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.

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.

Sweat : Jake Myers

Don't Quit is an artist-made workout video featuring a string
of 1 minute exercise videos made by the following video artists:
 

EverythingIsTerrible (Commodore Gilgamesh)

Ben Russell

Prince Rama

E Aaron Ross

Jesse Avina

Jake Myers

Lara Unnerstall

Alyssa Lee Wilmot & George Alley

Stephanie Burke & Jeriah Hildwine

Meredith & Anna

Steven Frost

Theodore Darst & Anja Jamrozik

James Green

Aaron Orsini & Adam Rux

Mark Sansone

Alfredo Salazar-Caro

Chris Smith

Kiam Marcelo Junio

Aaron Straus

& Dechon Jones


Jake Myers grew up in the suburbs of Chicago playing sports,

working at an outlet mall and engaging in all of the mechanisms

of a spectacular hyper-competitive society. He was skeptical of 

this heteronormative upbringing but had no language or structure

to respond adeptly. Art school exposed Myers to people like Paulo

Freire, Guy Debord and various ways of critically responding to the

world. His work gratuitously merges art, athletics, heroics, existential

crisis, homoeroticism & heternomativity. 

 

Sweat: Aram Han

 

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. 

 

Rough Trade II Interviews: Joseph Ravens | Sandrine Schaefer

JOSEPH RAVENS

 

 

 

TPT:  How has being an artists influenced your curatorial work and being a curator influenced your artwork?

 

JR: As an artists who has participated in many festivals and exhibitions, I’ve seen a lot of work. I’ve seen it from the inside.  So I’m familiar with many styles and aesthetics and have a sense of what is commonplace or unique in the industry.  I understand an artists needs and when putting together a project I am able to interpret and more accurately fulfill an artists vision.  Basically, I want to make it as easy and painless as possible for the artist to present their work – free of unnecessary burdens or limitations (as much as possible).  Also, again in a practical sense, I have met a lot of amazing artists over the years and I have been able to call upon these resources and connections.  Defibrillator aims not only to support local artists, but to invigorate the local art community by bringing international and out of town artists to Chicago. My history as an artists has helped make this possible. 

In terms of how curating has influenced my work, I think of two things, First, I’m being exposed to much more work that ever before. I see a large number of performances and learn great deal from each and every one of them. This has refined my sensibility. I am able to envision and more accurately predict how a project might be perceived by a viewer. I notice trends and tendencies and human behavior and this awareness had filtered into my work. Secondly, my time is less fluid now that I’m administrating. So whereas in the past I may have spent a lot of time preparing and building a performance, now my work is more conceptual and DIY. I’ve embraced an aesthetic that is a little less perfect or labor intensive. I relish working outside my comfort zone and have enjoyed the fear and risk that are present as a result of working in this way. 

 

TPT: Do you have an ideal context that you like to make work in?

 

JR: No. Does this answer surprise you? I really enjoy contextualizing and recontextualizeing work to discover who it changes based on environment and modes of experience. What happens when I take a performance that was designed for the street and reinvent it for the gallery setting? What happens when I take a duration installation-baed work and show it in a theatrical venue? I’m curious about these questions and find pleasure in re-presenting work in various situations. 

Joseph Ravens "Mastication" 2012 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

 

TPT:  Can you talk about the role of the personae in your work?

 

JR: I am myself in all of my work. Perhaps hyper versions, alter egos, or latent aspects of my self, but still me just the same. So even if I am embodying a giant lizard, I am still Joseph – just a primordial version of myself – myself in another diminution, perhaps. Certainly, my theatrical training has left its residue in my work, but I don’t think of my personas as entities other than myself with other motivations and other objective. Optimally, these characters are not only reflections of my self but the also embody aspects of humanity that the viewers can relate to and, possibly, recognize in themselves. 

 

TPT: In Mastication, you “regurgitate” a line of kale leaves. Can you talk about the intention behind this action? Did that intention change once you were in the piece?

 

JR: It’s funny how things evolve. I was asked to create a performance for an exhibition called “Flip/Flop”. The idea was to have work that started as one thing and then became another: transformation. As is often the case, my body is the primary site for research and experimentation so I started thinking about how my body can change something, like food to shit or water to urine.  I didn’t want to go there for this work, but began thinking oaf the mouth (and digestion) as a means to transform something. I actually made the tail for another project – one about evolution that embraced ideas I was having about vestigially. But I didn’t like that project and the costume was sitting unused in my studio. so I made ver fast, practical choices. In my work I often limit myself in some way – I cant move or I can’t see, or I can’t breathe. I knew I wanted to keep this element, but the costume wasn’t really restrictive. So I started thinking about the little arms that a Tyrannosaurus Rex have – that they are basically unusable. I decided not to use my hands for the performance. The intention didn’t change, necessarily, when I was in the piece, but because the kale leaves were closer to the floor, I had to use my hands to support my body when I bent down to chew them. I think my intention remained the same, though, it was just modified or adapted to fit the situation. Often I am inspired by nature or natural things. When I begin putting this work together I remember thinking about going to the zoo and watching animals eat – relating to them on this basic level and considering how it was similar or different from my own eating experience. This was the simple intuition behind the work and it was consistent throughout the performance. 

Joseph Ravens "Mastication" 2012 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

 

TPT: What were some of your expectations/hopes (if any) of your audience?

 

JR:  Gosh, I don’t know that I had any.  I guess I always hope that I engage the audience.  I worry that they will get bored when I show very minimalist work that isn’t very dynamic.  This work was very linear.  There were very few (if any) peaks and valleys.  I’m a generous performer, but as I get older ad more seasoned, I just trust that this will happen.  Or, perhaps, I don’t care as much if it does.  

 

TPT: Were there any moments that surprised you?

 

JR: Yes, I’m always surprised about how difficult it is to chew for that long.  Kale is quiet fibrous, so it was a little more work than I intended.  I was sweating like a pig!

 

TPT:  How was performing in Boston Different than making work in Chicago?

 

JR:  I don’t think there were many differences in terms of geographical region.  However, the large venue (The Pozen Center) was a challenge and it was interesting to see performance situated in such a massive space.  The audience had to determine their physical relationship to the work- how close or far to be from the artists.  This was interesting to me on a behavioral level.  

 

TPT:  What imprints did Boston leave on you?

 

JR:  I have a perception of Boston as an intellectual city, and certainly, I feel that the students ad artists I interacted with were very smart  they think about their work.  I appreciate that.  I don’t know if I can accurately make this assumption, but I feel like Chicago artists might be more visceral- producing something that comes from impulse or instinct.  I felt like the Boston artists and the students were really contemplating their work- they were thoughtful.  I felt like they were eager to learn and experience something.  I felt a sense of community surrounding performance and found it exciting.  

 

TPT:  What is the role of repetition in this work?

 

JR:  I was thinking more about minimalism, but now that you mention it, repetition is often present in my work.  I think it represents life and labor.  Every day we brush our teeth and go to work and do the same thing every day.  Repetition is life.  

Joseph Ravens "Mastication" 2012 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

 

TPT:  Did you fabricate the lizard costume?  What is the role of sculpture in your work?

 

JR:  Yes, I made the costume.  I’m always interested in modifying my body, misshaping it and playing with proportion.  Objects and sculptural costumes often limit my mobility or senses in some way- they often serve as restrictions.  This, too, is a comment on life.  I’m curious about how we can prosper or thrive in situations where we are limited.  I’m also interested in impact and seductions.  Sculptural elements are integrated in an effort to lure in the viewer.  These elements give them an access point that has a visual appeal so that they might stay a little while in my little world and reflect on what I might be trying to communicate.  

 

TPT:  Can you talk about the role of the grotesque in this piece?  What about humor?

 

JR:  I’m interested in that place between the grotesque and humorous.  I think the line is very thin.  Early in my career, I noticed that people saw humor in my work.  I didn’t try to insert it, it just happened.  So now, I embrace it.  I think my fondness for the grotesque or strange imagery comes from my appreciation of Butoh.  I’m interested in moments and things that are strange in a sort of anthropological or psychological way – how we react when we are confronted with this sort of imagery.  For me, humor is a coping mechanism.  I’m inspired by my own experiences when I see something weird and I laugh because I don’t know what else to think or do in that moment of discomfort.  I enjoy mystery and relish an opportunity to make the viewer wonder.

 

TPT:  What is inspiring you at the moment?

 

JR:  Fitness…America’s obsession with being lean, strong, and attractive.  Vanity and sacrifice.  Devotion and Dedication. Work and transcendence in regard to physical exercise and how this relates to performance art.  

 

TPT:  Who/What is influencing your work presently?

 

JR:  I am really interested in young/ emerging artists.  I’m looking at the choices they are making and wondering why they are making those decisions.  Young artists are in tune with popular culture or possibly, a particular subculture.  I’m looking at these young artists’ work and thinking about where it is coming from- what impulse are they responding to- what aspects of our culture they are influenced by and are thus representing.  I’m looking at a lot of proposals and a lot of artists’ websites so I am influences a lot by other artists and more so, how they are representing their work.  

 

TPT:  Any words of wisdom?

 

JR:  I noticed a transformation in my work when I began to make things that I wanted to see rather than work that I felt others wanted to see.  I make performances now for myself, to satisfy my impulses to make images or actions come to life.  I still consider the viewer, of course, but this takes a back seat.  I don’t know if the work is stronger now, but it comes from a more interesting place.  This quality is tangible and lends the work a texture that wasn’t there when I was creating perfromeacnes that I wanted others  to “like”.  I have found that if I like it and feel a connection to it, the work will resonate and be well received.

 

SANDRINE SCHAEFER

 

Philip Fryer: Can you expand of some of the objects and actions used in your piece?

 

SS: I work site-sensitively and have been creating most of my recent work outside of designated art contexts. Travel is essential to my practice. Second Skin was an exercise in merging multiple contexts through body memory. Every time the body inhabits a space, it collects traces. The objects, materials, and actions were some of my conscious collections from places I have traveled in the past year.

Small fans were ubiquitous in buses in the cities I traveled in Mexico, as well as dried arbol chillis. I wanted to ignite my audience’s sense of smell, so I tied the arbol chilis to small flesh colored fans to spread the faint aroma that I remember from the food markets in Oaxaca City. This piece was intended to be viewed from the street and/or inside one of the storefront windows.  I wanted to break the barrier of the “Performance space” and let the viewers know that they could enter, despite the way the space looked. I summoned the audience into one of the windows and invited the audience one by one to hold eye contact with me through the fan. As we connected with this intimate action, they were able to smell the chilis and given the sensation of feeling air on their face.
The other action I engaged in occurred in the 2nd window. I had arbol chilis in my shirt that fell to the ground as I peeled my shirt up. I repeated the action of peeling my shirt off of my body, reaching above my head and exposing my back. The back has become an important to my recent work. It is one of the strongest and vulnerable parts of the body. It is also a gender neutral. With each reach, I balanced on my tip-toes. As my heels lifted, soft sound could be heard. I recently went on a family vacation to Disney world. While I was there, I recorded t-shirts that I saw people wearing. I was intrigued by
1. What people chose to put on their bodies (their second skin)
and
2. The absurdity of these phrases taken out of context.
The sound piece is a recording of me reading the t shirt phrases as montone as possible, trying to neutralize each word.

Sandrine Schaefer "Second Skin" 2012 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

PF. How is the body a place?

 

SS: It contains the soul, the memory, it is home to billions of organisms, the kind of creatures that live on your eyelashes. It is an ecosystem.

 

PF: What memory/impression did Chicago leave on your body?

 

SS: I have done this action of reaching up on my toes countless times, both in pieces and in my daily life. It was particularly difficult in Chicago. Trying to maintain eye contact through the fan before this action threw off my balance. I had to learn how to negotiate how unstable my body felt in a way that I wasn’t expecting or used to.

 

PF: Would you say that your work has the “Boston flavor”? If so, how?

 

SS: Like I said earlier…places leave traces. I’ve been working in Boston for almost 15 years. It definitely has influenced my process and esthetic.

 

PF: One of your actions was interrupted, how did you deal with that? Is this a common occurrence during your work?

 

SS: This is where the word “performance art” can cause some trouble. If people think they are watching a “performance,” as defined by traditional performing arts disciplines, there can be the expectation that the audience’s role is to sit stagnant, waiting to be entertained. My work is just as much about my audience’s experience as my own, so I want them to experience my work in ways that feel authentic. When an audience member unplugged my fan during my performance, it was an indication that I was successful in this intent. This doesn’t happen to me very often, but when it has, I don’t judge it. It’s just another form of witnessing. I used it as an indicator to move on to the next action of my piece.

Object from Sandrine Schaefer's "Second Skin" 2012 photo by Sandrine Schaefer

 

PF:  How has being an artist influenced your curatorial work and being a curator influenced your artwork?

 

SS:  Both my artistic and curatorial practice work in symbiosis.  I believe that artists have the responsibility to champion the work that inspires them.  I find it helpful to my own practice to experience the work that other artists are making and hear what artists in other places are inspired by.  It keeps me motivated and my work current.  Joseph sums up the Artist/Curator relationship really well!   

 

PF: How has teaching impacted your practice?

 

SS: Teaching is like any collaboration in that it has forced me to identify, distill, and communicate processes and strategies to others. It has made me more patient, and it’s helped me look at experiential art differently.  One of the most challenging parts of being an artist is the balancing act between creating a consistency in your work while still being able to work outside of your comfort zone to ensure growth.   Having the opportunity to watch someone else work through their process has inspired me to push myself in my own practice.    

 

PF: Shorter, timed performances were absent in your work for a while, can you talk about returning to this format?

 

SS: I would disagree with that. Through Adventures in Being, I have done many shorter, pieces. My rule for that project is to stay in a space for as long as my body or the space will allow. Sometimes this means 45 minutes, sometimes this means 45 seconds. Regardless of how long my pieces actually end up being, I consistently approach my work with the intention that it will be a durational work. I always prepare to be invested in an action for the long haul.

 

PF: So, you consider your piece in Chicago durational?

SS: Yes. It challenged the parameters of real time.

 

PF: Do you consider your Adventures In Being project to be an active part of the piece you did in Chicago, or is it non-canon?

 

SS: Adventures influences all of my work. It was that project that took me to Mexico, and the other places I was channeling in the piece.

 

PF: Sound has always been a key element of your work, how has it evolved into the form its currently in?

 

SS: I collect sound in the same way that I use my sketchbook. It is a way that I process and remember a context. In my pieces, I want to reward the curious witness. Soft sound has been a material that I use for this. It’s like when child is having a tantrum or crying… they say that whispering to them will force them to quiet down so they can hear you. This interrupts the act of crying, shifts their paradigm. Soft sound is my way of creating an experience that shifts the audience’s paradigm.

 

Sandrine Schaefer "Second Skin" 2012 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

 

PF: Can you talk about the choice to use nudity in the context of Defibrillator?

 

SS: I wanted to expose my back. One of Joseph Ravens’ inspirations for opening Defibrillator came from an experience where he was censored for using nudity in a storefront art space.  I respect that his response to being censored was to take action and create the kind of art space that he would want to work in and is sharing it with other artists. It’s a great example of someone “being the change”.  Choosing to use nudity in the windows was a nod to Defibrillator’s story.  Seeing a body (especially a nude one) behind glass also conjures ideas around voyeurism, creating dialogues around the role of the viewer and the action of witnessing.  

 

PF: What are you studying?  What’s inspiring you?

 

SS: I just finished curating an exhibition called INSIDER/OUTSIDER that featured artifacts from live art pieces made in non art contexts. I have been looking at a lot of current work that is being made outside of spaces designated for art viewing.  I am interested in the interstices between art and everyday life.  I have been reading anthropological and philosophical texts on how people experience space, contemporary theories on the new/ modern body and the collective body, and following fitness tribes that advocate for group movement practices that navigate the natural environment.  I am also studying  Sadhu Ascetic practices and how this informs cross cultural understandings of the body, place and time.   Another way teaching has influenced my practice…it has inspired me to read more!

 

PF: What’s next for you?

 

SS: In February, I will be traveling to India with Daniel S. DeLuca to research and make work around the context of the Kumbh Mela!

Sandrine Schaefer "Second Skin" 2012 photo by Daniel S. DeLuca