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.

Taste: Domix Garrido

"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 “H2mbrein 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.

 

“Hambre #4” 2012 JIAAP / Weber-Lutgen Gallery Sevilla, Spain Photo by Ángel Montalbán

 

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.

Visit  http://domixgarrido.es to see more of his work.