Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Visualeyez Reconsidered, 2007

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.


Joshua said...

I want to thank you for your attention and perseverence in attending the festival. I feel that you have articulated many of your struggles to engage with performance/live art, a medium that is often evasive and obscure. However, I also want to question your tactic of evaluating and comparing the works. You have distinguished emma's work as the most memorable, and I'm wondering how you can offer this comparison that sets up a competitive comparison without reference to the other works (were you able to find the other works given that they were so hard to locate?)

Amy Fung said...

Joshua, let me state clearly that I am not comparing apples to oranges. I'm not setting up the works against each other as values on one infinite scale, how could I when I didn't even see them all. I did manage to experience a few, the muzak van, I managed to watch the beekeeper from a far off distance, and I actually walked by amber's piece on a lunch break without knowing it along with the other ones I purposely attended. Subtle Architecture was the one I did indeed pay most attention to, partly because some of the ideas stoke my own research, and partly because of timing. my thoughts are not to engage in a competitive comparison, in a festival setting or otherwise, and this site is not an absolute source of documentation.
I don't know if I'll be writing a wrap-up, as the memororables have to surface independently, and challenged here by you, not much is coming to mind. I thank you for your comment, as that should have been addressed, and if you have your own perspective of what has transpired and that you would like to include on prairie artsters, please e-mail me (my address is at the bottom of the main page), and we can talk further.