blood on my hands, while the assistants, or death, doled out all of the bloody work. I am going to review some images that show the following: Katie with blood running down her ear, Brian playing on his board with the performers in the background and a couple of the gallery assistants holding their kill pegs with their hands drenched in blood while performers were in the back ground. I am sure that I will have a lot more to review. Some people have already contacted me about pics they took.
So, critique. Please feel free to give me some feedback. I welcome it good or bad. Was it too cheesy? To literal? Complicated? Do you think it was a wasted of good felt? Whatever you have to add, I will appreciate. A few formal items that I currently am considering: I believe that the use of space worked very well for the piece both allowing game play and viewing. I like how the grid tied the ballistic barriers in with general platforms creating a large game board piece. I was worried at first that the objects would be too disparate. I downloaded and re-configured a Battleship board from the internet and transposed the number and letter grids on our floor. If you want to try against a computer, do it HERE. So, that made a tough go for the generals who had to transpose as they began making calls. The other hiccup was when Bryan and I decided to adjust the grid by two feet so that Trina and Megan could walk without tripping on people. When Sam and Joe began laying tape and stenciling, we forgot to add on the extra foot on each end the grid ended at 9 instead of 10 squares. Brian had two hits in row ten that we just had to deal with quickly to not stop the game. Despite, giving everyone ship papers that told their hits and team, and me putting them against the wall outside of the space to double-check, I still missed the fact that Justin was missing one target on his back. Actually Brian should have had one more shot but we killed Justin off anyway since there were no targets left on his back.
Overall, everything went great. For the three things that we dealt with, twenty more things turned out better than imagined. Oh, I forgot to include that when we left to deliver the props, that they had shut down streets for the parade and the traffic jammed. It looked like St. Louis when the Cards play the Cubs. It took, I am not lying, one hour to drive from humanities to the lofts! It all came together, thanks again to everyone for all of their help!
Also, we should give Patrick thanks for hosting the post-receptions-reception. A great time was had by all! Thanks, Pat.