While on the book tour, I had the chance to chat with Heather Kapplow, a journalist and artist writing for the Boston art journal Big Red & Shiny. She asked: how are my modes of writing and performance different from each other? Does writing feel different from making performance? Do these modes ever interact?
I’d never considered these questions before. My partial answer:
I feel like a writer when writing articles, short stories and the like, with a focus on delivering clear throughlines of thought on the page with the typical grammar, syntax, and structures expected by readers. When I’m working on a performance art piece, by contrast, I don’t ‘feel’ like a writer; I don’t really think of the writing as separate from the other elements in the performance—the use of objects, sound, physical movement, etc. Words are used for their literal meaning, but also for their formal qualities. In that mode, I see myself as ‘generating’ text (as opposed to crafting it), which feels no different than, say, choreographing how I might drag a fish across the floor. I don’t hold myself to any strict grammatical, syntactical, or stylistic rules, except for whatever is appropriate for the piece, freeing me up to allow the elements to inform each other, and hold dialogs with my subconscious. The hissssss of a fish being dragged across concrete might suddenly seem to contrast best with text that’s heavily assonant—that is, the physical action helps ‘write’ what text should accompany it.
Heather’s piece breaks new ground in the liminal realm where feeling, intuition, writing, and performance intersect. For the whole article, plus more of her interview with me, head over to Big Red & Shiny.
Finally, I had the chance to perform Ouroboros, a new work at the Sylvia White Gallery in Ventura before the gallery shuts its doors for good this summer. The space has been home to the 5x5x5, an incredible performance series that’s featured diverse performance artists and others from around the world for the past 5 years, all curated by performance art luminary John M. White. The game-for-anything Ventura audiences always came out in force—sometimes 50, 100, 150 at a time, packing the gallery to the gills—with many spectators being artists, musicians, writers, poets, critics, or curators themselves. The 5x5x5′s final show was a real marathon, featuring almost 20 performers with a record turnout, proving handily that performance art ain’t dead.
. . . Which is why I’m excited to write that John has found a new home for the 5x5x5! It’ll start up again in September, 2014 at a new Ventura art space. If you’re a performance artist and would like to apply for a 5-minute slot, contact me with your info!