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 

Dreams of the Future!

The focus of the World Expo is the future. From Shanghai Corporate’s Dream Cube, to Toyota’s robotic violinist, to Saudi Arabia’s $164 million rendition of a “moon boat” that looms in the sky like the most grandiose UFO, the Expo exhibits a plethora or futuristic spectacles.

Saudi Arabia Pavilion

Saudi Arabia Pavilion

Amongst the extravagance, there are of coarse Pavilions with less. Upon visiting the lineless Iraq Pavilion, People in Space artists discovered that the Chinese government paid for and fabricated the majority of the content within the Pavilion. The theme of the Pavilion was not the future of Iraq, but a glorification of “1001 Arabian Nights”. Visitors could consume their very own magic lamps, jewelry, and a Princess Jasmine coloring book. This diversity in visions of the future in relation to history has been a point of interest throughout the development of this project. Is there a shared vision of the future that is able to transcend cultural variance?

Jeffery Byrd asked us to go to the people to collect ideas about the future. He instructed us to ask Expo goers to write a word that they associate with the future on a post it, proudly display it on their forehead, close their eyes, and think of the word as we photograph them. We had every intention of executing this intimate action through a waiting line, but the language barrier created a challenge. Upon asking an Expo volunteer for a proper translation of the phrase “associate with the future”, curiosities were sparked.

The volunteers were so intrigued that they led us into the private area designated for Expo workers so that their colleagues could participate. They even gave us popsicles once we had finished! Check out the visions of the future we collected below.

Fly

Fly

Love

Marriage, Money, & ___

Courage, Marriage, & Money

Freedom

Freedom

Happiness

Happiness

Imagination

Imagination

Happiness

Happiness

Happiness

Happiness

Smile

Smile

Money

Money

Jeffery Byrd is a performance artist who has presented work all over the globe.  His art explores the relationships between reality and artifice. Recent pieces have touched upon ideas related to his day job as a university administrator and have focused on using creative thought to transform the mundane. In this piece, Post-It Notes (usually reserved for the most utilitarian communication) become the vehicle for dreams and desires.

PT RETURNS!

Summer warms Boston as The Present Tense stretches it’s limbs and wipes hibernation from it’s eyes.  In our somnolence, visions of the future abound!  As of June 1 The Present Tense has moved on from MEME Gallery to explore new curatorial terrain.  We are also investigating our roles as creators, nestling into new bodies of work.  We are observing, digesting, contemplating, strategizing, dreaming, growing, learning, and hoping.  In times of change we are driven to revisit the constant thread that has lead us to our present space:  the affinity of our collaboration.

"Hunt Togather" 2005, International Performance Art Congress, Muenster, Germany "Their Not Biting.  I'm Not Itching" 2005, International Performance Art Congress, Sacremento, CA "Russell Square" 2006 Contaminate I, Boston, MA

"Transaction" 2004 TEST 4, Boston, MA
We began by tasting one another’s conceptual process and aesthetic while simultaneously searching for common ground.

Our process developed to acknowledge the exercise of meeting in the middle.

"Diamond Theory" 2010, Mobius' ArtRages, East Boston, MA

Our process has evolved to mimic the shape of a diamond.

“Congratulations on your Empire” was our first experience within the walls of MEME (then 55 Gallery). It evolved with an intentional beginning, middle, and end, that shed new light on our potential as collaborators.  Shortly after, 55 was gifted to us and MEME emerged.  Today begins MEME’s 2nd cycle.  Alice Vogler, Dirk Adams, and Vela Phelan will continue with MEME, bringing it into a new epoch.  As we examine the future of our collaboration and The Present Tense, we eagerly anticipate MEME’s development and we feel sincere gratitude for having the opportunity to contribute to it’s genesis.