Dear friends…

Dear friends of The Present Tense,

2015 marks ten years since our first event, Activate: an evening of occurrence. Back then, we had a simple goal to support a movement of experiential art that we felt was underrepresented and had few options for exhibition. The event was modest but well attended, and confirmed our belief that it was our responsibility to support this movement that we were a part of. From 2005 through 2009 we continued to organize a series of events ranging in size from intimate happenings to large scale international performance art festivals.  Our goal was always to show the work of artists at varied stages in their career from all over the world, to create thriving bridges between Boston and other places connected by experiential art practices.  The outcome of these efforts was intense discourse, countless moving performances, many new friends, and of course shoeboxes full of documentation.

In 2009 we both lost our space and launched The Present Tense Archive online, which was an effort to take the traces of the works hiding in shoeboxes and make them available to anyone. It was a daunting task, but with the help of many friends including the Berwick Research Institute, Vela Phelan, and Coco Segaller, we were able to create an archive in the form of a blog. Since then, the archive has accumulated more content than we ever imagined. Interviews, guest posts, and curated thematic posts populated the archive alongside the images and video we had captured ourselves. It became more than an archive, it became a community platform for the art and movement we had set out to support.

A lot has changed since 2009, especially ways for individuals to navigate the internet and strategies for archiving experiential-based works.  It is time for TPT to change, too. This will be the last post on this platform, and the rest of 2015 will be spent reconfiguring the way TPT exists. The form will change, but the function will not. Priority will be given to finding a way to make this accumulated content easier to navigate and more accessible.  We are also contemplating other, more experimental forms of archiving.

This does not mean that The Present Tense will not be active!  We will still be maintaining our TumblrFacebook pageTwitter, and of course our Vimeo page which hosts a large number of works by many artists including our own work.  We will still send out seasonal email updates about our activities.  The Present Tense was born out of our collaboration and has always been an extension of our own artistic practices.  You can also keep up with what we are working on through our personal websites. The blog, however, will remain untouched, enshrined as a relic much like the work it hosts.

Looking forward,

Phil & Sandrine

ThePresentisEternal@gmail.com

www.PhilipFryer.com | www.SandrineSchaefer.com 

Selections from Praxis 0.1

Little Berlin, an alternative space and zine library in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, played host to a new series in October. Wayne Kleppe, the event organizer, felt that Philadelphia could benefit from exposure to different forms of performance and thus started utilizing the space at Little Berlin to organize. Kleppe himself does not identify as a performance artist, however he and his partner contributed the opening piece to the show. I look forward to seeing what he does with this series!

IMG_3145 IMG_3147 IMG_3153

Wayne Kleppe and Janette Chien IMG_3155 IMG_3163

Eames Armstrong

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Philip FryerIMG_3178 IMG_3182

Kaycee FilsonIMG_3186 IMG_3188SCRAAATCH

Family – r0 & Soheila Azadi

Roberta Orlando

Immagine 11

 

The simplicity of pictures. A constant research for experimentation. Without walls.
Roberta creates, develops and produces the impact of visual communication with the digital audio sync.
She explores the restless, intimate, thoughtful. She observes the emotions of the body,
sound and atmosphere, surrounding the reality of sense.
An ambient of impulses, visions and extensions that can flow in the intimate space created by r0.,
where the body moves in various digital audio-visual languages.

Roberta Orlando is basing her artistic research on gender identities and performance art, 
with a specific attention to discrimination on sexual orientation. 
She works on visual art with video, photography, installation, performance and sound. 
Her artwork has been exhibited in several and different public spaces, art galleries and museums in Europe and USA. 
Further more her study on gender and LGBT action has been performed in different countries such as: 
Italy, Spain, Germany, Estonia, UK and USA. 

 

Soheila Azadi

“Climate of Fear 002”

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Climate of Fear 002 was performed twice in Wicker Park, Illinois in mid-December, 2013.  Could the fourth hippest neighborhood in the U.S. (Wicker Park, IL) have failed at being hip? I wanted to challenge Wicker Park by assuming a foreign identity, and in this case, my Muslim identity. I asked random people to take pictures with me. The first time I performed this out of about 52 people who I asked, only 20 said yes. The second time I performed this I asked about 20 people to take pictures with me, and 14 people said yes.  The result of this performance is a letter to my family, something that I often do. I also printed all the pictures and I will send them to my family in Iran in January 2014. Once my family receives this letter, I will Skype with them and I will document the Skype session. All the documentation of this performance will be shared here.

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The sound of prayer, the smell of spices, and wet mud from bricks are still fresh memories. Isfahan, that historic city, once the capital of Persia, the city in which I was taught to communicate in Farsi and Arabic, is my home – it is Iran. After attending university in Iran, I immigrated to the United States in 2003. I have lived in Michigan and Pennsylvania for nine years before I moved to Chicago in 2013. I am currently attending University of  Illinois at Chicago. I am working towards an MFA   in Moving Images.

Family – Amapola Prada and John G Boehme

Amapola Prada
“Revolution (La Revolución)”

I have a strong physical resemblance to my mother and father. Physically, it is evident that I am a mix of the two of them. On a very internal level, I hold a piece of each of them and of their previous generations (their expectations, emotions, fears, frustrations, forms of facing daily life, unresolved situations); I contain the process of migration. My construction is not separated from theirs. The work of resolving the previous generations is concentrated in my body. Through my parents, I connect with these generations, and with them I intend to traverse the conflict. When I move, they move; when they move, I move; when we ourselves move, we also move the preceding generations, and the next.

This video is part of “Modelo para Armar: Rehearsing the City”, a series of 6 video-recorded actions realized in Lima, Peru and New York City that demonstrate notions of the city-as-hub, internal migration, and everyday aggression.

La Revolución (Revolution) from Amapola Prada on Vimeo.

Amapola Prada lives and works in Lima, Peru?. Her practice navigates the intimate spaces within human beings unprocessed by consciousness and expressed by non- rational impulses to create symbolic works resonating the social conflicts of everyday life. Her work has been presented by the San Francisco Art Institute; Performa 11; the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, Belo Horizonte, Brasil; the Museo de Arte Contempora?neo de Oaxaca, Mexico; and the II Bienal Internacional de Performance in Santiago de Chile, Chile. As a Franklin Furnace Fund Fellow, her work was on view at the AC Institute in New York City. She received a BA in Social Psychology from Pontifica Universidad Cato?lica del Peru?.

Dais (chaos with chair) from John G. Boehme on Vimeo.

John G Boehme
DAIS (chaos with chair)

• Building of cultural chaos
Action:
• Construct a six inch high four foot by eight foot Dias wearing appropriate blue work wear with the insignia “Artist Working” above the upper right shirt pocket.
• Ciel 13 yrs old changes ringtones on mobile phone (loud)
• Place chair in centre of dias.
• Press record on video camera recording dias with chair.
• Change into appropriate white collar, chair sitting suit with tight collar and tie.
• Apply cologne
• Press stop then rewind on video camera.
• Sit on chair placed in the centre of dias.
• Make eye contact, acknowledging each person in room.
• Stand, Pickup chair and completely demolish dias with chair.
• Place chair in centre of dias remains.
• Press play on video camera attached to video projector project intact dias with chair in centre.
• Leave space.

Consider Compulsions 

 ConsideredCompulsions_Melbourne1 Considered Compulsions_Melbourne

As a widespread ceremonial ritual of the industrial age, sport is remarkable for its ability to express two apparently contradictory sets of qualities: on the one hand, modernity, abstraction, efficiency, science, concept, and mind; on the other, the past, archaism, worship, emotionality, sex and the body.

-Varda Burstyn, The Rites of Men: Manhood, Politics and the Culture of Sport.

Professional sports has paralleled the emergence of capitalism, developing recreational activity into a secular religion. Sports are the arena where the social and political tensions are remorselessly played out. The language of sports is the language of war, struggle, and conquest. Terms such as offense, defense, and sudden-death overtime, provide evidence of the codified nature of its conflict.

The adoration of the hero makes sports the sanctioned site for eroticism, and the idealization of the body. Professional athletes have used the cultural space awarded to them to articulate views on class, race and economic struggles. Obsessive “fan” culture serves as a release for otherwise expressed communal energy

moment of unpredictability and infinite potential where the underdog might triumph. Sport can be precarious, dangerous and seductive – all qualities embodied in works of ceramic and glass.

Channeling the historical connections between art and sports, manifest in society’s idealization of the body and its attendant homoerotic fetishism, this program will interrogate not specific contests or competitions, but rather those subjects within sports that “jump the hurdle” and “cross the line.”

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John G. Boehme’s early art practice included painting, sculpture, performance video and digital technology, installation and photography. Boehme describes recent work as “trans-disciplinary” often employing performance, video, audio and objects in a number pieces simultaneously, Boehme is not constrained to any particular creative mode and therefore utilizes integrated approaches to realize the work. John continues to have exhibitions, screenings and festivals across Canada, the Americas, United Kingdom, Europe and China. John is an adjunct faculty at University of Victoria, Camosun and Brentwood Colleges. 

LONG TERM 2014

The following is a collection of videos from the work made for LONG TERM, co-curated by Adriana Disman and Sandrine Schaefer as part of LINK & PIN performance series.  LONG TERM occurred at HUB 14 and around the surrounding areas in Toronto on Saturday, April 12, 2014 – Sunday, April 13, 2014 and was co-presented with Fado.

The work featured in LONG-TERM investigates extended duration, collaborative practices of various artist duos. Unfolding over 2 days, the event addresses the complexities involved in creating, balancing, and evolving a shared creative process.  Enjoy!

 

Miller and Shellabarger

 

Miller & Shellabarger- LONG TERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

JV

JV “Tactic” – LONGTERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

VestAndPage

 

VestAndPage – LONG TERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Duorama 

 

Duorama – Long Term 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Rooms

ROOMS “Ritual No.1: COUNTING BIRDS” – LONG TERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Collaborative Duos- Part 1

The Present Tense was built out of Sandrine Schaefer and Philip Fryer‘s long time collaboration.  Because of this, we have always held collaborative duos close to our hearts.  Next month, LONG-TERM, a live art event curated by Sandrine Schaefer and Adriana Disman that features the work of various artist duos who investigate extended duration, will come to Toronto’s Hub 14.  In honor of this upcoming event and our sustained love of artists who choose to make work together, The Present Tense has revisited the archives to bring you a few videos from artist duos we have exhibited through the years.  To begin, we are sharing excerpts from Sandrine and Phil’s 17 year “Cicada Project.”  Then we revisit the Contaminate Festival to share Mari Novotny-Jones & Kristina Lenzi and Coach TV.  We also bring you JV‘s “Trapped” at the Seconds Festival, The Royal Najo Family at PT3 and Tomoko Kakeda and Joanne Stein at PT5.  Enjoy!

 

 

Sandrine Schaefer & Philip Fryer “Cicada Project” 2006-2023

Philip Fryer & Sandrine Schaefer from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Cicada Project 8.2010 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

3CiadasFinal from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Mari Novotny Jones & Kristina Lenzi at the Contaminate 3 International Performance Art Festival curated by The Present Tense & TEST 2008

Mari Novotny Jones and Kristina Lenzi @ Contaminate 3 2008 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Tomoko Kakeda & Joanne Stein  at PT5 curated by The Present Tense 2007

Tomoko Kakeda & Joanne Stein@ PT5 2007 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Royal Najo Family at PT3 curated by The Present Tense 2007

Royal Najo Family @ PT3 2007 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

JV at the Seconds International Performance Art Festival curated by The Present Tense 2006

JV @ Seconds 2006 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Coach TV at the Contaminate 1 International Performance Art Festival curated by The Present Tense & TEST 2006

Coach TV @ Contaminate 1 2006 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Allison Wyper- One-to-One Fictional First Person Accounts Part III

Introduction:

 

The following performative text is an excerpt from a paper called “Always wanting you, but never having you: intimacy and desire in one-to-one performances by women,” in which I adopt an imaginary time traveling avatar self in order to virtually and fictionally “experience” three participatory performances that I have never seen.  Though fiction, this account is based on a detailed written account by Susan Kozel, a Canadian dancer, choreographer, and writer who works primarily in London and Vancouver (“Spacemaking: Experiences of a Virtual Body,” 1994).  Kozel has a Ph. D. in philosophy and specializes in dance and media.  As performer of Telematic Dreaming, a live performance that used ISDN teleconference technology as an interface between individual visitors and her remote body, Kozel explored physical intimacy through (then new) media.  The concept and technology behind Telematic Dreaming was conceived by a U.K. media artist named Paul Sermon, and the piece toured extensively in the early 1990s.
The intensely intimate proximity between bodies in Telematic Dreaming–one of flesh and muscle and the other of light and shadow–amplifies the emotional and ethical stakes of the participatory performance. This viewer-participant is given no instructions on how to behave; it is up to them to decide how to interact with Kozel’s virtual presence.  Kozel, on the other hand, is obligated to make her body available, and to figure out how to make virtual contact with the “user.” In her essay, Kozel’s account of the performance focuses on the “relation between my ‘cyber-body’ and my fleshly body” and the “sexual and political implications of the technology.”  She writes: “It was not a substitute for sex, it was a mimetic version with strong physical and emotional qualities… it was undeniably real, not a compromise…”

 

II. Paul Sermon/Susan Kozel, Telematic Dreaming (Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, 1994)

 

The gallery is dark.  In its center is a full-size bed illuminated by a projection cast from the ceiling.  A two-dimensional projection of a woman with dark hair curls around the left side of the bed, the folds in the white bedding slightly warping and twisting her body.  She lies still, on her side, a profile on the linen.  She seems to be resting.  She reminds me of a Gustav Klimt painting—golden Danae curling across the canvas like a giant goldfish.

 

I stand, arms crossed, a couple feet from the bed, watching her, letting this live painting (literally) breathe for a few moments before I join her.  I’ve been invited to lie on the bed “with her” if I desire, and while I’m there, within the frame of the bed, she will be able to see me, remotely, through a live video camera on the gallery ceiling, in a kind of horizontal “teleconference.”  (I giggled when I thought of that joke, out in the lobby, but now it seems slightly disrespectful.)  In the darkness of the periphery I am invisible to her.  She displays herself for me.  I consume her, giving nothing in return.  I collect her beauty and store it up in my memory for later.  I could write a song about the way she looks, another courtly lover wooing from afar, impotent and selfish.  But that is not the invitation.

 

I tentatively, carefully, reach my hand into the light, holding it an inch or two off the mattress.  She sees me.  She smiles and reaches her hand toward mine.  Her fingers slide over mine, a collage of fingers and fingernails suspended inches above the sheets.  I expect to feel something, though logically I know her hand is just projection, not a real hand.  I nonetheless expect some warmth of contact, just for a moment.

 

We line up the tips of our index fingers, a feminine re-enactment of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, she the goddess on the cloud reaching me through the miracle of ISDN teleconference technology.  After a few minutes of acclimating to one another through this finger and hand foreplay, I am ready put my whole body on the bed, to lay into the light, as it were.  I take a breath and hoist myself up onto the mattress, a little awkward and panting ever so slightly from the exertion.  I lie on my side, still, shy, completing the frame of the bed with my body, facing her.  And so we lie, facing one another, eyes downcast, every now and then flitting over each other.  I giggle nervously and she smiles back.  We begin playfully shifting in small increments, describing complimentary arcs and curves with our torsos and limbs.  She nudges me with her head—or rather, I imagine the feeling of being nudged, and respond in kind.

 

We are, more or less, spooning or cuddling, getting to know one another within a prescribed “couple in bed” movement vocabulary.  I blush, suddenly physically aware of the intimacy of the moment—and that we are sharing this private moment in public.  A few gallery visitors stand in the doorway, at a respectful distance, watching us.  Aware of their probing gaze, I briefly stiffen, and shift a little away from my electric friend, wondering, what is a respectful distance in a public bed with a virtual partner?

 

She notices me withdrawing and retreats several inches.  She cannot see the others in the doorway, and so does not understand my sudden self-consciousness.  Perhaps she thinks she has been too forward.  She withdraws into the shadows beyond the bed, leaving only a disembodied right hand behind.  This saddens me, and I feel ashamed for feeling ashamed.  I’ve betrayed her trust already.  I reach for her hand.  Nudge it playfully with mine in apology, until at last she returns in tenuous forgiveness.

 

This first bump in our relationship mutually negotiated, we continue our game of overlapping, filling one another’s negative space, in small, incremental shifts.  At times our bodies overlap, and it occurs to me that I could line myself up under her, making us one composite body.  I could try her on, if she was willing.  But what would that do to her identity, her autonomy?  Would she be absorbed by me?  Would she disappear, cease to be her?  But no, of course, “she” exists safely ensconced away from me.  She is protected there.  This electric body is only a projection of her.  I can’t touch her here.  Not actually.  No one can.

 

And yet…

 

I am anxious about her telepresence, as if she has projected her soul into another dimension, like some hi-tech shamanic out-of-body ritual.  In that respect, this is an extremely vulnerable space for her to be in.  If she is damaged or hurt in this place, will she feel pain in her physical body?  Is she psychically vulnerable?  Her projected body must feel, because already I’ve hurt her with my carelessness.  It’s not that she is “out-of-body” with me on the bed; here she is a “virtual body” enjoying goddess-like access and power her physical body cannot experience.  Here she is liquid and electric at once.

 

The doorway voyeurs have multiplied by now, and I’m aware that I should give others a chance.  But I linger.   I don’t want her to be alone, vulnerable, isolated, and I’m not sure I trust others to care for her properly.  Those people might take advantage of her, distort her, make her ugly.  They could make fun of her, ridicule her.  They don’t have the relationship we have.  Hell, we’ve already had our first fight and made up!  She notices me growing introspective again and strokes my shoulder.  I shiver and gasp, amazed because I felt her touch.  I really did.

 

Okay, reality check: there were others before me, and there will be others after me.  Our brief tryst is ours to keep.  Now it’s time to go.  Reluctantly I move my hand to her face, my fingers melting through the edges of her cheekbone, the edges of her face bleeding into my fingertips.  This is the best way I can think of to say goodbye.   She nuzzles my hand as I roll off the bed into darkness as quickly as I came.

 

For more information on this piece see http://www.hgb-leipzig.de/~sermon/dream/.

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About the Author

Allison Wyper is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary performance artist who creates intimate and one-on-one performances that challenge viewer-performer dynamics and the ethics of participation. Allison has been an Associate Artist of La Pocha Nostra since 2004, and a collaborator with Western Australia’s Hydra Poesis since 2011. Her work has been seen in museums, galleries, theaters, universities, and streets in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Germany. Her writing has been published by Itch Dance Journal, Platform (U.K), Emergency Index, Whore Magazine and the Center for the Study of Women at the University of California, Los Angeles. More info at www.allisonwyper.com.