Monday, July 13, 2009

No Dress Rehearsal Required

I'm not much on plays, or musicals for that matter. The combination of a dark room with music playing puts me right to sleep, unless it's STOMP and I can't seem to find the Advil in my purse. But there is a whole other world of performance art out there that is extremely intriguing. Prior to this gig at the Biggs, my idea of performance art didn't extend much beyond the Season Six Sex and the City episode, when Carrie and Charlotte visit a gallery where a girl is sitting without food or water for as many days as she can. To me, it was just plain strange. What would possess this woman to do this? What message was she trying to convey?

We might never find out what that artist was doing on Sex and the City, but we do know what Paola Pivi was trying to convey in one of her most recent performances at the Tate Modern.....nothing. Pivi is an Italian artist living in Alaska who is know for her surreal art, taking us away from the everyday realities and boredoms. She most recently took her art to a new level in terms of participation in 1000 at the Tate. She choreographed a performance that brought together 1,000 Brits to scream in unison at the Tate. Pivi wanted everyone to scream for whatever reason they wish (stress, anxiety, fear, anger...) and however they wish to. People of all sorts showed up to scream, including an organization screaming for a Free Tibet.

The performance went down as simple as it sounds A cue of "one, two, three" and 1,000 people screamed, followed by a round of applause as if they had just gotten through Phantom of the Opera. Best of all though, anyone can see it thanks to YouTube.

Pivi states in an interview, “I liked the notion of all these different people coming together to perform something completely unrehearsed." Pivi says her performance is not intended “to startle anyone” and does not have any “specific meaning”. After hearing this, 1,000 makes complete sense. Everyone created their own reaction to it, their own experience. But take all those provoking emotions and put them together, and it creates just one noise, a scream that blends so perfectly is caused a roaring applause.

The Biggs is doing their own community art project in August called Wish for the World. Everyone is invited to First Friday in August to write down their wish for the world, which will be hung on wish trees throughout the Museum.

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