Derived from everyday routine, I seek to instill this experience of abundance in the participants of my projects. It is not necessarily the venue that makes art public. It is not the subject matter that makes work public. It is not the inclusion of certain demographics or specific qualities of otherness among my participants that constitutes a public. The publicness of the art experience is created when the situation allows us to give ourselves into the work, and to lift the boundary of art and life. The art of giving brings acts of generosity into a structure that helps me and others to learn more about the nature of our relationships — with family or strangers on the street. In addition it can foster insights that potentially further these relationships.
Maura visited the project earlier in the week when things were incredibly tense and I was still trying to figure out how to navigate the situation. She followed up with questions for both me and Agnes but so much was still unresolved even at the end of the week. Anyway, her thoughtful impressions for tbd.com made me feel sorta bad because I think Agnes is an incredible person/artist and I know she didn’t mean to hurt me, just as I didn’t mean to hurt her at any point in the project. Nonetheless, I think we ended up hurting each other anyway. Then in an incredible turn, we ended up really respecting and admiring each other. Neither of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into when this all began. And it would have been a lot less interesting if it had been scripted out like a reality show! Thankfully, the project turned into an amazing experience that seemed to have touched on the elements of really good art: it provoked a lot of raw emotion, both good and bad, and it stirred up lots of discussions about important issues. I’m still processing everything that happened so more on all of it later.
When the artist as performer becomes the artwork as a living object, how does this transform the viewer, in which it is no longer plausible to maintain a passive relationship to the work.
This is a great question and I won’t entirely know the answer until after this project ends. The engagement of the art viewer has been a very exciting aspect of this project. I am always looking for ways for art viewers to become more engaged with art because that experience can teach you so much about yourself and the world. This absurd project is certainly taking that idea to an extreme level. I hope that my engagement with this art experience will result in some great lessons that I can share with you later.
I used to be an intern for an artist who had a hard time keeping me busy. If your interns happen to be at loose ends, perhaps Agnes could put one of them to good use? Perhaps the intern can shine the inside of her bubble, feed her crackers or quiz her about the history of conceptual performance art? Also can you ask Agnes who her favorite Beatle is? And what is she planning to do with that big surf board?
The interns are very busy. In fact there is so much work to be done that Agnes has been helping me out by answering my emails for me.
Agnes says she doesn’t have a favorite Beatle.
She’s thinking about filling the structure with water so she can surf. I’ll have to look into acquiring a wave-making machine. She is also considering turning it into a sauna. I think it’s quite warm in there because the air doesn’t circulate well.
I heard Agnes likes to dance. Have you tried playing her a song?
We listened to some music this afternoon and it was really nice and relaxing. There’s not much room in the structure so I wonder if she’d be able to dance. I’ll find out if she’s interested in having a little dance party.
Do you have any privacy? What if you blocked the tunnels with pillows or put a sheet over the structure? Or turned on "Never gonna give you up" by Rick Astley really loud to mask phone conversations?
If I need privacy, I can escape into my bedroom. I think lack of privacy is probably more of an issue for her considering she’s inside a clear structure. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point this week, she rigs up some sort of curtain inside there.
I wonder what smells she likes and hates. Could you pump some in to the bubble and get her feedback? Maybe as part of your cooking...
I am still doing very little cooking (we ordered pizza for dinner tonight), so cooking smells are definitely out. Seems like the inside of the bubble is a little stuffy. She told me tonight that she may not be getting enough air and it could be affecting her perceptions of reality. For safety’s sake I don’t think I’ll pump anything into the bubble other than fresh air.
Maybe you should invent and initiate a drinking game with the artist.
Darnit. If this were taking place next week, I’d totally do that. But I’m in my last of 12 weeks of self-imposed alcohol detox. I’d love to invent some other kind of game to play with her so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know!
I made a veggie lasagna that I thought was pretty good. The City Paper can verify the alleged deliciousness of this lasagna when it stops by for a visit on Thursday.
p.s. Agnes and I didn’t start the blog together to document the project. I started it on my own late Sunday night after I posted a picture of Agnes on Facebook and someone asked if I’d be giving updates throughout the week. I thought a blog would be the easiest way to update anyone who wanted to keep up with our project.
What are the consequences if you, Philippa, default on a term of the contract you've signed with Agnes? This is all so intriguing and exciting!
Very astute question Josef! I am already in danger of default and Agnes and I discussed this possibility this afternoon. There are no real consequences other than the regret that I will feel at the end of this project for not having carried out my end of the agreement. Interestingly, I have always considered regret to be something to be avoided at all costs.
I almost always regret the things I didn’t do and rarely regret having tried something new. In fact, trying something new and pushing beyond one’s personal boundaries usually results in lots of self-improvement. Despite these benefits, I am finding it difficult to fulfill some of Agnes’ requests. For example, today she asked me to perform a Bruce Nauman performance piece with her. I was super busy today and didn’t make time to do it and now I regret it. Plus, I simply hate to perform in front of an audience (there’s a video camera on us almost all of the time) so I kept myself just busy enough to avoid doing it. I tend to avoid doing uncomfortable things with the hope that those situations will just magically disappear so I don’t have to confront my fear.