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!

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Wayne Kleppe and Janette Chien IMG_3155 IMG_3163

Eames Armstrong

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Philip FryerIMG_3178 IMG_3182

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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 

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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? – Adam Rose and Ian Deleón

Adam Rose
“Walk to Milwaukee”

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In May 2013, I walked to Milwaukee, WI, from Chicago, IL. I walked an approximate 115 miles in 4 and a half days through northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. I documented the walk using disposable film cameras.
I had the idea for the performance while driving through Indiana. The midwest is often regarded as flyover country, and I wanted to do the opposite and instead experience the scale of the midwest by walking through it. The train ride back from Milwaukee to Chicago took an hour and a half.

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Adam Rose is the Artistic Director of Antibody Corporation, a mission based organization specializing in mind/body integration. His performances incorporate both movement and originally composed music.
Since 2009, he has presented performances in both Dance and Performance Art contexts throughout Chicago, IL, where Antibody is based, and nationally in Brooklyn, NY; Rosslyn, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Cambridge, MA; New Orleans, LA; Detroit, MI; Akron, OH; Columbus, OH; and Waterloo, IA.

Ian Deleón
“A picture of the [past, present, &] future”

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In October of 2013, I visited the archipelago of Puerto Rico for my second time. There was an afternoon, in which I would be alone for several hours, so I decided to walk the 15 minutes from where I was staying in Cataño, to the nearby Bacardí distillery. A good amount of my work recently has been a response to Bacardí’s ad campaigns, especially regarding the “Cuba Libre”, which depicts the U.S. occupation of Cuba at the turn of the 20th century as a benevolent and liberating act. I entered the Bacardí complex knowing that I would do something. After my first complimentary cocktail, I decided to try the infamous “Cuba Libre” right from the source–it was gross [see Image 1]. Leaving the gated complex, I noticed how different the architecture and landscaping was within this rum-bottling oasis, a marked difference from the surrounding neighborhood of Cataño. I find a pair of gloves left on the freshly cut grass and display them in a visual homage to Max Klinger.

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A few hundred feet away from the gates, a row of palm trees lines the road leading to La Esperanza (Hope) park–former holding site for the unassembled monstrous statue of Christopher Columbus designed by sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. A headless palm, with a soft, rotting trunk catches my eye–something I have never seen in person. As I investigate the surface tension with my foot, I am reminded of a quote I had recently read from the novel 1984: “Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”
Thinking of Puerto Rico’s ongoing colonial relationship with the U.S., I decided to make this short performance.

Ian Deleón (b. 1987, Miami, 2nd generation Cuban/Brazilian)

“My current body of work may be best understood in terms of its allegorical relationship to archaeology, in which the meticulous uncovering, analyzing and restructuring of ‘media fossils’ allows me to better understand and critique the particular popular culture from which I have emerged. This deconstruction of images, sounds and text (strengthened by a background in film and video editing), provides an opportunity to re-examine mass media output through a variety of critical lenses, such as the post-colonial, feminist, Marxist, cyborg, and post-modern theories.” – Ian Deleón

If a tree falls, does it make a sound? – E.Aaron Ross and Samuel Glidden

E.Aaron Ross
“204 Hits Illuminating, Exhausting”

This piece follows a previous piece of a similar format where I find a tool that seems out of place in its environment and use it to make a performance and sculpture in the environment it was found in.

While the last piece was an urban tool in a rural setting, for this new piece, “204 Hits Illuminating, Exhausting”, I wanted the reverse. I purchased an ax from the Swap-O-Rama on Chicago’s South Side, and located a group of cement pillars only a few blocks away at an abandoned factory. In the pitch black and silent night, I swung the ax into the pillar until I was too physically exhausted to continue. The sound of the ax hitting the pillar created a sharp and metallic echo, triggering a pair of audio sensitive flashes to fire, illuminating the scene for a brief moment for two video cameras and one still camera.

With each swing, dust and cement filled the air before audibly sprinkling the ground. Towards the end of my performance (approximately 8 minutes), the battery life of the flashes also became exhausted, firing less frequently (sometimes only every few hits or out of sync with the hit, allowing sparks from the ax to be visible). Eventually, the flashes stopped firing all together, and I myself stopped soon after from physical exhaustion.

This work produced a 2 channel video installation, 23 photos from the still camera connected to flash (when the two fired in succession to create a lit image), and a 3 piece photo installation using 1 photo of the performance, 1 photo of the pillar after the performance, and the ax itself mounted in a light box.

“204 Hits Illuminating, Exhausting” seeks to embody a fruitless anger and masculinity that I find repulsive, but intrinsic in myself. This work is an exercise in futility and aggression and its necessary expression.
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E. Aaron Ross is a 29 year old single white man living in Chicago. He grew up in the Western Suburbs,skateboarding and playing music in punk and hardcore bands, before attending the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he graduate with one B.F.A. in Moving Image (video/ film/ studio art), and a second B.F.A. in Graphic Design. He is the product of a blue-collar conservative father from the South-ern United States, and a workaholic single mother from Indiana.

Samuel Glidden
“Digging Graves/Buried Dreams”

It is snowing and I walk for a while down side streets until I reach a dead end and climb over some clusters of rocks and end up on a beach next to a wooded area I have never seen before. I blindfold myself and walk down the beach, recording whatever was in front of me. I reach the woods and wander into it, cutting my hands and face on branches and thorns. As time passes it begins to snow harder and I am overwhelmed with fear of the cold and the fact that I couldn’t see anything around me. I could feel the snow and wind hitting my right side so I walked against it, figuring it was coming from the ocean. I eventually feel nothing around me so I take my blindfold off and am on the same beach I began on and walked home. I was lost in the woods, blindfolded, for about an hour.
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” I am a native of Massachusetts and spent most of my formative years in Springfield, MA. When I was 18 years old I moved east and have been residing in Beverly, MA for the past two years, studying at Montserrat College of Art with a concentration in Book Arts.” -Sam Glidden

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.