The word sweat is visceral which has strong connotations of physical work. As a material, sweat has a color and isn’t completely translucent, contrary to popular belief. I became fascinated with using sweat as a natural dye as well as to leave behind an evidence of labor and work.
Wanting to create an artifact of my own labor, I stitched in black rice into a white collar. After I was done, I steamed the collar with my sweat. The Sweaty Collar then became dirty with both the grayish purple and blue water from the rice and my sweat.
In 8 Hours of Sweat I collected my sweat for an hour per vial. I tried to catch each bead of sweat that came from my body. I see the volume of sweat as a new way of quantifying work. I stitched black rice into a white collar. After I was done, I steamed the collar with my sweat. The Sweaty Collar then became dirty with both the grayish purple and blue water from the rice and my sweat. These works revolve around the use of sweat in order to talk about labor.
Aram Han is an artist who uses sculpture, fiber, performance, video, and sound in order to investigate Sisyphean immigrant labor practices. She was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1986. At age 5, Aram and her family immigrated to Modesto, California. She holds her BA in Art and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Post- Baccalaureate Certificate in Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute of Art in May 2011. She is currently attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to receive her Master of Fine Arts in Fiber and Material Studies.
“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. ”
“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.
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.
Hector Canonge " S U R " 2013 photo by Sandrine Schaefer
The room is filled with a light aroma that could be rose. It is familiar yet unidentifiable. A nude body is curled up on the ground beneath a sheet of plastic, the material sticking to different parts of the body. Condensation can be seen on the plastic, showing that the body has been in this position for some time. This visceral action was one of many enacted in Hector Canonge’s S U R. The artist describes S U R as a series of actions that (re)capture, (re)frame, and (re)contextualize the work the artist created during his travels in Latin America in 2012. He further explains that S U R is composed in five interrelated parts (Genesis, Fatherland, Heartland, Tropica, and Carnation) that blend into a narrative related to the artist’s life and familial history. Canonge brought S U R to Boston, where his actions merged the contexts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru with Mobius’ intimate exhibition space.
Hector Canonge " S U R " 2013 photo by Sandrine Schaefer
When the artist emerged from the plastic, he began to cycle through a series of actions that employed materials indigenous to Latin America. He poured Mate tealeaves on the floor, the muted smell filling the space. He poured refined sugar in a circle around his body while singing, his controlled exhalations oscillating between power and sounding as if he were out of breath. He wore a heavy woolen sweater that he unraveled with his fingers, the smell of dust captured in the fibers traveling through the air. As the piece unfolded, Canonge continued to build a visceral and sensorial installation through his chosen materials and focused movement and sound. The gentle introductions of smells created a crescendo that led to one of the most dynamic actions in S U R. Canonge revealed stalks of raw sugarcane that he broke into smaller pieces that were tied to his waist. He proceeded to peel them with his teeth. He then invited the audience one by one to experience the delight of tasting raw sugarcane. With one side of the stalk in the participant’s mouth, the other in Canonge’s, the stalk sat between the two people, their heads at an intimate proximately. Boston is known for having active audiences that are open to participate in live art pieces, however, this action was so intimate that I was surprised at how quickly the audience agreed to engage. After more reflection, I believe that the eagerness to interact with Canonge was something that the artist intentionally built into the structure of the piece. Not only did the deeply poetic actions create a familial feeling amongst the audience, Canonge’s consideration of faint smell created a curiosity around the materials he used. By the time we were asked to participate, we were thoroughly intoxicated by the experience, making it impossible to refuse.
S U R opens a dialogue around a myriad of ideas. The work clearly has political overtones, providing opportunity to consider the complex relationship that the US has with its Southern neighbors. Although Canonge is specific in creating an experience inspired by Latin and South America, S U R also tackles more general considerations around themes such as otherness, colonization, and how place informs constructions of identity. The piece was loaded with complex content, yet maintained a sense of accessibility throughout. As we experienced Canonge exhibit his vulnerability, we were open to engage with him, ask questions, and contemplate the evolving role of place in the 21st century.
Hector Canonge is an artist based in New York City where he studied Comparative Literature, Filmmaking, and Integrated Media Arts. His work incorporates the use of New-media technologies, physical environments, cinematic and performance art narratives. In his work he explores and treats issues related to construction of identity, gender roles, and the politics of migration. His performances mediate movement, endurance, and ritualistic processes as well as the interaction with the public. His visual arts projects and performance art work have been exhibited and presented in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
"Hambre" 2008 Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Madrid, Spain Photo by Fuensanta Balanza
Domix Garrido works in the field of performance that is generated around the experimental arts in the context of conceptual art. Much of his work is developed by uniting two perspectives: socio-political and personal. He aims for his work to address the strength of natural and profound emotion. His objective is to induce emotion that leads to deeper levels of thought throughout his audiences. Garrido often employs the action of eating to build relationships with his witnesses. Using minimal resources, this action becomes paramount, reminding those who experience the work that we are connected by this shared human need. The Present Tense has chosen to feature a collection of his pieces utilizing the sense of taste.
In his piece “Hambre” Garrido is installed, blindfolded, in an outdoor space near a museum. It is Christmastime. He eats a hard cake typical of this period. The cake is in 6 pieces, forming the word HAMBRE (hunger). The texture is hard to swallow, so the artist washes it down with champagne. He spits out the remains repeatedly until the performance ends.
"H2mbre" 2009 EBENT Festival Internacional de fects performátiques Barcelona, Spain Photo by José Carlos Soto
He brings this action into the context of a Fine Arts University in his piece “H2mbre” in 2009. Garrido develops this action in 2012 bringing it further into the public realm. In a public square the artist uses a large knife to cut the words HAMBRE out of cakes. Instead of engaging in the eating as an individual action, he invites the public to eat cake. His eyes are covered while he eats a hard cake. A homeless person offers 1 euro to buy the letter “A”. She mimics the artist’s action of chewing and spitting on the ground. They “eat” together until the end of the performance.
Garrido employs a site-sensitive approach in his piece, “Chokran”. During Ramadan, the artist waits for sunset to walk into the Atlantic Ocean holding a tray of sugar cubes. Once in the water, Garrido makes an offering to the sea and “asks him to eat sugar.” When the ocean gives back the tray, it frees one piece that Garrido eats. He allows the cube to dissolve in his mouth, experiencing the contrast of sweet and salty before leaving the water and thanking the ocean.
"Chokran" Atlantic Action 2010 ASILAH Tangier, Morroco Photo by Francis Ujaque
Garrido shares memories of his grandfather as the beginning action of “Interrumpido”. He offers the audience cigarette paper made from esparto leaves and pencils. He asks the public to write the name of a loved one and stick the paper on his head. After the audience has made their contributions, Garrido ingests all the names by eating the “leaves.”
"Interrumpido” 2010 ARTóN. Arte de Acción Madrid, Spain Photo by José Mogrol
In “Mudança“ Garrido addresses taste without utilizing the action of eating. He picks leaves from trees in a public garden. After dusting his head and mouth with powdered sugar, he wraps his head with the leaves he has collected. He walks through a nearby outdoor market wearing this mask of sorts, the sugar gathering in the corners of his mouth and the space where the nostril and cheek meet. He purchases a couple of decorative buttons from a seller at the market, a reference to taste as it relates to esthetic standards. Garrido places the buttons over his eyes, removing the sense of sight. He lays down, the buttons tumble to the ground.
"Mudança" Epipiderme Feira da Ladra Lisbon, Portugal Photo by Mario Gutiérrez Cru
Domix Garrido graduated in Performing Arts and specialized in Museology and Contemporary Art. Domix is the founder of Festival ABIERTO DE ACCIÓN in Spain, and gives a series of performance art workshops in educational institutions and art centers.
As an organizer, Domix promotes the research and the exhibition of the performance art through events in several cities.
As a performer he has performed his work in many spaces as well as national and international events like: CENDEAC, LAB, Centro Párraga, Progreso80, EBENT, Acción!MAD, OutOfMind, Poéticas, Weber-Lutgen Gallery, JIAAP, Espacio-1, Préavise Désordre Urbain, Théâtre des Bernardines, Octubre – Arrt d´Acció, Epipiderme, L´Estruch, ARTóN, Kunsthall, FITUR.
We live in a society where technology is evolving to have fewer and fewer wires. As our technologies become more mobile, they become more integrated into the rhythms of our daily lives. Deep in The Present Tense Archives, we found a piece that used cords from an obsolete and nostalgic technology to confront issues around voyeurism, surveillance, and ideas around the post human body.
Ian Colon “CHASING THE DRAGON”
Ian Colon "Chasing the Dragon" 2007
For The Present Tense and TEST’s Contaminate 2 Festival, Ian Colon tied a video camera that faced behind him into his hair. The camera fed into a television that he held inches away from his face. He began to sprint around the space, navigating the environment only through the lens of the immediate past. As the piece evolved, Colon increasingly grew disoriented. His body reached physical fatigue as it tangled in the cords that hung from the television and camera. This revealed the impossibility of sustaining the action, questioning the complicated relationships that humans of the 21st century have built and continue to build with technology.