September has been a busy month for me. I have finally gotten into the meat of some major projects. I’d like to take some time to reflect on what I’ve done so far…
During the month of September I held a four week lecture series each Tuesday night. Each month I chose a topic relating to themes in contemporary art, and invited 3 panelists to join in a discussion of the slice of images I showed. My themes included: Body As Material, Technology, Language & Information, and Time & Ephemera.
It was a slight departure from how I am used to normally presenting material, but was well worth it. In the past, I’ve given slide lectures to students about these themes, but I have never invited panelists to add their input as well as invite an audience participation. I was comfortable presenting the material, much of the work I am quite familiar with. The excitement came when many of my panelists and audience members engaged in a discussion and debate of what was being shown and even to the validity of it being art. When we start questioning things around us, that is when it gets exciting.
Denise Frazer had so much amazing input of a familiarity with performance, social, and political responses in week one. The debate of technology as a valid art medium was brought up by an audience member in week two, which created a great dialogue. By week 3, the panelists and audience spend a lot of time dissecting a Mark Dion piece. The series wrapped up with Mark Ferguson responding theatrically to many of the slides, and creating great questions and interactions with fellow panelist John Lane.
I had never complied or presented anything is the format before, but I felt it was a great success. The audience remained engaged each week. I think we all came away with something new to think about, and fed our minds a little more than we normally would in our busy lives. I’d love to try another series sometime in the spring.
Meals with Ron
Before I arrived I was planning a duration performative type work for the length of my time in Spartanburg. What I came up with was having meals with participants. I finally kicked it off last week. My first “Meals With Ron” (Human Relation: Meal #1) took place last Wednesday at the Hub City Bookstore. My rules were to set up a standard table/meal set up with one other person, I would cook a meal, and sit and eat and have a conversation with them for a short duration 1-3 hours. The only catch was it would be a person who I’d never met.
My mystery participant was Troy Hanna (thanks to Alix for setting it all up), a local banker. Troy arrived just before 5:45 pm Wednesday night a few minutes after I had set up the “set”. Along with the meal, I had a camera, video camera, (for documentation), and lapotop (to send the performance live to Wilmington, DE) set up.
It was a great experience. I met someone new, and learn some more about someone else in a place which is still fairly new to me. It was interesting how during the corse of serving food, eating, drinking wine, and conversing we occasionally where distracted by gallery goers in Wilmington, DE saying “hi” to us from the live Skype feed on the laptop. We also dissected the act of what we where doing while we were doing it. It was a real meeting, a real interaction, a real meal, real conversation, and real people watching. There was something about it being on display and placed into a different context as well as a gallery context via the internet to a space 600 miles away.
What I’ve learned the most is that people are just simply interested in other people. From all perspectives. Was what I did art? I’m not sure, I’m still thinking about that. Granted it was streamed live on the computer to a projection in a gallery in a different location, but I’m not sure it necessarily needs to be called art. Perhaps it is more of just something to do and add to the mix of things happening in Spartanburg and Wilmington, DE. A special thanks to Alix for setting up the meeting, Phillip for assisting, Stephen for taking photos, and Troy for participating.
Keep a watch out for what I get myself into in October. Including more Meals With Ron. Meal #2 is a Yoga and Art Workshop with Corinne Manning at Hub-Bub, and Meal #3 will hopefully take place some time downtown, outside with another mystery guest. Stay tuned.