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 

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. 

If a tree falls, does it make a sound? – Hanna M. Owens and Joseph Gordon Connelly

We are pleased to begin our 2014 series of thematic posts with, If a Tree Falls, Does it Make a Sound? (artist accounts from actions that had no witnesses.)  Over the next few months, The Present Tense features works that explore private action and challenge the role of audience.  

 

Hanna M. Owens
“Love Letters” project

Recently I came across a video on YouTube, a film from 2005 by the Iraqi filmmaker Saad Salman, and was suddenly struck with a sense of responsibility. Salman’s film is entitled Lettre d’amour à la fille du président G.W Bush, introducing me to a man with a message: a poet named Haitham Adam Jobbo Jubra’eel. He reads his poetry in the hopes that his love letter will be delivered to [one of] the daughter[s] of George W. Bush. The filmmaker then questions his motivation, Jubra’eel affirms the sincerity of his gesture, and the filming wraps up. I immediately felt obliged to deliver this message. As an effort in translation and internet outreach, I translated and re-subtitled the film, now in Arabic, French, and English, and have been attempting to deliver it, across multiple digital platforms, to both Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush.

Born in rural Vermont, Hanna M. Owens is thoroughly Baltimore and currently Chicago with pit-stops in Calais, Dakar, and West Virginia. Her work has been exhibited and performed in spaces including the MCA (Chicago), Little Berlin Gallery (Philadelphia), Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland Art Place, Maryland Institute College of Art, Towson University (MD), and Floristree Gallery (Baltimore) among others. Her face and body appear in films echoing all across the internet and she regularly broadcasts herself on cam4 under the handle madbushswag (tip if you like what you see + tip to see more of what you like / just send positive energy). She is currently completely her thesis as an MFA student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Joseph Gordon Connelly
“Fissure Fix”

A repaired crack in a telephone pole. The crack was filled with wood putty and then gilded. The piece was installed in an industrial area on Cleveland’s southeast side. No identification was left with the piece.

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Joseph Gordon Connelly was born in Columbus, OH. He has a BS in Dance/InterArts & Technology. He received an MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught studio courses in Time
Art, Performance, Installations, and Artist Video. In addition to his solo work, he is part of the art collaboration team Gordon & Gordon Art. He has produced work in the US, Germany, Israel, Russia, and Slovenia.

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.

Present Tense’s 13 of 2013

As we greet 2014, The Present Tense shares its reflections on 2013.  2013 was a fruitful year, offering countless moments for experiential art.  Here are 13 of these moments that The Present Tense found inspirational.

 

 

13. In April, Boston Center for the Art’s Cyclorama was activated by Vela Phelan’s Near Death Performance Art Experience (NDPAE).  In a simple stroke of irony, NDPAE had its own experience with death. Originally scheduled to unfold over 2 days at Fourth Wall Project in Boston and after months of planning, Fourth Wall was temporarily shut down due to permitting issues, a historic plague among Boston alternative art spaces.  NDPAE was postponed until further notice.  The event fortunately found shelter at the Boston Center for the Art’s Cyclorama, a stunning space with a history of being used as a war memorial.  NDPAE was rescheduled for April 21, 2013, less than 1 week after the Boston Marathon Bombings.  In this 7 hour performance art event,  artists created live works around the theme of life and death.  Both the context and content of the work at NDPAE made for an intense experience for all to remember.

Jamie McMurry "Flawed" 2013 photo by Phil Fryer

Jamie McMurry “Flawed” at NDPAE 2013 photo by Phil Fryer

 

12. This year saw the beginning of new and important series of curated performances in the Museum of Fine Arts. Odd Spaces, curated by Liz Munsell, was the first of the series and  included artists from Boston and New York. Musell is no stranger to performance, and “Odd Spaces” has frequently been referenced as a very successful collaboration between local community and institution. Liz’s choice to have the event on the MFAs weekly free night, as well as a panel discussion immediately after, encouraged a discourse between artist, audience, and curator within the walls of the respected institution.

 

11. A stand out piece this year was created at Odd Spaces at the MFA.  Marilyn Arsem’s 6 1/2 hour piece, “With the Others” challenged what it means to experience a live event.  Hidden beneath a bench in the Egyptian Galleries of the MFA, Arsem’s body was anointed with Jasmine and covered in black cloth.  The aroma filled the halls leading to the space where only the curious would discover Arsem’s living body amongst the mummies and other artifacts in the room.

 

Marilyn Arsem "With the Others" at Odd Spaces 2013

Marilyn Arsem “With the Others” at Odd Spaces 2013

 

10. During the summer of 2013, a marathon of performance art festivals occurred throughout the United States!  Chicago’s annual international performance art festival, Rapid Pulse activated the Wicker Park neighborhood for 2 weeks.  Rosslyn Arts Project, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, and The Pink Line Project debuted the Supernova Festival throughout Rosslyn, Virginia, in raw spaces, office lobbies, rooftops, parks, the Metro station, and other public places.  Edge Zones presented the second annual Miami Performance International Festival that provided 4 weeks of programming throughout the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and the Miami Design District.   The Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival (BIPAF) used 11 spaces in Brooklyn and involved over 150 artists from all over the world with the aim of creating constructive institutional critique as an attempt to relationally construct new economic and social contexts for performance art.  Alejandra Herrera and Jamie McMurry curated the 4th installment of Perform Chinatown in Los Angeles.  Presented works ranged from street interventions to body- driven works.  Durational performance installations unfolded throughout the event in large boxes that lined Chung King Road.

 

09. Also in the summer of 2013,  Anthony Greaney closed its doors, but hosted many memorable shows that supported performance and other experimental time-based media. Greaney’s presence on Harrison Ave in Boston was a testament to Boston’s need for space to show experimental work, and to challenge the status quo of what Boston’s art scene really looks like. It’s no secret that many lament the loss of this space.  Some noteworthy exhibitions this year included the Tactic Series, Pan Act, Epoch and RE:Present Me.

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o+ “Vast Mystic Mecca Void” at Tactic 2, Anthony Greaney 2013

08. Grace Exhibition Space  in Brooklyn has made it their mission to glorify performance art since 2006.  In 2013, Directors Jill McDermid-Hokanson and Erik Hokanson acquired a second space in Kingston, NY.  GRAY ZONE for Performance Art adds an exciting new context to support their programming!

 

07. Temporary Land Bridge, run by Kirk Snow and Andrea Evans, launched over the Fall of this year. Land Bridge further contributes to Boston’ s network of of support within the creative community, doing so by giving artists interviews, reviews, and “statements” where the artists themselves curate the content of their posts. Temporary Land Bridge offers an exciting new resource for artists working across media.

 

06. In 2013, we saw artists, curators, and organizations continuing to explore the interstices between art and social practice.  Suzanne Lacy’s “Between the Door and the Street”  supported by Creative Time, was a notable moment of performance art serving as activism and was not without its own controversy.  This piece has sprouted dialogues around the complex relationship between art and activism, bringing opinions around issues of conduct, authorship, privilege, and agency to the surface.

 

05. The First Biennial Festival of Performance Art and Sound Art came to The Quarry, an arts campus under the auspices of Contemporary Arts International  (CAI) in Acton, MA.  A stand out moment was JV’s (Jeff Huckleberry and Vela Phelan) 24 hour collaborative piece, “Poach” in the woods. 

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JV “Poach” 2013 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

 

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04. The spectacle of Marina Abramovic´ continues! In 2013, we followed the Kickstarter campaign used to raise funds to make the Marina Abramovic´Institute a reality, watched a video of Lady Gaga practicing the Abromovic´method and Jay Z’s attempt at performance art go viral.  It is safe to say that performance art is no longer hidden in the shadows of society. Whether one thinks this direction is desirable or detrimental, this has certainly inspired interesting conversations throughout the year.

 

03. The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum’s Paint Things show was a strong exhibition throughout.  A stand out moment of the exhibition was Claire Ashley’s inflatable sculptures that were created on sight. The Chicago-based artist brought these sculptures to life with her playful delegated performance piece, “Double Disco” this past Spring. Jim Dine’s hearts will never be the same.

double disco: i’m goin’ nowhere from Claire Ashley on Vimeo.

 

 

02. Mobius’ Fall programming was exceptional, featuring exciting works by local artists and artists from across the globe.  Some stand outs include Ieke Trinks,“Dynamorphic” by Nedregard and and Hillary, Ampala Prada, and Antoni Karwowski/ Daniel S. DeLuca/ Vela Phelan.

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Nedregard and and Hillary “Dynamorphic” 2013 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

 

1.  After years of living in boxes, storage units, basements, and  other inaccessible places, Mobius’s massive 37 year old archive has been inducted into the Tufts Library. Over the next few years, the archive will become more and more accessible, revealing an important part of  the history of experimental and experiential art.

photo

William Pope L.’s boots from a 2003 performance, among other relics.