Sweat: Sarah Hill

“The performance I’m Fine is deeply concerned with moving the audience into a state of feeling, through anger on the part of the performer. In this way I view my practice as cathartically dialogical. When I say catharsis I mean: To purge. An emotional cleansing and sweating that can be experienced as therapeutic but never therapy. In other words, a strong laxative, that allows one to shit out what is no longer necessary. This extreme change in emotion (on the part of the performer) is where the audience could potentially become activated by his or her own catharsis. I’m Fine as been performed at Grace Exhibition Space, and Lumen Festival in New York as well as Hillyer Art Space in DC. ”

I’m Fine Le Lieu, centre en art actuel, Québec, Canada, Documentation by Patrick Dubé from Sarah Hill on Vimeo.

“Gender confusion is a small price to pay for social progress. I define social progress as the visible presence of transgendered bodies in my work. I am aware that others may not read my body as transgendered when viewing my videos or performances. However, this is how I choose to define my body and gender. People can learn to work around my definitions of gender because I have spent my life working around others’ definitions. I have the right and ability to exercise complete control over my flesh. It’s mine. I live here. I don’t rent. I am not borrowing it. My body belongs to me and I am going to do with it what I choose until I die. My work becomes the performance of reclaiming psychological space.”

 

 

Sarah Hill received her B.A. from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa and recently received an MFA from the Museum School in partnership with Tufts University. Sarah has studied with Black Market International, Festival of live Art in Glasgow, Scotland. Sarah has also performed at Mobius, Proof Gallery, and Grace Exhibition Space in New York. She has worked on projects with William Pope. L (Cusp) and Roderick Buchanan (Swim). Sarah was a graduate and post graduate teaching fellow for the performance department as well as a graduate fellow for the Artist Resource Center. She will be showing with Anthony Greaney, Boston and Le Lieu, Center en art Acuel, Canada in the spring of 2013. In July, she was featured in a blog about performance art on Philly.com.

 

 

Taste and Sweat: Rachelle Beaudoin

The work included in the Sweat Series addresses the process of perspiration, physical effort, and anxiety.  Over the next few months the work  we will feature uses the body’s natural process of secretion to  challenge perceptions of the body and the infinite ways in which we can be present in our skin.

 

The Present Tense became familiar with the work of Rachelle Beaudoin in 2008 when we screened footage from her project “Cheer Shorts” as part of the Contaminate 3 Festival.  The following piece “Way to Go!” fits both into The Present Tense’s Series on “Taste” and “Sweat.”  We have chosen to feature this piece between the two series.  Enjoy!

 

 

“I often use humor and sarcasm as an entry point into issues of gender, power and
class. I have been investigating the conflation of “hotness” and empowerment, most
recently through pieces that focus on physical fitness and working out. These works are
introspective performances as I explore the pressures and contradictions I face while
inhabiting the space of popular culture. Way to Go! is a performance for video in which I
do as many pushups as I can while eating a bite of cake with each pushup. The cycle
of indulging, feeling guilty and working out is compressed into one action.”- Rachelle Beaudoin

 

 

Rachelle Beaudoin is an artist who uses video, wearables, and performance to explore
feminine iconography and identity within popular culture. She attended the College of
the Holy Cross and holds a Master’s degree in Digital+Media from Rhode Island School
of Design. She has exhibited at Intimacy: Across Digital and Visceral Performance
Goldsmiths London UK, the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi Finland, Low Lives 3
and Itinerant Festival of International Performance Art, Queens NY. Rachelle was an
artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch, Snowmass CO this past spring.

Technology Doomed for Obsolescence: Suzy Evans

Suzy Evans
“Crypt Lick” 2012

Suzy Evans "Crypt Lick" 2012 photo by Sandrine Schaefer

When I was in college and working in the audio visual checkout center, slide projectors were a much sought after piece of equipment for presentations in class. The technology was flawed, of course, and it was a weekly headache to fish out mangled slides that the projector had decided to eat from its bowels. These days, most of the people employed at that same checkout center don’t know how they work and few have even seen them in action. Suzy Evans’ performance ”Crypt Lick” at “Thank You,” a performance event held at The Studios at Porter Mills in Beverly in December, marks the first time, I myself, have seen one being used in… well I can’t remember the last time, but it’s been a while.

From where I sat, I was directly down wind to the exhaust of the projector, not on purpose, but by chance. It’s smell was that of old technology, things you inherited from a family member or found at an antique store. It was, for me, a very nostalgic scent. It was not, however, the first powerful scent to overcome the room. The artist had already dragged in a dead x-mas tree, put it on the floor, and covered herself in peanut butter.

For most of the performance, Suzy stood on the dead pine branches, using a remote to cycle through a carousel full of what seemed to be original works on slides. Slowly, I began to remember the order that the slide went in. What was on each one. The ones that started to get stuck and made a funny noise. I wondered what the artist was experiencing as she stood in the light of the slides, patiently cycling through the slides, eyes closed. When I closed my eyes too, I found that this performance had a whole other level of visual experience. The changing colors from the slides experienced through my eyelids casted a plethora of colors and hues that felt strikingly similar to experiencing Stan Brakhage’s hand painted films.
The final action in the piece, was possibly one of the most honest displays of joy I’ve ever witnessed. A pitbull enters the space, and begins to lick the remaining peanut butter from Suzy’s skin. When the dog had had enough, Suzy was still covered in a significant amount of chunky peanut butter. An audience member volunteered to bring their own dog back to the space to finish the job (coincidentally another pitbull). The piece ended with two beautiful dogs reveling in the audience’s attention and peanut butter! Is there anything more joyful than a dog that is eating a treat in the presence of many adorning human friends? No, I don’t believe there is.

– Philip Fryer

SUZY EVANS “Crypt Lick” 2012

Suzy Evans "Crypt Lick" 2012 photo by Sandrine Schaefer

Selections from the LUMEN 2012 Festival in Staten Island NYC

I was lucky enough to be invited to the LUMEN festival in NYC this year, the third of its kind. The Present Tense has always had a soft spot for offbeat and unique spaces for presenting performance art, you can imagine my excitement when I found out the festival was being held in the presence of hundreds of pounds of salt. Since I was scheduled to perform later in the evening, I attempted to put our Twitter (@eternalpresent) to use and tweet some of the visuals as they were happening. In case you missed them, here they are:

 

Rob Anders and collaborator

Celeste Welsh

Celeste and her "Medical Team"

Not sure who's performance this was, but it was beautiful.

 

Present Tense Interview: Wilder Huckleberry

There aren’t many 16 year olds out there that could school the Present Tense on performance art. Wilder Huckleberry is one of the few exemptions. Having grown up with two parents that make performance and regularly attend events, he’s probably seen more performance in his life than most working performance artists have. Below, we pick his brain in an interview on his take of performance if Boston.

Present Tense: What is the first performance you remember seeing?

Wilder Huckleberry: first performance… the one that stands out is one that Mari did in one of the earlier Mobius spaces. Definitely wasn’t the first i saw, but the one that was pretty early on. She was doing some crazy things under a red light with tall tree  pillars and meat and gods and a sliced up napkin toga thing.

PT: Is performance art cool?

WH: Yes, performance is cool, but its really more that the artists themselves are cool. Audience and artist together make the performance, that’s how I’m thinking about it right now.

PT: Can you name a few artists or pieces that you really liked?

WH: I’ve really liked every piece of art that I have ever seen from Julie Andre Tremblay and Jamie McMurray, to name two.

Julie Andree T

My parents’ stuff I always have a different mood about, probably because they’re my parents, and you always have changing feelings about your parents. The collaborations between my father and Vela Phelan are almost always badass.

Jeff Huckleberry and Vela Phelan

PT: Have you ever made your own performance?

WH: I have taken part in many performances, but never made my own.

PT: Are there any objects that you can’t look at with thinking of a performance you’ve seen?

WH: Yes, there are so many. My room contains a few. There are a bunch in our basement. I can’t even look at a plywood sheet without thinking of my dad.

Plywood

PT: Would you say that having parents that are artists has impacted you in any way?

WH: Well if my parents hadn’t been artists, well, I don’t even know what that would be like.

Stillness Series- Philip Fryer

Wall Melody from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

In September 2011, I was invited to be part of an exhibition titled Time Body Space Objects, curated by Alice Vogler. For this exhibition, each artist was allotted an hour of performance time, on the theme of ‘commitment’. I wanted to create something that challenged me to commit to an action for the full hour allotted to me. I had been thinking a lot about John Cage at the time, and about his experience in the anechoic chamber at Harvard. Expecting to experience the ultimate silence, Cage was confronted by the sound of his own blood flowing in his body, and thus the impossibility of silence. I wanted to make a commitment to the omnipresence of sound, by way of introducing a single tone, generated by a keyboard. For one full hour, I stood in a corner and held one note. The chosen note mimics the drone of our blood flow, and gives us the opportunity to meditate on our own audio output. The commitment of this performance is its stillness.  Like Cage’s anechoic chamber, this stillness provides an access point for the nuances of the sound, which present themselves over the course of the hour.

Philip Fryer is a performance, sound and video artist living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. His work is a meditation on mortality, chaos/order, and the body as a circuit. His recent exploration has been focused on using lo-fi technologies such as circuit bending and cassette tape loops, both as individual pieces and as elements of performances and videos.

photos by Sandrine Schaefer


A Giving Performance

Sandrine Schaefer and Philip Fryer “Gifting”

Mimicking the “Gifting” ritual of Pink River Dolphins, Sandrine and Phil passed a pile of stones from one side of the space to another via their mouths. They were both covered in white cloth that unraveled as we moved across the space. When each rock was deposited on the opposite side of the space, it’s sound was amplified. This action continued until each rock was successfully transported.