Sunday, April 24, 2005

Installation/Performances @ PAC/edge

Several installation/performances took place at the PAC/edge festival this year. I want to be done talking about this event but I felt like it was unfair to leave them out. The installation stuff mostly was ongoing throughout the festival but still seemed something of a ghetto at the festival. The audience came to see the ticketed shows and perhaps stopped for a look or not. These artists also existed in a different economy within the festival since they didn’t generate ticket revenue.

So quickly I wanted to mention a few of the pieces that stood out to me.

Anthony Cobb’s piece, I don’t remember the name, but he had situated himself in a stairwell with a small sign that invited you to switch shoes with him. You would dictate how many steps he should take in your shoes and you were welcome to where his while you waited. I never switched shoes unfortunately but imagined demanding a number in the thousands to see if he would follow through.

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Deva Eveland created an activity center by the door to the woman’s restroom for his piece “Scheduled Activity”. A kind of large doll house/mail box kinda thing to me. There was a small peephole to look through for a blurry image of a person inside and also a mail slot on the side that you could also look through. A message board on the roof of the structure announced each day’s activity.

I witnessed activities like balloons with sharpie-written word on them coming out of the mail slot like little Easter-egg poops. I saw some kind of digging through plastic bags through the peephole once. Once pencils held open the mail slot and a very sweaty Deva read some text and apparently was gasping for air.

Like much of Deva’s work, he artificially hampers and contains himself in ways that explore the grotesque. I found the sweaty, airless, early days a bit worrying. I appreciated what came out of the mail slot and any attempts at communication because I felt mostly shut out by the viewing options. I felt like there was more going on in there than I could know and the piece developed rather slowly over the weeks of the festival. I would check in every now and then but from talking to Deva and others, it seems I missed a great deal, and certainly wasn’t able to construct a narrative around it.

His placement near the woman’s restroom was provocative but seemed mostly under-utilized. In general, I had a hard time constructing much from the location of the activity center and felt like this was an experiment more for Deva than for me. Deva was probably the most at home in the PAC installation ghetto.

Apparently, Deva won an award from PAC for the piece, something like the "Most Unique Performance". Congratulations Deva.

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I participated in Matthew Wilson’s “Memory Engine” by sharing a memory with one of his young recording fellows. The final presentation was at the bar in the café area, which was nice because it activated that often dead zone in the Athenaeum Theater but really the volume was so low on the speakers I couldn’t really hear anything over the crowd. The bartenders were engaging.

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Oh and three things I strongly disliked was the text installation on the bulletin board going to the main stage area, the awful banners hung around the building and the silly interactive piece about work. I will leave it at that.

e

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