This week, Tenam was asked to participate as part of the annual Medium Festival of Photography. Check out what they had going on here-----> https://www.mediumphoto.org/2023-festival-schedule
Pretty much, the task was to create performances about photography. Of course, we had to get hella deep and hella existential.
Monday April 10th
Title: "The portal is open"
Instructions: Take that phrase you came up with and turn it into some deep commentary about how photos are like portals
Why? A photograph is a portal to a moment in time, opening memory portals of experience.
Rehearsal Discoveries: Decided to make a trippy track which is one of my skillsets, for sure then perform the act of photography from the perspective of both the photographer and the photographed.
Luckily, the morning of, I had the chance to look at Sergey's wall full of different cameras, which gave me more ideas of different camera shapes to use. Oh yes, I remember also debating about actually bringing the cameras to pretend use, but deciding to pantomime makes prop packing SO MUCH EASIER.
Performance Write Up: Great time. Once again, a prompted exploration resulted in discovering territory previously unknown. How beautiful. The selfie ending was cute.
View on youtube here -->> https://youtu.be/53jXdZqJsF8
Tuesday April 11th
Title: "THIS WAS"
Instructions: Group of people tell stories about their important photo.
Rehearsal Discoveries: I texted everyone the day before to send me a picture to print or bring a printed photo with a good story behind it to tell. Decided to organize the performance into segments and set a timer for everyone. We took turns discussing the photos broken into these parts which I posted on the mirror for silent communication. Christian woke up late, but I still made him participate via phone call. :)
Performance Write Up: Simple, cute, meaningful, endearing, straightforward, personal, loving, intimate, sincere. We don't make time for this sort of stuff in normal adult life unless you go to church or have some school project or there's a wedding. It's cute to just perform it on a Tuesday morning.
View on youtube here-->> https://youtu.be/r5y7duheF5s
Wednesday April 12th
Title: "Oo, delightful" Feat Lauren Reed and Pete Campbell
Instructions: Lauren and Pete will discuss all that is delightful while feasting upon the cheeseboard prepared for them. Those in attendance are instructed to grab a polaroid camera, open the door to the stage, enter, close the door, listen to the conversation, and snap a photo of the scene. Upon the photo, the listener should write down what delightful topic was being discussed at the moment of photo capture.
Why? Polaroids are hip. Cheese is delightful. Friends are down. Highlighting the meaning of photography in capturing moments and creating a ritual to bring forth delight.
Rehearsal Discoveries: Had two cameras to try the morning of and found one to function slightly better than the other!
We found delightfully goofy pieces for Lauren and Pete to wear. I brought flowers of delight as well.
Performance Write Up: I really enjoy the concept of bringing the audience inside and onto the stage. Coming from the noisy, dusty street and closing the sliding glass doors results in a dramatic shift of volume in the air. This juxtaposition elevated preciousness in the scene of Lauren and Pete. Everyone watching their polaroid develop was an adorable practice of simple pride in one's work. The nostalgia and single-use element of polaroids also heightened the levels of preciousness for everyone involved.
View on youtube here-->> https://youtu.be/ErDXgZJUWXs
Thursday April 13th
Title: "The SRS Worker" Feat Lexi Pulido and Christian Drugan
Instructions: Lexi is a Soul Removal Services Worker advertising her services to the street and performing a demonstration.
Why? That goofy idea when pictures first came out that they are trapping part of a person's soul.
Rehearsal Discoveries: There was quite a bit of prep for the logistics involved in this one. Luckily, I've got a giant fishing net. Sergey had an old school video projector we could disguise as the SRS machine. I made some business cards for my character Dani Braume to hand out (named after a person who has deeply wronged my friend and might deserve a good soul-sucking except, you know that's not true and intelligent conflict resolution is the big answer but sometimes you just hate someone anyways and want to honor your hate by putting their name on a card and not their last name just a shortened version of the first name if you're wondering)
Made a shirt nice and easily with some tape and marker, also.
Oh, and I was pretty nervous about improvising a presentation, so the night before, I wrote out the concept on the white board and rehearsed delivering it a few times. I was communicated via text the idea with Christian who arrived in the morning with the perfect "soulless walk away" track. We set a timer for the presentation in order to coordinate and give a reference point of time between Christian and I transitioning from presentation to demonstration.
Performance Write Up: I just kept to the plan. I felt like I was speaking out of my ass the whole time, just focused on staying in character. Watching it back, this performance, in my opinion, was hilarious. I think it could go on Netflix, similar to that show "I think you should leave," but I like "The SRS Worker" more. Christian played his part SO well, and I can always trust him to go big with any role I've given him.
View on youtube here-->> https://youtu.be/Mtig8cB1EDg
Friday April 14th
Title: "Wornfit" Feat Leslie Fisher, Lauren Reed, Lexi Pulido, and Tony Allard
Instructions: Turn meaningful photos into a mask. Wear mask and go outside to stare at audience.
Why? Using the photography as a material to wear had not been explored in any other performances this week.
Rehearsal Discoveries: It took a while to decide what type of photos should be printed. I think Leslie and I discussed the ritual practice of going through photos with exes and thought about wearing only photos of our exes in order to represent how love makes us who we are. However, commenting on exes felt too teenager baby. We shifted to pictures that evoke deep feeling, generally.
Found out Walgreens prints photos using an online photo order process. Carried out the progress as a way of getting photo paper involved instead of janky printer paper.
I enjoyed the symbolism of mixing all our photos together at the start in order to have a metaphorical visual of human emotions scattered across the stage.
We thought about the method of stapling photos together but couldn't decide on what would effectively seal the many units. This logistical element was overlooked and resulted in the most bizarre final presentation previously unimagined.
Performance Write Up: Mainly, the difficulty of working with the material was underestimated, and the ways in which everyone interpreted wearing what they constructed was pretty funny. Everyone except for Lauren lost the stark, distancing element of mask wearing because our faces were visible. Since Lauren's mask was so well done by Tony, Tony ran out of time to put together his mask, and he decided to lay covered in his photos. I appreciate Tony for this commitment to finding an interpretation of the original intention no matter the circumstances. I probably should have covered my face and laid down, as well to align with the original face-covering intention.
View on youtube here-->> https://youtu.be/Pz2jM8WTqbU