Taking performance to the streets, in a non-guerrilla entertaining fashion, continues to pose the question: what is the spectator's role in this heavily developed non-spectacle?
Perhaps the most memorable, although it may not wished to be, was Emma Waltraud Howes' Subtle Architectures: A Practice in Enabling Restraints. Setting ephemeral stages, traffic yellow chalk outlines, in various arbitrary stations, from outlining non-traditional but angular zones around parking meters, loading docks, and other architectural misnomers readily definable as examples of street furniture, Waltraud Howes responded to these ligaments of urban landscape, defining a boundary for herself, and articulating her responses in her developed movement vocabulary. Problem is: this performance was not meant for observing eyes, and could only thrive in a state of sustained fleeting.
Resembling a rehearsed flaneur, the idler of the streets who feels too much, overwhelmed with the bustling movements of the urban centre, the performer, if we may use that term, develops its own movement-based cartography of the city. And movement, in all senses but this in particular, is the ebb and flow of body-to-mind stimuli that is gesticulating in all of us. There is perhaps no way to experience this directly as a audience, as following a flaneur propells you to be one, and in this irregular communion, neither individual continues to exist alone--and for this piece, immediately destroys its entire premise.
As the chalk lines remain, at least until the next rain, as all that is left of these subtle architectural remanants in this city core, the project lives on in a constant state of research.