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Week 4 July 11 - 15th

I would like to comment on the hilarity I've been experiencing within all of this. Every performance has an element of funny. What makes something funny? The uncomfortable things, the ironic, the taboo, the ridiculous, the execution and amassing of any and every idea. Why are these elements also so rad to me and others esp. self proclaimed artists? Why are we so excited about this? I guess you can’t help but laugh when defiant. It’s like, if we are to consistently execute whatever our minds find pleasing, we place ourselves in power, witnessing ourselves overcome the stagnation of doubt.

Something I have decided to add to the performance overviews is a “Why” section. It serves to help orient the other three sections toward something greater.

Monday July 11th

Title: “Getting to know someone”

Instructions: Before altering hair color, record a 15min video conversation with your future self. Don’t rehearse, just play the video and respond in the moment as the performance.

Why? To justify bleaching my hair by giving an artistic weight to the decision. To consider a conversation with one's past self as “getting to know someone.” To exemplify the importance of self awareness and reflection. To experience wonder for the future. To experience remembrance. To witness oneself and the changes within and around.

Rehearsal discoveries: n/a. The set up for this was hilarious. I got to the studio at like 9:20. A bit of a risky thing, but I figured, just plug the tv in and airdrop the video from phone to computer. Airdrop did not work and kept acting like it would with its little bar moving slowly across the screen. After about 15min I got worried and tried to restart it. Another 10min went by, and I was like crap. Ended up going for wetransfer at like 945 and at 950ish it said prepared for transfer. It still hadn’t fully uploaded, and I clicked it to do so. While I was waiting, I got so nervous, I set up my loop pedal station just in case it never went through, and I could just do some vocal improv. The transfer went through at like 9:59AM, and I downloaded it. It basically loaded fully within 10AM the minute. I hit click and BOOM!

Performance write up: Speaking to myself is interesting because I am the most attune to the nuances of my jokes and style of language. There were some uncanny moments where the conversation did flow well as if it were really a conversation. Getting to contextualize time was really magnificent. I could see where I was last week, filmed in the same location I was performing. There’s so much worth saying about time. Time is real, yet moments can feel everlasting. Time can warp, slowing down, speeding up. We have no control over time beyond our control over the pace of our breath and experience of it.

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Tuesday July 12th

Title: “Ishmael”

Instructions: Put on a gorilla suit. Inspired by the concept of the enlightened gorilla from the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, set up a sign that says “Ask me a question,” and answer the questions with the deepest of philosophy and existential truth.

Why? Heard about the book and loved the concept of an enlightened gorilla. Gorillas with thoughts parallels having a conversation with father nature or something like that.

Rehearsal discoveries: Experimented with a low pitch voice and slight accent from who knows where.

Performance write up: I put the suit on and I think my body remembered overheating in it the other day at my friend’s baby shower. I felt claustrophobic. I breathed through it. The mic could only work well inside the suit, but then it picks up on my claustrophobic heavy breathing. I really had to center my breath throughout.

I felt like what I had to say was considered more deeply than in normal conversation partly due to being a gorilla instead of a queer woman. This is a feeling, and I don’t think it’s actually true for the crowd of people present at all, just an interesting feeling to comment on. It just felt like my words had more weight than normal, but this is probably just due the elevated presence of a stage with lights and performance intentionality and not that gorillas are taken more seriously than queer woman in our society. hahaha

I set the intention to take on the questions of life with confident answers and speak openly and authentically. I felt this performance gave me the opportunity to represent the moods and feeling I have about the Tenam performance project as a whole. In a way, it felt like I was really just talking about how “everything is art.”

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Wednesday July 13th

Title: “Hit it like you’re never gonna get to hit it again”

Instructions: vocally improvise with the words “hit it like you’re never gonna get to hit it again.” Concepts and ideas build a soundscape that is fueled by ‘singing like you’re never gonna sing again’ and also contains elements of spoken, ghost like sounds.

After 10 minutes, use the last five minutes to do the piñata stuff. Put the blindfold on, Spin around 10 times, and hit the piñata. If there’s extra time after the piñata’s broken and you’ve hit the shit out of it, perhaps sob over the dilapidated ‘what once was.’

Why? Intensity. feeling. Hitting is fun. to experience the build up of a rollercoaster experience. To move rage emotions through the body. To offer the option of hitting objects as art.

Rehearsal discoveries: Decided to record the track for simplicity, add some janky bass layers, then do some minor editing on logic pro. Going to let the track play for 5 min, then step out and make threatening and preparatory gestures at it as if I really, really am never going to hit it again.

Yeah, like after I’m done hitting it, why would I ever hit it again? This creed definitely is all-encompassing and fits the energy I need to take on with this project as a whole. It also matches the mindset of most performers I know already. Do anything like you’ll never get a chance to do it again because ya never know! Sshaboom.

So yeah, I will spend 5 min just meditating behind the curtain, step out to face the lion as it represents time and space never coming to the same place again, and once the 10min track is finished playing, I will put the blind folds on, spin around 20 times, then hit the shit out of the piñata.

Performance write up: There are cuts on my arms and fingers, and that experience was pretty awesome, powerful, vulnerable, with control, and without. I had a chunk of friends come, like 5 people attended, and that was very nice because I did think this one was going to be special given I spent $30 on a freakin piñata. I need to really plan ahead more to avoid spending too much money. We all hung out after the performance, and everyone mentioned they were worried at some point about me either hitting the wall and breaking the glass or hurting myself further. I got the chance to relay my intentions a little with them, and ultimately, it was a hit! Much of how I felt can be seen in the video. I only spun round the stick about 5 times I think because it was too difficult to do without straight up collapsing.

View on Youtube --->

Thursday July 14th

Title: “nathan/jonathan”

Instructions: 5 candles because “let there be light” is an awesome sentiment to align with some god that is close to mine own experience. Write a sin on a piece of paper for each one. Create a vocal piece around the sin. Burn the paper over a tray.

Why: Self examination. Moral examination. To offer a ritual and the language of forgiveness. To confront God. To examine the use of confession and forgiveness.

Rehearsal discoveries:

  • The porcelain gets burn marks, so hold the fire above until you can’t anymore.

  • I don’t feel bogged down by any sins lately. The worst sin I feel I’ve been committing is overcommitting and not taking care of my health. Actually, I guess those things do bog me down. I am realizing this now after the performance that did take some left turns. Before the performance, I thought perhaps I could move through the candles as if through the past, present, then future.

Performance write up: I titled all the pieces this week before conceptualizing them while out with a friend. Our conversation inspired their names. He told me Nathan meant “God’s gift,” and that sounded pretty dang powerful. We can find so much beefy goodness in the power of names.

So I looked up stories on Nathan, found a Bible one about Nathan being sent to some king to confront him about his sins, and the king owned up, asked for forgiveness from God, and received forgiveness. After watching that random children’s youtube video, I decided confession and forgiveness were fantastic themes.

I had a really hard time figuring out what I was going to confess. I wanted to do so in the moment, so I did. I also had two candles left when I heard someone say, it’s 1min til 10:15AM. I bumped those last two out because I didn’t like the idea of there being a remaining candle. I felt like I needed to finish the task, but why? It could have been so meaningful for that last candle to not have been lit yet. So symbolic that sin will come for me again, or I, it.

One of the issues I, and many people have with these themes of confession and forgiveness is the way it relates to repentance practice in the religious sense. There is a long history of and present day practice of punishment in religion through stories of hellfire, and these punishment practices have been known to create unhealthy patterns and energies in the bodies of those who internalize them consciously/unconsciously. There is of course, so much goodness these practices offer depending on the language you surround them with and the way they are sorted in the minds of the practitioners.

On a funny note, one of my neighbors came to the performance and had a conversation with a man playing music from a speaker on his bike. She said there would be a 10min funny skit or something like that to him, an I popped my head out to say 15min to her. She didn’t hear me, and told the next person who arrived there would be a 10min performance. While the speaker music was playing and the couple people there were talking, I began the performance. It was funny to work around that, given I had such different, more meditative and grounding intentions with this one.

View on Youtube --->

Friday July 15th

Title: “Hot dog buns”

Instructions: Pose hot dog buns to create a still life set up. Paint a portrait of them. Re arrange, and paint something else

Why? Well, you see, I bought some beer at a liquor store, noticed I was overcharged for it, then the seller gave me a pack of hot dog buns without me asking. Part people-pleasing and part sheer hilarity left me without words about this until leaving when I realized “Hot dog buns” would need to become a performance this week.

Rehearsal discoveries: I wish I rehearsed with those brushes and discovered that I am terrible at using them ahead of time!

Performance write up: This was rough, but it flew by because painting is one of those activities that seems to do that. I had a friend come early, and this threw me off a bit because usually I just use the time to get into the headspace of the performance and make sure I’ve thought it all through. Then, my grandpa who I was expecting to come later, came through the door inside at 9:59am as I was about to start. I explained to him how I needed to do an important performance 10 and he needed to get out for 15min. Then, I proceeded to arrange hot dog buns in front of him and paint in the most unskilled way. The irony of all of this importance and ridiculous nonsense has god chuckling. When god chuckles, I want to chuckle, too.

As a summary, arranging the hotdogs was the most fun part. Trying to paint with a new type of paint, surface, and awkward brush made the painting part embarrassing. I could not get a full grip on how to utilize the tools since I did not try them out ahead of time. Of course, I really appreciate Katie’s help in giving me her stuff to use.

Unexpectedly, since I was doing such a terrible job painting, which of course is art and only as terrible as you think it is, I reached a point with both paintings where I just hated them and was disappointed enough to crumple them up and chuck ‘em at the floor. This was a good release, I suppose. I highly recommend chucking things at the floor.

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