Spring Notes 2011 1.1

sidestep 1. may 13, 2011
ultraviolence I: installation / live intervention. lessons on involvement

In one of the activities indirectly related to Fierce, Companis, a duo of (both pregnant) artists, and friends of Harun and Laura curated a live event that launched the exhibition Ecstatic, composed of moving images from Abramovic/Ulay, Warhol, Leckey, Schneemann and Sighicelli. The exhibition was held at the Vivid Gallery, which is also the temporary settlement of the historically nomadic Firece Festival.

The live event, Ultraviolence I, commissioned for the exhibition, was meant to be an “immersive experience” aimed at assaulting the senses through exposure of the audience to fluorescence, intensely coloured light, sound, unconventional gestures and overwhelming amount of sweets! The artists Kaye and Sharm asked me barely five minutes after I arrived in the scene, “can you perform” I replied before I could even think, “why not?” and a few minutes later, I was putting on my white costume for the impromptu performative interaction with the audience. My task was to provoke the audience into actively engaging in the installation by initiating with them uncharacteristic , over2the2top, rather (too) intimate exchanges as they experienced the exhibition:

Instead of a conventional “hello” greeting → a whisper in the ear
Instead of a civil “shaking of the hands → a caress of their shoulders and arms
Instead of a formal invitation to participate in the consumption of the candies → a gentle shove of the sweets into their mouths, to the point that their tongues licked my fingers
Instead of merely ushering them to the space from a civilized distance → grasping their hands all through out the tour, and leaning towards them while both of you watch the images together, side by side, body to body.

This experience brought me the right crucial attitudes in dealing with fierce: fluidity, spontaneity, sense of liveness / immediacy / ephemerality; attentiveness; resourcefulness. Fierce after all, deals with live art, and these attitudes turned out to be useful in making the most of my involvement with the movers and shakers of the festival, given the short period of time.

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