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 

LONG TERM 2014

The following is a collection of videos from the work made for LONG TERM, co-curated by Adriana Disman and Sandrine Schaefer as part of LINK & PIN performance series.  LONG TERM occurred at HUB 14 and around the surrounding areas in Toronto on Saturday, April 12, 2014 – Sunday, April 13, 2014 and was co-presented with Fado.

The work featured in LONG-TERM investigates extended duration, collaborative practices of various artist duos. Unfolding over 2 days, the event addresses the complexities involved in creating, balancing, and evolving a shared creative process.  Enjoy!

 

Miller and Shellabarger

 

Miller & Shellabarger- LONG TERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

JV

JV “Tactic” – LONGTERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

VestAndPage

 

VestAndPage – LONG TERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Duorama 

 

Duorama – Long Term 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Rooms

ROOMS “Ritual No.1: COUNTING BIRDS” – LONG TERM 2014 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Collaborative Duos- Part 1

The Present Tense was built out of Sandrine Schaefer and Philip Fryer‘s long time collaboration.  Because of this, we have always held collaborative duos close to our hearts.  Next month, LONG-TERM, a live art event curated by Sandrine Schaefer and Adriana Disman that features the work of various artist duos who investigate extended duration, will come to Toronto’s Hub 14.  In honor of this upcoming event and our sustained love of artists who choose to make work together, The Present Tense has revisited the archives to bring you a few videos from artist duos we have exhibited through the years.  To begin, we are sharing excerpts from Sandrine and Phil’s 17 year “Cicada Project.”  Then we revisit the Contaminate Festival to share Mari Novotny-Jones & Kristina Lenzi and Coach TV.  We also bring you JV‘s “Trapped” at the Seconds Festival, The Royal Najo Family at PT3 and Tomoko Kakeda and Joanne Stein at PT5.  Enjoy!

 

 

Sandrine Schaefer & Philip Fryer “Cicada Project” 2006-2023

Philip Fryer & Sandrine Schaefer from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Cicada Project 8.2010 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

3CiadasFinal from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Mari Novotny Jones & Kristina Lenzi at the Contaminate 3 International Performance Art Festival curated by The Present Tense & TEST 2008

Mari Novotny Jones and Kristina Lenzi @ Contaminate 3 2008 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Tomoko Kakeda & Joanne Stein  at PT5 curated by The Present Tense 2007

Tomoko Kakeda & Joanne Stein@ PT5 2007 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Royal Najo Family at PT3 curated by The Present Tense 2007

Royal Najo Family @ PT3 2007 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

JV at the Seconds International Performance Art Festival curated by The Present Tense 2006

JV @ Seconds 2006 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Coach TV at the Contaminate 1 International Performance Art Festival curated by The Present Tense & TEST 2006

Coach TV @ Contaminate 1 2006 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Remembering Peter Grzybowski

The Present Tense is saddened for the recent passing of artist and curator, Peter Grzybowski. A long time friend of The Present Tense,  we are grateful we had the opportunity to show his work at the Contaminate 3 Festival in 2008.  The following is a collection of memories from those who were touched by his presence and his work.

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Peter Gryzbowski “Press” 2008 photo by Ben Smart

In the 21st century, many have surrendered to the inevitability of the hyper-documented life, a result of current technologies, but nothing can replace the experience of witnessing a live-art piece unfolding in the present moment.   To performance artists, art lives in real time and often times is believed to live in the body.  Consequently, when a body deteriorates the art dies with it.  The death of an artist working in experiential media can be devastating because it eliminates the possibility of ever experiencing their work in its totality again.

On August 29, 2013, artist and curator, Peter Gryzbowski passed away.  Like many, I learned of Peter’s passing through social media.  Discovering the death of a friend in this way seems impersonal, but it offers a collective experience of mourning that is strangely comforting.  We can see the magnitude of the expansive territory that a life can touch.  In the days after news of Peter’s passing spread throughout The Present Tense’s networks, it was amazing to see how many people in so many places throughout the world had been impacted by his work.   This tribute is an attempt to capture a morsel of Peter Gryzbowski’s impact on The Present Tense and the communities of artists with whom we are connected.  No video, no photo, no written account can capture his work, however, it feels crucial to try to compile something to honor Gryzbowski’s creative contribution.  This is also an admittedly selfish attempt.  Peter was a friend and teacher of sorts.  He showed my work when few believed it was mature enough.  As my own curatorial practice evolved, I had the opportunity to show Peter’s work as well.  He was a constant fixture in my career for a decade and I am grateful that I had the chance to experience his work and his friendship.

The following footage is from “Press,” a piece that Peter created at The Present Tense and TEST’s Contaminate 3 Festival in Boston in 2008.  The piece was minimal, cyclical and repetitive.  The principal action of the piece was captured both in real time and in video that illuminated the space through projection.  Peter engaged in the action of crumpling pieces of newspaper and throwing them on the ground.  The video played in reverse, making it appear as if the crumpled paper was magically floating back into Peter’s hand.  There were three bodies in the piece, the present self, the past self (video) and Peter’s shadow, an acknowledgement of the future self.   If my memory serves me, I remember being most excited by the moment when the accumulated paper on the ground matched the volume of paper in the video.  This visual collision offered a brief time where all three Peter’s could exist within the same moment.

Rest well, Peter.  Thank you for gifting me experiences for contemplation through your work and teaching me how to be a better artist.  I am forever grateful.

– Sandrine Schaefer

Peter Grzybowski “Press” 2008 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

This past summer, I was invited to participate in the SUPERNOVA festival in Rosslyn, Virginia. The festival circuit is an exciting one, a wonderful networking experience with both new faces and old ones. When I first caught a glimpse of the roster,  a particular old face jumped off the screen: Peter Gryzbowski. I first met Peter at the 14th International Performance Art Congress in Sacramento, California in 2006. His piece at that festival haunts me to this day. Peters presence during his performances was very powerful, and having seen and met him at a very early stage of my own performance practice, I learned quite a bit about the medium from him. Over the years I’ve felt more and more grateful for the impact he had on the genesis of my work. 

 Once I arrived in Rosslyn, I learned that Peter was unable to make it to the festival. Sad that I would not see him, I made a mental note to contact him and let him know I’ve been thinking of him. Later that day, I saw obsolete computer monitors, a favorite performance object for Peter, being loaded off a van and into the space I’d be performing in later in the festival. Once I learned that they were originally indented for Peter’s performance, I immediately felt connected to them. Eames Armstrong, the festivals curator, was kind enough to let me take one of them for my own performance. I wondered, what was Peter going to use these for? They were going to end up smashed up, weren’t they? 

I was excited to have an addition to my performance, but I was more excited to pay homage to an artist that I’ve always respected and looked up to. In the end, I chose both actions that are pertinent to my work as well as actions that were inspired by Peters work. I feel very grateful that I had this unique opportunity to connect with Peter and his practice, even if he wasn’t present for it. Peter will be greatly missed.

– Philip Fryer

Still from "WHAT NOW", Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

Still from “WHAT NOW”, Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

 

I met Peter in 2011 at Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn.  His interest in my work as so genuine that we spent several hours talking about performance and art in general.  His passion for live action art was clear and enthusiastic especially when he described the projects he had been involved.  We kept connected even though many times we were in different continents doing separate things.  It was until last year that I had the opportunity to witness the strength of his performances and the details of their sociopolitical content.  The last time I saw him, and I believe it was the last time he performed, was in June this year at the same place where we met, Grace Exhibition Space.  He was in full command of his performance, and enjoying every minute of his delivery.  While buildings of the former Soviet era collapsed on the screen, he walked lively through light bulbs that rested on the floor, and much later while we crushed old television sets that had been covered with different flags.  That is the last image I have of a friend who knew how to listen and how to appreciate the liveness of art.

R.I.P. Peter, you are remembered.

– Hector Canonge

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Hi Alien! where did you disappear … sounds like your last words to me? an’ of our anachronistic turn – the promise of a next round – a one again happy fight coming s…  ?I miss THE LAST MAN headlined on the seafront / a no sense postcard without you in “your meta final. touch” I picture out of the frame where to keep on hanging(…) la vie est un rêve et… then I say fucking hell* (en français dans le texte*) I could not imagine how much you are here, where only your laugh, your tenderness, and your strength, remain. My. Indian  September  summer  passenger / hush .  ???Hey! Peter “excuse my french” Hey, Peter, I am telling you good bye… and hey. Peter, I am telling you hey for very long

– Stefanie Seguin

 

 

Peter Grzybowski, 06.16.1954-08.29.2013

Peter Grzybowski was born in Krakow, Poland. Peter was a performance artist, multimedia artist and a painter. Since the eighties he completed a number of performances, individual and group shows, installations and multimedia works ?presented worldwide. In his latest work, he created performances and installations using video, audio, light and live action, synchronized by computer. His paintings are in USA, Canada, France, Germany and Poland. 

 

Taste: Sandrine Schaefer

The following footage is one of the first videos included in The Present Tense archives.  TPT Co-Founder, Sandrine Schaefer made this piece during her time studying at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  In the piece, titled, ” A Little Taste of Sweetness,” Sandrine serves homeade applesauce from hand picked apples to the audience.  She approaches each person asking the question, “May I?”  If the audience member says yes, Sandrine gives them a napkin and a spoon engraved with the phrase “A little taste of sweetness” from her body and drapes her clothing across the spectator’s lap as a ‘tablecloth’.  They are invited to eat a handful of applesauce from her hands.

 

 

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

Boston infiltrates Chicago

Last weekend, 6 artists from Boston traveled to Chicago to make work at Defibrillator Gallery as part of ROUGH TRADE II; a Boston Chicago artist exchange.  Here is video documentation of the pieces that they created.  In the coming months, The Present Tense will be posting extended interviews with each artist, giving them the opportunity to talk about the intention behind their work, their experience with the exchange, how the context informed their pieces, etc.  Stay tuned!

 

 

Philip Fryer “TREE/POOL/SKY” 2012 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Sandy Huckleberry “Fishing” 2012 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Marilyn Arsem “still, waiting” 2012 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Sandrine Schaefer “SecondSkin” 2012 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Daniel S. DeLuca RKSR CNL from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

Jeff Huckleberry “Fourth Rainbow” 2012 from The Present Tense on Vimeo.