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.

MEME and Mobius, March 2010

Every once in a while the Boston art world aligns and produces a performance art marathon. March saw one of these weekends with Control Y Control Z at MEME, curated by the MEME Team, and Yard Sale at Mobius Curated by Jeff Huckleberry.


Control Y Control Z

Leigh Waldron-Taylor (performed by Daniel DeLuca)


Sylbille Neeve



Sandrine Schaefer


Yard Sale
Patrick Wallace


Vela Phelan

Philip Fryer


Jeff Byrd

Paul Waddell


Jeffery Byrd @ Contaminate I

2010 began with a sip of Champagne poured from a bottle adorned with purple and pink butterflies, a fitting gift from my boss. 2009 was a year of grandiose change. This archive came to fruition, Meme Gallery made its debut, The Present Tense’s physical headquarters took flight, and on a personal note, my body shape- shifted. As I indulged in my bubbly, I was reminded of one of the most haunting transformations The Present Tense has encountered to date, coincidentally titled “Butterfly”.

In this piece, Jeffrey Byrd, an Iowa-based performance and video artist transforms from Maria Callas to Brittney Spears right before our eyes. He begins with a somber nod to Butoh and moves through a myriad of emotions. By the end, we have experienced Jeffrey’s rendition of Madame Butterfly while watching him expose a deep piece of his imagination that has inspired laughter and a sense of hope. Reminiscing about this piece prompted me to spend some time on Jeffrey’s website. I giggled through Jeff performing household chores dressed as a Stormtrooper and I cheered him on as he attempted to scale walls in a sexy Spiderman suit. My heart melted while watching a video of a Mephisto, a comic book character dancing in his underwear. I fantasized about what it would be like if I made an effort to retain my own creativity at work by tap dancing on my desk like Jeff did in “Tap Desk”. In this exploration, I noticed Jeff had chosen to include a quote from Sebastian Horsley on his site. “We are what we pretend to be”. If only we all could follow Jeff’s lead and spend more time pretending, the powers of our imaginations could truly and genuinely be realized.

Contaminate I 2006 Trailer

We were not able to get anything posted last week, so to make up for it I’m giving you a trailer of the first Contaminate Festival.13 performances in under 3 minutes! Each one of these performances will eventually have their own edit and post, but I think its important to understand the context in witch they were witnessed.

This festival was significant on numerous levels. Its was the first of many events organized using the Midway Studios Theater space in Fort point, which at the time was unfinished. It was the first time that we collaborated with Test Performance Art Event, and it was the first time that we had multiple traveling artists coming to show their work. Contaminate I acted as a model for the events and festivals that came after it because of its size and because we all learned what its like to have 10 cooks in the kitchen. I loved every minute of this festival, as and organizer, as and artist and as a viewer.